13 Differences Between US and UK Home Renovation



hi everyone I'm Billy Anna and I'm Felipe we are the postmodern family we are Americans living in the UK living a traditional life should we move this out of the way because it's showing it shows in the bottom right there okay yeah we make 3d videos a week so we encourage you to subscribe follow us on Instagram Twitter and Facebook today we are going to list you 13 differences in renovating a house between the u.s. and the UK so before we get into this we have been in the middle of moving some of you may have noticed that when we post posted some old videos because we have been in looking at new content for you guys and it has been 2 and 3 months or something – its mid-december yeah it's been a long time – since for buying a house and then deciding to renovate it and in the process of renovating we have learned a lot of new terms and just differences in buildings and how people build things and since so many of you really enjoyed our list of differences between us homes and UK homes it was just one of those videos that was thumbs up so many times that we figured we touch on this topic once more yes so in response to the gist the general feeling behind the commentators in that other video in response to that which is the main one that I kind of annoyed me was if you don't like the houses here in the UK then you should just go home and we found that really funny because to me the house that you live in shouldn't affect what country you want to live in does that make sense like oh I want to live in France because the bathrooms there just spectacular or I want to live in Japan because they squirt your bum with water from below where's that in France – they do that they do that in France and then in Japan in Japan I don't know but what like for example in Korea everyone sits on the floor most of most of the tables are low and you sit in the floor for your dinner and sometimes you have to convert that to your bedroom at night but look we aren't living in the UK because the houses are fantastic and it doesn't mean that we don't like living here just because the houses are smaller here yeah so we really do like living here which is why we're making this video yeah and we're sharing with you guys that you should be proud of the country you live in so this differences because after all you should take pride that even some Americans decided to come live over here no there are no garages that fits your car people wondered why would you want to put your car in the garage let me see you in America now I'm not saying America's the best place to live but the garages in America are usually attached to the houses so once you drive into the garage you just close a garage door you get out in the nice warm garage that's safe from snow and rain it's dry in there wait before you go get confused do you mean that the garage is warm by air content relay heating sometimes cousin usually not okay well anyway if you get to the garage you close the garage door behind you so you don't have to get out of the car and leave the garage through the garage door there's another door that leads into the house and I know so it's like you don't have to even put your shoes on until you leave it I don't know how I'm going it off the garage is another room in your house except that has a massive door that you get to from the outside it's just hard to explain I guess but the garage is here that we have seen are always detached from the house if you have to it's like his own little little box right whereas in America they are attached to the house is this a garage video and you just walk through to go inside the house so you don't have to go in the rain and snow or anything mmm you don't have to you can go you can take your shoes off in the garage even and then just go into the house a lot of people do that in America anyway this is not a video about the garage okay so number one the difference is that we've seen is that the word for a countertop in America is worktop in the UK number two the word for taps which is what you use in the UK is faucet in the US so we would use faucet but here you use taps no one would know what faucet is here number three is crown molding in the u.s. is coving in the UK in the US there isn't really that I'm aware of a standard paint color for rooms if you have if you have like you know you want to be bought a house that you want to turn into a rental property you want to paint it some safe color that everyone accepts a safe and normal I don't know what there isn't within the UK Magnolia is the safe go to color that they sell by the bucketloads number five there is no such thing as a lease contract without a break clause in America but here there are leases that have no break clause and that's new for us number six is there's a company that rents out vans help you move and stuff called u-haul but that's now becomes just the word you use for renting of and to move even though there are more companies than one than u-haul so not if you're moving people say oh you want to get a u-haul they don't mean the actual company to just mean a thing to move so here it's not u-haul it's self-drive u-haul versus self-drive number seven is the popular stores that you would go to that are known as like DIY stores or home building stores and in the u.s. they were Home Depot and Lowe's and here in the UK they are B and Q and wicks number eight are these warehouse type stores here in the UK that are is just awesome and they sell you every bit you know all the tools and supplies you can imagine they have the biggest catalogs but all you do is just walk up to a front desk and you put your order and they go fetch the stuff so talking about tool tool station screw fix those sorts of stores that we've drawn drudes if not thousands of pounds on in this home reno project but i don't know where i'm not aware of an analogous store in the US where you know you have your Home Depot's and Lowe's where you walk through aisles upon aisles of stuff and you collect it yourself and then go pay for it but a store that you would just walk to a front desk and order and they bring it to you I don't know that there is one number nine is the word for drywall in the u.s. is plasterboard here in the UK number ten is the prevalence of plastering or putting plaster board and then plastering over brick here in the UK in the US as far as I understand and and I've lived I've lived in the southeast I've lived in the West Coast and I've lived in the Northeast I haven't stretched my time in the middle but it seems like in the US all we do mainly is drywall and you sort of plaster a little bit at the seams to smooth over the transition from one plaster board to another but here it seems like it's standard practice to plaster the whole surface number eleven is the difference between the use of brick and wood for building houses in America is very common to have wood frames for the entire house you would have like a concrete base and then wood for the rest of the house whereas here you have a concrete base and then brick for for all the everything the walls in America the use of brick for walls was usually just a facade if you've ever seen brick houses in America it's it's usually a wood frame drywall you know walls and then you have a brick facade number 12 is the word used for what you call here a cloakroom or toilet or water closet in the u.s. we would say a half bath even though there is not half a bath in there and number thirteen is the difference between the word anchor and wall plug so these are things that you would drill into the wall and put into the wall before putting a screw for support so we would call them anchors in America but I think I would have if I want to redo this list I would have maybe added the difference in customer service of contractors next video as we rant about working with builders different one would be the coving and the crown molding I think the other ones maybe make sense I can like wall plug makes sense you plug the wall with yeah like they make fun of us for calling it walkie talkie but they name things sort of normally as well wall plug uh-huh it plugs the wall yeah yeah the worktop though I found that confusing hmm why countertop because it's like the counter what is a counter is someone who counts it's no a counter is yeah and that's why so I think it came after the word counter and then the counter top the top of the counter maybe the counter is where you count money you know like Joe to the teller [Laughter] so the countertop would be that makes sense to me whereas worktop I just got confused because I was like were these four workspaces only like businesses and I thought why would you have a worktop in your kitchen yeah yeah okay thank you so much for watching we hope you enjoyed this video leave a comment below and check out our t-shirts at to spring comm become a patron at patreon.com slash the post-modern family thanks for watching

43 Replies to “13 Differences Between US and UK Home Renovation”

  1. What is the bottom line here? I was born in Poughkeepsie and now live in New Paltz both are in upstate NY, you have lived in both countries so go out on a limb and tell me which is the better country to live in?.

  2. There are "built in" garages in some modern houses but due to the small size of them often people convert those garages into part of the house….another room !

    B& Q started in SOUTHAMPTON in 1969. Timber framed houses are available but they often in England have brick facades to disguise this fact.

  3. I wonder if there are fire safety regulations, and possibly carbon monoxide safety regulations, that prevent people having a door between the house and the garage. I would also worry about the burglar proofing of that additional door.

  4. When I had a house in England our garage was attached but entrance was via a back door to the kitchen door. My house in Spain has an internal garage. However in both cases they were used for storage and cars never entered.

  5. Take no notice of people telling you to go home! As if we don't complain about shit housing. We have plenty of houses with through-doors too!

  6. Houses are smaller here? Uh? How many stately homes, halls, manors etc do you have in comparison to here. Everything is relative, we live on a small island, so space dictates. Plus tell us which country has the greater percentage of home owners as opposed to renting?

  7. I guess that after we chopped all our trees down to make houses and a navy and to clear land for planting there were not so many trees left in England and clay bricks became the best option to build with.

  8. Coving is from Old English "cofa" meaning chamber or cave but there is a Germaniclink that means pig sty or pen.

  9. Counter top is obviously from the shop counter, but in England its a work top or work surface where food can be prepared. In my parents house there was little room in the kitchen so the table got used for everything, dining, ironing with the addition of some old blankets to prevent the table getting damaged also the pastry was rolled out there and much food was peeled chopped and sliced there too.

  10. I found that Home Depo and B&Q are much alike especially with the staff wearing orange. While I was in Georgia in the summer the cars were kept in the garage to keep them cool, yes its a delightful way to go. It a kind of airlock protecting you from the extremes of weather. Sadly Uk garages are so narrow some people have to push their cars in or just get out on one side with the other side inches from bare brickwork.

  11. I have an interest in words and their etymology, I find "faucet" was originally from the old french fausset denoting a bung for a barrel. Tap is from the old english taeppa meaning peg for the vent of a cask. So pretty much the same thing one derived from french the other english.

  12. Regarding point #8 – I suppose the closest thing in the US would be a 'Supply house', e.g., Framing and Lumber Supply, City Electric Supply or Superior Building Supply; there's very little or nothing on display, however, there's a massive warehouse out back containing all the goods. Once you've made your purchase you have to collect your goods from the loading dock around the back.

    Supply houses tend to be narrowly focused. For example my local ABC Supply (real name – part of the L&W company) stocks every kind of drywall imaginable in vast quantities as well as other associated consumables – but that's all! If you also need electrical products then you'd have to go to another supply house. Even though home owners and contractors alike can shop at supply houses, they're mainly frequented by contractors (who will get a trade discount of some form). Supply houses are most often located in office or industrial parks, not strip malls.

    I'd lived in the US for nearly 20 years before I latched onto them. The big box stores like Menards, Home Depot and Lowes tend to sell low to middle grade components. The rule of thumb is that if you see a contractor shopping at Lowes, Menards or HD then don't hire them as they should know better. Just my two cents.

  13. You guys are pretty young… there are many houses I n America that have detached garages, or even attached but no access to the house from the inside. This is a thing that probably started in the 50s. In more rural America, a detached garage would’ve been like a barn, but in many suburban areas there is separate garage on the back yard and you have to walk outside to get to your house.

    In England, real estate is at a premium, so understandably cost and space isn’t wasted on a garage. I have seen in the UK the semi-detached houses that have garages but I think they’re used for storage there, right? And they’re not connected to the house with an inside door. But I’m in love with the concept of parking in your front yard right up against the house. I wish we had that in the US. After all, why can’t you use your own space efficiently and as you want. In Paris, many homes had cars parked in the front yard which was enclosed by a gate. I like this ingenuity. Why do Americans walk all that distance to get to your front door, even when we have a driveway?

  14. Did you ask for a transfer here, or were you 'transferred' by your employer. If so, might you be transfered 'home' again, or to another country?

  15. 1. My house has an integral garage and I can walk into the house from the gatage. Lots of houses have this.
    2. We are able to decipher counter v worktop, not sure why you can't decipher the other way round. The kitchen worktop is where you work in the kitchen. Counters are in shops.
    3. We know what a faucet is. We worked it out while watching 70s US TV shows. Didn't even have to Google it, which didn't exist then.
    4. We know what mouldings are. They are everywhere in Victorian houses.
    5. Magnolia paint died here in the 80s/90s. Not seen it used in years.
    6. We have heard of Home Depot.
    7. We know what drywall is. Refer to point 3.
    8. We don't trust wood frame houses. My house was built of brick in 1888. An American lady that I was talking to found this fascinating. She asked, "does it have electricity?"
    9. Must admit, not heard of a half bath.
    10. Not heard of anchor instead of wall plug either. But it makes sense.
    In my experience, the divide in language tends not to come from the UK side. But entertaining as usual. Keep up the good work.

  16. Nice vid. Seriously though, it's RAWLPLUG, not WALLPLUG. We never name anything in an obvious fashion (it's a disease). If you think we did, you probably misheard.

  17. There's ALWAYS a few xenophobic morons who can't/won't accept someone else's view and I do pity them- THEY have the problem, not you. Lillian and Phillipe, it's great to have you here- just enjoy a great time here in GB/UK/- Welcome!

  18. Many British builders are unreliable when it comes to time keeping. They may not turn up to work on the right day or week! Excuses can be varied and bizarre, 'the van wouldn't start', 'I was sick', 'someone burglared my house'……(In fact they've over run working somewhere else and just taken on too much work).

  19. Rule #1 with the British builder – make them a HUGE cuppa tea – 6 sugars – service will be infinitely better from this spectacular starting point! =) Ken ex Brit in Canada

  20. Great clip, in Australia the terms are UK based but there were some that I didn't know about. Ref garages (here we go…), pronounced slightly differently in the UK, the reason there aren't so many connected ones is that cars are a relatively recent invention, many homes were built well before car ownership was common and/or it wasn't seen as being needed (public transport), and also possibly to save on building costs and there's less space. Unless a home is fairly new and there's enough space, it's usually an afterthought; this also includes the actual driveway too. In Australia this is common too ("detached garages") and we also have a lot of Carports where there's just a simple roof and four pillars for support, no walls, often metal framed with simple clad roofing, some are pre-fabricated. In the US there's just simply more space and cars were manufactured cheaper (Henry Ford, etc), available in larger quantity and hence the garage became as you so well explained it, another room in the house, e.g. the US was the first country to create those extensive multi-lane/level freeways, etc.

  21. The worktop/counter top thing confused me as I always refer to it as a counter and when my kitchen had to be re-done I would have sworn I ordered a new "counter" not a new "worktop". I googled it and apparently we do refer to it as both counter top and worktop but commercially it appears more prevalent to refer to it as worktop. Mind blown. And yes, dont get me started on a rant about some trades people in this country. Some are lovely, do a good job, start and finish on time, clean up after themselves and cause you little to no hassle. Others…….others Dont – they really DONT (I feel your pain – I couldnt definitely rant)

  22. Just watching your video on your new home renovation, it looks great, have a nice time , enjoy yourselves in Britain and live long and prosper,
    we here over the pond are British and as you know proud of it,
    As for your T shirts its another story, The good news is that we agree on many things and we and you are the same,
    so am i forgiven for thinking that we both read from Left to Right, ????
    so with that thought in mind i am right in thinking that your T shirts should have on your right the UNION JACK, and on your left the STARS AND STRIPES ?????????
    and not to be forgotten also is that an English mans home is his CASTLE,
    Kind regards.

  23. Good video, but you could have explained what a brick is in a bit more detail for your American viewers. A lot of UK houses, certainly since the 60's, are timber framed. The bricks form a sort of rain coat for the structure with an air gap behind them so the timber doesn't rot.

    Work top is where you work at prepping food etc – do you not say work surface either? We call them counters in shops like, Toolstation and Screwfix . Maybe as Felipe summises, but it could also be in the same sense as counterpoint, counterpane or counterattack – remember the principles of British customer relations.

    Why do they need wall plugs in America, they haven't got any walls to put them in???

  24. i'm almost sure that a uk house painted in magnolia is more tornado proof than any us whitewashed clapperboard.

  25. Plastering over the seams is called dry lining in the uk. And most new builds are now just painted over that instead of fully plastering the walls

  26. Screwfix – lol, is that the Home Office – get this two citizenship will you, they just found the secret combination to the joy of DIY and being British. Phelipe, remember to curse incoherently and loudly when hanging a hook, or other minor DIY tasks. This is how us Brits deal with all the suppressed rage.

  27. Houses here come in all shapes and sizes, with or without garages. My house is 20 years old, but only my original car would fit in my garage. Cars since then would have gone in, but I wouldn't have been able to get out. It isn't attached. It is separated by a gate and path to the back garden, but this allows access, without going through the house/garage. We split it into an office and storage space, as we have a large drive, so don't need the garage space anyway.

    Houses of the past, of which many are still in existence, were largely built before the motor car. In the UK we went through a spell of building larger modern houses, but they were often soulless boxes, so builders found they sold more if they were mock Tudor, mock Georgian, mock Victorian, mock Edwardian, etc. People don't tend to do mock 1970s for some reason lol People just liked the link with the past. This means the garages are still separate from the house, on the whole. Those with an integral garage gain bedroom space, as well as a larger kitchen to the rear, but the living room space seems smaller (from my experience). House prices means that design features are disappearing again, to cut costs.

    As others have said, the wall plug would usually be referred to as a Rawlplug here. It was a manufacturers name, but is used to describe anything that does a similar job. Maybe hearing Rawlplug it has sounded like wall plug, if you haven't heard the term before. Wall plug does describe the job. Michael McIntyre does the whole pavement/sidewalk joke, where the US says you walk on the side, so sidewalk. Pavement dates back to Roman times, so is more likely to be in use here than in the US, but we do have some names that are descriptive.

    Brand new homes used to be painted in magnolia, as it was bland enough to let you live with it, while putting your own stamp on your property. Most people hate it because it is bland, but then a lot of them paint their houses white. Go figure.

    I was surprised you didn't mention carpets. When I've been in different parts of the US I've not come across carpet. I haven't been to the coldest parts though. We still tend to like carpet, or rugs, to keep our feet warm. I've never understood the older generation though, who liked the bits of carpet that went around the toilet and wash hand basin. It's ok if it is something that can go in the washing machine, but otherwise? Yuk!

    As for wooden v brick structures…most modern brick houses (last <50 years) have probably got plasterboard, because of cost. A brick built home will last until it is pulled down. A wooden structure will deteriorate over time, so needs a lot of TLC. We had an old Morris Traveller car, with a wooden frame, and the wood perished before the rest of the car 🙁

    The other main difference between the majority of British houses, and those US houses you see on TV is separate rooms/open plan. When I'm on holiday I like open plan, but at home I much prefer a separate living room, dining room, kitchen, etc. Firstly, it allows more than one thing to be happening at a time. Secondly, people behave in a different way in each area. When you're sat up to the table you eat and chat, without the distractions of the TV, etc. As the kitchen is separated by a door, you can still chat to the person in the kitchen, but close off the mess until after the meal, so you can all relax together.

    As for British v foreign builders, I've had good and bad experiences of both. Never pay in full up front. Only pay a 10% deposit to secure their time, and the price of materials as the job progresses. Final payment should be held back until the job is completed to satisfactory levels. They've each usually wanted a drink while working, but the British worker usually goes for tea or coffee, whereas the foreign workers have just asked for water or juice. They've all cleared up after themselves, so I can't say I've really had any issues. The only issues were with the big building company, who built our house to begin with. They would cut corners wherever they could, to keep their costs down.

    This post was longer than I expected.

  28. The prime reason you rarely see this internal garage door is the fire regulations
    deemed as not a good idea to have an area with highly flammable liquids attached to the main dwelling
    you can have it but on a new build would add four or five thousand to the price to comply with the saftey regulations, ie the floor level needs ideally to be lower than the main house

  29. Garages. We have homes without garages, We have houses that have their garage in a rank with others, we have homes with garages attached to the side of the house, garages that are detached on the property, garages that are integral to the property some of which do have a door into the house like the USA. We have every shape and size garages you can think of just never as big as Americans unless you have a very expensive house! I love the USA houses especially the huge garages. Most Brit’s don’t put their cars away as our small garages are filled with kids toys and gardening equipment/diy items.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *