ARE we turning into a renovation nation? That might be pushing it too far but there has certainly been a huge increase in work for tradesmen of all sorts.
On the ground there builders can feel the uplift and competition is starting to enter the market again.
After several years where people were afraid to be seen to be 'getting the builders in', it seems homeowners are once again worried about keeping up with the Joneses.
There is a range of project types being undertaken, but property owners are tending to opt for projects that add value and usable space to their homes - no doubt with one eye on the burgeoning property market.
Nationally, single storey kitchen extensions are proving to be by far the most popular extension type, with property owners opting for an average size of 26 Square Meters (under the 40 Sq M planning permission limit).
Expect to pay an average of €25,500 for a turn-key finish - but there will be a variance in cost between Dublin and rural areas, with the latter paying up to €23,608 for the same result.
Other popular renovation types include sunrooms, conservatories and garage conversions. While all of the above will undoubtedly add value to your home, some thought should be given to which project adds the most value to your home relative to its initial cost.
On this, front attic conversions win hands down. An outlay of between €10,000 to €15,000 can add a new bedroom and bathroom to an existing space in your home - and add multiples of the expense to the final value of your home once correctly certified. It's an area that has also grown in popularity but probably not as much as it should.
Outside of the attic conversion we see many home owners taking the BER (Building Energy Rating) seriously and investing in exterior insulation for their homes.
This is a smart move as it not only cuts your running costs but banks are increasingly interested in BER ratings when it comes to the mortgage process.
Upgrading heating systems and controls can have the same effect, with both project types eligible under the Home Improvement Renovation Scheme.
With respect to popular internal renovations, Irish property owners are spending money on upgrading kitchens and bathrooms. A kitchen renovation costs an average of €3,500 while a bathroom can cost as little as €1,000 for re-tiling and painting.
Depending on the state of your current bathroom, you may not need to spend a fortune here to re-invent your bathroom.
Adding new fittings such as chromed taps and plugs can lift a room dramatically. If adding value is your main objective, consider adding natural light to the main living areas of your home.
Installing floor to ceiling windows has a dramatic effect, and removing non-load bearing walls can add space and improve light in a room. They're all sure fire winners to improve your home and entice would be buyers.
As with any home improvement project be careful on the hiring process.
Get up to three quotes from reputable tradesmen. Make sure they are qualified and hold the relevant insurance cover.
Ted Laverty is the CEO of Onlinetradesmen.ie