Want to give your French property a spring refresh? Catharine Higginson has a few useful pointers
You can hire tools
If you are planning to tackle a major DIY project, you’ll need to start by thinking about the tools you will need. Some you may already have, some you may need to buy (particularly if you have a lot of work to do over a period of time) but in many cases, especially if it is a ‘one off’ project or one which requires larger or specialist equipment, it makes more sense to hire than buy.
There are numerous tool hire stores around but the concept of private rentals, or location entre particuliers, has really taken off in recent months in France and there’s been a huge increase in websites offering this service. A quick online search for location objets particuliers will show what’s available but some of the best-known sites include allovoisins.com, fr.zilok.com and bricolib.net as well as je-loue-tout.fr and kiwiiz.fr
Rental costs are usually cheaper than in a commercial set-up and you can often find items close to home. Many of these sites also feature adverts from local artisans and handymen so if you are tackling a big job and need a helping hand or a bit of specialist input, you may well also be able to find someone to help you out.
Taking photos could be a lifesaver
When tackling almost any form of DIY, taking photos or videos at every step of the process is vitally important. Before and after photos are nice to show your friends but if you are taking something apart that will need to be put back together, a few snaps using the camera on your phone can prove to be a lifesaver! This is especially useful when tackling plumbing or indeed, any job which has small components as it is all too easy to forget just how something fits together.
Now’s the time to sort out your heating
With spring here, it’s tempting to concentrate your attention on the outside space and while it is the perfect moment to plan summer DIY projects, don’t forget that this is also the right time to sort out any heating issues before next winter comes!
Heating installers and plumbers should be slightly less booked up so if any part of your system needs professional attention, call them now. Open fires and woodburning stoves (poêles à bois) are hugely popular in France. If you want to install or upgrade a woodburner or insert, then spring is the best time to do this when you can shop around for a good deal without being pressured to make a snap decision. Upgrading to a newer and more energy-efficient model is almost guaranteed to save you money in terms of running costs and will keep you warmer. Numerous models are eligible for a tax rebate and you can check your eligibility and potential grants on the government site maprimerenov.gouv.fr using the simple calculation tool.
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