The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.

Cost Cutting for DIY Recovery

Kingfisher chief executive Ian Cheshire has announced that they expect flat sales this year at B&Q, despite the home improvement industry as a whole predicting a 5% drop in like for like sales. He described it as a “DIY recovery” and will focus on cost cutting and business improvements.

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Cost of Bringing Your Home up to New Standards

Cost of Bringing Your Home up to New Standards

Research released recently from house-builder Redrow has shown that most people have very little idea about how much it would cost to bring their home up to “new” standards. In fact one in five felt that £5,000 would be enough when according to Redrow it could be as much as £30,000.

The survey questioned people who lived in homes built before 1979. Two thirds of those questioned said they had carried out some DIY in the past 18 months and another third said they currently had jobs which needed to be completed. However 63% said they had set no money aside to get these jobs done.

The sorts of jobs which had been completed included painting and decorating at around 50%, new bathrooms at 7% and new kitchens at 5%. 12% had carried out basic repairs and maintenance.

Pauline Turnbull from Redrow has commented that buying an older home can be a false economy. She estimates that replacing windows, bathroom, kitchen and installing a new central heating system could cost as much as £30,000.

It is also pointed out that a brand new home can be 40% more efficient and could therefore be cheaper to run over time. Turnbull adds that some new homes even have characteristics which make them seem older to appeal to those who want more character.

Could You Be Getting a Better Deal

Could You Be Getting a Better Deal

Recent research from UK insurer Aviva has discovered that around 25% of homeowners in the UK automatically renew their home insurance without checking to see if they could get a better deal elsewhere.

It has been estimated that some of these homeowners could be paying in excess of 200% more than they should.

This figure is based on the most expensive and the least expensive quotes available in the UK.

The reasons given for not shopping around for a new quote vary, but the most common was the 38% of people who said that they were happy with their current provider. Another 24% admitted that they simply didn't have the time and 21% didn't think the process of looking for a new provider would be worthwhile for them. 20% openly admitted that they were too lazy and couldn't be bothered.

Interestingly the study found that those people who were most likely to automatically renew their policies were those aged over 55. This could be because they have less access to the Internet where comparison sites make looking for a home insurer easier.

Councillor Ken Rigby is Concerned

The Nottingham Evening Post has reported that councillor Ken Rigby is concerned with how DIY enthusiasts are disposing of their used paint pots.

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Couple Discover 20ft High Mural

A couple from Milverton in Somerset has discovered a 20ft high mural of the medieval King Henry VIII. Angie and Rhodri Powell were renovating their home when they discovered the painting behind wooden panels.

It is known that the house had belonged to the Archdeacon of Taunton, Thomas Cranmer during the 16th century.

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Cowboys Posing as Council Contractors

Cowboys Posing as Council Contractors

Residents in the Telford area are being warned this week to be on the lookout for rogue traders who are posing as council contractors.

Local people have reported that men who claim to be part of the Telford and Wrekin council contractor firm McPhilips are asking homeowners if they would like their drives repaired while they are working in the area.

The council has pointed out that no official contractor would approach people in this way.

Hilda Roberts from the council has commented that the traders are obviously trying to take advantage of the fact that McPhilips are doing work in the area and that residents need to be aware that no one from the firm would offer to do such work.

She recommends that homeowners take advantage of the local council trade register which lists reputable tradesmen in the area. The members of the registers have all signed up to a code of practice which they must adhere to.

Cutting Edge Designs

The London Design Festival is due to run from September 19 to September 26 and will comprise of more than 200 events all over the city. These include the Design Trade Show at Earls Court, exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum and exhibitions by young designers at Tent in east London. Ahead of the show, The Independent has highlighted some of the smaller designers who will be showing their wares at various venues around the capital.

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Damage to Homes Caused By Parties

With the New Year party season nearly upon us, insurers are warning their customers about the rise in damage to homes caused by teenage parties – in particular, those advertised on Facebook.

A survey conducted by Allianz insurance has found that £14 million worth of damage was caused to parents homes by teenage parties which got out of hand last year.

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Dangers of DIY Stoves

An inquest has found that a young man, Declan Oliver died of carbon monoxide poisoning due to an incorrectly fitted wood burning stove, which he fitted with his father. It was found that the flue was the wrong length which caused the carbon monoxide to leak into the summerhouse which was Declan's bedroom.

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Dangers of Faulty Hire Tools

Research from Which? has found that those who like to do a spot of DIY could be seriously in danger due to faulty tools from hire companies.

The consumers advocacy company hired 26 tools form various hire firms, which included high street names and large DIY chains. The tools were independently tested for electrical and mechanical defects according to British standards and all companies except HSS failed for one or more reason.

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Decking Goes Up In Puff of Smoke

Indulging in a spot of weekend DIY turned out to be more dangerous than useful for a home-owner from West Midlands. Ian Cooke was digging his garden when he came across a glass bottle. It wasn't until he pulled his spade out of the earth that he noticed the bottle was smoking.

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Decorator of The Year

Decorator of The Year

Dulux Select Decorator, Wendy Macklin, is celebrating after scooping the grand prize in the Dulux Select Decorator of the Year Awards, which honours the craftsmanship of accredited decorating professionals. The coveted accolade was presented to Wendy at the annual Dulux Select Decorators Christmas Ball ceremony, where she also won her category for an interior painting and decorating project worth over £3,000.

The Dulux Select Decorators scheme is an elite network of professional decorators who are approved by Dulux Trade and whose workmanship is guaranteed for two years by ICI Paints AkzoNobel. The scheme was re-launched in 2009 with even more exclusive member benefits, strengthened training packages and increased support for members, helping them to 'brush aside the competition' and win more business.

Wendy Macklin, Director of Quality Decor in Surrey, which she runs jointly with her husband, triumphed in the competition for her efforts in transforming a large Victorian house into four stunning apartments in Surrey, using colour and intricate painting expertise to give the interior a new lease of life. Beating off entries from decorators across the country, her project was favoured by the judges as it showcased her extensive range of decorating skills, first class craftsmanship and outstanding customer relations. As well as receiving the two prestigious awards, Wendy was presented with £1,500 worth of gift vouchers.

Also receiving accolades on the night were Daniel Montgomery from Daniels Decorating Services for an interior painting and decorating project worth up to £999; Tony Pearson-Young, of TAG Decor in Surrey, for an interior project worth between £1,000 and £2,999; and Melvin Gibbs from Home and Building Services, who won his category for the best exterior painting and decorating project.

In addition, decorators Sean Wilkinson, Steve Dove and Wayne de Wet were presented with Long Service Awards in recognition of their 15 year membership with the Dulux Select Decorators scheme.

Delighted by her success, Wendy said: "As the very first female decorator to win this award, I'm elated to have my work recognised through such a prominent accolade. Winning my category as well as the grand prize has provided a real boost in morale for our firm. Becoming part of the Dulux Select Decorators scheme has been invaluable to our business and getting crowned with this title will certainly help to increase our chances of work, particularly in this tough economic climate."