The Hidden Factors of Renovating your Home

Everyone loves renovating their homes. Whether it’s to turn our property into our dream design, or to sell for added value, we are always trying to improve our space. We even find ourselves glued to our television screens watching for tips as the likes of the DIY SOS team and George Clarke renovate properties to a high standard!

Photo By: Arizona Tile

However, it’s not always as straight forward as thinking of the work you want to do and running with it. While tasks such as replacing your roof or having solar panels fitted are safe to crack on with (although speaking to your council is still good practice), others aren’t. In certain cases, you will come up against factors which can grind your thought process to a halt and prevent it from becoming a reality. Here, we will look at the hidden factors of house renovations.

Is your home a listed building?

When you bought your property, you should have been told if it was a listed building. If it is, then chances are you will struggle to carry out any planned work without a fight. It is actually a criminal offence to simply go ahead with any work without the authorisation to do so. If you are unsure whether or not your property is a listed building, you can check at British Listed Buildings.

Photo By: Michelle Dirkse Interior Design

Electricity

Sometimes, work you plan to carry out will mean moving your electric meter and fuse box. However, you must make sure you don’t move it yourself. Why? Yep, you guessed it; this is also illegal. Usually, if it’s a move of less than 15 centimetres, this can be carried out by your energy supplier free of charge. But for larger-scale moves of over three metres, your local distribution company would have to move your mains supply before the electricity meter can be placed elsewhere. If this is something you require, make sure you book the relevant appointments to avoid long delays.

Notify your neighbours

With some work, you must notify your neighbours of your project thanks to the Party Wall Act of 1996. This occurs if you share a wall with another house and your work may undermine the structural integrity of the wall. Tasks such as fitting shelves and replastering aren’t included in this Act, however, if you were looking to undergo more extensive work it is something you must adhere to.

Although this seems like a very formal approach, it’s important to provide a ‘notice’ to your neighbour which outlines your prospective work. Present this to them alongside a copy of the Act two months before you intend to carry out the work. They will then have 14 days to raise any concerns they may have and provide written approval or rejection. Doing this will cover you if anything turns sour with said neighbour. If they do reject your proposal and it’s impossible to come to some form of agreement, you will be required to assign a surveyor who will then determine what work can be carried out.

Photo By: Red Door Homes, Inc.

Loft conversions

Often, to create more living space, people look at converting their lofts. However, make sure you get the correct building regulations approval. This is required to ensure there is sufficient structural strength to the floor, while also making sure that the existing roof and the structure’s stability isn’t jeopardized.

In many homes, the timber joists that form the floor of the loft space won’t be sturdy enough to support significant weight. This could cause issues if you plan to turn your loft space into a spare bedroom, for example, and without official planning meeting set regulations you could run into a host of problems. Perhaps surprisingly, any work that you carry out could indeed hinder your future sale if you don’t get the appropriate permission and paperwork. In some instances, you will be required to revert the property back to its former state if you haven’t gone through the correct channels when carrying out the work.

Besides your timber joists, you may also want to update your skirting boards and other moldings. You can consider installing skirting board covers if you do not have the time to tear out old skirting boards. This is a smart trick to save time, and money in the long run.

Garage conversions

Unlike loft conversions, you generally aren’t required to seek planning permission if it’s not your intention to enlarge a garage and increase the size of your home. If your sole purpose is to use the space for personal gain, then you should be able to carry out your intended work so long as you complete the work thoroughly and to the correct standard. However, it’s important to note that planning permission must be sought if you are looking to convert the space into a separate house.

Extensions

Extensions are ever popular in the world of renovations. However, not everyone understands the impact it may have on your property. For example, have you considered the impact an extension will have on your current boiler? Adding extra space will mean there’s an added demand on your hot water system and, in some cases, your boiler won’t be able to cope. Make sure you factor this in to any plan. You must also get building regulation approval – even if you don’t need planning permission due to using permitted development rights. In some cases, you may also need to pay a Community Infrastructure Levy, so it’s important to check this out prior to conducting any work.

While renovating your property can result in an amazing end product, getting to the final stage can be hard work and have many obstacles. For any work you may be thinking of carrying out, it’s important to carry out thorough research before you start so that hidden costs and issues don’t creep up on you.

Attic Conversions: How to Decorate?

A loft conversion or attic extension is the best way to make the most out of your home. Keep reading to learn how you can do this!

Photo By: Marsh & Parsons

Lofts don’t tend to get as much love and attention as other rooms in our home, with them instead often used as that well needed storage space for things that haven’t see light in ten years, or items which only ever come out at certain times of the year – yes, we mean the abundance of Christmas decorations you’ve got stashed away. But the loft has so much potential, it’s such a shame to just use it as a place to shove your unused possessions! Clear it out of clutter and make use of that space…

A loft conversion or attic extension is the best way to make the most out of the potential of your home. The best thing is, it doesn’t have a typical set use like other rooms might, so whether you need another bedroom, want somewhere for your kids to play, or if you work from home and need a snazzy, light new office, then the attic could be the perfect option. However, before you get too carried away with uses and interior themes, you need to be sure it’ll be worth the money and disruption.

Is my Home Suitable?

You have to make sure your loft is actually high enough to make the conversion. If you’re not sure or can’t find any information, then consult an architect and a builder before thinking about going fully in. Be sure to check there aren’t any obstacles, such as a chimney stack. It also might be worth checking your roof doesn’t need doing first too. A loft renovation is a great way to increase the value to your home, but you need to take extra steps before throwing yourself into a major project.

Walls & Floors

Since everything is going to be disrupted and messy for a while, there’s a good chance you’re going to need new floors and newly decorated walls, and not just in the new space! Therefore, to minimise as much disruption as you can and get things done as quickly as possible, chose your flooring before you begin, line things up so you can enjoy your new conversion as quickly as possible.

There are so many choices with flooring that it’s hard to know where to start with the options! Solid oak flooring presents natural elegance along with incredible durability and relatively easy maintenance. It comes in so many different finishes, shades and species of wood, so you won’t be short on choice. But remember, if you’re planning on installing underfloor heating, you can’t use solid wood flooring, so you’ll have to choose an engineered wood board or alternative product such as laminate or luxury vinyl tiles.

These alternative products are often perfect for clean-cut, contemporary interiors, with a variety of styles available, ranging from realistic imitations of wood through to tile and stone effect.

Photo By: William Guidero Planning and Design

A peaceful retreat

Most of us lust after some extra, peaceful living space in our homes, particularly if you want an escape from kids! Many loft renovations  are used as that much needed quiet place, with it being out of the way and it not being used as often as the living room. This is also gives you the opportunity to really go to town on soft furnishings and fabrics, without having to worry so much about spillages and stains. If fancy breakable ornaments is something you’ve been too nervous to place in your busy living room too, then go for it!

Dedicate it to your children

Now we know that parents already make many sacrifices for their children, but we can guarantee that your kids are going to love your new conversion and will want to make their mark on it somehow. Perhaps a playroom, or a shared kid’s bedroom. A teen’s den is a great idea to give your teenager their own space well away from the rest of the house. The low ceilings lend themselves to great storage space, as well as any rouge beams making for a funky walk in wardrobe. Throw in beanbags, throws, cushions, or maybe even a hanging chair and they’ll have a space perfect for them!

Photo By: Henrik Nero

Guest room

It’s not always practical to have the master bedroom in the loft, especially if you have young children demanding your attention constantly. Keep the loft conversion a bedroom for your guests, where they can enjoy a good night’s sleep away from your little ones rising early! You can always move upstairs when your children get older too. Once more, your guests are unlikely to come with cupboards full of possessions, so you can use the abundance of storage space that most loft conversions have for yourself.

What do I do with awkwardly shaped ceilings and walls? 

Although attic conversions can provide that much needed extra space, they can sometimes come with irritating grooves and beams, getting in the way of your interior dream. But don’t let them put you off, there are ways you can turn to your advantage. Find a piece of furniture that fits into the grooves, whether that be a bed or a sofa. To bring extra character to the room, people paint the walls in the grooves different colours. We’d especially recommend a deep colour, or more muted colours for a restful feel.

What Skip Size are You?

Much like people, skips come in all shapes and sizes, so there is always one out there for you. However, choosing the right size skip is an important factor to consider and one that will have a big impact on the project you are working on!

Order your skip too small and you could find your waste overflowing. Order too large and you could be paying to move and dispose of fresh air! To make sure you are on the right path, here are some top tips to consider when choosing the right skip for your project:

Consider the Amount of Waste You May Generate

Considering the amount of waste your project is going to be generating is a big factor to ensuring you order the right sized skip. Whilst its not always easy to estimate the amount of waste you may generate in advance, at least giving it some consideration before you start will help to visualise things to make a better decision. Our Skip Size calculator is always a great place to start if you’re looking for a skip hire cost estimate, or our tips and guides will always help.

What waste will you be getting rid of?

The type of waste you get rid of can have a direct impact on your waste disposal costs. If you are mainly getting rid of garden or green waste this can often be much cheaper than traditional general waste disposal.   The same can be said for timber and wood waste. So, specifying this up front to your waste company can help reduce your costs. However this will restrict what you can put in your skip, so if a greater mix of different waste types is required its best to plan this in advance and ensure you have scope to cover all outcomes.

Our what can go in each skip guide can help make this choice for you ensuring you are free from incorrect material charges and additional costs

Considering the scope of your project will determine how long you need your skip for, so always keep that in mind in your planning stage. If you are carrying out a house refurbishment over a long period of time, it could be that you order a larger skip that can accumulate the generated waste over that period. Similarly, if you have a shorter-term garden refurbishment in place, you may just need a smaller skip for a couple of days to fill with smaller amounts of waste. The scope of your project can directly impact the cost of your skip, as most skip companies will enforce rental charges for the skip if it hasn’t been exchanged for a while. Rental charges tend to be charged after a 14-day period; however, you should always check the fixed rental days with your skip company.

Consider your location & skip placement

When it comes to location, it is best to consider any potential issues you may have with access. In some cases, access issues can prevent your skip from being delivered. If you cannot get your skip onto your private property, fear not, there are still options available! You may find placing your skip on a public highway is required for your project. This is always possible; however, you need a skip hire permit in order to make this happen. If you discuss your access issue with a waste management expert, they will be able to identify if you just need a smaller skip or would need to place your skip on a public highway. So before booking your skip, consider just how much of an impact its size may have on your project. Take the above into consideration and you’ll have the right sized skip for your project.

The 5 Most Common Boiler Problems

Is your boiler not working as it should? From unusual noises to low pressure, there are several problems that frequently affect residential boilers!

While many of these problems can be fixed by making a few minor adjustments to your boiler’s settings, others can require more complex boiler repairs. Below, we’ve listed five common boiler problems that affect UK homeowners, as well as the most effective ways to fix them.

Unusual noises from your boiler

The hot water inside your boiler can interact with the materials used in the boiler’s construction over the course of months or years, leading to the buildup of limescale. This can result in your boiler making loud, noticeable banging, bubbling and “kettling” noises.

In order to six this problem, you’ll need to have your boiler’s contents flushed out. This helps to remove the built-up limescale, giving your boiler a cleaner interior that’s less likely to produce any unwanted noise.

Cold areas in your radiators

Over time, it’s far from uncommon for cold areas to develop in your radiators. This is usually the result of air and sludge building up inside the radiator, which can prevent hot water from flowing into certain parts of the radiator.

Most of the time, this can be fixed by bleeding your radiator, removing any trapped sludge and air that could be affecting circulation.

Switched off pilot light

Every boiler contains a pilot light — a small, blue flame that stays lit underneath your boiler at all times, even when the boiler isn’t in use. If your home’s gas supply switches off, or a wind blows through the area in which your boiler is installed, it’s possible for this pilot light to switch off.

Luckily, this is a quick and easy repair. If you’re comfortable doing so, you can use your boiler’s instruction manual to relight the pilot light by yourself. If you prefer not to do it yourself, you can also call in a Gas Safe engineer to relight the pilot light and get your boiler working again.

Drips, leaks and water damage

Over time, it’s possible for your boiler to develop one or several leaks, creating the possibility of water damage to your home. Leaks rarely occur in the tank itself — instead, they typically develop in the pipes that run to and from your boiler. Even a small leak can cause significant damage over time as water penetrates into your home’s walls, flooring and other building materials.

The best way to eliminate leaks is to regularly check the area around your boiler for moisture. If you spot any dampness that could indicate a leak, call in the experts as soon as possible to get it checked and, if necessary, repaired.

Low temperatures and lukewarm water

If your home never seems to reach the same temperature as your boiler’s thermostat, or your hot water is lukewarm at best even after running your boiler for hours, it could be an indicator that the thermostat isn’t totally accurate.

Just like the problems listed above, this is usually an easy fix. If your thermostat is adjustable, you can try adjusting it to better record your home’s temperature. If not, try replacing it with a newer, more accurate thermostat for better heating and hot water.

5 Ideas For Creating More Space At Home

 Don’t you just wish you had a little extra living space at home? After all, redecorating your home will improve the value of the property and just give you, well, more space!


Photos By: Living Etc

Whether you invest in an extension, a loft conversion or simply reconfigure your home’s layout, here are our top ides for adding more space to your house.

Enclose The Patio

It might sound like a lot of work but enclosing your patio can give you an extra room for work, entertaining or hobbies. You’ll need to put up a roof and walls as well as a foundation. If done correctly, you’ll be looking at added valuable square footage.

Go Up With A Loft Conversion

Whether you already have a loft or fancy adding one, just consider how much value you could add to your property. Most homes are able to take on another story, but it’s not as easy as popping off the roof and sticking on another. But all said and done, it’s a much better way of gaining space than building outwards. Even if you already have a loft, you might want to consider having it converted to create additional living space such as a study, spare bedroom or teenager’s hang out space. Contact builders Teddington homeowners trust for costs and inspiration.

Create An Open-Plan Living Space

One of the most popular ways to transform a home and create more space is to knock between your existing living room, dining room and kitchen to create an open-plan living space. Aim to ensure that you can access your new kitchen directly from the hallway, since you don’t want to walk through other rooms to get to it. It’s also a good idea to position the kitchen in the darkest part of the room. It’s where you’ll probably spend the least amount of time and it just makes sense to place your dining and living areas close to windows for natural light and views.

If going open-plan doesn’t really appeal to you, you could always install bi-fold or sliding pocket doors between rooms. This will allow you to easily open the space up or close it off as needed.

Convert The Garage

People often believe that it’s not a good idea to put money into converting the garage. They think you’ll gain a low-value space by getting rid of a higher value space. While your car also needs a home, converting your garage for extra living space just makes sense. Whether you need a workshop room, a hobby room or a formal dining area, the garage is a great way to add more space to your home.

Close In The Porch

Just like enclosing your patio, having your porch and garden furniture enclosed can potentially add valuable square footage to your home. Remember, you’ll need to consider heating, accessibility through the house and designing the enclosure to effortlessly feel like part of your home.