What do we do first? Windows/loft/kitchen
We will shortly be receiving a lump sum of around £10-15K and can't decide what to prioritise in the house/garden. Pretty much everything except the bathrooms need re-doing!
Do we focus on replacing old windows and updating the loft insulation, or sorting out the kitchen (25 years old, falling apart, wonky floor that may or may not be rotten!), or do a little bit of everything?
I'm not very good at this kind of decision as my heart would really like a shiny new kitchen but my head says we should sort the old windows and draughty fireplaces first I realise it is a nice problem to have.
Like you say a nice problem to have. Sounds to me like the Kitchen is the biggest project and if you don't sort that out now then it wont stop bothering you. It also is about the right money for a total renovation of a kitchen if you want to sort out the floor properly too and get some nice new appliance. With any spare change then get started on the loft.
As for the windows this also is no small job. However I think once you have a nice kitchen you will feel inspired and it will seem small by comparison.
I would say kitchen too, as you have the budget to do the entire project and you may not get that chance again.
Everything else can probably be done in smaller chunks which might be easier to save up for in the future.
Excellent, two votes for the kitchen so far!
Sorry to be a party pooper but I'd say that the windows/insulation etc take priority. There's no point in having a fancy new kitchen if it's blowing a gale through all your windows and you're wasting a fortune every month on heating.
I'm in a similar position for my house but as I'm a construction manager, I'm putting my sensible head on and doing the necessaries before the nice-to-haves.
You wouldn't prioritise shiny new alloys for your car would you over basic engine maintenance or new brake discs? Get your house warm, water-tight and safe (which might include fixing the kitchen floor) before you start on making it pretty.
I'd do kitchen because it will cost the most and therefore be the hardest to afford in the future.
Unless the windows and insulation is really dire, as I do not like to be cold.
Just to add that, if it were me, I'd find it easier to incentivise myself to save for a lovely new kitchen than to put money aside later for windows and insulation. Even if you do it piecemeal, you'll always find something "nicer" to spend a few hundred pounds on than loft insulation. Whereas you'll be so desperate for your kitchen you'll really try hard to save.
Windows it will save you money and give you more heat and warmth.
loft insulation costs little and makes a much bigger heat saving than anything else.
I second and thirds windows. We had ours done a few months ago, and the difference is amazing. We live near a flight path too, so the noise reduction was noticeable too. We don't have the heating on for long, and it's noticeable how the house keeps the warmth.
However, I can see why you'd like a new kitchen. Maybe as pp said, save for one as an incentive. Our windows cost about £5k through an independent glazier, and it's a 4 bed detached. So if you're in a similar house, you may still have money left for the kitchen???
Kitchen and windows.
What kind of windows? How big is the kitchen?
I look at it from two points of view, which probably isn't that helpful. If you don't like being cold, then get the windows and loft insulation done as that will help. However, if you want to feel like you've done something really great with the money, then a new kitchen as you will actually see the benefit from that.
Lots of good points to consider, thank you! I did start discussing it with dh last night, but his first suggestion was a new shed and a 5* holiday...
The house is a large 4 bed semi, and the loft is vast with very little insulation, which is why we've not got it done yet! I can see, though, that it may make a considerable difference to the heat loss. How much would it cost to get the whole lot done, are we talking hundreds or thousands for Building Regs standard insulation?
The windows are all double-glazed but the older ones are now 20+ years old, so not as efficient as we'd like.
The kitchen is about 5m x 6m with the current (sloping!) wooden floor fitted under the kitchen units on top of the original floorboards. It's amazingly cold, with an old window and a set of French windows that the slugs use as their main access point (yuk).
I like the idea of seeing if we can squeeze the budget to allow for insulating the loft and getting the kitchen done and then save up for the windows as we go along. I'm quite good at saving regardless of what I'm saving for, it's just large lumps of money that fry my brain!
Probably the windows as I was always told to concentrate on getting a house watertight, ie roof & windows etc although I can see why you would want to do the kitchen as it's much more exciting!
That said, we recently completed a large renovation project and did tackle the kitchen first - even though the windows were in a parlous state (I think the PO found some in a skip, lol, whilst some were the original Georgian sashes, although beyond repair), but that was because the house had no kitchen when we bought it so building an extension/fitting the kitchen was a priority for us.....
We finally got round to the windows this year and to do the front elevation alone (admittedly in hardwood box sashes) cost £10k, although of course it will depend on your choice of style/material! Tbh, I wish we'd done them before as they look lovely (F&B Green Smoke) and are the finishing touch!
British Gas offer free loft insulation, it's not means tested either, it's just depends on how suitable your house it. Maybe look at that first, then you'll have more money for a lovely kitchen.
Get British gas to come around- we're not even a customer but they did loft insulation for us for free- government funded I believe? I'd do windows and kitchen floor!
yes, BG may also offer cavity wall insulation free or subsidised, which will greatly improve comfort and fuel economy.
they are very cautious and will not offer it unless they are sure there are no defective walls or damp problems.
I found them a very reliable supplier, with a reputation to protect.
I'm currently sitting in a freezing front room. All the heat is going out of our very poor windows!
I would say Kitchen. Definitely don't split the money up - for the smaller bit by bit projects, you can save for those. Kitchens require a large lump sum, and (if it was me) I would do that because lump sums don't come along very often and it would take forever and a day to save that sort of cash. Windows, for example, can be replaced one by one and done gradually, same with fireplaces. Loft insulation is not that expensive, not in comparison to a kitchen, and could be saved for. If your kitchen needs doing and is 25yrs old go for it!
I didn't realise that the British Gas offer was for free loft insulation, so I've just booked a survey to get that sorted out - thank you!
Dh has agreed that it makes sense to do the kitchen as it can't be done in sections, so we're going to look at some designs over the weekend to see how we can improve upon our current weird layout. Ideally, within the budget so that there's a some left over for a contingency in case our builder finds anything unexpected when he takes the floor up!
We will then focus on saving an amount each month specifically aimed at replacing the dodgiest windows over the next 12 months.
Thank you collective Mumsnet wisdom, you always help
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