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House and home

Cost of home improvements

(24 Posts)
Jane43 Sat 15-Jan-22 13:14:37

My DH has always been very hands on with home improvements but since he turned 75 he has started to find some things more challenging. After installing five downstairs internal doors because we just couldn’t find a carpenter to take the job on I made him promise to give up major jobs. Since last autumn we have been attempting to get a new garden fence installed. One man and his friend were going to do the job but before we even got a price one of them backed out so we are back to the drawing board. Some neighbours had a new fence put up last week so we asked the contractors to give us an estimate for a five foot fence above gravel boards with concrete posts. The length of the garden is on 42 feet. The estimate was £3,500 which seems way too much to us. Are we being unrealistic in our expectations or is this how much things cost nowadays?

Charleygirl5 Sat 15-Jan-22 13:31:39

Jane luckily I was sitting down when I read the estimate for replacing your garden fencing. That figure really is ridiculous. I would not pay 1K. Count the number of panels and google the hourly rate of work and maybe factor in 6 hours work and see what that amount is.

Google your local Check a Trade and see if there are any DIYers. Do you have a local NextDoor or is that London based only?

Good luck.

Chardy Sat 15-Jan-22 13:31:42

Can I suggest 2 things?
1. Can you have a look at the Checkatrade website
2. Have a look around your neighbourhood for newish fences, knock on the door and ask if they'd recommend the company for workmanship and value for money.

Cabbie21 Sat 15-Jan-22 13:45:36

Some tradesmen will quite too much as they do not want the work.
I wish I could get my DH to get someone in to do the jobs he can no longer tackle. Because he can’t do them he acts as if they don’t need doing.

J52 Sat 15-Jan-22 13:48:56

That does seem a lot, although recently timber has been very difficult to come by as a lot of it is imported and the costs have risen.
You mentioned concrete posts, timber would be cheaper. I know they don’t last as long, but you would expect 20yrs + out of decent timber posts.
Get a couple of quotes to compare.

Esspee Sat 15-Jan-22 13:53:44

Wood is really expensive these days. When getting a quote get it broken down into materials, work, and time to do the job. Workmen are charging £200 a day around here so that will give you a ballpark figure.
So if the wood, postcrete, gravel boards etc. costs £1000 and they estimate 3 days work for 2 men that would come to £2200.
The length of the garden is not helpful. Do you mean the fence is 42 feet? If so the price you were quoted is astronomical. Don’t get panels, cheap maybe but they disintegrate easily.

Whitewavemark2 Sat 15-Jan-22 13:56:52

Always get at least 3 quotes. It is a pain, but pays in the long run.

Last year we had a new gas boiler installed. The quotes ranged from £4000 to £7000. Same boiler same work. We went with the cheapest, and totally satisfied. A pleasant engineer who has followed up with an “ is everything OK” call and who left the house clean and tidy.

Cabbie21 Sat 15-Jan-22 14:05:59

We booked three men to quote for a new boiler. One failed to turn up, another came and looked but did not produce a quotation. Fortunately the third was brilliant and a decent price, excellent worker and also introduced us to other tradesmen as we were new to the area.
So it is not easy to get quotes.

V3ra Sat 15-Jan-22 14:06:18

We had fencing replaced last year by a friend of my husband who has his own gardening company.
Four and a half panels, six concrete posts, four and a half concrete bargeboards.
Removing and disposing of the old fence correctly.
Three men doing the work, can't remember how long they were here.
Cost was about £2,000 and that's someone my husband has known for years and would trust that it was a fair price.

Jaxjacky Sat 15-Jan-22 14:10:18

I got recommendations from the local Facebook sites and then three quotes.

MerylStreep Sat 15-Jan-22 14:20:17

Although you might be lucky getting a genuine good tradesman from Checkatrade the company isn’t foolproof.
This article explains how Checkatrade works.

Jane43 Sat 15-Jan-22 14:26:03

Thank you all for your advice, very useful. I have looked at the CheckATrade website and it is really good. We will definitely price the cost of the materials and look at alternatives to concrete gravel boards and posts, after all we are 78 so don’t need the fence to last decades! DH will ask the neighbour how much he paid the man who gave us the quote next time he sees him. We worked on the principle of getting three quotes but when we were looking for a carpenter to do our doors it was easier said than done, nobody seemed to want the work then when we found somebody to do them he decided to shield due to Covid. Esspee yes the existing fence is 42 feet long. When you say don’t get panels what is the alternative?

Humduh Sat 15-Jan-22 15:10:02

I was quoted five grand years and years ago wonder if people prey on the vulnerable. Also my panels seem to have lasted just as well as as the long slats but must admit pressure from all neighbours on fences have had an effect on both types. Now the boiler is gone on again so will phone the manufacturer Monday as installer who is quite cheap has had covid

muse Sat 15-Jan-22 15:13:22

V3ra's cost is about right Jane43 but you need another three panels. Cost could be around £3000.

I had similar work done at my last house and I would recommend concrete posts because timber now doesn't have the same treatment as it used to. Wood posts have to be concreted in anyway.

I'd buy pressure treated panels as they're guaranteed to last about 15 years. Dip treated are guaranteed for 10 years.

We're buying wood for various reasons at the moment (new house build and replacing raised beds). It's been easy to get but price has crept up a bit.

Like Jaxjacky, I've found two good people on Facebook. Decorator and garden maintenance.

Tizliz Sat 15-Jan-22 15:14:29

My grandson has just given up his business, he specialised in building cupboards for odd shaped areas. The cost of materials has spiralled and customers didn’t pay up.

My OH always works on the principle of labour costing roughly the same as the materials cost.

M0nica Sat 15-Jan-22 15:52:32

jane43 We have just had a similar length fence, conrete postm and gravel boards, vertical boardng fencing panels and we paid £1,700.

This is in South Oxfordshire, so not somewhere, where prices are low.

The biggest problem was finding someone to do it. There was a shortage of fencing panels and a number of contractors turned us down because they couldn't get the materials. I started looking for a contractor in June, the work was finally done in late September.

I just googled local fencing contractors and rang down them until someone answered the phone. We used to have a fencing contractor in the village who we had used for nearly 25 years, he died a year or so ago, so I was really looking from scratch.

Shinamae Sat 15-Jan-22 17:07:19


Always get at least 3 quotes. It is a pain, but pays in the long run.

Last year we had a new gas boiler installed. The quotes ranged from £4000 to £7000. Same boiler same work. We went with the cheapest, and totally satisfied. A pleasant engineer who has followed up with an “ is everything OK” call and who left the house clean and tidy.

I had a new combi boiler fitted about 15 months ago. It is an Ideal and it has a 12 year warranty and that was £2200 which I thought was a lot, obviously not! The guy who did it is an independent trader

Esspee Sat 15-Jan-22 17:24:27

We got a new combo boiler, Worcester Bosch or something like that, apparently a top of the range type from British Gas for £2400. We had intended to use an independent local company but they all wanted much more to install the same boiler.
It really does pay to shop around.

Grammaretto Sat 15-Jan-22 18:19:15

The last big garden job I had done, the company I had used before and had been recommended used Which Trusted Traders for leaving a review.

Which were thorough and contacted me to check I was real before I was allowed to leave my review.

I have had to get loads of essential jobs done in the house and garden in the past couple of years. DH died a year ago but he wasn't much better than me at DIY. He didn't like getting a man in so in some ways it is easier for me on my own.

I ask around and go by my local friends' advice. Sometimes usually I have to wait ages and I am currently waiting for the electrician/factotem to build and fit my kitchen cupboards once he has laid the electric cables.

Lyndylou Sat 15-Jan-22 22:35:44

If anyone is thinking of getting a new boiler, check to see if the local council have any grants. I assumed we would not be eligible for a grant as we are not on pension credit. But last summer a representative from our council knocked on the door and said he was going round houses built before a certain time (ours is 1930s) and that he had grants to replace boilers over a certain age (ours was at least 30 years old). So we were eligible regardless of income. Within a couple of weeks we had a new boiler installed for less than £1,000.

Esspee Sat 15-Jan-22 22:52:38

Sorry Jane43 didn’t see your question.
Panels used to be popular here but nowadays fences are more often built from scratch. You use treated wood, vertical posts are postcreted in, horizontal posts put up between the verticals then they simply nail each board of wood vertically. We have a hit and miss fence where there is a space between the vertical slats and a second row of slats on the other side covering the gaps. This way the wind blows through but nobody can see through it. Very much stronger than the old fashioned panels.

Jane43 Sun 16-Jan-22 02:05:27

Thanks Esspee. I can see the benefits of what you describe but it sounds very labour intensive therefore possibly more expensive. I think we will go with panels because at our age longevity of the fence is less important than cost.

Jane43 Sun 16-Jan-22 02:08:21

Monica that is around the price we were hoping to pay. We will keep trying.

M0nica Sun 16-Jan-22 08:28:05

*Jane43 Well, if a reputable contractor can do it in South Oxfordshire for that, unless you live in central London, I would say that was par for the course because we had a similar length, plus a gate done a year or to ago, by our late lamented village fencing contractor and he charged around £1,000.

I think we may be suffering from climate change fencing problems! When we moved into our house, 25 years ago all the fences (that are all our responsibility) were horizontal wove panels). Occasionally one came down in the wind, but not often, but over the last 15 years, strong winds and fence collapse have become more and more frequent. Usually the same panels again and again.

About 5 years ago we decided to start replacing lengths of the fence with close boarding and concrete gravel boards and so far all have stood up to the wind without problem. Two more panels in one of the remaining lengths of woven panels came down in strong winds before Christmas, and this length of fencing will get replaced this summer. That will just leave one short length of woven fencing that seems protected from the wind and we will probably replace that next year, then the whole garden will be done.