House Extensions, Kitchen Extensions, Loft Conversions, Garage Conversions Builders in London

House Extensions, Kitchen Extensions, Loft Conversions, Garage Conversions Builders in London

Kitchen extensions with skylights

kitchen extension open plan skylights
Kitchen extension open plan skylights

L shaped kitchen extension skylights roof lights
L shaped kitchen extension skylights roof lights

skylights kitchen extension
Skylights kitchen extension

electric roof windows
Electric roof windows

roof windows kitchen extension
Masive RSJs beam structural works

conservation area listed building electric windows
Conservation area listed building electric windows

roof lanter
Roof lantern

maisonette roof lights
Maisonette roof lights

roof window flat roof fibreglass
Velux roof window flat roof fibreglass

listed building roof lights
Grade 2 listed building roof lights

asphalt flat roof window
Asphalt flat roof window

Velux roof window
Velux roof window

roof lantern lead roofing
Roof lantern lead roofing

flat roof skylight
Flat roof skylight

extension roof light
Extension roof light

Bricklaying

Experts can lay bricks or blocks, quickly and well. Amateurs can usually do one or the other, but not both.

bricklayer building a brickwall

It you are content to work slowly, and if necessary to knock down a piece of wall and start again (if you do it before the mortar is dry you can brush off the bricks and all you have wasted is a few shovelsful of mortar), there’s no reason why a householder shouldn’t be his own bricklayer. Once you’ve begun to master the technique a whole range of jobs becomes possible, from making dwarf walls for the base of a greenhouse or garden shed to building a garage or a house extension. Start with a garden wall – if the results are a little irregular, you can always claim that the rustic look was intended.

Most tools needed can be hired or bought: brick trowel, pointing trowel, bricklayer’s spirit level (a yard long with two bubbles so it can be used horizontally and vertically), club hammer, bolster chisel, bricklayer’s line, a rule.

bricklayer using spirit level & brick trowel

To cut a brick, chip a groove in it with hammer and bolster and tap unwanted side sharply. When a bricklayer does it the brick falls neatly in half; amateurs can use a lot of bricks before they master the knack (though a brick which hasn’t broken cleanly can still be used provided the face side is the right length). An easy way round this is to use a brick saw, a handsaw with hardened teeth set into the blade, and simply saw the bricks to size.

Wear working or gardening gloves; the mortar is hard on the hands. For a garden wall, mark out and dig a foundation twice the width of the wall; take out topsoil until you reach a firm base, the deeper the footing is, the better. Drive in pegs and level them, using a line or a straight-edged board and spirit level, so peg heads are about 7cm below ground level. Now fill trench with concrete (1 part cement, 6 of all-in ballast) to the top of the pegs and leave it to harden.

foundation garden wall

There are hundreds of different types of bricks, of different strengths, colours, finishes and prices; and the mortar in which they are set depends on the brick and the job it has to do.

extension brick cavity wall

Bonds are the patterns in which bricks are laid – English bond, stretcher , Flemish bond. Their purpose, apart from appearance, is to ensure that, for the sake of strength, no vertical joint comes directly above another. With foundations laid, stretch a line to mark where the face of the wall is to be, put a pile of bricks near each end.
bricks joints

If it is dry weather moisten them, the bricks should feel damp, dust-free mix mortar. Bricklaying is a hard job but also relaxing if you do it as hobby.

Demolishing an old conservatory and building an extension

Sometimes, building a small extension can be done very cheaply if the new extension can make use of three existing walls. You might not need Planning Permission, but you must apply for Building Control by submitting a Building Notice and pay the required fee. Note: if you submit the Building Notice but you do not pay the fee – the Building Notice is ignored by the Council.

old conservatory

demolition old conservatory
Demolition of the old conservatory

Because there are already three existing walls, the old property and the neighbour’s extension wall, in this case we have an U – shaped site. After getting the neighbour to sign the Party Wall Agreement, the wall can be used as part of the new extension.

Infill extension

Due to a tree close by, the Building Control asked for the foundation to be 1.5 deep.

foundation infill extension

Because the foundation was small in size, mixing the concrete needed to fill up the footing was done by hand.

mixing concrete foundation mixer

The trench does not have to be filled up to the rim, it can be done bellow the ground level. Just make sure is levelled, it makes the bricklayer’s job easier.

wet concrete trench foundation

For this particular home extension, the roof is a flat roof ( warm decking – warm roof ). You can also see the brickwork bellow the DPC level ( damp proof course )

flat roof construction

flat roof structure - bellow DPC brickwork

The flat roof is covered by fibreglass and for the light we installed a Velux window right in the middle of the roof.

Having a large roof window installed, will provide natural light.

roof window flat fibreglass roof

double glazing extension french door
Double glazing extension french door

extension flooring

extension

Party Wall Act & Agreement

Building an extensions and the neighbour is having an issue about a shared wall ? It happens quite often , especially in London area. Trial holes or trial pits for the foundations and employing a Surveyor is needed sometimes.
trial hole pit foundation
A trial pit for a shared wall

What is a party wall?

The main types of party walls are:

a wall that stands on the lands of 2 (or more) owners and forms part of a building – this wall can be part of one building only or separate buildings belonging to different owners
a wall that stands on the lands of 2 owners but does not form part of a building, such as a garden wall but not including timber fences
a wall that is on one owner’s land but is used by 2 (or more) owners to separate their buildings

The Act also uses the expression ‘party structure’. This could be a wall or floor partition or other structure separating buildings or parts of buildings in different ownership, such as in flats.
What the Act covers

The Act covers:

new building on or at the boundary of 2 properties
work to an existing party wall or party structure
excavation near to and below the foundation level of neighbouring buildings

This may include:

building a new wall on or at the boundary of 2 properties
cutting into a party wall
making a party wall taller, shorter or deeper
removing chimney breasts from a party wall
knocking down and rebuilding a party wall
digging below the foundation level of a neighbour’s property

What the Act covers

The Act covers:

new building on or at the boundary of 2 properties
work to an existing party wall or party structure
excavation near to and below the foundation level of neighbouring buildings

This may include:

building a new wall on or at the boundary of 2 properties
cutting into a party wall
making a party wall taller, shorter or deeper
removing chimney breasts from a party wall
knocking down and rebuilding a party wall
digging below the foundation level of a neighbour’s property

You can read more about Party Wall Act here :
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/207310/Party_Wall_etc._Act_1996_-_Explanatory_Booklet.pdf

Using walls for fixtures

When you fix something up, you want to make sure it’s not going to fall down as soon as your back is turned. So it’s important you use the right type of fixing for the material on which you plan to put your fitments. The correct fixing method depends not only on the construction of the wall but also on the weight and nature of the object to be supported.

builder using a power drill

There are two basic types of wall- solid (brick or block built) or hollow partition. From the point of view of wall fixings cavity construction can be regarded as solid brickwork. If you tap the surface of your wall you will get either a solid or hollow response depending on the construction. Remember where a thick plaster coating is applied to brickwork it is important to get your fixing securely into the brickwork for maximum support. Hollow types consist of sheets of plasterboard or laths and plaster fixed to a timber framework and are mainly used for partitioning. Decide exactly where you want to place the fitment on the wall and then mark the fixing holes accordingly. Drill holes in the fitment first, if not already made. Don’t attempt to fix heavy items on partition walls unless you can drill into the framework of the partition.

Drilling into a wall
For this job you will need a tungsten carbide-tipped masonry drill bit fitted into the chuck of an electric or hand drill. The tough carbide tip ensures a long life for the drill bit even with the rapid wear and tear involved in drilling masonry. If your drill has more than one speed, operate it as slowly as possible. If you find a section is extremely hard, such as a concrete lintel above a door or window, you may need a hammer action electric dri1l or a drill fitted with a hammer attachment. The hammer drill bit is driven into the wall by turning and hammering simultaneously.

Reducing heat loss in the home

insulation

Many houses fall well below the minimum thermal insulation standards set under building regulations. Although some forms of insulation should be carried out by a professional, there is still much that can be done by the home handyman. Before you begin the process of keeping heat inside where it belongs, it is useful to understand the ways in which heat is lost from a house. The amount of heat lost does depend on the nature of the building, its aspect and exposure to winds – and figures vary from house to house.

In a typical uninsulated house approximately one quarter is lost through the roof, one-third through the walls, one-tenth through the doors, one-fifth through the windows and one-sixth through the floors. After insulation these losses can be cut down to approximately one-twentieth, one-tenth, one-twentieth, one-ninth and one-tenth respectively. So although insulation does not prevent all the heat escaping, it substantially reduces the amount of loss and correspondingly diminishes the size of your heating bills.

It shortens the time it takes to heat a room and enables you to keep down the number and size of radiators and the size of the boiler or to install a less powerful and therefore less expensive central heating system around the home. Forms of insulation vary from the simple rubber strip draught excluder on your door to insulating boards lining the walls. What you decide to do will depend on the amount of time and money you have available; but the more thoroughly you carry out the job, the greater the rewards will be in terms of comfort and eventual savings, which will well repay the initial expense and effort.

Insulating the loft space

Heating costs rise with the warm air if heat is allowed to escape through the roof. By insulating the loft area you can keep down the bills and hold heat where it belongs – in the house. A loft that is not insulated accounts for a heat loss of about 25 percent in the average size house. Several forms of insulation are available and fall into two categories: loose-fill materials such as velmiculite granules and the mat type made from glass fibre or mineral wool. The materials we mention are all resistant to fire and you must check on the fire-resistance of any alternative product you consider buying. As a precaution,first treat all timber for woodworm.

Insulation slab loft conversion
Insulation slab
A versatile thermal and acoustic rock mineral wool insulation slab suitable for a wide variety of applications such as drylining, stud partitions, loft conversions, etc

Granule insulation
One advantage of using granules to insulate your loft is that they flow easily and smoothly and will fill any awkward spaces. They are also safe to handle since they do not contain any splinters or loose fibres.

Vermiculite
Expanded mica in granule form. this is supplied in easy-to-handle bags. The manufacturer’s instructions will give you a guide to the number of bags needed for specific areas. You should wear a mask and some form of eye protection when using vermiculite since it is a dusty material that easily gets into the atmosphere.

Laying granules
Pour vermiculite between the joists to a depth of about l00mm, which will bring it almost to the level of the joists. Level the granules to the required depth by dragging a T shaped piece of timber along the top of the joists. This can be made from any piece of scrap wood at least 150mm wide and 500mm long. You must cut the base of the ‘T’ to fit the gaps between the joists. Use a broom or rake for awkward corners.

Mat insulation
This form of insulation does not need to be laid as thickly as granules and should be used in lofts where there are gaps around the eaves, since wind might blow the granules about.

Glass fibre
The most economical form of mat insulation for loft spaces. It comes in thick rolls and is available in 400mm widths, equivalent to the space between roof joist in most houses, and can be cut quite easily with a large pair of scissors or a sharp knife. Even handled carefully, glass fibre can irritate the skin, so always wear gloves when working with it.

Mineral wool
Another mat type’ this is made from rock fibre and is handled in the same way as glass fibre.

Laying rolls
Place the roll of material between the joists and tuck the end under the eaves. Working backwards, unroll the material until you reach the other end of the roof. Cut it and tuck the end under the eaves as before. Lay the strip flat between the joists or, if it is a little wider, turn the sides up against the sides of the joists. Continue in this way until the whole loft area has been covered. If you have to join two strips in the middle of the roof butt them together.

Insulating awkward areas
You will find it easier to cover awkwardly shaped or inaccessible areas with granules. A l00mm thickness of granules is equivalent to 80mm of blanket materials in terms of effective insulation. Whichever method of insulation you use, don’t insulate under the cold water tank. You must allow a warm air current to flow from below to prevent the tank from freezing in cold weather. But don’t forget to insulate the loft flap or cover. Cut a piece of mat material to the size of the cover and stick it down with a latex adhesive. And when working in the loft, remember to tread only on the joists or on a board placed across them.

Other forms of insulation
Even more insulation can be provided if you make a floor to the loft by fixing panels of chipboard or planks of timber to the joists above the insulating material. This will also give you extra storage space, but you may have to strengthen the joists by spanning the load-bearing walls with large timbers before laying the floor if you want to put heavy items on it. Seek advice from a builder or your local authority. Heat loss through the roof space can be further reduced by lining the ceilings immediately below the loft with an insulating-type material such as expanded polystyrene or acoustic tiles. It should be emphasized, however, that this is not a substitute for loft insulation. Effective insulation of the floor will make the loft colder, so it is vitally important to ensure the cold water tank (except beneath it) and all pipes are thoroughly protected, otherwise they will be susceptible to frost damage.

Protection from frost
The type of loft most likely to suffer from frost damage is one with an unboarded tile-hung roof. If your roof has no close-boarding or roofing felt as is the case with many older houses – it is worth insulating it. Cut lengths of roofing felt about 200mm wider than the distance between the rafters. Lay one long edge onto the inside edge of one rafter, lay a 25 x 15mm batten onto the felt and screw through the batten and felt into the rafter. Use No 8 countersunk screws 25mm long spacing them at 300 380mm intervals. Don’t use nails as the vibration from hammering could dislodge and break the roof tiles. Stretch the roof felt across to the next rafter and fix the other edge onto the edge of that rafter, again screwing through a batten. Leave a space between the roof and the felt to allow air to circulate, otherwise you may find rot will form on the rafters. An alternative to roofing felt is tempered hardboard: butt-joint each panel of hardboard to the next by screwing it to the centre of each rafter with No 8 countersunk screws 25mm long. You may have to trim your cut panels so they fit neatly in the middle of each rafter. All this work can be done in easy stages; when you have finished, the roof space will certainly remain warmer in winter and will also be much cleaner – an important consideration if you are using the loft for storage.