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How To Choose The Right Paving Material For Your Driveway

Choosing the right paving material for your driveway can be the biggest decision you will make in terms of hardscaping. Not only will it make parking your car an ease, the paving material you will choose will also greatly contribute to the kerb appeal of your home.

But with the overwhelming choices out there, from texture to colours to patterns, where should you start? Here are a few tips to get you sorted:

1. Ask or look for samples

If you’re aiming for a particular theme, getting a few inspirations for your driveway on Pinterest to show your contractor is a great idea. But whether it’s achievable will still depend on your contractor’s design offerings. To make sure that your driveway idea and your local builder are a perfect match, you can ask for samples of their previous works or visit their showroom to personally look at the paving materials.

2. Consider the feel and texture

Do you want a modern look for your driveway or an old world feel? If you want a modern look for your driveway, the following paving materials can give you just that:

paving material

Shannon in Natural,

paving material

Sienna in Graphite,

Opt for these options if you want a classic look:

paving materialTegula in Bracken,

paving materialPedesta in Slate,

3. Consider purpose

If you’re installing stones for a garden, a depth of 25mm will be suitable for walking. However, you might need a thicker paving material for your driveway. A depth of 40mm or more can definitely withstand the weight of your car.

4. Concrete or natural stone

Though natural stones have better appeal visually and aesthetically, there are still concrete options out there that give value for your money.

If you’re torn and overwhelmed with all the little decisions you have to make to achieve the desired look for your driveway, you can also try a mix-and-match of paving materials for specific paths.

Either way, the best decision you will make will still be the informed one. If you want to explore your options, book a free appointment with local contractors or visit their showroom.

10 Home Improvements Without Planning Permission

While the idea of upgrading your home is exciting, filing for Planning Permission is enough to burn that feeling out even before the renovation begins. Luckily, there are a few home improvements you can still carry out under Permitted Development Rights.

  1. Internal remodeling

If your improvement doesn’t extend the overall footprint of your home, you can push through with it under Permitted Development. Just remember you will still have Building Regulations to comply with when it comes to electrical works and structural elements.

  1. Moving windows and doors

If your home isn’t listed, installing double/triple glazing, adding and replacing windows and doors are totally fine provided you will still follow Building Regulations. However, you might want to check if there are conditions attached to the original permission for your home.

  1. Adding a single-storey extension

If you want to build a single storey extension, you have to make sure it meets the following conditions:

  • The extension is not overlapping the principal elevation
  • You are using the same materials with your home
  • It’s within 2m of any boundary, the eaves aren’t higher than 3m, and it’s no higher than 4
  •  A detached house should be no more than 4m in depth. For terraces and semi-detached extensions, it should be no more than 3m
  • For side extensions, the width shouldn’t be more than half the width of your home. Side extensions also aren’t permitted on Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Conservation Areas

To make sure you’re meeting all the conditions, you can check out the full list at

  1. Converting a loft

If you want to create more space, you can go for dormer windows within your converted attic. Keep in mind that it should not be higher than the highest part of your roof or extended past the roof plane.

  1. Adding a conservatory

Conservatories fall under the same conditions as single storey extensions.

  1. Adding a shed or outbuilding

If you’ve got a large plot and you’re planning to build a garage or a shed, you should bear in mind that:

  • It should not take up more than 50% of the curtilage including the other extensions
  • It’s not sitting before the principal elevation
  • It should be no more than 4m if has dual pitch roof and no more than 3m for other types of roof. If it stands within 2m of the boundary, the roof shouldn’t be higher than 2.5m.
  1. Adding gates, walls, and fences

Under Permitted Development, any means of enclosure is allowed provided that the height doesn’t go higher than 1m if adjacent to the highway and no higher than 2m for other gates, fences, etc. This improvement is not allowed for listed buildings.

  1. Changing/adding cladding

You are allowed to change or add cladding (pebble dash, timber, stone, etc.) in your home as long as you’re not located in any special area stated in Article 1(5).

  1. Adding a basement

If you don’t have enough space in your garden for an extension, you can totally have extra space inside your home by building a basement. Basements fall under General Permitted Development Order (GDPO) Class A. Bear in mind though that the GDPO does not allow engineering works.

  1. Parking spaces

Off-street parking areas fall under Class F of the GDPO. Under Permitted Development, any hard surface between the highway and the principal elevation of your home or surface exceeding 5m2 should be made out of porous materials like permeable block paving, resin, or tarmac. If you opt for a non-permeable surface, make sure that the run-off water goes into a porous area within your plot.

For single-storey and outbuildings, extensions are allowed to be built up to 8m in depth and 6m for semi-detached or terraces provided that your neighbours are given prior notification. If your neighbours don’t have any issue with it, you’ll be granted a Certificate of Lawful Development.

If you’re unsure whether the renovation you’re planning would fall under Permitted Development, the best way forward is to check with the local authority.

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient in 6 Simple Steps

With the weather only getting more unpredictable, sticking to timeless wisdom when it comes to energy efficiency will definitely save you hundreds if not thousands in the long run.

We’re talking about classic tricks and wise investments that do not depend on technology.

Lower your thermostat

Just imagine the amount of unused heat when the rest of your household is at school or work – and the money you could have saved if you lowered the thermostat. According to Energy Saving Trust, turning down the temperature can save you roughly 5%  to 15% a year from your energy bill.

Turn off unnecessary water

Though you only probably leave it on for a few seconds when you brush your teeth or shave, your water consumption (or wastage) do add up. Make it a habit to turn off the faucet when not in use. If you want to conserve more water, you can scale your bubble bath down to once a week as it typically uses 75 gallons of water compared to a shower’s 17.2.

Running out of clothes? If you’re going to do the laundry, doing half-loads might not be a practical option. Washing a full load might be more tiring but the less water consumption and the extra money will be well worth it.

Unplug unused chargers

Plugging and unplugging can be a little tedious if you charge your electronics/gadgets a lot, but here’s a good reason why you should: Chargers that are left unplugged are total energy vampires. Even though your phone stops charging when it’s full, your chargers will keep consuming energy. According to Energy Saving Trust, an average charger consumes 0.26 watts of energy. If you’ve got a few laying around, that could account for up to 10% of your energy bill. That’s a few £££ disappearing into thin air.

Hang thick curtains and insulate doors and windows

If you turn up the heat but the room doesn’t get any warmer, your windows and doors might be the culprit. Hanging thick curtains will prevent the heat from escaping through your windows. If your windows or doors have holes or cavities, placing cheap stick-on insulation would keep the heat from making an exit there.

Triple-glaze your windows

If you’re willing to invest a little more, why not triple-glaze your window? Homes usually use double-glazing now and it’s incredible in trapping the heat inside, but adding another layer would bring it a level higher. It may cost way more than stick-on insulation, but it will keep you warmer without the trouble of spotting cavities. You’ll feel warmer and save more in the long run.

Insulate your loft

Even if you already did cover all cavities where heat can escape, it can still pass through uninsulated walls and roof. According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, an estimated total of £500 million a year is lost because of poorly insulated roofs and walls. That’s about £160 a year for an average home.

Having an energy efficient home does more than saving energy. If you make a conscious and deliberate choice to conserve your resources in little ways you can, your wallet will thank you, too.

UPVC or Aluminium? Choosing the Right Materials for Your Windows and Doors
 When choosing materials for the home, aesthetics should not be taken for granted but it’s not all there is, either. When it comes to windows and doors, the material should also be able to offer practical features. These parts of the home protect you and your family from unpredictable weather, noise, and harm.
Modern houses typically feature aluminium windows and doors. It’s stylish, durable, but it can be expensive because of the low demand and high production cost. Meanwhile, UPVC has been popular since its production in the early ‘70s and has remained so in the UK. But can it stand up to aluminium? Let’s look at several factors to find out:\


Aluminium has been the favourite among architects and interior designers because its sleek black or grey colour adds character to the house, but it can be painted with other colours, too. Its strong chemical composition makes it possible to achieve a thinner profile and still able to carry heavy glass. UPVC’s plastic white colour looks plain and aesthetically inflexible, making it an unlikely choice for people who consider style to be top priority.


Although double-glazed UPVC has a long lifespan and an impressive 10-year guarantee, the frames can degrade after so many years. Aluminium is the better material for window frames as the recent improvements in this robust compound has made it rust-proof.


In terms of security, both aluminium and UPVC are burglar-proof. They can withstand the harshest assaults as UPVC has been constructed to its utmost hardness while aluminium possesses impressive strength despite its thinness.


Although all windows are required to achieve a ‘C’ rating in Window Energy Ratings, contemporary UPVC takes the cake for its excellent thermal retention thanks to its complex internal profile. Aluminium doesn’t fall far behind though, as a technology called polyamide thermal break makes it thermal retentive.


The ability to block sound from the outside is arguably the best quality of UPVC windows. It is especially useful if you live in a crowded area. Although windows can be double- or triple-glazed, UPVC’s effective sound-proofing definitely beats aluminium.


UPVC plasticised surface makes it easy to maintain, only requiring some light wiping for it to look new again. Aluminium’s robust material makes it weatherproof and corrosion-resistant, you can only observe very minor oxidation for many years.


The consistent high demand and cheaper raw materials makes UPVC a very affordable product. On the other hand, world prices and production costs of aluminium results to a notable price difference that can go from hundreds to thousands of pounds for a typical home. For this factor, UPVC is a total value for money for windows and doors, even fascias and soffits.
As with any investment, when it comes to renovating major areas in your home, weighing factors can be tricky. But it’s a necessary step in getting a service or product that meets your needs. If you are looking for a simple, cost-effective sound-proofing and insulation solution for your home, you can never go wrong with UPVC. But if you want a material that can withstand the test of time and bring in some character into your home, aluminium would be the better choice, although you have to shell out thousands more.
7 Signs You Should Replace Your Roof

Time isn’t the only one to blame for the deteriorating condition of your roof. As your roof works hard to protect you from the unpredictable weather, extreme winds and temperature, these factors can take a toll on your home. It can manifest in so many ways other than a waterlogged ceiling. Here are other signs you shouldn’t ignore before they cause any more inconvenience:

  1. It’s been there for nearly two decades.

Roofs have an average lifespan of approximately 24 to 30 years. Through the years, it surely has undergone a number of repairs on leakages, algae, or moulds, which could be a clear sign that it’s way past its prime. If your roof is already approaching its 20th anniversary, perhaps you should start saving for its retirement.

  1. It’s losing its curb appeal.

If you look at your home from the street and you can’t take your eyes off your roof (in a bad way), passers-by, your neighbours, even your real-estate agent might think you’re right. Could it be that the tiles appear stained? Curled? Missing even? Regardless of what it looks, this calls for an instant replacement.

  1. The paint has stained, bubbled, or peeled.

More than giving colour, paint acts as a coat for your roofing, protecting it from weather-induced problems like rust and leaking. If you see peeled paint somewhere, the bricks will definitely react to the weather, starting their gradual, eventual destruction. Worse, the washed away paint can seep through the leaks, bleeding into your interior walls.

  1. One word: algae.

The black patches on your roof can be attributed to mould, mildew, accumulated dirt, and of course, algae. These spores were transported in the air and clung to damp areas on your roof. Though they may cause minimal damage on your roof, the unsightly patches can definitely harm your home’s resale value. To prevent this, you can easily brush them off but the spores will come back eventually. If you don’t want to be bothered with climbing up the roof and cleaning, you can either call professional cleaners for help or replace your entire roof to solve the problem for good.

  1. The roof deck is sagging.

The roof deck are the beams holding up your entire roof. Due to water leaks in your roof and the age of the deck, you might notice moisture damages on some areas of the beams. These moisture areas can accelerate the ageing of the beams, affecting their ability to support your roof. In this case, consider replacing both the deck and the roof.

  1. Water and light leak.

If you find some damp patches in your attic after a rainstorm, or you can see a streak of light in the dark from your roof, it could be a sign your roof needs a repair, if not a total replacement. Water leaks are a sign that the flashing of your roof is damaged, thus you should call in professional repairers before the moisture affects the roof deck.

  1. Your heater isn’t the one to blame for the cold.

If your heater works perfectly but you still find the room a little too cold, it could be that your roof isn’t fulfilling one of its functions: as insulator against heat and cold. This could indicate that not only is your roofing problematic but your wallet as well as your energy bills are rising. This just means that replacing the roof is a practical investment in more ways than one.

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