Garden design and outdoor building by Robuild.
Garden design and outdoor building by Robuild.
Garden design and outdoor building by Robuild.
Sweden are champions in Europe when it comes to insulating a home.Norway and other Scandinavian countries are not very far behind. From triple glazing to insulated wall, they lead the way in constructing better homes and save energy.
The flat roof construction originated in the Middle East, where the weather is dry most of the time. In Europe, a flat roof is relatively a new way to build a roof. A flat roof is never really a flat roof as the name suggests, it will always have a slope to allow the water to drain off.
When replacing or building a flat roof, there are four popular options in terms of materials and costs.
Bitumen felt flat roofing
In UK, the most popular type of flat roof roofing is made of bitumen felt to provide a waterproof covering.The materials used for this type of roofing are cheap and the roofers will charge less than for other types of roofing.The felt roofing will have to be replaced from time to time, as it has a life span of maximum 10 years, depends on how exposed the roof is to the elements ( sun, rain, cold ).
Bitumen felt flat roofing with two skylights over a kitchen extension
Fibre Glass flat roofing
The materials cost is more or less double of the cost for a felt roof but it will last longer as most fibreglass roof manufacturers will provide a warranty of 20 years or more. It can also be cleaned very easily.
Fibreglass roofing with a Velux window over an infill extension
Lead flat roofing
A very traditional way to build a flat roof, more often than not, it is required for Listed Buildings and for buildings located in a Conservation Area. A lead roof can have a life span of over 50 years, provided that there is ventilation for the wood work. It has to be painted with patination oil to stop the lead from staining.
Lead flat roofing over a rear extension
Asphalt flat roofing
Asphalt roofing is hot and melted bitumen mixed with aggregate. It has passed the test of time, it contracts when its cold and expands when its hot. White coloured asphalt reflects the heat better but it gets dirty very quickly.
Asphalt roofing and conservation roof window over a garage conversion
IKEA, along with other refugee aid organisations, believe the flat pack camps could be the solution for the world’s shifting refugee populations.
The new structure comes equipped with solar panels, insulation and a ceiling high enough for people to stand up in.
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Protecting the home
No home should be left unprotected or invitations left for the prowling burglar. From Alarm installation to installing CCTV systems, you can have a look at the various ways you can guard against intruders and gives detailed instructions on how to fit locks securely to all types of doors and windows. Advice is given on what to do when you leave the house, whether for a short period or for a long holiday. Having spent time and money on improving the home, it is important all that effort is not wasted through a moment of carelessness. The intruder will often make quite a mess and it is heart-breaking to return and find your home in a shambles.
Whenever you leave the house
-Lock all doors and windows and remove keys.
-Lock garages and sheds and lock away ladders and tools.
-Never leave visible notes for trades people.
-Don’t leave keys under mats or in obvious positions.
-Never leave a key on a string behind the letter box; this habit will not go unnoticed.
-In the daytime open the curtains; at night close them and leave a light on – other than that in the hall; better still, fit a time switch to one or two lights so they come on as dusk falls.
-Never leave cars or bicycles unlocked even if in a garage.
-Never leave a window open for the cat to get in and out; provide a cat door.
-When leaving your car always lock valuables in the boot, again even when in a garage. Better still, take them with you.
-When shopping never leave a purse where it can be stolen such as in a basket, on a counter or in a pram- Use a small holdall rather than a basket.
Before going on holiday
-Tell your neighbours and the police so they can watch the house for you.
-Cancel all household deliveries, such as milk and newspapers.
-Ask a friend or neighbour to draw the curtains each night (and open them in the morning) and leave one or two lights on to give the house a lived-in appearance. Again it would be a good idea to fit a time switch so the lights will not be on all night and attract attention. .Also ask someone to remove any circulars from your letter box.
-If you intend to be away for a long time, make arrangements for your lawn to be mown overgrown grass can be an obvious giveaway.
-Always leave the security chain fixed so, when you open the door, no one can burst in.
-Always check the credentials of callers such as meter readers; all public employees carry official identification ask to see it.
-Teach children not to open the door to strangers.
-Ensure the whereabouts of exit door keys is known to family and guests in the event of fire breaking out.
-Keep all documents, such as bank and credit cards, cheque books, insurance policies and passports in a safe place; but always keep cheque books separate from bank and credit cards which can be used to verify cheques.
-Keep duplicates of all keys in a secure place such as a safe; the loss of any could seriously affect security.
Every home and its contents should be properly insured; but this is not sufficient security on its own. Insurance can never recover the real value you place on your possessions or compensate for the mental distress caused by intrusion.
If you are going to install your own double glazing, it is likely you will choose a DIY type since kits for these are widely available and are relatively easy to install. There are, however, a number of problems you may come across when fitting them.
For example, they can be fitted to existing timber or metal window frames; but if metal frames are fixed directly into masonry, you will have to drill and tap the frame to provide screw-fixing points or fit a secondary timber frame to accept the double glazing, particularly if the frame is too narrow. However, most metal windows are set in a timber surround and this can be treated as the window. If you want to fix the double glazing frame to the reveal, you may come across the problem of an out of square reveal; to deal with this you will have to pack the out-of-square area with timber wedges or choose a system which fits directly to the window. Again, certain types of kit require the channels in which the new glazing is fitted to be mitred at the corners and joined. If you think you will find this too much of a problem, choose a type which is supplied with corner pieces.
Remember to cut the channel lengths squarely at the ends or you will find it difficult to fit on the corner pieces and the final appearance of the glazing will be marred. Also, don’t expect the glass to be a push-fit into the channel; it might slide in, but often you will need to encourage this by tapping gently with a mallet or with a hammer and a block of wood placed to protect the glass. Warning If you are going to double glaze bay windows, remember to treat each window as a separate unit. There are many makes of secondary sash double glazing available and the manufacturers supply detailed instructions for installation.
There are, however, three basic types of system: plastic channel, fixed or hinged, and sliding secondary sashes.
With this type, each pane of glass is fitted into a frame made by cutting lengths of U-shaped plastic channel to size; remove any sharp edges from the glass with a carborundum stone. The corners of the channel have to be mitred. Using a sharp knife and a mitre guide, cut the first mitre corner and then fit the channel to the glass to determine the position of the second corner. Remove the channel and mitre-cut at this position; repeat this process until all four corners have been cut. Secure the channel to the glass; some kits require the use of adhesive to form a rigid frame. Hold this assembly up to the window and fix it in place on the frame with the plastic clips supplied with the kit. With this type of double glazing, out-of-square reveals will not cause problems since the channel is always fixed to the frame.
Fixed or hinged
Usually this type consists of plastic or aluminium channel cut to shape and joined at the corners by mitring or by using special corner pieces. Fixing is either by clips to non-opening windows or by hinges to opening windows (the new windows can be hinged to open sideways or upwards). You could, of course, use hinges with fixed windows to make them easier to clean. This type of double glazing will, if correctly assembled, eliminate draughts and the new windows can be removed for summer storage. Before you buy this type of system, read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to check the frame around your window is wide enough to take the double glazing and that it is made of the right material to take this particular system. With some systems the manufacturer recommends fixing only to wood rather than metal frames. Again. your existing window catches or handles may protrude in such a way they will interfere with the installation of the new system. You can usually solve these problems by fitting a secondary timber frame to take the double glazing; butt-join the corners of the frame, fill in any gaps with wood filler and apply a wood primer followed by two coats of paint. allowing the first coat to dry before applying the second. There is one system which uses PVC shatterproof panels instead of glass. These are fitted into self adhesive plastic tracks which are cut and pressed into place to the wall outside the reveal. The panels can be easily removed, but you may consider this too much trouble with opening windows.
Usually this type is fitted in the reveal. An outer frame is fixed in the reveal to square up the opening; use pieces of wood as packing if necessary. The glass is fixed in a separate frame which is fitted inside the outer frame to enable the glass and its separate frame to slide. The framed glass is removable and horizontal and vertical sliders are available. Depending on the size of the window, two or more sliding panels will be needed. One system can be fixed to the face of the window frame so you will avoid the problems of squaring up a reveal, although it can be reveal fixed as well. In this case the company offers a kit specially designed to suit your windows; it comprises plastic channelling cut to size and ready to be joined on site so no cutting or mitring is required. The glass comes complete in its tailor-made frame ready to be installed in the channelling.
For most people condensation conjures up pictures of bathroom walls running with moisture, windows steamed up and water on the window sills. These more easily recognizable forms of condensation can be temporarily cleared up with a little time and effort devoted to mopping up. But there are ways of helping to prevent condensation forming in the first place. Condensation is caused when moisture in warm air comes into contact with a cold surface and turns to water. Kitchens and bathrooms are the obvious places to suffer, but condensation will often occur in patches on walls or ceilings in living areas too.
Single glass windows are undoubtedly one of the worst offenders in causing condensation. In damp winter conditions few homes escape the problem and bedrooms in particular suffer from its effects. This is the result of lower night temperatures reacting with the warm air we breathe out or warm air circulated by heating equipment. The problem is made worse by the introduction of new moist air into a room by cooking, using hand basins or running baths. Probably the worst effect of condensation is the damage it can do in a short time to window frames and paintwork. Even when frames are correctly painted 3mm in on the glass pane, the lower beading quickly breaks down and allows moisture to attack the timber or metal beneath. One remedy is the installation of good quality double glazing. Although condensation may not be completely eliminated, the build-up is reduced sufficiently to prevent moisture being a problem.
One of the greatest money-wasters is heat loss, caused by poor insulation and ill-fitting doors and windows. This section describes the way in which you can solve these problems and cut down on your heating bills. Check with the heat loss blogs to see where your money is going and follow the steps necessary to keep the warmth where it belongs inside.
Preventitive measures including double glazing and insulating the loft are both tasks you can do yourself. Broken windows should be replaced as soon as possible. Condensation can lead to the greater problem of damp; advice is given on how to eliminate it.
There are several advantages in making curtains yourself: not only is it much cheaper than buying them ready-made, but it also allows you greater flexibility in design and choice of fabric – and you can be sure of getting them the right width and length for your windows rather than having to accept the sizes available in the shops. Of course you can have your own fabric made into curtains by a professional, but this is expensive and, since curtains are not at all difficult to make up, it pays to do it yourself.
Measuring for width
To calculate the width of your curtains, measure the curtain track, add any overlap and double this figure. This is only a general guide, however, since gathered or pleated curtains require varying amounts of material depending on the type of or curtain tape you use.
Measuring for length
Using a steel measuring tape or rule, measure the distance from the top of the track to the bottom of the window sill or to the floor (since some sills and floors tend to slope, it is best to measure in several places to ensure the curtains will hang in line). To this measurement add 20cm to allow for hems top and bottom; if the curtains will have a stand-up heading, double its depth and add this to your measurement. Divide the width of the finished curtain by the width of your chosen fabric to give the number of fabric widths and multiply the length of each curtain by the number of widths required.
Very thick brocades, velvets and wools are hard for the amateur to handle if you want your curtains to look heavy. it will be cheaper and easier to interline them. Remember, too, that natural fibres are more prone to rot if they are exposed to direct sunlight. Think about how you will need to care for your curtains. Kitchen windows might be near the cooker and likely to become dirty very quickly” so choose something light, washable and flameproof. Pattern and colour will be your final problems. Large motifs and heavy fabrics are best left for long curtains. If the curtains play a very prominent part in the look of the room. you might be wise to play safe and choose a natural or plain coloured fabric which will blend in with many different furnishings styles. If you want to redesign the room later, you can do it without a huge cash outlay by changing smaller or less expensive items like pictures. lights, plants and cushions. Big bold patterns give a striking effect but they will dominate the room, so keep the rest of it simple.