Archive: Nov 2012

  1. Gaining an Insight into Extensions, New Developments & Construction

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    Want an extension for your Essex Home?

    Understanding boundary walls, extension planning, design and constructing new areas around your home can be a minefield. However, It can be very rewarding to extend or improve your home, and whether you are intending to resell your home after a renovation or are planning to stay in your home long term, the financial rewards can be very exciting.

     

    Terraced Homes

    One of the most common issues when extending or improving the inside or outside of your terraced home can be the access to the home or property. The site access is one of the most important things to consider, as builders need to be able to transport materials and dirty boots to your home. This is not exactly ideal when it comes to any access being narrow and in rare occasions, they may have to travel through the main part of the house in order to carry out their work.

     

    In most conversions and extensions carried out to terraced homes, they are carried out on the ground floor. This is mainly because floors and walls can become damaged during construction. This said, loft extensions are very popular and professional companies usually work through the roof first before opening up the extension into the home.

     

    Planning permission and discovering boundaries are usually rather straight forward with terraced home extensions and improvements. However any permission is usually limited obviously due to the size of the home.

     

    Larger Detached & Semi-Detached Homes

    The recent construction industry has seen a few changes of late. With planning permission due to be temporarily altered to help to re-start developments, extensions and loft builds this will mean that builders taken on to carry out extension projects will be able to build bigger extensions than those that were previously allowed. What this means for you is that your home or property can benefit from a much large space without planning permission, though its always advised that you, your architect or your builder contacts the local authority before plans and extensions are put into place.

     

    New permitted development rights are making it much easier at present to install conservatories and transform loft spaces. This is something that the Prime Minister has promised across the country and will mean that planning permission required before that was required for any extension or addition up to three to four metres past the original boundary of your home will only be need for those exceeding 8 metres.

     

    Fantastic news if you have the space and don’t want to limit the new area.

     

    Business & Commercial

    Under the new temporary rules, as outlined above, businesses will be allowed to extend retail outlets by 100 square metres, and commercial business will be able to extend industrial outlets and buildings by 200 square metres.

     

     

    With planning application fees being around £150 and unusually large extensions, garage conversions and conservatories beyond 3 to 4 metres in length from the home or property requiring a planning officer, that will be no longer the case. However, the change will not be permanent so it is certainly the time to take on a project to improve and transform your space.

     

    Listed Buildings

    There is always a requirement to contact your local authority if you live or conduct your business in a listed building. That is regardless of the extension, conservatory, loft extension or garage conversion that you are planning.

     

     

    Summary

    Whether you own a terraced home, a semi-detached house or a detached residence the planning rules will temporarily change. This will offer you and your builder with the chance to add a conservatory up to 30 square metres and will alter the way that a planning officer will need to be involved in your extension or loft conversion.

     

    If you are looking to carry out a professional extension, add an outstanding conservatory, or transform your loft space then talk to us. We are Essex Property Maintenance – not only can we do the small jobs but we are experts in large projects that convert your home or property beautifully.

     

  2. Commercial & Domestic Painting & Decorating

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    Although many people carry out ‘Do it Yourself’ painting and decorating, it is actually a professionally skilled job that should really be carried out by a qualified tradesperson. This is because, for those looking to achieve a professional result, it can only be achieved by not doing it yourself!

     

    Choice of Paint

    Choosing paint is not only about the colour but its about the room you intend to decorate and the atmosphere in that space. A winning colour combo will make your room, be it a lounge, kitchen or bedroom, look fantastic but it’s not just about the colour. Quite often you can paint a room and discover you have made the wrong choice of colour, but its vital to get that right as well as the type of paint that you use.

     

    Not only hiring a professional can save you time, it may save you money where mistakes occur and also with the tools that you require to do the job. A professional can provide you with the advice on buying the right paint for the right area – surprising as it may be, there are many different types to suit certain areas. It may be wipe easy paint for family areas, waterproof paint for rooms that attract moisture, matt paint, silk paint, satin, gloss, high gloss – the choice is endless and you may need primers depending on the area that you will paint.

     

    It can be very easy to make a mistake on the paint and a month down the line, after spending days painting just one room, you can easily find that you have made the wrong choice of paint. Quite often you can paint a room and discover you have made the wrong choice of colour also so it’s vital to get that right as well as the type of paint that you use.

     

    Type of Paint

    Choose the wrong type of sheen, or finish, for the room you are intending to paint and that perfect colour could be too shiny or may need touching up within weeks.

     

    The environment within your room is essential when considering which type of paint to choose:

     

    Matte Finish – this is a flat paint with no sheen or shine although scrapes or any scuffs will appear on this paint. This can be ideal for areas that have very low traffic and especially looks good on ceilings.

     

    Satin – satin paint has a very subtle gloss and can be wiped down should it suffer any scuffs, it provides a nice sheen to walls.

     

    High Gloss – durable, wipe clean and hard wearing and usually used on wooden fittings such as doors, skirting and framework and it usually not available in a huge amount of colours unless you choose to have your local paint store mix it for you.

     

    More Painting Tips

    Painting is an art, and that doesn’t mean abstract or watercolour. Painting should be carried out in a particular way in order to achieve a lovely crisp and clean finish. It’s vital to select the best type of decorating tape as well as the paint colour and type, because not all tape is intended to meet preparation or cleaning up your lines.

     

    Prepare your area. This can take more time than actually painting and decorating the space. Carefully fill in damaged walls if you have fine cracks or chips, however ensure that you seek a professional plasterer for advice if you have flaky or damp walls, or if there a cracks appearing that potentially have an underlying cause. Preparation is vital to getting the perfect finish – paint itself is not designed to fill the cracks in your walls and ceilings so use a filler that was made to fill those and smooth with a wet knife.

     

     

    Summary

    These are only a few bits of advice when painting your home. Decorating is a very good way to improve your space but doing it properly is key. You don’t have to be a professional, yet a qualified and experienced painter and decorator will carry out your project to perfection and will give you advice on the paint that you need for the space you intend to transform.

     

    If you need a professional painter and decorator then we can help, not only will we prepare to perfection, we will paint your walls, ceilings, shelving and wooden furniture if you require it and we are experts in wallpapering too. Call us today for a quotation.

     

  3. Plumbing & Heating

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    Reduce the Risk of a Plumbing or Heating Emergency

     

    Whilst you may instantly hire a professional plumber or heating engineer, there are few points to consider and lots of things to look out for that can help save you money and time whilst you wait for an expert. In very cold weather there can be issues with pipes, your boiler, a storage system or your entire heating system. We have produced some tips to help you to help yourself in an emergency. Please also remember that we are experts in our field and are ready for your call whether you do have an emergency situation, or if you simply would like us to service your system.

     

    Stop Valve – It’s important to know where your stop valve is. This is situated on the incoming water supply main and its important to take a look at this regularly to ensure that it isn’t leaking or rusting and that it’s working as it should be.

     

    Dripping Taps – Get them fixed if you don’t know how to as this is a very good sign that your plumbing / water system is not working properly. Tightening up can be simple for you if you are confident with doing it yourself.

     

    Leaking Pipes – This can cause unlimited amount of damage. If this is the case in your home or property, have them maintained by a professional plumbing engineer to avoid any damage, or further damage, to your property.

     

    Boilers – Central heating boilers should be serviced regularly to make sure that they are working properly. Most insurance companies will not cover you if your boiler breaks down and you have not had it regularly serviced.

     

    Storage Tanks – Water storage and connecting pipes in the loft and through your walls can become easily frozen in cold weather. If they are not already then have them properly insulated and run your hot water on a timer regularly if you go on holiday or leave your home during the winter months.

     

    Shower / Tap Pressure – More than an annoying problem, low pressure in your taps or shower head could be either due to simply isolated issues such as a tap having built up residue. Yet the issue if you have low pressure around the entire home or property can be due to an inadequate plumbing system, blocked pipes or leaking. If you suspect you have an issue with the entire system it can be important to have a professional plumber attend your premises.

     

    Conclusion

    In many cases you can carry out remedial work yourself where plumbing is concerned, especially on leaky taps and basic appliances. However, if you are suffering from heating or plumbing issues that you can’t fix yourself, contact your local experts. We’re a friendly team and are here for emergencies and are happy to attend to your home or commercial property on scheduled appointments. Call us today for advice or a consultation.

     

  4. Carpentry and It’s Importance

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    A carpenter is almost indispensable as far as the construction industry goes. Their expertise and talents cover a multitude of different areas including setting foundations, laying new stairs, installing beams and installing trims, decorations and much more.

     

    Carpentry covers many different areas and with an open canvas, be it commercial or residential, a carpenter can manage lots of different parts of a new build, extension or refurbishment. They can cover kitchens, bathrooms, doorways, floors, roofs, framework, panelling, moulding, ceilings – basically put, a carpenter carries a variety of skills putting them perfectly in your sights if you are looking to change an area in your home or property.

     

    Carpenters can repair or remodel existing structures of all kinds and any certified carpenter can:

     

    •       Rework & Remodel
    •       Install Stairs
    •       Create Banisters
    •       Install & Create Kitchens
    •       Create Framework
    •       Install Doorways
    •       Carry Out Woodwork of All Kinds
    •       Lay Floors
    •       Apply Wall Coverings
    •       Work on Interiors & Exteriors
    •       Install Beams

     

    In fact, the carpentry craft is a talented one and anyone that can work well with their hands may become a carpenter, but having the experience to carry out any intended work is essential. Carpentry requires modern and traditional skills that can be carried out manually. It also requires that any individual carrying out carpentry can read designs, be it from an individual home or property owner or an architect. It also requires that they can understand building plans and work from them accurately.

     

    Another skill a carpenter must have is the ability to communicate precisely to the people involved in any new build or any type of construction. This means that any plans can be transformed perfectly to meet the requirements of the person in charge – be it a home or property owner, a project manager, architect or site manager. Things can change very easily during any type of project that a carpenter is involved with.

     

    What this means for you is that you should ensure that you always take on a carpenter who can work really well with you. They should be confident that they can incorporate your ideas and your chosen tradesman should always understand the importance of getting the work completed to a perfect finish.

     

    Conclusion

    We are experts in a range of fields and our carpenters work to ensure that your finished project is completed to perfection, is appealing, and that the work when done is intended to work well within your home or property.

     

    Call us or email us today to speak to a friendly expert who will arrange a free consultation where we will accurately measure your space, take in your ideas and requirements, and will work with you to achieve your dream goals.

  5. Electrical Work on your Essex Home

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    Planning major electrical work in your home or whilst building a new property means you will have to take on board building regulations that apply to electrics. And the best way to adhere to regulations is to use an electrician who is registered with a competent person scheme.

    Building Regulations have controlled and monitored electricians and electrical work since 2005, so the design, planning and installation in dwellings, flats, gardens and outbuildings should be notified to Building Control. This applies to any home in England and Wales and planning permission may be required if your home is a listed building. Repairs and replacements do not always need to be reported to a Building Control body, though any work carried out in high risk areas such as kitchens and bathrooms must be. Regulations were put into place in order to reduce the amount of deaths and accidents that can be carried out by false or unskilled electricians.

    Using a specialist installer who can carry out electrical works without the need for obtaining planning permission first is the easiest route. The British Standards Institute website outlines all of the guidelines required when wiring or re-wiring a property and its advisable to use a professional who knows the standards of work expected.

    Checking Safety

    If a Building Regulations application is required, it is essential to have the electrical work checked for safety. If you are using a specialist who is listed or registered with a competent person scheme then they will do that on your behalf. You can also contact your local authority yourself by speaking with the Building Control section.

    Approved Inspectors

    A Local authority can appoint an inspector though you can use an approved inspector also. By doing this you will obtain a final report once the inspector is satisfied that the work carried out is safe.

    Summary

    If a qualified electrician carries out major or minor electrical work, it can present a risk to safety. This is also the case if you carry out the work yourself. Always have the work inspected and gain proof the work has been checked and is safe. Look here for more information about Electrical Work on your Essex Home

  6. Tiling Services – Roof, Floors and Walls

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    Let us tile for you

    It’s common for European homes outside of the UK to lay tiles on floors, walls and even stairs and the UK is fast becoming used to the idea of laying tiles instead of more traditional flooring such as carpet, wood and laminate. Tiling offers a low maintenance way of decorating the home as well as giving a way for your property to ooze style.
    Tiling walls and floors indoors can be done on a do it yourself basis yet it can be a hugely costly purchase if you don’t know what you are doing. The equipment required alone can be an investment in itself – mastic, saws, trowels all needed are going to make the job a huge one and they are the basic tools to make a good job of your upcoming project.
    Walls and floors should be laid professionally and a bad job can make the difference between having to maintain those tiles and the tiles needing no maintenance for years other than simple cleaning. A trained professional can cut tiles properly, can avoid waste and save the time it takes to lay tiles when compared to doing it yourself, however it’s the choosing of your tiles that can be the most difficult part of a tiling project. We often recommend that you spend a portion more per square metre to get the tiles you want rather than those you don’t. For instance, a saving of just £30 to £40 for cheaper tiles  is not always worth it when you consider how long good quality tiles can last.
    Both large and small tiling projects require skills and as a keen diy’er your dedication is key. However, calling on professional services for floor and wall tiles will help not only for your space to be transformed and looking fabulous, but having a professional job carried out can also add value to your home. Whatever type of wall or floor tile you choose; you can have your desired finish and a home that looks amazing. Don’t forget to choose a skilled tile tradesman who will follow strict health and safety regulations that help to keep you and your family safe.
    The majority of tiles are almost maintenance free and can enhance any room in your home. With slate, ceramic, porcelain, terracotta and much more being available for internal projects, they can look fantastic when fitted properly.
    As for external tiles, roofing is available in a variety of materials. Slate, clay, concrete and even solar tiles can be fitted and your roofer can source tiles on your behalf if you prefer.
    If you would like to redecorate your home and are interested in fitting new tiles or replacing old ones then speak to an expert and ensure the job is completed professionally.

  7. Plastering The Walls & Ceilings in Your Home

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    Clea plaster can help to fix a multitude of sins in your home. Walls can crack and become easily damaged, especially with family homes or rental properties. Ceilings can do the same, this is especially the case with older properties who have boards in the ceilings that have not been joined properly and have not been fully bonded – the ceiling can sag, crack and chip when the boards begin to settle.

    The other reason homeowners have areas re-plastered or skimmed is when artex is currently in place – it is dated and most modern homes prefer ceilings to be skimmed to a smooth finish. Another reason? When walls have become damp, they can be re-plastered when the damp source has been located and repaired.

    Re-plastering

    This is a great way to modernise the home. Consider whether your walls are slightly out of shape, as a plasterer will not always be able to complete the plastering work to a straight finish without re-boarding and bonding (re-floating) the entire wall again – basically, starting from scratch is sometimes the only way to correct the problem. Some homeowners, however, are happy to simply carry out repair works on such walls to save money though its important to get advice from the plasterer to ensure that they can guarantee problems won’t occur again. In this case re-skimming existing walls may be the solution.

    It may be that you prefer only the damaged areas or cracks to be filled in, in this case its important to ensure that the cracks won’t re-occur and that you are sure cracks are not a sign of more serious damage other than old, dry plasterwork. Modern plaster or mortar applied to older walls may cause defectiveness. Another thing to mention is that it’s essential to ensure if the wall is an exterior one, that the mortar or cement in the bricks or stones (if you house is of traditional build) is intact.

    If the walls are already very smooth, it can be vital that the plasterer you undertake to carry out work cracks the current plaster so that the new plaster can attach itself permanently.

    Re-skimming

    If the existing skimming on your walls or ceiling has become flaky with no hollowing in the wall cavity, it may be possible to bond the existing boards to level the entire wall or ceiling up. This is especially the case where any cracks or flakes cannot be plastered over. In many cases it is possible for a plasterer to re-skim over old materials. In some cases, you can fill in smaller cracks yourself though do be prepared to re-paint or wallpaper the entire room.

    The main difference between re-plastering (or skimming) and plastering over plasterboard is in the preparation. Such prep must be carried out properly or new plaster will not take as the existing plaster has a high rate of suction capability, meaning that new plaster can be absorbed too quickly and will cause problems.

    Damaged plasterboard whether on walls or ceilings needs to be repaired first before attempting re-skimming (or re-plastering.) PVA is usually applied to old plaster before new plaster is used to skim the area, this prepares the area and prevents the existing plaster from sucking in the new.

    A re-skim can be up to £10 per square metre depending on your location, however having advice from a professional is helpful at this point.

    Conclusion

    Assess the room and the exterior facing walls for concealed sources of the problem. Smaller cracks may be simply that your home is older and boards have settled over time, that they weren’t fitted properly to begin with, or that the plaster has simply become damp or dry over time.

  8. Planning Your Kitchen & Lifestyle

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    The kitchen, though it may sound like a cliché, truly is the hub of the home. Modern life has ensured that the family home has a central location and that is the kitchen.

    The kitchen provides the whole family with somewhere to get together. The centre of the home in today’s home will normally have an island to gather the family, a seating area – be it a dining table or a comfortable sofa – and quite often electricals such as flat TV screens or a sound system.

    The conditions in the kitchen, such as cooking smells and condensation, will always be the leading factor when considering the décor. The changing styles have seen most kitchens using modern materials instead of the pine cupboard doors that used to be popular in the 1990’s. Glossy cabinets and marble or solid wooden worktops are very common now and the kitchen often flows nicely in new homes and traditional 1930’s homes through to the living area.

    Understanding Your Space

    A desirable way to plan your kitchen space is by using a specialist who knows. The area that you have in your kitchen space as well as surrounding rooms can be a great way to increase your space.

    Newer homes tend to have surrounding space, such as a larger lounge and a smaller kitchen. These can be transformed into large kitchen and dining areas, and they can be re-designed to incorporate a utility area – something that modern families really do find the need for. More traditional style properties usually have larger areas that can be converted into a beautiful space without the need for much building and interruption.

    Positioning The Appliances

    Try to think about a triangle layout – the oven, the sink and the fridge should make up your kitchen area. If you have a large room but the appliances are placed close together then it can make your kitchen appear much smaller than it should. This is okay if you are planning to add a dining or seating area, but not so good, if you seek an imposing kitchen space.

    Of course, the position of your appliances may be determined by where your water and electricity outlets are so if you are a DIY enthusiast do ensure that you consider the amount of work that you are about to embark on.

    If you are having a complete overhaul, you may wish to change the entire layout. If this is the case, it will cause much more interruption, often taking a week or more though the finished kitchen will be as you dreamed it.

    Are You Making the Most of Your Space?

    Whilst many of our clients wish to create a dream kitchen, many of them don’t see that they can make the best use of the space available whether it’s a tiny kitchen or a huge area.

    If you have a small or awkward space, cupboards that simply don’t work for you, or a large space that has many opportunities and the chance to choose many different layouts it’s essential to make your kitchen work for you.

    Do you have a layout that you hate, or do you simply want to change one thing?

    The kitchen really is important for you, especially if you enjoy being in there. Whether you wish to alter cupboard doors, add in herb draws or wine cabinets, or completely revamp the whole space it’s vital that its done properly. There will be tiled or painted wall surfaces to consider, building to carry out, and a choice of finish to suit you and your family. Living with your new kitchen means that it will be entirely different compared to the kitchen you fell in love with at your friends house or in the glossy magazines – in fact, you can achieve the same look, but one that works for you.

    Floors, Walls & soft Furnishings

    Do you have children? Are you looking for a glossy finish? Or are you seeking a high-end luxury kitchen?

    It’s important to ensure that the choices you make about flooring, walls and furnishings fit in with not only your tastes but that they are long lasting. Tiled floors look great, as do wooden floors, linoleum or Amtico, but if your floors are likely to get wet from pets or are likely to be slippery for small children then its essential to balance your choices.

    The same goes for walls – wipe clean paint or tiles are the perfect option for young families. And high-end kitchens may look beautiful, though if you are planning to sell your home then have a think about how you use your kitchen – and how it appeals to those who may be attracted to your home.

    Summary

    We are a team of experts when it comes to building, construction, kitchens and bathrooms and much more.

    We are Essex Property Maintenance and we go just that bit further to ensure that you, our client, get what you want within the budget that you have set for yourselves.

    We are specialists and know that in the current climate, we can’t always achieve what you want, yet we will talk you through your options and make sure that you know you are getting what you want, within your set schedule and within your budget.

  9. decoration

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    So you want to change the décor in your lounge

     

    Introduction

    Decorating inevitably causes some upheaval so you want to ensure that when it is finished you are pleased with the result  and it has been worth it.   You first thoughts may be what colour, effect and soft furnishings  shall I choose but prior to that it is essential to plan and prepare. Preparation at this stage may save disappointing results.

    As with all decoration the final finish is dependant on the preparation. Always aim for the highest finish you are able, even if this means spending more in the preparation. A poor surface will never provide  a quality finish. Expenditure at this stage will ensure that  the final results meet your expectations and will provide a  long lasting benefit. Once the room has been properly prepared you will have a sound basis for future changes in décor. The benefits of using a  skilled professional  are often overlooked but to ensure an impressive finish  are well worth the cost. The results will finished to a high standard, if you select wisely, and  will reduce the time, effort and disruption.

     

    Where do you start.

    Take a good look around  first.  What is the condition of the room?

     

    Ceiling

    Are you happy with the finish? Smooth ceilings are now preferable as they provide an easier surface for maintenance,  however  many are artexed. This may have been used to mask cracked or flaking plaster. You may want to consider  replacing or skimming prior to decorating.  Is there  coving,is it  in good repair or if not present would I like to add  it?  If you are happy with the ceiling move onto the next step.

     

    Walls

    Look at the position of sockets switches and radiators if you are planning to move any of these it is preferable to do this first.  Are the walls flat, smooth and unstained.  If not then a flat painted surface  may not be the best option. Flat painted surfaces will show any blemishes and marks  these can be patched in but there is a risk that they may still be visible. If there are several it can be more time and cost effective to skim the walls or consider using  wallpaper for decoration, as it is more forgiving. If there is wallpaper there already removing it may reveal poor surfaces.

     

    Doors, frames,skirting and architrave.

     

    These can make or break the final finish. Thorough preparation is often neglected because it is  time consuming.   To ensure a professional finish this needs to be done  to a high standard. If the woodwork is badly dented scratched or has several layers of paint it will be costly  or extend the time  taken to prepare. It might be worth considering replacing some or all of it . If you are replacing the door  anyway to replace the frame at the same time is a worthwhile expense as it ensures a well fitting door with  minimum adjustment.

    Similarly skirting is frequently of a poor finish, if a laminate floor is present the skirting is more noticeable and the join between walls and skirting makes the difference between excellent and average. Replacing these requires a skilled builder to ensure the best finish as  houses , especially older ones,  are rarely symmetrical and the joins in the internal and external corners are crucial to the final finish.

     

    Conclusion

     

    Once you have assessed and prepared the room  you can now decide on what was probably your first thought – What colours ,  furniture and soft furnishings  will I use ?