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The semi-detached home is the backbone of Britain’s housing stock, and a quintessential part of the streetscape in most villages, towns, and cities. Our beloved ‘semis’ come in many guises — from the characterful bay windows so common to Victorian semi-detached properties to the strong gables and rendered and mock timber-frame façades of the 1930s builds, and brick-clad estate homes of the mid to late 20th century.

Remodeling and/or extending this type of property is not without its challenges, however. Unlike the detached home, there is a significant factor that could impact, and even put the breaks on your project ambitions — the neighbouring home with which the property shares a party wall.

Quintessential; classic; timeless… we love semi-detached homes! Dating back to the mid-late 18th century, they’re part of our heritage and a vital element of the streetscape in most British villages, towns, and cities.

1. KEEP A CLEAR GOAL

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Before you begin your renovation, it’s super important to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. Think about the current layout – does it suit your family’s needs? What do you love and what do you want to change? How can you improve the functionality and flow of the home?

Try and consider your long-term needs as well as your current demands – after all, renovations are an investment, so you want to get the most out of whatever you do.

If you have a clear vision from the get-go, you’ll be able to communicate this to your building team and the whole project is guaranteed to run more smoothly.

2. GET INVOLVE THE EXPERTS

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It’s good to get expert advice for house extension ideas for semi-detached houses. Involving a specialist building team such as Combit Constructions can save you a lot of extra headache and hassle: we understand what it takes to craft beautiful spaces for everyday living and create that seamless harmony between the old and the new.

From initial ideas through to project completion, you need a team that you can rely on to manage your project from every aspect. A professional team can help you get the best bang for your buck and ensure that you maximize your return on investment.

3. CONSIDER YOUR NEIGHBOURS

Perhaps the most significant factor to consider in your renovation is the ‘common’ wall you share with your neighbour. The reality is that your project is likely to impact in some way or other the folks next door, so it’s important to do everything you can to stay onside with them.

A chat over a cuppa before you begin your renovation might go a long way towards maintaining a harmonious relationship. Be honest – discuss your plans and explain each step of the process and what will be involved.

If you are extending a semi-detached house, your neighbour may be concerned about the new part of the building blocking out sunlight and/or views or impacting their privacy. Listen. Take their concerns seriously. And do whatever you can to minimize the impact of your build.

4. KEEP THE STYLE

Maintaining period features on the exterior of your extension is super important. Not only does it improve the aesthetics by helping to blend the old with the new, but in many circumstances, it’s a requirement of the local council.

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Talk to your building team about using traditional building materials or modern replicas to ensure that you achieve perfect harmony between the original home and your house extension.

5. OVERCOME LIGHTING ISSUES

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Overlooking is a common challenge faced by homeowners who extend semi-detached properties, and often windows on the side of the extension are simply not an option. In this situation, homes often end up having ‘deep’ floorplans with windows only on the rear wall.

To ensure that your extension is light and airy, you need to be creative – installing ceiling windows or skylights can make a huge difference to the feel and look of an internal room. Wherever possible, opt for open-plan spaces to maximize all available natural light.

6. EMBRACE OUTDOOR LIVING SPACE

The concept of outdoor living is gaining momentum across North London and creating a beautiful space for your family to relax and entertain guests is a modern alternative to extending with bricks and mortar. Plus, it maximizes your garden and allows you to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine!

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Achieving a seamless harmony between indoor and outdoor spaces requires planning and forethought, however, it’s not actually hard to achieve. Think about options such as using the same floor tiles for indoor and outdoor spaces, opting for glass panels rather than solid walls, and decorating with matching indoor and outdoor furniture.

7. LIGHT, BRIGHT AND AIRY

If you’re looking for ways to make your semi-detached home feel bigger, we suggest you opt for a light color palette. Remember, dark moody colors make spaces feel smaller; light colors make spaces feel larger.

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A fresh coat of paint, new floor coverings, modern hardware on the cabinetry, a contemporary stair runner… it’s the little things that can make a big difference. Be creative and add your personal touch to create a home that’s uniquely yours!

Property Contractors 247, we understand what it takes to extend semi-detached houses and restore these old gems to their former glory.

For more information on tips for transforming your semi-detached home, contact us now! 202 7916 2087 Visit our website and get a free quote today!

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Flat roof structures offer numerous advantages, from design and material options to cost. Flat roofs are exceedingly popular with those looking to create a cool, modern home. Flat roof options help to free up internal space and are often cheaper than pitched roof options as they require fewer materials to cover the same roof span. There is also the scope to incorporate a green roof onto the flat structure.

In times past, flat roofs have presented some challenges: poor insulation, water pooling, and higher maintenance, to name a few. Nowadays, superior design and materials mean that the performance of the modern flat roof building is comparable with that of the pitched roof.

And they’re right up there with contemporary design style. If you’re thinking about crafting a modern home, a flat roof is part of the look. Because of the aesthetic appeal of the flat roof design, UK homeowners are opting for this style, and this trend in consumer preferences is gaining momentum across London.

Flat versus pitched

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Technically, a flat roof is never actually completely level. In fact, any pitched covering that is lower than 10° comes under this category. This is because a slight gradient is required to allow rain and snow to drain off.

If you’re building a new dwelling from scratch, the decision on whether this type of roof will work for you is likely to come down to whether it will suit the architectural style of your house. If you’re self-building a chocolate box cottage, for instance, then a flat top probably won’t suit.

1. Extra Space – Maximize Your Living Area

Extra space is one of the main advantages of a flat roof. In the UK we’re well accustomed to the sloping attic ceilings of the pitched roof home – these sharp angles reduce headroom and effectively waste a lot of space. The flat-roofed home doesn’t have this problem. The ceilings are horizontal, allowing you to maximize the space, even in the attic.

2. Additional Patio/Garden Area – Relax In Style

Is your garden area small? Do you ever wish you had space outdoors to sit with a cuppa and relax? The flat roof can be used as a patio garden, a place to entertain family and friends, or space to just spend quiet time outside.

The concept of a rooftop courtyard harkens back to ancient times, yet it continues to be popular – there’s something undeniably soothing about socializing or simply relaxing above the hustle and bustle of daily life… and with the rooftop views to enjoy!

3. Green Roofs – Transform Your Roof Into A Garden Paradise

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If sustainable living is high on your list of priorities, a Green Roof might be right up your alley. With vegetation planted on part or the whole of the area, your rooftop can become something that’s beautiful, productive, and a haven for the local birdlife.

Green roofs help to create harmony between your home and nature by allowing the structure to blend in with the surrounding landscape. They help to replace the patch of green which is taken up by the house itself, and give you your very own slice of nature to enjoy anytime, even if you live in the middle of the city!

4. Cost – Is A Flat Roof Cheaper?

A flat roof is often considered a more economical option than a pitched roof because it uses less material and requires less work to construct. However, it’s worth noting that flat roofs typically have higher maintenance and repair costs than pitched ones, so factor this in when you weigh up both options.

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5. Water Draining – Will The Water Pool On My Roof?

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Let’s face it: the pitched roof drains water and snow better than the flat roof. Cleverly installed drainage systems can help to control moisture build-up, but leaking issues are a common problem with which many flat-roofed homeowners must contend.

Can My Extension Have A Flat Roof?

If you’re extending your home, a flat roof might be the easiest and quickest option. Flat roof construction is less time-consuming and can still incorporate popular features such as roof lights.

Property Contractors 247 can help you achieve your dream of a stylish, flat-roofed home in North London. Visit our website now and get a free quote!

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Patios are a great addition to many people’s gardens and landscapes. Whether you have a small garden or a huge open space to play with, adding space for a patio can add character to your home and give yourself your own space for eating, drinking, and quality time with the family.

For those looking to add a new patio space to their garden, you have a number of choices to make. How is it going to look? How much space will your new patio need? And often the most important question people should be asking is what kind of materials will you need to make it the way you want it to look?

When it comes to materials, patios are made of pretty much one of six basic materials. It's what you do with these materials that can give your outdoor surface an individual look or personal expression. The material you choose will be determined by personal preference, the location of the patio, your budget, and the size of the outdoor space, and what's available in your area. Before starting a patio project, check local building codes for setbacks and other requirements. Make sure to prep your patio area thoroughly prior to installation to allow for proper drainage and to make sure the patio slopes away from the house.

Using natural stones

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If you’re looking for a natural, weathered effect in your garden, then why not try using natural paving stones? There is a range of colours to choose from that aim to mimic a characteristic look and feel to your back garden.

If you’re looking to buy natural stone, look for flagstone, slate, or limestone for a more neutral coloured stone that can match most elements added to your garden. Take a look at our decorative paving section for some inspiration.

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Using brick

Adding brick to a garden really brings out the character and promotes a quintessentially British look. Whether you opt for a classic red brick or look to use lighter-toned brick, you can easily slot them into the area you’re paving with minimal fuss.

One thing to consider is that brick requires a bit more maintenance than using other paving methods. Like when used around our homes, bricks are great places for moss and other weeds to grow, so be sure to keep an eye on them if you add them to your patio.

For thousands of years, brick has been made by firing a mixture of clay and other materials in a kiln. It is sturdy, lasts a long time, and has a neat, classic look that goes with many landscape and architectural styles. Many homes are constructed of brick or mix it with other materials. Versatile, it can be used for patio floors along with pathways, for walls, and as edging. It works for both formal and rustic landscape or hardscape features and house styles. Brick bonds or patterns offer different looks. Popular patterns include herringbone, running bond, and jack-on-jack.

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Adding stones like pea gravel

Small stones that come in bags can simply be poured into the areas you want them to be added to. It’s a very simple process that can make your patio built out in a day. Pea gravel is the most common of the stones you can buy, but there is a range of stone looks you can choose from to bring out your own unique theme to the patio. You could go for a more rustic, farmhouse look, a Mediterranean aesthetic, or go for a seaside theme - whichever you choose it’ll bring out heaps of character!

The huge benefit to adding stones is that they’re an easy draining solution, can battle much of the weather we have all year round and are a cheap investment that lasts.

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Loose Materials

Once considered a choice strictly for side yards or small areas, loose materials are gaining in popularity for patio surfaces, especially in regions that are experiencing drought. Why? Homeowners and dwellers are replacing thirsty lawns with more water-wise alternatives, which include loose materials. Also, they are easy to work with and fairly inexpensive.

Examples include:

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If none of these ideas pique your interest then there’s always the option to add decking, cover sections of your patio in concrete, or spruce it up with woodchip and individual paving stones. There are heaps of ways to build your patio that don't have to follow the common ways of creating your new garden space.

Ultimately, it will be down to what your budget is, how much space you have to work with and what you’d like your garden to look like when it’s all done! It’s also about what you’ll be using the space for and how you can help give your garden the lease of life it needs, where your friends and family can enjoy your outdoor space for years to come.

If you're looking for an affordable patio builder, Get in touch with us now! 020 7916 2087Visit Property Contractors 247 and get a free quote today!

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Health and safety should be a priority for all tradesmen – but some trades need to put more effort into their health and safety training plan than others. If loft work or work in roof spaces is common in your trade, here are a few safety issues you need to consider.

When carrying out any loft project, it is important to carry out a risk assessment to identify any safety risks. Common risks associated with loft tasks can include, falls from a height, looking for any safety hazards, trips, and slips due to loose materials, any material you may be working with i.e. insulation, working in a confined space, or risks such as falling on old wooden boards and poor surfaces. It’s also important to consider the safety of any staff who will be working in the loft and assess the risks to ensure they understand the risks and work in a safe manner. 

What to do?

If you’re working in lofts and roof spaces, you need to make sure that those involved are safe. If entry to a confined space can’t be avoided, it’s important to carry out a risk assessment to identify any risks to health. Look out for any safety hazards, loose materials, or hazardous materials and put the proper safety procedures in place to minimize accidents and injury. It’s also important to ensure that all staff involved in working in loft or roof space are well aware of the risk and results of the assessment. This will ensure they comply with the safe system of work identified. However, All of these dangers can cause serious harm, but the good news is, they can also be easily avoided with careful planning and the right equipment.

Plan safe work at height

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The first thing you should do to consider health and safety in the loft and roof spaces is to plan. In particular, if you are going to be working from elevated spaces and there is a risk of fall, which can have life-threatening consequences. To safety work at heights, make sure you have safe access solutions in place. 

When working from an elevated space, there’s a risk of falls and injury. A fall from aloft and roof space could result in life-threatening injuries, so extra care must be taken. To ensure safe work at a height, make sure to use suitable access solutions, such as extension ladders and roof ladders.

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Use the right access equipment

Choosing the right ladder is just the start when it comes to access equipment for work in lofts and roof spaces. We also recommend the use of a safety rail when you’re working on projects in the loft. Within loft space, you may require additional equipment to carry out work. When picking this equipment, make sure you choose something safe and sturdy – such as one of our work platforms.

Wear protective Equipment

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Most tradesmen understand the importance of using personal protective equipment (PPE) on any kind of job and working in the loft is no different when it comes to PPE. PPE is a must! To protect yourself, we advise wearing appropriate clothing and safety wear. What you wear will be dependent on what job you’re planning to do, so choose what’s best to wear for your loft task.

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Make sure your working space is safe

Sometimes it’s those little things like cables and poor lighting that lead to slips, trips, and falls. To maximise safety in confined spaces, we recommend a bit of housekeeping – to ensure your working area is as safe as it can be. Make sure it’s well lit and that all trip hazards are removed. This will only take you a few minutes but can save your life.

Always ensure your loft working space is safe and secure. Watch out for small things like cables laying around or bad lighting which can lead to trips, slips, and falls. While completing your loft project, ensure safety by keeping your loft working space clean and tidy. Remove any trip hazards and work within a well-lit environment.  Also, when using any kind of hazardous materials, take required precautions.

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Take precautions against hazardous materials

As with any construction or building work, you’re likely to be dealing with hazardous materials. Fiberglass insulation is just one – and can cause both skin irritation and eye problems. Furthermore, fiberglass particles can cause havoc with your respiratory system – even causing cancer and lung problems. To minimise the risk of exposure, make sure you wear the correct PPE. Goggles, safety gloves, and a respiratory mask are a must. If you’re going to be exposed to asbestos, make sure you’re fully aware of the risk and protective measures.

If you are looking for Loft conversion experts and trusted home builders, Contact us now! 020 7916 2087Property Contractors 247 offers affordable home builds. Visit our website and get a free quote today!

During the winter months, many plants are dormant, meaning there's less weeding and watering to be done. If you're still looking for jobs to do then there are normally always fences to repair, wildlife shelters to build, and compost bins to maintain.

Winter is also a good time of year for pruning roses and moving dormant plants. It's also possible to plant some trees and shrubs if the ground isn't frozen. If you hope to return to a glorious garden come summer, the key is preparing your garden in winter for the harsh months ahead.

Winter may be here but there are a surprising number of tasks to keep you busy out in the garden. Now’s the time to wrap your plants up warm, clear out dead material and plan your planting for next year. There are even a few things you can start growing if you’re super keen.

Enhance your Soil

Enrich your soil with our finest topsoil and ensure it has the right amount of nutrients to survive these harsh winter months.

To prevent the winter weather from damaging your soil, consider adding raised flower and plant beds to your garden. These will give you more control over the soil during the winter.

Be sure to keep an eye on the soil’s pH levels. If it is too acidic, adding lime will help balance it out. Also, consider using mulch to help insulate your plants by keeping the soil warm and moist.

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Fencing

You should think about your fencing during the winter and whether it is strong enough to withstand the severe winter weather. Consider the following factors when assessing if your fencing is fit for winter:

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Prepare for Spring

It may be too cold to go out and do some gardening during this cold season, but you can always plan ahead for springtime. Think about any new landscaping projects you may have in mind and you’d like to complete in spring and summer.

You could also research and look out for any new garden trends that you might want to implement in your garden for spring.

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Look after your Lawn

Winter is a good time to look after your lawn. You should be thinking about tidying and repairing any edges. Try keeping your lawn length at mid-length during the winter because if it's too short then your lawn won’t survive these cold months, and if it’s too long the frosty weather will make it weaker. If you decide to mow your lawn, then only mow it 2 – 3 inches, no more than that. You should also think about removing any moss, using a rake to avoid any drainage issues.    

Perhaps, you have opted for artificial grass, which unlike natural lawn is low maintenance. However, your artificial grass does need some looking after. Read our handy guide on ‘How to care for your artificial grass in winter’ for our recommendations to keep your artificial grass nice and plump during the winter.

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A winter spruce

Take a look in your garden storage for equipment and tools that can be cleaned and serviced. Wipe tools clean, sharpen and give a good spray of WD40 to prevent corrosion. Service your lawnmower. Check and organise boxes of bulbs and take pots and trays inside for a good clean, too.

Now’s also a good time to inspect and repair pergolas, arches, sheds, and other garden storage. In dry spells why not add a lick of paint or wood stain too?

Remember Spring is just around the corner. Prepare well now and you’ll be ready for the flurry of gardening activity the new season will bring.

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Clear up fallen leaves

It can be tempting to just leave the brown leaves that have fallen over autumn and winter. But keep your garden clean and accessible by regularly cleaning your pathways and garden spaces. Pop the garden debris in a composter, which you can use on the soil when spring arrives.

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Look out for wildlife

Every garden benefits from an ecosystem of insects, birds, and other wildlife. You can give them a helping hand during the colder months by leaving out feeders for birds and birdbaths. You may catch other animals using it as a water supply.

It’s important that even during the winter months, gardens are maintained,’ says Sam Mitchell, CEO at Housesimple. ‘We still find that house buyers are scoping out properties during the colder periods – and a messy garden can be a real put-off.

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Gardens and growing spaces are still places of creativity, nature, and new growth during the winter months.

There are plenty of jobs to get stuck into, including looking after wildlife, harvesting vegetables, pruning rose bushes, or planning ahead for warmer days.

If you're looking for affordable home build services. Contact us now! 020 7916 2087

Visit Property Contractors 247 and get a free quote today! 


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Insulating your loft is a must for reducing the amount of heat you lose throughout the day while also keeping it cool in the hotter months and reducing your energy bills. If you’ve recently had a loft installed or had an area of your attic converted into a loft, then the next step once it’s all complete is to insulate the whole area just as you would in other areas of the home.

If your loft is easy to access and has no damp or condensation problems, it should be easy to insulate – and in many cases, it is possible to do it yourself. If access is easy and your loft joists are regular, you can use rolls of mineral wool insulation. The first layer is laid between the joists – the horizontal beams that make up the floor of the loft – then another layer is laid at right angles to cover the joists and make the insulation up to the required depth.

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Before you begin

There are a couple of things you should be aware of or do before you jump into the insulation process. Firstly, you should make sure there are enough ventilation gaps or if it’s already been installed with loft ventilation. These gaps will need to be kept open when you begin the installation.

Make sure cables are kept away or secured before adding insulation - there should be no contact with electrical wires or cables and should be clipped to roof joists. When you start insulating your loft you should also turn off the main's electricity in case of any live wires you encounter when installing.

You should also wear safety equipment when installing insulation. Maintain a minimum of 1cm gap between the insulation and anything that gets hot. If you’re ever unsure, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging or consult a loft conversion company that can help you with insulation.

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Planning & preparation

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Benefits

Choosing loft insulation

If your loft is easy to access and has no damp or condensation problems, it should be easy to insulate – and in many cases, it is possible to do it yourself. If access is easy and your loft joists are regular, you can use rolls of mineral wool insulation. The first layer is laid between the joists – the horizontal beams that make up the floor of the loft – then another layer is laid at right angles to cover the joists and make the insulation up to the required depth.

Staying safe

Aftercare

Avoid applying weight to, or storing items on the insulation, as this will reduce its efficiency.

If you are looking for an affordable and trusted home builder, Get in touch with us now! 020 7916 2087

Visit Property Contractors 247 and get a free quote.

Ceiling designs are usually the last thing we think of when decorating our homes, but they can give a room a unique character that no amount of art or furniture can do.

When most of us think about the ceiling for our homes, the thing that comes to our mind is white and flat. Some of us may even suffer from dreaded popcorn ceilings. Not many think of incorporating a unique ceiling design into their bedroom or living area.

The living room is one of the most used rooms in your home so you should try to make it look the best. When decorating your home, the ceiling might be the last thing that you consider and you make so much effort with the rest of your home. So you should browse for the Best Ceiling Design Ideas for Living Rooms that are capable of giving your living room a highlight and a character of its own.

Here are the types of Ceiling Design

1. Conventional ceiling

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The standard ceiling type commonly seen in houses, the conventional ceiling has a simple flat surface with an accessible height. Easy to decorate, these ceilings are simple and straightforward with nothing special about them and that’s the entire point.

2. Suspended ceiling

Also called a “drop” ceiling, the suspended ceiling differs from a conventional one in the fact that it’s a flat ceiling placed below an existing one. This is usually to hide elements like wiring and other pieces of mechanical fixtures from the original ceiling.

Although a suspended ceiling usually gives off an industrial feeling, decorated panels are available should you want it to flaunt another type of style (such as contemporary or rustic). 

A suspended ceiling is usually made up of a lightweight, acoustic panel and a suspended metal grid. This grid is attached to the existing ceiling while the panels are inserted into the grid. 

3. Tray ceiling

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A tray ceiling is built upwards in a cut-out design resembling a tray. It has a rectangular centre that either pops out or is inverted inwards for a visual effect, ensuring quite the unique style for a room (and is also great for making a small space seem taller).  

These designs are very common in dining rooms and kitchens, and sometimes a series of steps are added to the ceiling for a more dramatic look.

4. Coffered ceiling

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These ceilings are known by their waffle-like patterns, seeing as they are made up of a grid of sunken panels accented by molding. A great choice for classic- and colonial-style interiors, coffered ceilings are usually found in vintage and high-end homes. 

Coffered ceilings used to be made with prized wood or carved stone, resulting in quite hefty prices. Nowadays, however, they are available for basically the same cost as a suspended ceiling. 

5. Cathedral ceiling

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With their equally sloping sides forming an upturned V at the highest point, cathedral ceilings are also known by another name: vaulted ceilings. This type is directly attached to the roof trusses (which need to be wide enough to allow for proper ventilation and appropriate insulation) and rises all the way up to the structure’s very top.

Cathedral ceilings are usually chosen as they give an open, spacious feel to a room. But keep in mind that while it lends warmth and elegance to a space, it can be tricky to paint and change light fixtures, plus will make quite a difference to your heating bills (as the ceiling creates space nearly as big as two rooms, it will require more heating than for a room with a regular ceiling).

Get in touch with us, if you’re looking for a bespoke home builder. 020 7916 2087

We offer affordable home builds. Visit Property Contractors 247 and get your free quote now!

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Exploring the alternatives to gas boilers could potentially see you reduce your heating bills as well as your carbon footprint. While gas boilers are very much the heating system of choice for UK homes, we explore some of your other options.

Heating our homes with gas central heating comes with a hefty price tag. According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, on average 60% of energy bills is spent on space heating and a further 15% on hot water. With such a large sum of money needed to power home heating systems, finding the best possible alternative to gas central heating systems is paramount to minimizing monthly outgoings.

Heating our homes using gas boilers is not only damaging to the environment, but it’s also expensive, and with the price of the gas growing year on year, many people are looking for green alternatives to gas boilers.

According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, on average, 60% of energy bills are spent on space heating and a further 15% on hot water. With the significant costs involved with powering home heating systems, finding the best possible alternative to gas central heating systems is vital for those wanting to bring down the price of their monthly bills. 

Why look at alternatives to gas boilers?

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It’s an expensive business, upgrading or replacing a gas boiler. Given the volatile nature of energy prices and the current push for eco-friendly living, looking at the alternatives to gas boilers is a pretty smart idea. Not only will you reduce the risk of carbon monoxide building up in your home, but you’ll also be future-proofing and adding value to your house.

Finding an alternative to a gas boiler is a necessity for homes that are off-grid. Being off-grid means that the property isn't connected to the gas network and they've historically turned to an oil or LPG boiler. However, these heating systems aren't good for the environment due to the carbon emissions they produce as they work to heat the home.

Properties that are connected to the gas network may also opt for an alternative to a gas boiler for environmental, financial, or lifestyle reasons.

What are the alternatives to gas boilers?

There is no shortage of options when it comes to finding an alternative to the gas boiler. From boilers that run on alternative fuels, such as oil, LPG, and electricity to low carbon heating systems, including heat pumps.

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1. Air Source Heat Pumps

Firstly, there are air source heat pumps (ASHPs), which work by using electricity to absorb natural heat from a cold space, which is then released into a warmer space. This heat transfer method is similar to what you would see at play within a household fridge, only in reverse.

ASHPs require electricity to run because they are extracting renewable heat from the environment, but the heat output is far greater than the electricity input, making them an efficient solution for heating your home.

ASHPs are an extremely reliable alternative to gas boilers and operate all year round, producing 3 or 4 times more heat than a typical electric heater using the same amount of electricity.

Although the initial cost of installation is high, when paired with the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments and energy bill savings, they make a lot of sense in the long term when compared to gas boilers and other heating systems.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

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2. Ground Source Heat Pumps

Ground source heat pumps essentially function as circular wells by pumping water down into the ground and back out again to heat your home.

The heat from the ground is absorbed at low temperatures into a fluid in a looped pipe, which is installed underground. The fluid then passes through a compressor, raising the fluid to a higher temperature. The high temperatures can then heat water for the heating and hot water circuits in a house.

The cooled ground-loop fluid flows back into the ground where it absorbs more energy in a continuous cycle for as long as heat is needed.

If you are considering this alternative to gas heating, it’s worth thinking about the space you will need outside for the installation of the heat pump and also the suitability of that space. A heat pump installer should work with you to design your solution based on local conditions and the heat requirements of your home.

Advantages:

Disadvantages: 

3. Biomass Boiler

Biomass is fuel developed from organic materials such as wood, plants, or plant-based materials which are not used for food or feed.

When it comes to biomass boilers, the most popular biomass energy source is wood in the form of logs, pellets, or wood chips – boilers that use wood as a source are known as wood pellet boilers. 

Burning biomass releases heat which can then be utilized to heat homes and generate electricity.

These types of boilers are very similar to conventional gas boilers, as they provide both space heating and hot water for the property, only instead of using gas to produce the heat, biomass boilers combust sustainably sourced wood fuel.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

4. Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System

Running an electric combi boiler powered by solar panels can significantly bring your heating costs down. Electricity is an expensive fuel and despite all the benefits of an electric combi boiler, the high costs of electricity from the grid can discourage people from purchasing one. 

To combat this, generating your own electricity using solar PV panels to power your electric boiler is an excellent workaround that is environmentally friendly and allows you to take advantage of free, renewable energy.

A solar photovoltaic (PV) system converts solar radiation into electricity. This free renewable electricity can then be used as a power source for the appliances in your home.

Solar panels are first installed on the roof. The panels contain photovoltaic cells and these cells then retain energy from the sun. Direct sunlight brings the best results, but the cells are mostly still able to produce energy in daylight.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

5. Solar Thermal Heating 

Solar thermal heating systems work by capturing energy from the sun and then using that energy to heat water in your home. These systems enable many homeowners to generate up to 70% hot water with free solar energy rather than solely relying on their boiler or immersion heater.

Solar thermal panels are used in conjunction with a boiler, collector, or immersion heater. The solar collector will use the sun’s rays to heat transfer fluid. The fluid is made from a mixture of water and glycol, which stops the water from freezing in the winter. 

The heated water from the collectors is then pumped to a heat exchanger inside a water cylinder.  The energy from the exchanger will then heat the water inside the cylinder. After the liquid releases its heat, the water flows back to the collectors for reheating. 

Once the system is up and running there are very few running costs involved. You will need a professional to check over the system every few years but other than that it will run on free energy.

It’s important to note that before pairing a solar thermal system with an electric boiler and hot water cylinder, it’s important to make sure that the systems are compatible with one another.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

There is a common theme with many of these green alternatives to gas boilers: many of them require an initial upfront cost which can be expensive in the short term. However, many of these solutions are eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive, enabling you to make a return on investment in the long term whilst swapping to a cleaner, greener alternative that can help the UK reach its zero-emissions goal.

To round up, it’s important that you always take into consideration how much space you have to accommodate not only the solution itself such as piping, pumps, or boilers but also any fuel that requires a suitable large, dry storage space.

Once you have decided which is the best solution for your specific situation, then you can look forward to leading the way with a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

If you want to build a gas-free home, Get in touch with us now! 020 7916 2087 We offer affordable home services. Visit Property Contractors 247 and get a free quote now!

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Starting a home renovation project? – it’s really important to make sure you get the best bang for your buck! Whether you’re giving the kitchen a simple facelift or planning a big home extension, getting the best value all around is a must.

Getting a quote from a builder (or two, or three builders!) is one of the most important parts of your project. And comparing quotes and making sure you’re comparing apples with apples might seem a bit tricky.

Whether it’s for a complete house build or a job undertaken by an individual trade, gathering quotes is a time-consuming but necessary part of your project. Simply accepting the first price you get from a general builder is a dangerous game because there’s a raft of reasons why prices can vary.

There will always be a difference between quotes for the same work, regardless of what kind of scheme you’re tackling – be it a new home or a simple extension. In this feature, I’m looking at how to approach the process to ensure that you get the best possible value for money.

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1. RESEARCH

Back to basics: it all starts with research. Nowadays, a few clicks of the keyboard will bring up a long list of builders in your area!  But don’t fall into the trap of just choosing the builder one on the top of the search results – if you want your project to be 100% successful, you need to do your homework thoroughly.

Research builders and renovation teams online. Look at reviews. Talk to family and friends who have successfully completed renovation projects. Visit showrooms and display homes.

2. HOW MANY BUILDERS SHOULD I CONTACT?

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Once you’ve whittled down your list of options, it’s time to get quotes for building work. The rule of thumb is to get three builders' quotes from the UK and compare them – a bit of a laborious process maybe, but it’ll be worth the effort.

Contact your chosen builders via the internet or phone. To avoid confusion and ambiguity, list out your requirements clearly. If possible, meet your builders on site: a face-to-face meeting allows you to assess each builder’s professionalism and approach to your project.

Ask each builder about their insurance policy – what are they covered for? Also, what warranties/guarantees do they offer for their work?

3. UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ESTIMATE AND A QUOTE

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In simple English, an estimate is an educated guess; a quote is a fixed price. To avoid costly budget blow-outs, we recommend getting quotes where possible. Ensure that the builder spends time on the detail of your project and clearly sets out each stage of the project and relevant costs.

Remember, when you’re renovating an existing property, there’s likely to be extra unexpected costs that may only be discovered once demolition has started. Make sure your builder allows a buffer amount for this in his/her pricing.

4. GO THROUGH EACH QUOTE CAREFULLY

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When you get your quotes back, (this might take anywhere up to 3 weeks) go through each of them carefully. Make sure you understand exactly what the builder is quoting and how much detail is included for each stage of the project.

Beware of builders that quote ‘ballpark’ figures – it’s quite likely that he/she hasn’t accurately costed the job, so you might be in for some nasty surprises once the project is underway. Read the fine print. If you have any questions regarding the quote, don’t be afraid to contact us and ask.

5. CHEAPEST ISN’T ALWAYS BEST

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Don’t fall into the trap of simply opting for the cheapest quote. Yes, of course, the bottom-line counts, but a quote that is far too cheap to be true should flag a warning: how much detail has the builder gone into in the quote? Is the builder being realistic with the cost of materials and/or hours of labor? Nobody works for nothing, so where are they cutting the corners?

Similarly, if one company’s price is far higher than all the rest, take a good look at why – is the builder quoting for more extensive works than is necessary?

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6. BE REALISTIC

Quality home renovations don’t come cheap, so be realistic about the costs when getting a quote for building a house or remodeling an existing one. Treat your home as an investment and remember that cheap renovations won’t help its resale value down the track.

Talk to your renovation team about areas where you can save a penny or two, and areas where it’s best to spend a little extra – they understand what counts when it comes to ensuring that you add real value to your home.

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If a quote looks reasonable, well thought-through and you’re happy with the price, why not accept it? Similarly, and notwithstanding the risk of the single quote route, you may know a good local trade who is the go-to person for a particular type of work, such as ceramic tiling. If so, it’s likely they’ll give you a decent price because local clients will be comparing notes and word will soon get around if someone has been treated unfavorably.

If you’re looking for a realistic and affordable home building project, Get in touch with us now! 020 7916 2087
We offer affordable home builds in London. Visit our website Property Contractors 247 and get your free quote.

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Green homes grants that provide free vouchers that can be used to make energy-saving improvements to your home to schemes that can bring significant reductions to the cost of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs), there are plenty of green homes grants available for UK homeowners, landlords, and motorists.

The good news is that there are, in fact, a wide range of energy grants and schemes available to UK residents that can help with the cost of making your home and mode of transport more efficient and eco-friendly.

The Green Homes Grant was launched in September 2020 as a welcome solution to the growing challenge to meet the UK’s target for 2050 net-zero emissions. It was also hailed as a way to stimulate the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the government’s goal for a green industrial revolution, the government green grant offered a way for homeowners and landlords across England to retrofit their homes. Expensive energy-efficient upgrades were suddenly made affordable through the discount vouchers offered

What is the Green Homes Grant?

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Homeowners and landlords in England were able to apply for a green home grant voucher towards the cost of installing energy-efficient and low-carbon heating improvements to homes, which could help save up to £600 a year on energy bills.

If a valid application was submitted before 5 pm on 31 March 2021, the government will provide a voucher that covers up to two-thirds of the cost of qualifying improvements to your home. The maximum value of the voucher is £5,000. You may be able to receive a higher level of subsidy if you are a homeowner and either you or a member of your household receives one of the qualifying benefits, covering 100% of the cost of the improvements. The maximum value of these vouchers is £10,000. Landlords could not apply for the low-income part of the scheme.

Local Authorities in England will also be making support available for low-income households in their local area through the Green Homes Grant: Local Authority Delivery. Contact your Local Authority to see if they are participating in this scheme and for further information.


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What improvements can I get?

Vouchers must be used to install at least one primary home insulation or low carbon heating measure.

If you chose to install at least one of the primary measures, you could use your voucher to help cover the cost of secondary measures. The subsidy for the second measure is capped at the value of the subsidy provided for the primary measures. For example, if you receive £400 for a primary measure such as cavity wall insulation, you will be able to receive a maximum of £400 for a secondary measure such as an energy-efficient replacement door.

The primary and secondary measures are set out below:

Primary Measures

Insulation:

Low carbon heat:

Secondary Measures

Windows and doors:

Heating controls and insulation:

What if I’m claiming other grants or funding?

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You will not be able to claim Green Homes Grant subsidy vouchers towards the cost of a measure that has also received funding under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). However, you can claim both ECO GRANT and Green Homes Grant subsidy providing they are each for different measures – for example, loft insulation and cavity wall insulation.

The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) gives households money towards renewable heating costs in their home. Payments are made for 7 years and are based on the amount of renewable heat made by your heating system.

You can claim both the Domestic RHI and the Green Home Grant for renewable heat installation. You must claim the Green Home Grant first and then notify Ofgem that you have used it when you apply for accreditation to the Domestic RHI. The Green Homes Grant will then be deducted from your Domestic RHI payments.

Households can claim the Green Homes Grant for energy efficiency measures both before and after accreditation to the Domestic RHI.

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Getting the voucher

You will receive a separate voucher for each of the measures that you have applied to install.

Each voucher is only valid for the measure and property you have applied for. The voucher is only for use by the named applicant and cannot be transferred to another person.

You can only begin work once your voucher has been issued. Any work that was started before that date cannot be claimed.

Vouchers issued up to 31 August 2021 will be valid for 3 months from the date they are issued.

Vouchers issued after 31 August 2021 will expire no later than 30 November 2021.

All vouchers should be redeemed before their expiry date.

If you request a voucher extension at any date up to and including 31 July, vouchers will be extended for 90 days or until 31 October, whichever is sooner.

Extension requests received after 31 July may be granted in more limited circumstances. For the majority of vouchers, extension requests may be granted only if work has started on your voucher measure. Vouchers that are extended will expire on 31 October 2021.

We recognize that occasionally, once work has started, circumstances may arise that are fully beyond your control. In such a situation please contact the scheme administrator as soon as possible to assess if a short extension until 30 November 2021 at the latest could be considered (subject to circumstances). No vouchers will be extended beyond 30 November 2021.

If you have a voucher for one or more of the following measures that were issued after 30 April, you may still be granted an extension for the voucher after 31 July, even if work has not started. Vouchers will be extended for 90 days or to 30 November 2021, whichever is sooner.

The measures are:

If you have a voucher for a primary measure that expires after 31 July and has not yet been redeemed, then you can still apply for an extension to any secondary measure voucher that you have, even if work has not started on them. Vouchers will be extended to 31 October 2021 or the expiry date of your primary voucher, whichever is later.

Please note that extensions for secondary measures are not automatically granted. You will need to apply for extensions on each voucher that you wish to extend. 

Contact us now for your green homes grant project! 020 7916 2087We offer affordable home building services. Visit Property Contractors 247 and get your free quote now

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