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What home improvements will you be making in 2017?

Home improvements

From small DIY jobs to large-scale projects, new year is often the time we start thinking about making home improvements. So do you have any jobs planned for 2017, and do you have all the advice you need?

I believe home really is where the heart is. It’s your safe haven amidst a frantic world. The place you can relax and enjoy being with friends and family. So it’s no surprise that we want to make it just right for us, and that can cost money.

In 2014, the UK spent around £33 billion on housing alterations and improvements, according to Barbour ABI, which collects industry data on construction.

Big home improvements, such as loft conversions, conservatories and newly fitted kitchens, can be incredibly disruptive and costly. But there are ways to minimise mess and lower the price.

For example, when we surveyed 2,154 kitchen owners in April/May 2016, a budget kitchen brand came out on top with an impressive customer satisfaction score of 88%.

Get clued-up

But it’s not all about cost; it’s about being armed with the right information, too.

When we spoke to people who’d had their loft converted many told us about the things they would have done differently if they’d known more before the work started.

For example, it’s really worth understanding exactly what’s included in your quote and what the timeline for work will be. This will help you plan your budget and home life around it, both of which can have a big impact.

It’s also worth thinking about the value home improvements might add to your home. When we surveyed conservatory owners, 84% said they believed getting one would add value to their home.

If upping the price of your home is important to you, it’s worth asking three estate agents to come to your home before you start any work. It may be that adding a bedroom or an extension would give you more of a return than what you have planned.

Small tasks

But refreshing your home doesn’t mean you have to make major changes. Creating new storage space, giving rooms a fresh lick of paint or sprucing up flooring can make a big difference.

With the right tools and knowledge, you can tackle a wide range of tasks yourself. But if you don’t feel confident, there’s nothing wrong with calling in a helping hand. You could always assist the tradesperson so you know how to do the job next time.

So, as 2017 dawns, what home improvements do you have planned? Are you aiming to do the job yourself or get in a tradesperson? Or, if you’ve had work done, what do you wish you’d known first?


Should home improvements be forgot
And never brought to mind
Should home improvements be forgot,
For the sake of peace and mind

For all peace of mind my dear
For all peace of mind
We’ll look the other way for now
For the sake of peace of mind.
🎇 🎆


I like your philosophical outlook, Alfa. Your new kitchen is in our thoughts.


LOL !!! Thanks John.

Things start happening later this week, so hopefully it won’t be too long.


We managed to get our Which? Best Buy Ikea kitchen installed and completed before Christmas. Mind you, we ordered it in August and it’s not been plain sailing. However, the actual installer was outstanding, both in terms of quality of workmanship and dedication. So Ikea probably deserves the plaudits overall.


Having a four year-old house means that there are no major projects to contemplate and we have carried out a lot of minor works to improve the property so now we are feeling we would like to move to a smaller house with a bit more character and some scope to make significant changes for comfort, convenience, and style.


I have done a lot of minor DIY jobs since moving home. I had planned to put in thermostatic valves and other new controls before winter, but ran out of time. I will do this when the weather is warmer.

I would like to have the double glazing replaced during the summer, but that’s a job for the professionals.


A shame all these 2016 Guides are all undated as though one can find the information in the text, if you read through all of them, some readers may prefer to factor in the date before bothering to read the articles . They seem pretty good.

They could be more detailed as they seem to avoid leading to any technical matters. For instance referencing new glass for thermal efficiency and for self-cleaning properties could benefit for a link to an article on modern glazing which named names and discussed the primary suppliers.

I have had a friend install triple-glazed units in 2016 trucked from Poland for the same cost as double-glazed UK units. Perhaps Which? could go deeper into the cost savings – and actually is there a need for triple glazing. The advent of vacuum double-glazing is also of interest as it is phenomenally efficient.

I will be looking at solar panels for both electricity and water heating, ground source and air source heat pumps which I am sure will be of interest to many subscribers.

The advent of aerotherm, the use of shutters and blinds for heat retention, and indeed to stop solar gain are all areas of interest when improving properties.

One thing very rarely discussed is warm air heating which has advanced greatly since being popular in the last century. Its rapid warming and responsiveness to weather conditions must surely make it of interest.

Air exchange units in lofts to maximise the quality and temperature of exchanged fresh-air could also be something that interests anyone who owns a property. Relatively cheap to install and to run there must be some types of houses which would benefit greatly from these devices.

I am conscious from surveys that most people are worried about keeping warm and energy costs so everything that can be done to help people reduce the need for excessive heating must be applauded.


Paint advice wanted….

A ceiling was roller brushed with a matt paint that just rubbed came off with your fingers. Not good for a kitchen ceiling.

We have sponged off all the loose paint and roller brushed a coat of Valspar Premium Walls & Ceilings paint. Roller brush is Screwfix No Nonsense 9″ Short Pile Roller Sleeve.

It is horrible to work with. It seems too thick and dries almost instantly so very difficult to go over and get a smooth finish. Inspecting it this morning it doesn’t look that bad, there were a few ridges and mottled patches that sanded off easily without doing any damage.

The question is what do we do next as it needs another coat. Do we struggle with what we have or go for another paint. Do we stick with the same roller brush or try another one?

Any advice gratefully received.


Hi Alfa – I’ll have a stab at this because I’ve painted a few kitchen ceilings in my time.

The results you will get largely depend on what you are starting with as a surface condition. Kitchen ceilings are particularly prone to grease spots and a film of fine grease so they need to be thoroughly washed over with a sugar soap solution before applying a first coat. I don’t think you need to go back to that point now because what you have put on will have more or less sealed the ceiling and one more coat should cover well. I am a bit surprised by your experience with the Valspar paint but there might be a reaction between that paint and your first coat if that was a different make. Over-quick drying is a nuisance. Turn the heat down would be my initial suggestion.

There are specialist ceiling paints for kitchens and bathrooms that have additional ingredients that are supposed to resist the effects of cooking and dampness and I have found them as easy to apply as ordinary emulsion paint but they have a silk or satin finish. You said you started with a matt finish. Matt is not usually considered a good idea in a kitchen although all new houses are painted with a matt finish and if you have an efficient cooker hood and the ceiling is at a good height I see nothing wrong with matt paint. It is much better at concealing any imperfections in the ceiling than a paint with a shiny finish which will show up any cracks, bulges or depressions.

I can’t believe there is anything wrong with the roller sleeve although I have not used a Screwfix one myself. I usually use Wilko roller sleeves and I can tell no difference between them and the more expensive Harris roller sleeves. The roller can pull the paint if the underlying surface is not good, but so can a brush, and when using a brush to paint an untextured ceiling it is difficult to get a smooth even finish. A roller does a much better job.

If you have enough left of the Valspar paint, and you can work with it OK, I would give it another coat. It should go on easier than the previous coat because the surface is now in a better condition to receive it. The paint should take well but might need a little touching-up in odd places when you look at it in the daylight.

If you want to change to a different paint that should not be a problem and I would say that an ordinary Dulux or Crown emulsion paint should give a satisfactory finish.

Don’t forget to put a knotted hankie on your head.


Thanks John, free hotel shower caps are doing the job of a knotted hankie quite well 🙂

It is a new ceiling, plastered, primed then the powdery coat. We prefer a very light sheen, but went for the matt for the reasons you give as there were a few imperfections.

5 litres is supposed to cover 50 sq m but was only just enough for our 19 sq m area. I did water down the last bit and it did seem slightly better.

I think you could be right in a second coat going on better than the first coat. I just wish it didn’t dry so quickly but maybe with a less porous surface, it might appear to dry more slowly.

If we swap paint, it will mean another 2 coats whereas with a bit of luck, only one more with Valspar.


I normally do our decorating but recently the whole house needed doing so I got a professional in – who did a better job than I would have done. Expertise is worth paying for. He only used Dulux paint. For ceilings he used white Diamond Matt. I also prefer matt to silk on ceilings.


Which? no longer tests paints. I am rather disappointed because there can be significant difference between paints. My house has textured ceilings which my surveyor said were likely to be original. Thankfully there is no problem with cracking because it is difficult to conceal repairs. The ceilings don’t need any attention and I hope that a roller will be adequate when the time comes to repaint them.

In my experience, gloss paints show big differences between brands. Some are easier to apply without leaving brush marks, some yellow more than others in darker places, some offer better opacity (important if repainting a dark colour with a lighter one, and some fade more than others. I’ve used Dulux gloss but would not touch colours, based on past experience with severe fading. I was given at least 100 litres for use by a charity. Bright red is a particular problem and we now buy specialist paints that are much more fade-resistant. We currently buy International, which has poor opacity and is a challenge to work with but it retains its colour very well. I’m told that there are better exterior paints but they are more expensive.

alfa says: