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Preparing Your Home For Autumn

How prepared are you for autumn and winter? Most of us have already thought about putting away the summer clothing and getting the winter duvets out of the loft, but is your house as ready for a cold snap as you are? Now is the time to address those maintenance issues and little jobs around the house which you have been putting off over the summer, to try to lessen the risk of problems occurring later on. Don’t worry; many of the things you should be doing won’t take long to do, and won’t cost much money either.

Sparkly Home Décor Ideas

There’s nothing like a bit of bling and sparkle to add glamour to your home. Glitter and sparkle gives you the luxury look but doesn’t have to cost the earth, especially if you shop cleverly and use your sparkle sparingly. Less is always more when it comes to glitter and sparkle so rather than using the following list as something to work your way through, choose your favourite ideas and implement them slowly

Autumn Home Maintenance Checklist

Here are a few items on our Autumn home maintenance checklist to ensure you avoid being caught out at this time of year.

  • Asbestos
  • Bathrooms
  • Conservatories
  • Cost Guides
  • Home Improvement Guides
  • House Extensions and Conversions
  • Kitchens
  • Plumbing & Heating
  • Roofing
  • Solar Panels
  • Windows and Doors

What Does Asbestos Testing Involve and How Much Does it Cost?

The very word asbestos is enough to strike fear into the hearts of many homeowners. Although adding asbestos to building materials in the UK has been banned since 2000, it is estimated that 50% of homes in the UK contain asbestos in some shape or form. We associate asbestos with ill health and danger, and it’s certainly true that for people who were exposed to asbestos fibres during their working life, asbestosis and a specific form of lung cancer called mesothelioma is a real problem.

2012 Changes to asbestos regulations

The dangers of asbestos have been known since the 1920s, when the link was finally made between using asbestos for its fire retardant properties and dangerous lung diseases. As greater emphasis started to be put onto health and safety both in the workplace and as concerning renovation and demolition work at home, various laws and pieces of legislation were put into place, finally leading up to the banning of products containing asbestos in the UK in 2000

What Is Asbestos, Where Is It Used and Why Is It Dangerous?

Most of us will have heard of asbestos at some point in our lives, and are probably vaguely aware that it is in some way dangerous. Unless you work in the building trade or have a liking for renovating post-war properties, then you probably don’t have a great deal of knowledge about asbestos and its effects on the human body

What does an asbestos survey involve and how much does it cost?

Asbestos is a perfect example of the rule that natural doesn’t always equate to beneficial. Asbestos is a great fire retardant material which was routinely added to building materials for much of the 20th century

Can I Remove Asbestos From My Property Myself?

Asbestos. It’s one of those things that most of us have heard of, many of us know is in some way dangerous, and few of us really understand where it is found and how it was used. If you live in a house which was built before 2000, there is every chance that there may be asbestos somewhere in your property.

5 Practical Bathroom Designs

Before you choose your bathroom furniture and plan the layout, it is usual to consider a practical design, especially if you are short on space. This is a good start, but how about thinking of ways in which you will use your bathroom, both now and in the future. Sorry to tell you this, but you’re not getting younger!

Colour Trends for Bathrooms

We’ve all gone very neutral in our bathrooms in recent years. Gone are the days of pink or green bathroom suites, garish wallpaper and wildly patterned lino flooring. Nowadays bathroom interior design

Fitting a Bathroom Extractor Fan

It’s very important to have good ventilation in the bathroom. The damp and hot air which builds up in a bathroom after you’ve had a shower or bath can lead to dampness on the walls, mould or mildew if it cannot escape from the bathroom quickly enough

Fitting a Bathroom Vanity Unit

Lack of storage space is a huge problem in many British bathrooms and if you’re going for the sleek, minimal look, then having bottles and jars all over shelves and ledges is going to ruin the look of your room.

How to Find Good Quality Bathroom Installers

When it comes to finding a bathroom installer, there are so many options available that sometimes making the final choice can feel overwhelming. Of course you want your bathroom to be installed with the highest of quality and for the process to be as stress-free as possible.

How Do I Find a Reputable Conservatory Company?

Adding a conservatory to your home will both expand the living space you have available, and hopefully increase your property’s value too. Conservatories are not cheap though, and even the most basic lean-to conservatory will cost around £10,000 when you take into account the foundations, walls, windows and roof. When you are spending such a lot of money, it is really important to check that the company you are dealing with is reputable and trustworthy, and there are a few essential checks that everyone should do first.

Step by Step Guide to Buying a Conservatory

Adding a conservatory is one of the UK’s most popular home improvements, and 2.8 million homes have had one built. Relaxing of the planning laws also means that in many cases you can add a conservatory to your home without navigating the lengthy planning process, but the removal of this barrier does not mean that you should just approach the first company you come across. As with any major purchase, there are some key points you have to think about.

Hardwood or uPVC Conservatory – What’s Better?

When it comes to choosing a material for your conservatory, the only two options are uPVC or wood. Even if you have low brick walls making up part of your conservatory, you will still have to choose between these two materials for the frames surrounding the windows or the roof panels. For some people the choice will be instinctive and they know immediately what they want, but each material has advantages and drawbacks, and it is important to consider these before committing your money one way or the other.

What is the Difference Between a Victorian and an Edwardian Conservatory?

If you are thinking about adding a conservatory to your home, one of the first things you will have to decide is what style of conservatory to go for. Sometimes the choice will be constrained by the space you have available or your budget, but if you have a wide range of options to choose from, the decision can be bewildering. By far the most popular styles of conservatory in the UK are Edwardian or Victorian, so understanding the basic differences between those two key types might make the decision easier.

Why Choose A Conservatory

Everyone wants more living space, but the difference between a simple extension and a conservatory is that conservatories give you more space to live in, but they also bring the outside in. You feel like you’re outdoors, but you’re protected from the elements.

Cost of Hiring an Electrician

It’s always better to get the professionals in to do any electrical work at home, and knowing what you can expect to be charged for some of the most common electrical jobs can reassure you that you are getting a good deal and professional workmanship.

Cost of Hiring a Plumber

What should you expect to be paying a plumber for common jobs around the house? If you have a rough idea of what you can expect to pay, then you are in a better position to know whether the plumber’s quote is reasonable.

Cost of Hiring a Builder

It can be almost impossible to come up with even a ball park figure for the work you’re thinking of having done. Don’t worry though, because there are a few things you can do to help get a better idea of the costs which you are facing.

Plumbing Cost Guide

It’s easy to overlook the costs of getting the professionals in to do the installation, and as these costs can add considerably to the overall cost, it is important to do your research and know roughly how much you can expect to pay for typical bathroom and kitchen plumbing tasks so that you don’t overspend for the project.

Cost of Bay Windows

Bay windows are bigger than windows in many modern properties, and there is a general assumption that they will be more expensive and difficult to replace. But is that necessarily the case?

Preparing Your Home For Autumn

How prepared are you for autumn and winter? Most of us have already thought about putting away the summer clothing and getting the winter duvets out of the loft, but is your house as ready for a cold snap as you are? Now is the time to address those maintenance issues and little jobs around the house which you have been putting off over the summer, to try to lessen the risk of problems occurring later on. Don’t worry; many of the things you should be doing won’t take long to do, and won’t cost much money either.

Autumn Home Maintenance Checklist

Here are a few items on our Autumn home maintenance checklist to ensure you avoid being caught out at this time of year.

10 Home Preservation Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

Home maintenance and DIY chores are not to everybody’s liking, but there...

Guide to Gas Safe Plumbers qualifications

It is estimated though that there are 250,000 illegal gas jobs done every year in the UK, mostly by householders trying to save a bit of cash by taking a DIY approach, or by one of the estimated 7,500 people working illegally as gas fitters in the UK. The fatality statistics speak for themselves – it’s simply not worth the risk using an unregistered gas fitter or engineer. But how do you make sure the person you have approached to fit a new boiler or replace your gas pipes has undergone the correct training and knows what they are doing?

Guide to Builders’ Qualifications

We always advise contacting at least three local builders and asking them for quotes for whatever work you are thinking of having done, but there are other checks you should be making too before agreeing to go ahead with any work. One of these is about what qualifications and certificates they have

5 Reasons To Build Home Conversions Or Extensions

There are several reasons why householders feel they need to upgrade their property, but if you cannot afford to move, perhaps home improvements on your existing palace may offer a solution.

Wooden Extensions Guide

Whatever the style of your main house, wood is one of the most popular materials for a house extension as it blends in perfectly and complements the existing structures. Wood is also a versatile and relatively cheap building material and is suitable whatever the size of the extension being built. Prices do vary, according to the size of the extension and a number of other factors.

Top Loft Conversion Tips

Here are ten top loft conversion tips from Top Tradespeople to highlight the most important considerations when converting your loft.

Planning An Extension

The cost of moving home is rising and houses are more difficult to sell than ever. With this in mind, it makes sense to improve your home instead of moving. Extensions can offer a much needed space boost and building an extension means your home can grow with your family.

Extensions are one of the easier major home improvements to undertake and can be as simple as building a square brick box on to the side of your home. The success of your extension will rely on how it looks with the original building and whether it has a coherency with the other buildings in the street.

How To Extend Your Kitchen Space

If you are not happy with the way your kitchen looks or if it is cramped or impractical then looking to change the style and give yourself more space is a must. Knowing how to extend your kitchen in the right manner can save you money by minimising time consuming mistakes and making it less stressful. If you are ready to implement change into your kitchen, please contact a local tradesperson for advice.

Step-by-Step Guide To Buying A Great New Kitchen

The kitchen is arguably the most important room of your house. Not only do you want the pleasure of cooking, but it is also a big selling plus when you decide to sell. So what constitutes a great kitchen and when should you invest?

Top Kitchen Trends

Long gone are the days when the kitchen was the small, discreet unit in the home; these days it is now the hub of the home and people are paying more attention to making sure it looks immaculate. With so many exciting options to make the kitchen stand out, it is no wonder that people are paying more attention to this room. If you’re thinking of updating your look, there are many ways you can make the kitchen stand out and these trends for 2014 will ensure you stay ahead of the crowd.

Creating An Open Plan Kitchen Layout

The kitchen is the hub of the home and an open plan can help to create a more intimate setting for the family. Open plan kitchen layouts have become increasingly popular in recent years and this trend looks set to continue. An open plan layout can bring everyone closer but it is important to make the best use of the space and combine the areas, while ensuring they are clearly distinguished. Creating an open plan kitchen layout can be relatively simple, as long as you consider what it would look like and how it feel, before you start to make your creation.

Kitchens What To Consider Before You Begin A Kitchen Renovation Project

Your kitchen is the heart of the home and an important social hub for many families. It is no wonder then that kitchen renovations come high on the wish list for many a homeowner. Taking time to consider your options before committing to a kitchen plan will make sure that you have a space which suits the needs of your family.

Choosing New Kitchen Worktops

Including the right kitchen worktops in your cooking space can vastly improve the style, practicality and overall feel of the room. It can be a vital choice in the way of obtaining something that fits into your kitchen nicely, and if you know what you are looking for, you can also save money. Below are a few tips on finding what’s right for you. Remember, if you need advice or help, qualified, local tradespersons provide all you need.

How To Price A Plumbing Job

Plumbing jobs vary on scale. You can also run into problems that take longer to fix than you have accounted for. So to avoid selling yourself short and running into disputes with clients, know how to price plumbing jobs

Benefits of a Power Shower

40 years ago, the shower was just taking off in UK bathrooms. Few of us had central heating, and the routine for most families was a nightly bath rather than a morning shower. Over the last few decades though we’ve all embraced the shower as a quicker and more efficient way of getting clean. Showers have got more powerful, have become more of a design feature and are now the standard in a home rather than something unusual. So if you are in the market for a new shower, what are the benefits of a power shower?

Heating Myths Debunked

It’s hardly surprising that at a time when heating bills are at an all-time high that there are lots of rumours and myths flying around about what steps you can take to reduce your consumption. Along with the sensible advice about installing thermostats and investing in loft insulation, there are wackier ideas like painting your radiators black or running the heating at night rather than during the day. So what are the most common myths and is there any truth in them?

Get Smarter with Your Heating

Rapidly rising fuel bills have made all of us aware of how much energy we are using to heat our homes. It can be hard though to keep track of just how much energy is being used, leaving many people dreading the bill arriving on the doorstep. Others are turning to technology to help them track their heating bills, and there are lots of free to download apps for your smartphone, tablet or computer which you can use to manage your consumption, and minimise costs.

Multi-Fuel Stoves – Everything You Need To Know

There’s nothing quite like a real fire to create a warm and cosy feeling at home. Although over the last 50 years we’ve all switched away from traditional coal fires to using central heating, solid fuel stoves are rapidly making a comeback. They’re an attractive focal point in a room, produce far less pollution than traditional coal fires and can save you money too. If you’re thinking about putting a multi-fuel stove into your home, there are a few key points to think about first.

Common Winter Roofing Problems

Over the past couple of years the main focus around preparing your home for the winter weather has been around the risks of flooding. There’s no denying that flooding causes huge amounts of damage, but it only affects a relatively small number of households every year. Although less dramatic and often less costly, roof damage caused by the weather is far more common but it’s something few of us prepare for. We can’t always predict where a big storm is going to hit, but we can take measures to try to minimise any damage to our homes.

Why EPDM Roofs Are Revolutionising Flat Roofing

Many homes in the UK have a roof which is either completely flat and partially flat, and although this form of roofing has been popular over the last decades, it’s not without its drawbacks. Flat roofs are made in a completely different way from traditional pitched roofs with tiles or slates, and are more prone to leaking. That’s why you’ll find a question about the percentage of your roofing area which is flat when you renew your buildings insurance. In fact, people who live a house where the flat roof area is more than 40% of the total might struggle to find standard insurance cover. It looks like insurance companies are going to have to completely change their way of quoting though, as new technology is completely revolutionising the flat roof market.

Replacing Roof Tiles in Easy Steps

As the autumn and winter months are almost upon us, it is time to think about taking preventative measures to ensure your home is protected from the oncoming ailments, including the wind and rain. One of the most effective ways to do this is to check your roof tiles are in place and free from damage, otherwise this can cause leakages and draughts. Any missing or damaged tiles should be replaced straight away and although it may seem like a difficult task, it is actually relatively easy, as long as you’re not afraid of heights. If you are, it may be a good idea to call in the help of a roofing specialist or someone willing to undertake the task for you. If you are brave enough to take on the task yourself, these simple steps should help ensure you make a good job of it.

How Can I Make My Roof Greener

According to the experts, almost 40% of all the heat in our homes escapes up through the roof. Most of us have already taken steps to insulate loft space, and this certainly helps. Having any sort of roofing or building work done at home has an impact on the environment, but for those who are interested in not just reducing their fuel bills but in being more environmentally friendly as a whole, there are lots of green options for your roof.

How Do I Know My Roofer Is Not A Cowboy

Unlike smaller jobs around the house which may need done every couple of years, replacing a roof or having it repaired is something most of us do once in a blue moon. This means we just don’t have the chance to build up the relationship with local tradespeople that we do when we are looking for a painter or decorator. Most of don’t know anything about roofing either, so it’s perhaps no great surprise that in the past the roofing industry has attracted more “cowboys” than other sectors of the building market. There are however a few simple steps which will help ensure that you’ve got one of the good guys on your roof rather than someone who wants to rip you off.

Feed In Tariffs – Solar PV Panels

Solar panels have been springing up on Britain’s rooftops for well over a...

How Do Solar Panels Work

We all know that generating energy from renewable sources is better than relying on fossil fuels like oil and coal, and wind turbines and solar panels have become a common sight throughout the UK

New Project Aims to Turn Food Waste into Renewable Energy

We’re all getting better at reducing the amount of food waste we throw away, and in many areas of the country households are putting food out for recycling along with the paper, cardboard and plastic bottles

Bad Weather Is Good For Wind Power

The recent storms which have bought flooding and power cuts to much of the UK are not good news for the affected householders. However, the bad weather is proving to be good news for the renewable energy sector, and recent high winds have allowed wind farms to have their best day ever for producing electricity

Is Shale Gas The Answer To The Energy Crisis

The technique of extracting shale gas from rocks deep underground in a process known as fracking is hugely controversial, but a recent survey of major players in the investment industry has demonstrated that they see a bright future in the industry and expect shale gas to form an important part of our energy consumption in the future

Double Glazing Explained

With rapidly rising gas and electricity bills, it’s no wonder that more of...

Having A Frosted or Patterned Double Glazed Window Put Into the Bathroom

Having double glazing fitted in your home is one of the best ways to keep the heat in and reduce your heating bills. Often we concentrate on the living areas of the home, forgetting that we should really be replacing the windows in halls, bathrooms and utility rooms as well. Fitting a double glazed unit in your bathroom is no more difficult than in any other room of the house, but costs for frosted glass may differ.

How much will installing double glazing save on my heating bill?

It’s impossible to stop heat being lost through your windows completely. Almost 7 in 10 homes in the UK are double glazed, and the main reason most homeowners give for installing double glazing is to keep their homes warmer and cut their fuel bills. But just how much can you expect to save each year by fitting double glazed windows in your own home?

How does the rating scheme for double glazed windows work?

When we are spending a lot of money on a product, we want to have some sort of guarantee that it is going to do what the manufacturers claim. Few of us have the in depth technical knowledge to compare one set of double glazed windows against another, and for this reason the government has introduced a simple rating system which should help the man in the street see which windows offer them the best value for money.

How to Avoid Getting Ripped off When Buying Double Glazing

Double glazing salesmen have, in the past, had the sort of reputation which puts them right up there with second hand car dealers and those people who try to sell you timeshare on holiday. The double glazing industry has really cleaned up its act and the unscrupulous companies are few and far between, but if you are in the market for buying some new double glazed windows or doors, then there are a few key pointers to keep you on the right track.