Maintenance

How To Stop Damp & Mould Becoming A Problem

Damp is a common problem with homes in the UK, but not many people understand what causes it, or what it can lead to if left untreated. The answer to the latter is simple: it can lead to mould, which can spread fast and become dangerous to your health. Therefore it’s important to know the ways you can prevent damp getting serious.

Find the root cause

Damp always originates from somewhere, and usually it’s an isolated problem that you can spot and deal with. If something is actually leaking water and it’s getting inside your walls, this needs to be resolved immediately. If water is generally getting into the walls naturally, from the ground for example, damp-proofing may be a more advanced process.

If your damp problem isn’t coming from inside the walls, but actually results from something internal, it’s probably a condensation issue. If a surface gets colder than the air around it, condensation can form. Warm, damp air meeting a cold wall or window is a prime example of when water vapour usually returns to liquid form. If the air flow in the area is restricted, it’s less likely to clear.

These are the ideal conditions for mould to build up. In this case, you have a few different things you can try before it gets worse.

Move furniture away from the wall

A common place for damp to turn into mould is behind furnishings and other items which are pressed against the wall, leaving a narrow and partially insulated gap. As we said, this creates the ideal habitat for mould to grow. Increasing the ventilation by moving things away from the wall helps a lot.

Check your bathroom extractor fan

In many properties, the bathroom can be the cause of a lot of damp issues. Hot water from running a bath or shower creates steam, which then means a lot of water vapour is hanging in the air. If you have no windows or ventilation in your bathroom, which is common in flats especially, the damp has no escape. A powerful extractor fan can go a huge way to resolving this.

Don’t dry clothes indoors

Another way to get a lot of moisture into your air is by hanging your clothes on an indoor airer after you’ve washed them. Where do you think all that water is going? You will probably find that damp clothes don’t get any drier, even if you leave them for a full day, once the air is already quite saturated. Drying clothes outside or using a tumble dryer where possible cuts down on excess moisture in the air.

Use a dehumidifier

In other rooms that need extra ventilation, try using an electric dehumidifier. This works by taking in air from the surrounding room, filtering out the water vapour and blowing the dry air back out. With a medium to large sized tank, you can usually clear most of the moisture out of a room by running the dehumidifier overnight, but this depends on the model. It can be a major help if you’re running out of options.

Get some old-fashioned fresh air

A great thing to try if you can is simply opening your windows and getting more fresh air circulating around. This isn’t possible or practical for every room in every property, but if you can do it this should certainly help.

Remove any black mould quickly

Once mould has started to grow in damp conditions, it will spread at an exponential rate. It can take a month for damp patches to become mouldy, but just a few days for that mould to cover a much bigger area. You need to clean it away and try to prevent it returning as soon as you spot it.

Construction, Extensions, Home Improvement, Maintenance, Plumbing & Heating, Renovations, Roofing

Finding Building Contractors You Can Rely On

Have you ever been the victim of a cowboy contractor, or otherwise regretting your choice after hiring someone? It’s not uncommon. After all, how are you supposed to know until you work with them? Hopefully next time you will have some idea, because we have a few potential answers to that question.

Compare quotes

Perhaps the number one piece of advice we can give you is to never settle on the first price you hear. There is really nothing to lose by shopping around and asking a few similar firms for price estimates. Although a low estimate doesn’t mean everything, you can judge the best value once you do a little more research into them.

Find personal recommendations

It is one thing to read reviews online, but even from independent sources you can’t be sure how they originated. If you know someone who can vouch for a builder or other tradesperson, ideally after a similar project to your own, you should trust them.

Look locally first

Although you may be able to come to a good agreement with someone who doesn’t live in your area, it’s probably going to be less costly for both parties if the contractor doesn’t have to travel far. They will probably be travelling to and from your property at least once a day for the duration of the project, so this clearly adds up.

Check their qualifications and experience

Obviously professional people in any trade will need certain qualifications to confirm they can work on your property safely, especially with gas or electricity supply work. Check these and make sure they have at least a few years’ experience when it’s a major job. It’s likely that someone who’s never worked on a project like yours before will end up costing you more, even if they don’t plan to deliberately.

Agree a timescale

It’s not advisable to work with only a rough estimate for any project. If it seems too complex to predict, that means you simply haven’t planned in enough detail yet. It’s important to have a start date and completion date pencilled in.

Have it all in writing

Of course, agreements are meaningless if they’re only verbal in this situation. The only way to really ensure you’re going to get what you pay for one way or the other is to have a professionally written contract covering every aspect of your agreement. If the contractor really plans to deliver, they shouldn’t have any problem agreeing to reasonable terms.

Tips For Moving

Tips For Empty Property Viewings

This is an interesting topic that you may relate to if you remember attending property viewings with no furnishings and so on. You’ll probably be comparing these with other places that are currently lived in and have plenty of possessions still there.

Trying to draw a comparison in this situation is quite difficult, because an empty property looks completely different to when it’s actually populated. Various illusions and misconceptions may cloud your judgement either way, so consider the following tips to try and get the best out of this experience.

First, check the photos

Before you even arrange a viewing, you will often get the chance to browse through photos on a property listing and use these to make an initial judgement. If they’re not photographed particularly well, empty properties can look less appealing and it can be hard to judge scale. You can learn a lot from a good set of photos, but don’t rule something out just because the pictures didn’t amaze you.

The power of imagination

When you come to actually view a property that currently has next to nothing in it, it’s going to be essential that you use your imagination to visualise what could be done with the space. Even if you’re familiar with the furniture you’ll be using, this isn’t easy. However, try to take advantage of the fact that other people’s things are not that to distract you.

Check everything you can

The main advantage of seeing an empty property rather than a furnished or lived-in one is that nothing is concealed. You can see any hidden damage or potential problem areas with no obstructions, so hopefully you’ll make the most of this and identify any structural or cosmetic problems that might otherwise have been missed. If possible, take some measurements while you’re there as this should also be fairly easy.

Find out when it’s available

If you have any interest in the property, make sure you’re clear on when you would be able to move in. This is probably going to be sooner than usual, because nobody has to move out, which can be an advantage if that’s what you need. It can also put the pressure on because the seller might be keen to get away quickly, and someone could get an offer accepted and start moving in before you’ve had a chance to decide.

Rental Properties

Rental Property Maintenance Tips for Tenants

Getting used to living in a rental property can be tricky for new tenants, as it may not be immediately clear whether something is the responsibility of the person renting out the home or the person living in it. The agreement you have with the landlord or letting agency will be unique and there might be some unusual rules to be aware of, but in general these are some basic tips to bear in mind.

Share responsibility with your housemates

If you’re living with family this should be easy, but for many people living with friends or housemates for convenience it can be tricky to agree who is responsible for what. This is definitely most common among students! Sudents often have disagreements over property maintenance, and are usually happy to move in together at first, but for various reasons things can change. It’s important to establish early on that everyone understands what the landlord’s expectations are, and that everyone is going to do their fair share of work to maintain the property.

Stay in contact with the landlord

Whether you’re dealing with a landlord directly or going through a letting agent, it’s important to maintain that contact and ensure you report any problems. To prevent damage or serious issues in the property, you should try to raise any potential issues as quickly as possible. You should be given a formal record of what comes under the landlord’s responsibilities, so you know when to ask for help.

Follow the rules

The best way of making sure you keep your rented property in top condition is by sticking to any rules or guidelines set out by the landlord or agent. They have their requirements for a reason, so if you’ve been asked to maintain things or refrain from doing anything disruptive you’ll probably do well to stick to these rules. This all means you’re more likely to get your security deposit back at the end of your tenancy, so it’s probably all worthwhile.

Plumbing & Heating

Tips to Improve Your Heating System

Maybe your heating only becomes a priority when it breaks in the middle of winter, which is probably true of many homeowners. Unfortunately that’s not the ideal time to start wishing you had planned out your system more carefully! Now is the perfect time to look at the setup you have at the moment and find ways to improve it before you’re in need of emergency assistance. Luckily we have some simple steps you can start with.

Firstly, remember even the most experienced landlords and homeowners can’t necessarily be expected to know everything about how to maintain a heating system. It’s a great idea to get a professional boiler service from a local professional company, as many of us have boilers and plumbing that have been in place for a long time and they may develop problems you might not be aware of. If you haven’t recently replaced an element of your heating system it should be cleaned and serviced regularly by a professional to make sure it’s efficient and safe, which will save you money later. Continue Reading

Home Improvement, Plumbing & Heating

The Advantages of Column Radiators

Column radiators are a classic staple in home heating systems and they’re enjoying a revival in popularity thanks to the unique and modern designs widely available in the UK. They are now readily available in home improvement stores like Wickes and Home Hardware Direct. Alternatives are available which offer different practical applications, and some people are still put off the idea of basic radiators that don’t look up to date when surrounded by more modern features in a room, but here are some key points to remind you why it’s important to consider high quality column radiators.

1) Compatibility

It’s easy to fit classic column radiators onto almost any standard hot water system, so whether it’s your bathroom, bedroom or anywhere else you don’t need to make any major plumbing changes to accommodate your radiator. It helps to have a professional plumber to fit your radiator but you can be fairly sure it’s not going to cause any complications when you go for a column format. All you normally need apart from the pipe connections are wall brackets on which to mount your radiator. Continue Reading

Home Improvement, Money Saving Tips

DIY

DIY projects you can take on yourself without the help of a hired contractor can be very enticing, but there is one thing to remember before picking up your arsenal. For one, it’s important to fork over the cash for quality. It’s easy to go to the local department store and just by a huge China-made toolset for less than the cost of a fancy meal, but you know it’s low-quality. Build your collection one at a time so it’s made up of quality tools that are durable and have a lifetime warranty.

The first essential tool for DIY projects is the classic 16-ounce claw hammer. It has enough heft to perform basic repair needs while remaining portable enough to carry around with ease. While hammers classically sport wooden handles, avoid this whenever possible as they will break with ease. It’s better to opt for one with a synthetic handle that will last longer.

Flathead screwdrivers come with a single blade to twist in a flathead screw. Though Phillips screws have generally come to replace these, it’s still worth having one of these in your arsenal. Similarly, since Phillips screws have, in fact, replaced most flatheads, you’ll want a good set of these screwdrivers in different sizes. For mechanical gears; straight bevel gears, spiral bevel gears, hypoid gears, and helical gears are just some of the basic types you can buy as starters. Other types of custom and bevel designs depend on the gear system your project requires. Check with gearbox suppliers and manufacturers like Davall Gears (davall.co.uk) for more precise sets and specifications.

Of all tools, a crescent wrench will likely see the most action since it’s practically a 50-in-one tool. This is a wrench whose width can be adjusted using a sliding jaw, allowing its user to use it on nuts and bolts of varying sizes.

Regardless of what kind of DIY you want to complete, precision is important, and having a good retractable metal measuring tape can help with that regard.

Vice grip pliers help for those who need an extra hand beyond the two you work with. These are pliers capable of locking in place, using a mechanism in which you can use one hand to release the lock. However, some models do require both hands in order to disengage the lock.

Though not a particularly exciting tool, another essential one to pick up is a utility knife. Every DIY project offers some kind of need to cut and scrape things, so there are hundreds of different ways in which you can enjoy using the super sharp blade of a utility knife.

Cleaning, Home Improvement, Maintenance, Renovations

When you are looking for the perfect machine to help you get rid of dirt and debris, a high-pressure water jetting machine will do just that. Water jetting machines use a variety of nozzles to combine the power of the keg nozzles and more. They can be used for washing the drainage system, plumbing, concrete and other hard-to-clean surfaces.

Water jetting can help solve those tough problems that are hard to remove by combing the power and nozzle technologies. In fact, manufacturers spend a lot of time trying to stay with the best materials to provide the best cutting edge products for users.

While Wetjet cleans are known for cleaning pipelines, they can be used for other areas with hard to remove debris. It is also one of the best methods for power cleaning your home or office.

Benefits of Water Jetting Machine

 

High Efficiency

Water Jetting Machines are a new technique that removes even the grimiest of dirt. The motorized, efficient technology has the power to blast a stream of hot water at a high pressure. The Jets will then shoot the hot water along or through the area to blast through those thick clogs and remove all types of build-up and debris.

Safe for Humans and the Environment

Water jetting is eco-friendly as they do not require mechanical or chemical cleaners such as toxins and drain snakes. Additionally, they won’t damage the insight of your draining system or roof. Without the use of chemicals, this provides a safer way to clean and dispose of the grime and debris after the job is complete.

Provides Versatility in Uses

Water jets are highly efficient in cleaning multiple areas and uses. You can use them to pressure clean factories, buildings, shops, and homes to benefit from water jetting. The high pressure of the blast will soften the tougher dirt that gets accumulated on hard surfaces.

Additionally, water jetting also helps to prevent problems in the future. The heat and pressure of the water will make it all the more difficult to let grime build up and continue the further damage.

Top Uses for Water jetting Machines

Nowadays, water jetting machines can be used for home owners and professionals as they are easy to use and maintain. That is why they make the perfect tool to deep clean uses that need it the most. Water jetting machines are even said to be more efficient that a cable machine as they require fewer resources.

So how do you decide if you need a water jetting machine? Here are some of the top uses for water jetting cleaners.

Drained Blockage

With draining issues like grease or grime, a cable machine won’t solve the problem. Water jetting machines can ensure that the blog will be fully removed.

Deep Cleaning

Water jetting machines will help flush out major blockages in need of high-pressured water blow outs.

Sewer Systems

In cases of tough to remove blockages in the sewer, water jetting in the opposite direction of the hose will help break down the blockage and open the pipe to flush down the waste.

Conclusion

Overall, water jetting machines are a great option if you find yourself with draining problems or want to keep tough surfaces clean on a yearly basis. Not only will a water jetting machine help with common problems, they will also save you time, energy and money while helping the environment.

Home Improvement, Plumbing & Heating

Luxury Features You Need In Your Bathroom

If you’re not planning to remodel your bathroom, we have great news. After reading this list, you will be! We’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite bathroom features and once you’ve seen all these for yourself you’ll wonder how you managed without them all this time. If you were already thinking about ideas for your new bathroom, then you’ll definitely want to re-think before you miss any of these.

1) Designer Radiators

Radiators are pretty much essential in any bathroom, but there’s no reason you should be stuck with basic designs that don’t match your style. Designer radiators come in a variety of styles and hardly cost more than traditional options, but can add so much to your design. Choose pure white or black to complement a monochrome style, a classic column radiator design or a flat panelled look that looks great with wooden features. Our favourites are tall, narrow radiators with a shiny metallic finish which are very popular at the moment and look amazing in most modern bathrooms. For more designs, check out the selection of bathroom radiators from The Heating Boutique.

2) Heated Towel Rails

To add a touch of luxury to your re-modelled bathroom, you needn’t rely on your central heating to enjoy a warm towel every time you step out of the shower. Although many fabulous designs can be plumbed in like radiators, you also have the option of freestanding heated towel racks powered by the flick of a switch. Depending on the look of your bathroom, you might opt for a small, classic silver design, thicker poles that look impressive and make it easier to hang your towel, or a full-sized metallic rack that looks perfect with a modern colour scheme. Continue Reading

Extensions, Renovations

How Gain A Whole Extra Room In Your House

Are you feeling trapped in your house because of lack of space? Don’t worry, for there are many creative ways in which you could add more space to your existing home. One of our favourite options, and the first one we’re going to look at in detail, would be a loft conversion.

A loft conversion is in fact an ideal solution for you if you are looking out to expand the living area in your home. Conversion of attic space is an affordable way to expand one’s living area in the home and offer great tranquil getaways from the atmosphere of a busy or cluttered family home. If you want to have an office in your home, for example, a loft conversion can be a great way to transform a space that isn’t currently used into something professional and functional.

“There are different types of loft conversions, and so you need to first identify the type of project that would suit your needs,” said John Steele, lead designer , a loft conversion and extension company in London. You might have to sacrifice some space in your existing home, for example to fit in an additional staircase and link up your rooms logically, as well as potentially having lower ceilings in places. You will also need to consider the pitch of your roof, since a steep slope will give you more space in the centre of your new room but you might struggle to fit in everything you need with steeply sloped walls. Continue Reading