How To Choose The Right Paving Material For Your Driveway

By |2019-08-13T18:00:45+00:00July 17th, 2018|Uncategorized|

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, tobermore.co.uk.

paving material

Sienna in Graphite, tobermore.co.uk

Opt for these options if you want a classic look:

paving materialTegula in Bracken, tobermore.co.uk

paving materialPedesta in Slate, tobermore.co.uk

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

By |2019-08-13T17:58:31+00:00June 26th, 2018|Uncategorized|

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 planningportal.gov.uk.

  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.

UPVC or Aluminium? Choosing the Right Materials for Your Windows and Doors

By |2018-03-09T12:32:33+00:00October 25th, 2017|Uncategorized|

 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:\

Aesthetics

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.

Durability

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.

Security

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.

Energy-efficiency

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.

Sound-proofing

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.

Maintenance

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.

Cost

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

By |2017-11-30T09:26:04+00:00October 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|

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.

roofing services

Increase Your Property Value with These High Payoff Home Improvements

By |2017-08-24T13:42:52+00:00August 24th, 2017|Uncategorized|

A home is one of the few things in the market that hardly depreciates, especially when it’s well-maintained. Whether you are looking to sell your house or you simply want an upgrade, you can increase property value by prioritizing the following renovations:

Conservatory

With a capital of about £10,000, you can already buy a conservatory kit with fine quality materials and build it as well. Mostly, building doesn’t require a planning permission but you should still check the Building Regulations before getting any work done.

Your sun room will still be a part of your house so its design should be in harmony with its surroundings. To get the most of the midday sun, you should position it facing the south. This will also make it usable throughout the year. Never position it towards the north as it can get really cold in the winter. Other features you should keep in mind are the energy efficiency, ventilation, blinds, and air conditioning system.

Return on Investment: 108%

Exterior

Unless you’re living in a conservation area, you are free to perform certain improvements within your property under the Permitted Development Rights.

Your house’s exterior can attract or repel prospective buyers so little things such as repointing brickwork or clearing the gutter can significantly increase property value. Although a lovely garden is a definite plus, it’s not all there is to an exterior. The dirty windows and roof tiles that have seen better days should be fixed. It can significantly depreciate your house’s value so it’s important to perform regular maintenance checks.

If you’re planning to perform more drastic renovations like adding a porch, you should seek experts’ help. Consult reputable builders to make sure you’re getting an add-on that is pretty and is able to withstand weather changes.

Return on Investment: 75%

Structural Repair

Sure, an extra bathroom may be a plus to a potential buyer, but it can get easily outweighed by a leaking roof that is begging for a major repair. Before making cosmetic improvements, ensure that your home is free from structural defects like bowing walls or insect infestation.

Other obvious examples of a structural defect include:

Unstable chimney stack

Leaking showers

Dampness

Sagging roof or ceiling

Rotten timbers

Collapsed slab

Though repairs like these can be disruptive and expensive, they significantly impact the value of the house as well as the quality of living of the residents more than superficial add-ons ever will.

Return on Investment: 65%

Kitchen

The kitchen area not only says a lot about the personality of the homeowner, most times it is actually the main attraction in the house. In revamping your kitchen, the most critical parts are the worktops, handles, doors, and of course, the lighting. Opt for good quality cabinet carcasses made from melamine faced chipboards (MFC) or cover the interiors with timber veneer panels or sheets for a more sophisticated look. Make sure that the doors and handles are well fitted and the floor looking hygienic and easy to clean.

As for lighting, all fixtures should be adjustable and prevent shadows and glares. Recessed lighting or down lights are best placed over the kitchen sink while hanging or pendant lighting are ideal over an island or the dining table.

Most importantly, ensure you have adequate space to accommodate a washing machine, dryer, and a refrigerator.

Return of Investment: 49%

Bathroom

The bathroom is where people go to relax after a long day so ideally, it should be hygienic, replete with luxury touches like a heated shower, underfloor heating, and a neutral light to boot.

But more than the fancy features, you should check if the plumbing system is fully functional. Most modern houses have a mains pressure system; water is delivered throughout the entire house with the same pressure, so simultaneous showers and other multiple demands wouldn’t be a problem.

Gravity fed water systems are still the most commonly used throughout the UK. Unlike the mains pressure where your home would rely on the set pressure, you can adjust certain items in the pressure and flow that you desire. Plus, you will be storing water in the temperature that you want.

A Combi boiler doesn’t store hot water. Rather, it heats water as you use them. It’s very easy to install as it doesn’t require a hot water cylinder nor does it need a small header cistern.

For a timeless feel, go for basic white sanitary wares and walls.

Return of Investment: 48%

Reference:

Home Improvement Index – DIY ROI. (2014, November 4). Retrieved from https://blog.zopa.com/2014/11/04/home-improvement-roi/