A new report has been released which compares the different levels of protection that the main consumer protection organisations offer to consumers within the home improvements industry. All Stormclad customers benefit from the unrivalled protection offered by The Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS). See how it compares to other Consumer Protection Schemes here.
Stormclad and DGCOS: a match made in heaven!
As you can see from the Herman Report, DGCOS outperform all of the other major consumer protection organisations through their comprehensive cover and that’s why I’m sure you’ll agree that the Stormclad and DGCOS partnership is a great match.
Offering unparalleled consumer protection
This new report on the double-glazing industry compares the protection offered to consumers by 20 different organisations. The Consumer Protection Report details the actual levels of protection enjoyed by homeowners who buy windows, doors and conservatories, in contrast to the protection they think they have from the large numbers of organisations that offer it.
DGCOS accreditation: hard to come by!
The Consumer Protection Report was researched by David Herman, a chartered accountant with many years experience in the construction industry.
“It’s not easy to gain accreditation from DGCOS and in truth only the very best companies do manage it”
THE ACCREDITATION PROCESS : WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE?
Each company that gains DGCOS accreditation is subject to an extremely stringent process. All accredited installers must, as a minimum:
PROVIDE CUSTOMER REFERENCES
Provide DGCOS administrators with a minimum of 10 customer references (of installations carried out within the last 12 months) who can be independently approached for quality assurance purposes. PROVIDE SUPPLIER REFERENCES
Provide DGCOS administrators with a minimum of 3 supplier references who can be independently approached for quality assurance purposes. PROVIDE HEALTH AND SAFETY POLICY
Provide DGCOS administrators with a copy of their current Health and Safety Policy. CARRY INSURANCE
Carry minimum insurances of a) £5m Public Liability b) £10m Employers Liability. PROVIDE A WRITTEN CONTRACT
Provide every customer with a Written Contract (to include Terms and Conditions). PROVIDE A WRITTEN GUARANTEE
Provide every customer with a Written Guarantee. PROVIDE DEPOSIT PROTECTION INSURANCE
Provide every customer with Deposit Protection Insurance (where a deposit has been taken). PROVIDE AN INSURANCE BACKED GUARANTEE
Provide every customer with an Insurance Backed Guarantee. COMPLY WITH BUILDING CONTROL REGULATIONS
Comply with building control regulations on every installation. ALLOW DGCOS INSPECTORS THE INSTALLATION
Allow DGCOS inspectors to inspect any installation deemed necessary. ALLOW DGCOS TO SEND A SATISFACTION QUESTIONNAIRE
Allow DGCOS to send every customer a Satisfaction Questionnaire. SUBMIT A LEGAL JURISDICTION
Submit to the legal jurisdiction of DGCOS and the Ombudsman. AGREE TO ONGOING VETTING
Ongoing vetting by DGCOS inspectors
How does it work?
Every customer is automatically sent a satisfaction questionnaire with a pre-paid envelope. These replies are entered into the DGCOS performance system and results are monitored.
Minimum standards are set in each category and alerts are set off when ratings fall below minimum standards: the system automatically picks up low scores and identifies relevant salespeople and failing fitting teams etc.
These scores are available to view by the installer so that (s)he can make comparisons of performance with the whole membership.
Additionally, there is an annual review of credit checks and public/employer liability insurances.
If you’d like to know more about the service DGCOS offers you can visit their website: www.dgcos.org.uk.
To talk to Stormclad, your DGCOS accredited supplier, call us free on: 0808 271 3892 or contact us online.
Chatsworth is one of the most beautiful estates in the UK. Located in the heart of the Peak District, this historic home is surrounded by picturesque gardens, peaceful farmyards, and an adventure playground that the whole family can enjoy. The Chatsworth Estate covers more than 35,00 acres of land in Derbyshire and Staffordshire, and, as this statistics-packed infographic shows, that land is full of history and has some amazing stories to tell.
From The Ground Up – Britain’s Favourite Stately Home Restored – An infographic by the team at Stormclad
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From The Ground Up – Britain’s Favourite Stately Home Restored – An infographic by the team at Stormclad
While the house and its surrounding gardens are a hugely popular tourist destination today, the mansion has not always been so well loved. In the 1920s, the Great Conservatory in the gardens was demolished because it was so expensive, in both coal and manpower, to run. The plants in the conservatory had died off during World War II, because coal supplies were interrupted for extended periods of time, so the family struggled to justify the expense of maintaining an empty conservatory. The Devonshire family, who owned the mansion at the time, were on the verge of demolishing the 6th Duke’s wing of the mansion in 1929 as a further cost cutting measure, but they did not get around to doing so. This is good news for the history and nature lovers that travel from up and down the country to visit the Manor and its gardens today.
In 2012, the estate had more than 700,000 visitors, who came to explore the gardens and explore the rooms of the house itself. The history of the original Chatsworth Manor can be traced back to the 16th century, but the building that stands there today includes features from several eras. The original Chatsworth Manor suffered serious damage during the Civil War in the 17th century, and was extensively renovated in the 1690s.
In more recent years, Chatsworth Manor has become an important cultural centre and a popular set for period movies and TV shows. It was used as the set for the 1998 biopic, The Duchess, staring Keira Knightly, and it was also featured in the 2010 remake of Wolfman. The Manor is also featured in the film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, where it is presented as the home of Mr Darcy. This is not such a large leap of the imagination, since it is widely believed that Jane Austen took inspiration from Chatsworth House when she wrote the book.
A visit to Chatsworth house is particularly worthwhile during the Christmas period, when the lower floors of the house are decked out in festive decorations. For 2013, the chosen theme was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The estate was decorated to look like Narnia, and visitors could enjoy an enchanted journey that would take them from wartime London to the forests of Narnia.
If you’re looking for an enjoyable day out in the Derbyshire and Staffordshire area, then a visit to Chatsworth is a great option. The estate was extensively restored in 2012, with more than £14 million being spent on cleaning stonework, reguilding windows and restoring the façade of the house. Visit Chatsworth today to see it in its full glory.
This month we wanted to share with you this rather scary infographic about how burglars are using social media to find out when you are going to be out. As people share more and more information about their personal lives, their possessions and their plans on social networks, it is becoming easier and easier for burglars to use this information against them.
For example excited holidaymakers might check-in at an airport, alerting potential wrong-doers to the fact they’re be away for home for the next 2 weeks. Or would you post a picture of the view from your hotel room letting everyone know you’re in sunnier climes?
Take a look to find out more about how this works and what you can do to keep your home safe!
One of the best ways to prevent a break in is of course a sturdy door and here at Stormclad, security is our top priority. We take security so seriously that we ensure our doors are thoroughly tested and fitted with our ‘Secure by Design’ handle. Take at this video from an independent test centre of an expert attempting to break into one of our secure doors:
Do you ever share your whereabouts on social media? Do you worry about who can see this information? Let us know in the comments below!
The Eden Project opened in 2001 after 2 and a half years of construction. One of the UKs leading tourist attractions, The Eden Project is an extraordinary setting offering visitors a chance to step into exotic rainforests in the gigantic biome – the largest conservatory in the world! Tall enough for 11 double decker buses and long enough for a traffic jam of 24, the biome is an astonishing, record-breaking build. We put together this infographic to give you an idea of the incredible scale of the Eden Project and it’s famous biomes.
If you’d like to share this infographic on your website or blog, scroll down for the handy embed code!
The Eden Project and the largest Conservatory in the World! – An infographic by the team at Stormclad
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The Eden Project and the largest Conservatory in the World! – An infographic by the team at Stormclad
A conservatory is a great addition to any home. Some people use their conservatories as a space for relaxation and entertaining during the summer months, others use it as a breakfast room, or an extra living space. If you are running out of space in your home, but don’t want to move, building a conservatory can free up space in other parts of your home without breaking the bank.
Here are a few ideas for things that you can do with your conservatory, beyond using it as a simple space for entertaining.
Extra Living Room Space
Instead of being torn between having a quiet weekend in or inviting friends over for the big game, why not arrange your home so that you can do both? Turn the conservatory into a small sitting room where you can curl up and read a book or enjoy a cup of tea with friends, while the boys watch football in the living room.
A Dining Room
Meal times are a great time to socialize. Enjoy a refreshing breakfast while watching the sun rise, or head to the conservatory for an evening meal and relax whilst enjoying the view of the garden at the same time. Dining in your conservatory is a great way to unwind after a hard day, and is a refreshing compromise between a formal meal at a dining table and an al fresco experience. A large dining room table makes a good focal point for the room. Add some attractive flowers and a beautiful chandelier for a classic, timeless appearance.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to work from home, why not move your office into the conservatory so that you can enjoy fresh air and a great view from your desk? Having a conservatory office gives you all the benefits of a dedicated workspace, without the stuffiness of working in your smallest spare room. It’s a perfect compromise. When the weather is particularly good you can simply take your laptop outside and soak up some sun.
A Fun Family Room
If you are concerned that your children are watching too much TV, why not invite them to have some friends over and play in the conservatory? Keep your conservatory clutter-free so they have lots of floor space to play in, and add some soft-seating for adults. Conservatories make great family rooms, and if they’re decorated nicely you can almost make yourself believe you’re relaxing in a holiday home, instead of just a few paces away from your home office or kitchen.
Traditionally, conservatories are small extensions that look out over your garden. Why not go one step further and bring the garden into the conservatory, making a tranquil paradise which you can enjoy even when it’s wet or windy outside? There are many low-maintenance plants that grow well indoors, and you will be the envy of your friends once they realise that your picnics and garden parties will never get rained off.
It is important to ensure that your kitchen gets lots of natural light, and what better way to ensure this than extending it into a bright and airy conservatory? Keep the oven and key appliances in the main area of the kitchen, but arrange the rest of the kitchen so that you can look out at the garden while you’re doing the washing up or preparing your next meal.
If you’re running out of space in your home, move key appliances into the conservatory. That doesn’t mean letting the conservatory turn into a large, boring closet full of bulky grey boxes. Try to keep it bright and airy. Line the back wall with appliances, hidden behind cute curtains or country-style wooden doors. Choose easy-to-clean chunky tiles, and bright colours that will keep the room looking warm and inviting.
If you have an exercise bike in the garage, or a rowing machine folded up under your bed, there’s a high chance that they never get used. Who wants to go to the hassle of un-burying exercise gear every time they want to use it? Put your exercise gear in the conservatory, where it won’t get buried under clothes or boxed in by junk. You’ll be able to enjoy fresh air, sunlight and a nice view while you’re exercising.
The humble conservatory is an incredibly versatile room. You can use your conservatory for almost any purpose, and it’s easy to re-decorate if you change your mind about the use of the room. If you would like to expand the available space in your home, and find out more about how comfortable and stylish a good conservatory design can be, why not arrange a conservatory design appointment? The team of conservatory designers at Stormclad will be happy to help you choose the perfect conservatory design.
Soffits, fascias and guttering all play an important role in keeping your home pest free and dry, they are also highly important from an aesthetic point of view. Having sparkling soffits and fascias makes your home look far more attractive and appealing to buyers. If you are thinking of selling your home, then sprucing up the outside of your house is a good investment. Replacing soffits and fascias that are old or worn helps to protect your roof and walls, preventing damp and water damage. Clean new gutters and ornate fascias can greatly increase the value of your home, and will impress the surveyor too.
Soffits and Fascias explained
A soffit is a covering which sits between the outer edges of your roof and the adjacent wall of the house, protecting and sealing the rafter feet. If your roof has a soffit (not all do), you will be able to see it if you stand underneath the overhang of your roof and look up.
Modern soffits are usually made of uPVC. UPVC soffits and fascias are hardwearing and cope well with exposure to moisture. Wooden soffits are a popular rustic or period feature, but they are more likely to rot and decay quickly, threatening the integrity of the rest of the roof structure.
Fascias are traditionally a softwood board which is mounted to the exposed edges of your rafters, however in recent years this has been replaced with high grade uPVC as softwood has a tendency to rot. The purpose of a fascia is to protect and seal the roof and the interior of your home from exposure to the elements, to support roof tiles at an eaves level and to provide support for the guttering. Fascias also serve a cosmetic purpose, and are much nicer to look at than exposed rafters.
Guttering is used to collect rainwater from the roof and direct the flow of water as it drains. Gutters catch the water and direct it into the downpipes, and towards a drain. Guttering is fixed with the appropriate “fall” to prevent the water from pooling in places that it should not, which could eventually lead to your gutters overflowing, which is then likely to cause other problems.
An Overview of Your Roof
There are many parts which go into the edge of a roof, including:
1. Bargeboard- The bargeboard provides a decorative finish to the gable end of your home, sealing the end rafters and the verge.
2. Box end- Forms the link between the fascia and the bargeboard on gable ends. All the fixings and rough edges are covered with trim, not only to look as neat and professional as possible but also to ensure that the roofline remains as secure and moisture resistant as possible.
3. Guttering – Collects rainwater from the roof and discharges it into the downpipes. All gutters are levelled and aligned to ensure that they have the correct fall, leading to the rainwater running in the correct direction and down the downpipe.
4. Fascia Boards- Protects and seals the rafter feet to prevent them contracting any rot and it progressing up the rafters and into your roof. The fascia also supports the roof tiles and provides a fixing point and support for the guttering.
5. Soffit Boards – Soffit boards run across the underside of your roofline, with the purpose of protecting the underside of the rafter feet. The expanded core of the soffit is lightweight, whilst the highly polished surface acts as a seal to water damage.
6. Downpipe – Carries rainwater from the gutters and down into the drains. Should be screwed into the brickwork to provide a secure fix.
Sprockets- Sprockets are made to size on site from uPVC and fixed securely and level to the rafter feet. This then provides a fixing point upon which to mount the fascia and soffit. Once aligned and levelled, the sprockets guarantee the fascia remains straight and true for years after the installation is complete.
Ventilation- Vents can either be cut into the soffit when manufactured or fixed to the top of the fascia board before it is installed which is likely to be the cheaper and neater option. Ventilation is essential to allow your roof timbers to breathe and prevent the build up of moisture.
Roofguard Eaves Protector- Inserted under the bottom roof tiles, the eaves guard protects the often damaged bottom end of felt in your roof and curves into the guttering, preventing any rainwater running behind the fascia board or guttering.
Birdcomb- Installed where appropriate, this helps prevent birds from nesting in your roof, by blocking any voids which lie between the tile and top edge of fascia.
Dry Verge- Dry verge can be installed to protect the verge area above the bargeboard on the gable and prevents you ever having to have this area re-pointed again.
Problems that may occur with soffits and fascias causing them to need replacing
Improperly installed soffits and fascias, or ones that are old and worn out, must be replaced to protect the integrity of your roof. Common signs of damaged soffits and fascias include:
Flaking and peeling paint – sanding and re-painting the affected area promptly can prevent further damage. This is a job which will have to be repeated year on year, as painted timber fascias and soffits will continuously flake and peel due to the extreme weather conditions they are subject to.
Rot and damp – Sections of rot and damp on your roofline are likely to spread quickly and can cause significant damage. If you notice that your roofline is starting to become rotten you should seek to have it replaced.
Leaking gutters – gutters can easily develop leaks if they are not cleaned frequently. Balls, leaves and other debris can clog up gutters, and during the colder months those pools of water freeze and expand, damaging the gutter.
In addition to the above problems, there are several other reasons why you might need to replace your soffits and fascias, including:
Asbestos – This is not a problem in new homes, however any home built before the year 2000 could contain asbestos which was incredibly commonly used in homes built before the 1990s. Asbestos was used as a fire retardant, but it is an incredibly dangerous substance, and prolonged exposure to asbestos fibres can cause serious lung problems.
Infestations – many pests make their home in small damp spaces, and rotting fascias can be a home to many kinds of insects and rodents.
Birds Nests – birds frequently make their homes in the rafters and disused chimneys of homes. Many of those birds are protected species, so care must be taken when moving them. Seek professional advice before interfering with a bird’s nest.
Installing fitting / replacing
Installing or replacing soffits, fascias and guttering is a complex process which must be carried out by a professional installer. The existing roof felt and tiles must be inspected, the felt may need cut back or replaced if it is already damaged. Working on a roof can be dangerous for both yourself and your property. If you do not have the correct scaffolding, safety equipment and training there is a high risk of seriously injuring yourself when working at height.
Here is an installation guide featuring our Stormclad professionals.
The end tiles of the roof must be removed, and the rafters inspected to ensure that they are in good condition. Assuming the roof is generally in a good condition, the installer will fix sprockets to the rafter feet, to ensure that the fascia and soffit line up correctly to give your roof a smart, professional appearance.
Once the soffits and fascia are in place, guttering and ventilation can be installed. If you have profiled tiles on your roof, then you may opt to have bird combs installed to prevent small birds from gaining access to your roof space.
Once the soffit and bargeboard is installed on any gable ends your property may have, the box ends are fabricated to exact size on site. They must be measured and cut carefully to ensure that there are no unsightly gaps which might let water, or pests, into your home.
Installing soffits and fascias is not a DIY job. Not only is there a risk of personal injury, or damage to your home, there is also the possibility of finding asbestos in the existing roofing materials. Working with a professional company ensures that the job is completed safely and promptly, with minimum fuss.
Choosing the best style for you
Traditionally, timber fascia and soffits would be installed; however this merely creates a lifetime of difficult maintenance. You repeatedly have to be up a ladder to ensure the condition of the timber remains good through continual painting, treatment and repairs.
In recent years it has become common practice to install uPVC roofline as this needs far less maintenance than timber products and therefore is generally preferred to the timber option. UPVC roofline comes in many different styles, with different shaped moulded fascia, coming in different colours and effects. For instance if you live in an old property and want to retain the authentic look, you can have great looking wood grain effect products installed.
Guttering also comes in a variety of different shapes and sizes, so be sure to find out all your options rather than just square or round gutter in white or black.
Cost of new fascias, soffits and guttering
The cost of soffits and fascias will depend on the size of your home and the products that you choose. One thing you can be confident of is that installing soffits and fascias will protect your home and make your property far more appealing. If you’re looking to sell or just looking for a summer time spruce up contact us for a free soffits and fascias quotation.
Carports are covered parking areas which can be used to shelter one or more vehicles from the elements. Unlike garages, carports are open in construction. Carports can be free-standing structures, or can be attached to one or two walls. Because carports are so open, they offer less protection than a traditional garage, but they also offer better ventilation.
Carports are not a new invention; they have been in use for more than 100 years. The earliest record of a carport can be traced back to the early 1900s, when Walter Burley Griffin used one in his design for Sloan House in Illinois. The term “carport” did not get coined until much later, however. Architecture historian David Gebhard traced the origin of the term back to the Streamline Moderne homes of the 1930s.
Choosing between a carport and a garage.
Freestanding carports have been a popular feature of American homes for many decades, but the design is becoming increasingly popular in Europe too. This popularity is down to several reasons. Carports are cheaper to build, and their open structure allows them to double as an entertainment area. You would not want to host a barbecue in your garage (in fact, doing so would most likely be rather unsafe!), but carports can easily be converted into a makeshift marquee or gazebo for some weekend entertainment.
Carports do have some downsides, unlike garages, they are not suitable for use as a general storage area. They also offer less security for your car. However, they are far cheaper to build, and generally you do not need planning permission to erect a carport, whereas you may well to build a full garage.
Another benefit of building a carport is that it is a stylish addition for your home. If you are thinking of building a garage why not consider a powder coated aluminium carport that can match the colour and style of your home? You can even decorate your carport with hanging baskets and place plants in the corners, making it an attractive part of your house rather than an enclosed and dark utility area.
What style of carport should you choose?
Free standing carports are more flexible than lean-to carports in terms of where they can be placed and how they can be accessed. If you have a large trailer or an awkward to manoeuvre vehicle, parking in a free-standing carport may be easier for you than parking in a lean-to carport or garage. However, free standing car ports do offer slightly less protection from the elements than lean-to carports, and therefore a lean-to may be better for those wanting to benefit from that bit of added protection from the weather.
The choice of materials and roof style is a matter of personal preference. There are many different designs to choose from. Metal carports are more hard-wearing than wooden carports and therefore require a lot less maintenance. If you are looking for a small carport, then a stylish metal model with a curved roof is a good option for any modern home.
Large open carports are a good choice for people who enjoy working on their cars. They offer shelter from the elements, and can have small storage areas built-in for tools, but they also offer good ventilation, so you can enjoy fresh air and natural light while working on your vehicle, instead of being stuck in a dark, stifling garage.
All carports should be designed and installed to allow rainwater to flow off the roof easily. Ensure your carport has guttering installed to direct the excess water to a nearby drain, instead of allowing it to run off in several different directions, or flow towards your property.
No matter what kind of carport you choose, it is important to use a reputable company to install it to make sure that it is erected correctly. An incorrectly installed carport which could be blown over in the wind, or collapse under the weight of standing rainwater is not safe and could damage your car or your property.
How much does a carport cost?
The cost of a carport depends on the size that you want it to be, the material it is made from, and the style you choose.
Before you can get a detailed quote for a carport, a surveyor will need to examine your property, measure the area and make sure that it is ready for work to be done. The surveyor will be able to take into account all of the factors contributing to the car port price- including your style choices and also the environment where it is being installed. This will allow them to give an exact price for completing the project from start to finish, rather than an estimate.
If you would like to know more about having a carport installed, check out this step by step guide. After browsing the range of designs on offer, contact us directly for a more detailed quote.
In general, UPVC double glazed windows are long-lasting, secure and hard wearing, however problems do sometimes occur. The most common issues with double glazing tend to be related to sealed units. Read on to learn about common double glazing problems, and how to handle them.
Condensation occurs when water vapour hits a cold surface. Steam, or general moisture in the air, condenses back into water droplets. Usually, having double glazing reduces the amount of condensation that occurs in your home. However, if your home is insulated, draft proofed, and has double glazing then it could become a moisture trap. To determine whether the double glazing condensation problems you have are indicative of a something serious, look at where the water is gathering.
On the inside pane: Condensation on the inside of the inner glass is an indication that the temperature of the glass is too low for the atmosphere and water vapour content of the room. Check out this handy guide to find out ways to reduce the amount of condensation in this situation.
In the cavity: Condensation inside the cavity of your window is sign that there is a problem with the seal of your unit. There should never be condensation in between the two panes of a hermetically sealed unit. If you see condensation there, it is usually a sign of either leakage of moist air from the room into the window cavity, or that something inside the air space itself contains moisture. You should have an expert examine your windows to determine how to fix this issue.
Other Common Double Glazing Problems
Double glazing is designed to provide insulation, reduce noise pollution, and stop drafts. However, as your installation ages, it is common for the sash to drop, and the hinges to become worn. This leads to several problems:
If you notice draughts coming from your double glazed windows, this is usually a sign that the windows are not closing properly. This is usually caused by one of the two wear-and-tear related issues mentioned above.
To diagnose the problem, close the window and check the side with the hinges. If there is a gap between the sash and the frame, then this means your hinges are damaged. If the hinges look OK, check the lock by sliding a credit card between the sash and the frame. If the card moves freely, then you need to tighten the lock. If the gap is tight, then you have nothing to worry about.
The final likely cause of draughts is a dropped sash. This usually occurs in windows that have side openings. Close the window, and look at the top corner above the handle. If you can see daylight where the sash is supposed to meet the frame, then your sash has dropped, and will need adjusted.
Broken handles and hinges
Broken handles, hinges and locks should not be ignored. As mentioned earlier, damaged hinges that prevent the window from closing correctly lead to draughts, and this essentially eliminates some of the main reasons for having double glazing.
In addition, broken window locks are a serious security issue. Your home insurance may be invalidated if your windows are not correctly locked. For this reason, and your family’s safety, it is important that you fix the problem immediately.
Is it Time to Upgrade Your Windows?
If you live in an older property that has one of the first generation sealed double glazing panes or even a property with UPVC windows and single glazing, then you may find that updating your windows will save you money. Some common problems with older UPVC installations include:
Discoloured UPVC frames: While UPVC is quite hardwearing and easy to clean, it will eventually become discoloured. If cleaning the plastic with a specialist UPVC cleaning product does not remove the discolouration, then it may be time to replace the frames.
Improving your glazing: If you currently have only single glazing, then you should definitely consider investing in double glazing. Double glazed windows reduce noise pollution, stop draughts, and help to regulate the temperature of your home. If you already have double glazing, but you live in an area which gets a lot of wind, bad weather, or noise pollution, you may want to update to coated, low emission glazing solutions.
Updating less energy efficient windows: Double glazing comes in many different flavours. Early double glazing was certainly better than single pane glazing, but there have been many advances in glazing over the last few years. Modern “Low-E” windows are filled with a special low emissivity gas to ensure that short wavelength heat from the winter sun is allowed into your home, but that the heat inside your home does not leak out. This saves you a lot of money on your heating bills, and keeps the temperature of your home comfortable all-year round. Check out this document to learn more about how low-e windows work.
Poor security: Many older windows feature simple locks (or worse, no locks at all). Not only is this dangerous from a security point of view, it could be costing you a lot of money. Improving the security of your windows may result in lower insurance premiums.
Repair or replace?
Damaged hinges and dropped sashes can be repaired for you by a specialist.
Issues with seals, however, are more difficult to repair (but not impossible). If you are unsure whether you should repair or replace your double glazing, consult a company such as Window Doctor, who can examine your windows and offer advice, as well as a free quotation.
Replacing your windows will require a substantial up-front investment, but over time that investment will pay for itself. If you do not have double glazing at the moment, speak to your local authority to see if they offer any financial aid for people looking to make their homes more environmentally friendly.
Conservatories are the most common kind of home extension. They are affordable, easy to build, and a great way to add some much-needed extra living space to your home. There is a lot of confusion surrounding conservatories, however. Is planning permission necessary, or are conservatories considered to be a permitted development?
Building regulations can be confusing. Read on to learn about which rules apply when building a conservatory and what you have to do to get the process started.
Planning Permission: Is it needed for a conservatory?
Building a conservatory is governed by the same rules as other forms of home extensions. The rules for extension planning permission are quite specific about which jobs do and do not need it. In general, conservatories are classed as “permitted developments”. This means that you do not need planning permission, as long as the following conditions are met:
You must be building a single storey conservatory.
The conservatory covers no more than half of the total land around your home.
The conservatory height must not exceed the height of your roof.
If the conservatory is to the rear of your home, it must not extend more than three meters beyond the rear wall of your home (if you live in an attached house), or four meters if you live in a detached property.
The total height of the conservatory cannot be more than four meters.
The maximum eaves height of the conservatory must be within two meters of the boundary and the height of the eaves and ridges must not exceed the height of your home.
Side conservatories must have a width no greater than half the width of the house.
If any of the above conditions are not met, then you will need planning permission to build your conservatory.
Conditions for Conservatories
The conservatory planning permission rules may seem confusing, but they are actually quite clear-cut. If you are thinking of building a conservatory then the first thing you should do is contact your local authority for advice.
The permitted development rules mentioned above apply only to houses. If you live in a flat or maisonette then you may need planning permission even for a relatively small and simple development.
Conservatories are generally exempt from traditional building regulations as long as they are:
Built at ground level.
Have a floor area of less than 30Sq Meters.
Are separated from the rest of the house by a true external walls, doors and windows (not interior quality dividing walls).
Have an independent heating system with separate power and temperature controls.
Have glazing and electrical installations that comply with all relevant building regulation requirements.
If you have a multi-storey home, you should take care to position your conservatory so that it does not impede ladder access to any windows serving rooms that are a part of a loft or roof conversion. Those windows may be used as an escape or rescue route in the event of a fire.
If you plan on having any extensive wiring work carried out, be aware that conservatories are included in the building regulations covering electrical wiring. All major electrical works must be carried out by a qualified engineer. The same goes for gas appliances.
Obtaining planning permission can be a slow process, so it is a good idea to put in your application early. There is no harm in having the paperwork in place long before construction starts.
Finding Contractors to Build Your Conservatory
When most people buy a conservatory, they work with contractors that specialize in conservatory construction. This can ensure that the build runs smoothly and takes the stress out of dealing with individual contractors.
Look for a contractor that has experience with building “green” conservatories. Older conservatory designs can be a huge energy drain because they tend to become very warm during the summer, but lose heat rapidly during the winter. If you design your conservatory to be more like an extension, with good insulation and energy efficient glazing, this will save you energy (and money) and make your conservatory a more comfortable place to spend time in throughout the year.
Avoid contractors that cold-call you. If you are planning to build a conservatory, ask your neighbours who worked on theirs, and ask friends and family to recommend reliable workers for you. If someone tells you they know a good builder/painter or other tradesman, ask to see the work that they did. Look for someone that has worked on similar projects. Remember that there is a big difference between hanging some shelves and building a conservatory. Many people make well-intentioned recommendations, not realising how much skill and experience some projects require.
Be wary of contractors that encourage you to borrow money from a company that they recommend – especially if it is not a company that you are familiar with. One common scam is for builders to recommend secured loan companies even for smaller home improvement projects. The terms of these loans can be quite punitive, and once the builders have what they want from you – your signature, you will find that they lose interest in the project. You could end up paying exorbitant interest rates for sub-standard work.
To avoid such scammers, do your own research, get several detailed quotes from different contractors, and choose the contractor that offers the most reasonable sounding deal. Agree milestone payments in advance, and make sure that you understand how unexpected expenses will be handled.
Making the Most of Your Conservatory
In all too many cases, poorly built conservatories are only habitable for a few months out of the year. Because conservatories contain so many windows, they can often become excessively warm during the summer, and particularly cold during the winter.
Choosing the right suppliers at the start of the build will however result in a conservatory that is welcoming all year round. Stormclad’s a-rated energy efficient glass uses state of the art technology to lock in absolutely all the heat in your home. With a ten year guarantee you can rest assured that your conservatory will be nice and warm whatever the weather outside.
Most people use their conservatory as a communal room for entertaining, but there are lots of other things that the room can be used for.
Consider turning your conservatory into a gym. You can open the doors and windows during the summer, turn on some music, and enjoy the view of the garden while you’re riding your exercise bike. During the winter, you won’t mind that the conservatory is cold because it will warm up quickly once you start exercising.
Another good use for conservatories is as a breakfast room. Most families eat breakfast together, but eating in the dining room seems a little too formal for such an early meal. Eating in the conservatory creates a more relaxed atmosphere, and the setting will boost your mood and make it easier for you to tackle the day ahead.
Whatever you choose to do with your conservatory, try to resist the urge to fill it with “stuff” while it is not in use. You do not want to turn your conservatory into a temporary storage area. If the conservatory is allowed to fill up with clutter, you will find it more difficult to reclaim the room once the weather improves. Instead of storing things in the conservatory, keep those items in boxes in the hall and commit to “processing” one box per week – either by giving it away, throwing it away, or storing it properly. This will keep your conservatory clean and tidy, ensuring it is used for its intended purpose.