Handling Rising Damp in Your Home

correctly identifying rising dampHow do I handle rising damp in my property?

Unfortunately there aren’t any quick remedies when it comes to the question of how to fix rising damp. If you suspect you have rising damp in your property it’s worth getting a second, third, and fourth opinion as you don’t want to pay for unnecessary treatment. Rising damp is commonly wrongly diagnosed, so it’s worth making sure that it’s definitely the problem before starting a treatment course. Consider whether the problem might be a consequence of condensation, leaking pipes, malfunctioning plumbing, damaged guttering, blocked air bricks, or poor surface drainage.

Measures Which Allow Your Property To “Breath”

Measures that allow your property to ‘breathe’ are key to managing rising damp. The Building Research Establishment advises that any method used to retrofit a damp-proof course should have an Agrément or some other third-party certificate.

While you’re waiting for treatment to kick in, ventilate your property thoroughly. Even though this won’t fix your rising damp issue, it will prevent it from getting worse. Ventilation is specially important in old properties which have suffered from a rising damp problem in the past. Make sure air can circulate unhampered between the cellar, if you have one, and the ground floor. Remove vinyl flooring or rubber-backed carpets, and replace with a breathable material instead. This allows fresh air to circulate and dry out the damp internal wall. Take advantage of extractor fans and dehumidifiers to keep the humidity levels in your property low.

Is there a long-term answer to rising damp?

Accroding to Manchester Damp Proofing based in Altrincham The best solution to your long-term damp troubles is to routinely check your damp-proof course.

A damp-proof course is a barrier between your home and the ground, commonly made from a tough material. This should be observable on your exterior walls, around six inches above ground level. It could be compromised if the ground level close by has been raised above it, which means that the ground water is then above the damp-proof course, letting water penetrate the brick work. You can address the problem by digging a ditch alongside the obstruction so that the ground level is no longer above the damp-proof course. Ensure the ditch is well drained – if it fills with water you could end up having rather more serious troubles.

If the ground level is still well below your damp-proof course, look at the internal wall cavity. Frequently debris can become trapped in here and can serve as a conduit, carrying water above the damp-proof course and into your internal wall. Treatment for this will involve talking to a professional to have bricks removed in order to take away any debris that might be inside the cavity.

If your damp-proof course has been damaged, you may need to contact a tradesman to fit a new one. The damp-proof course has to run under the entire property with no breaks. Replacing damp and damaged timbers and brickwork may also be required to ensure that your internal wall is entirely dry. Repair costs will depend on the extent of the damage along with the most appropriate treatment.

The Cost of Converting Your Loft Into Liveable Space

add value to your home with a lft conversionHaving your loft converted is a fantastic method to add living space to your house without the stress and pandemonium of relocating. It can also be a substantially less costly solution and all that extra room you’ve developed will add desirability and market value to your house, as much as 23% according to Nationwide Building Society. For these reasons, lots of expanding families and property developers likewise now view it as a clever financial investment choice, so just what exactly is the cost of a loft conversion?

There isn’t usually a straightforward answer to that question because loft conversion prices will change significantly in connection with your unique needs. Prices can start from only £10,000, at a very basic level, and reach upwards of £50,000 depending on the size and complexity.

Some standard things to consider when working out your loft conversion cost would include:

Potential work necessary to reinforce the loft to make it fit for purpose
Adding roof or dormer windows
Plumbing of basins, toilets, baths and showers if you’re planning on a bathroom or an ensuite
The heating system installation
The level of extravagance you might want to use in the finishing and designing
Staircase and landing

The type of loft conversion you choose will also have a huge effect on the overall cost. These are just some examples:

Dormer Loft Conversion Costs

This entails extending outward, in a box shape, from the side or back of a sloping roof. Internally, a dormer has a horizontal ceiling and vertical walls which can be great for maximising space. Dormers have become popular and tend to be considered to be the cheapest option, depending upon the amount and style of dormers you add. An approximate guide price for a dormer loft conversion would be between £19,000 – £27,000. Incredibly, many dormers (but not all) won’t in fact involve any planning permission.

Hip to Gable Loft Conversion

Homes with a hip roof normally have lofts with a small amount of internal volume therefore the most suitable solution, to provide the largest amount of space, is often hip to gable. This involves converting the sloped side of the roof (the hip) into a flat, gable end. Planning permission is more likely to be needed here as you are effectively changing the curve or the roof. The price of a hip to gable loft conversion could range from between £30,000 – £35,000.

Mansard Loft Conversion

These are typically a more expensive option but will create the utmost amount of possible space. A mansard has a flat roof and then the whole back slope is transformed to a steeper gradient – commonly around 72 degrees. Substantial work will have to be done on the structure so planning permission is virtually always required. Mansard Loft Conversions can cost anything from £30,000 – £40,000.

get a loft conversion quoteNeed a Full Quote For  a New Loft Conversion?

If you’re thinking of having a loft conversion and want a much more accurate idea of exactly how much it’ll cost, Billing & Rowan offer a completely free, no obligation quotation service for loft conversions Wirral and the North West of England. Their skilled team of builders and architects will review your project fully and can offer you advice on how to get the most from your budget.

Engineered Flooring vs Hardwood Flooring

engineered wood flooringWhat’s so great about engineered flooring?

There is a big advantage. Engineered wood flooring is structurally stable – much more than wood. Basically: it won’t warp or budge like solid wood; natural wooden flooring is more susceptible to problems.

Obviously, the fact engineered flooring has just a top layer of solid wood has disadvantages; engineered wood flooring isn’t as resistant against deep scratches – a disadvantage that should be factored in.

It’s true that engineered wood flooring isn’t as deep scratch-resistant as real wood, and that is certainly its real problem. Even so the idea that the thin sheets of wood at the core of engineered flooring causes it to become weaker or stable is mostly unfounded. Good quality engineered wood is a strong, stable and long-lasting solution, much more resistant against moisture than real wood. Engineered wood flooring delivers larger dimensional strength…

Comparing engineered and hardwood flooring

Adding resale value to the house: virtually identical.
Durability: properly looked after engineered wood can last several decades, but hardwood products will last even longer (they can be sanded and fineshed a higher number of times).
Price tag: much the same, for the same type of wood.
Use in kitchens, bathrooms: engineered woods are definitely more water-resistant, however it isn’t wise to use wood or engineered wood products in the kitchen or bathrooms.
Damage from pets and kids: it varies with the sort of hardwood.
Manufacturers and brands: Bruce, Mohawk or Shaw are popular brands; Armstrong, Mannington and Tarkett are extremely significant global firms selling all sorts of flooring; Millstead, Home Legend, Tecsun, Mullican Flooring, Style Selections are also important engineered wood brands.

Engineered vs. Hardwood Flooring Quality and Prices

solid wood vs enginered price guideAs mentioned earlier, choosing an engineered flooring instead of a solid wood flooring doesn’t mean you’ll save money. Laminate flooring yes, could save you a ton of money, but engineered flooring may not save you a lot.

Expect prices of about £5-£10 per square feet fitted (quality engineered wood products). That’s lower than a lot of solid wood flooring (prices up to £15 or higher), but not lower than the standard solid wood.The hardwood layer of engineered wood comes in lots of woods: red oak, white oak, maple, ash, bamboo, etc. The top layer involves also a finish, incorporating numerous coats of lacquer or oil.

Engineered wooden floors is sometimes cheaper because of smaller installation restrictions in slab construction or in remodelling projects where the flooring is installed right over pre-existing floors.

You can deploy engineered wood flooring right over the cement, which you shouldn’t with solid wood. You can also, in some instances, install engineered wood directly over existing floors, because of its smaller thickness, which is rarely possible with solid wood. And this is also a strategy for saving money.


It’s always best to hire a professional with many websites online such as Check a Trade and Which Trusted Traders advertising reliable local tradespeople who agree to adhere to a strict code of conduct for listings. If your based in the North East consider this local joiner approved by Check a Trade with over 157 feedback reports available online. Wow! They have a great website with lots more useful information on flooring products in Newcastle and surrounding.

What is EPDM and How Does It Work?

a firestone EPDM rubber roofEPDM – or ethylene propylene diene monomer (M-class) – is a synthetic rubber which can be used in a large number of applications. Notably, EPDM is required for weather sealing on automobiles and has been a preferred choice for roofing jobs for many years.

The popularity of EPDM for roofing applications can be explained by the indisputable fact that it’s totally waterproof and resistant to corrosion. In truth, EPDM was designed to tolerate extreme heat, weather, and ozone, and is likewise quite resistant to steam and polar substances. It is a fantastic choice for any residential property or business that requires a new roof or roofing repairs, because it is incredibly inexpensive given the quality of the product. In addition, it has three distinctly beneficial properties:

EPDM is environmentally friendly.

EPDM is environmentally friendly for a number of reasons. First, the product can be manufactured in white, which reflects the sun and it’s heat, thus driving down climate control costs for companies with EPDM roofs andf homeowners alike. Second, the product is totally recyclable. After it has lived out its practical use as a roofing material, EPDM can be processed into something different.

20 year guaranteeEPDM is cost efficient.

Manufacturers guarantee the durability of the product for up to 20 years. However, in my experience, EPDM roofs can last twice as long with frequent maintenance. By the time you factor in reduced climate control costs, EPDM becomes the most cost efficient material in the marketplace for domestic, commercial and industrial roofing assignments.

EPDM is both flexible and durable.

Unlike other rubbers that will crack and warp when wrapped around things, EPDM has a durability enabling it to flex without being compromised. This also applies to extreme moisture and dryness, making it the top option for enduring rainy England winters and summer’s dry spells too. Moreover, EPDM has excellent breathability, without being permeable. This means that your home or business will experience greater air circulation without worrying about leaking from the outside.

Installation of EPDM

This article was taken in part from Severnside roofing in Telford who specialise in the repairs and installations of EPDM rubber roofing.

Converting Your Loft into Liveable Space

Creating a Family Friendly Loft Conversion

family friendly loft conversionsIf your family is getting bigger then extending your living area a very good idea. The loft area is considered the most preferred area of the house to be converted. If you want a family-friendly loft conversion, then there are some things to consider to note. Maybe it’s a play area for the family or a nursery, but whatever you do with it, even if it’s a study for you or your companion, it should always be family friendly should there be youngsters in the home.

Practicality Can Coexist With Style and Space

You’re likely thinking practicality, in that you’d like a space that will hold a new family member, a room for all your dvd’s and books, or equipment for your office if you’re making it into a work area. You could make it airier and more appealing by adding other things to it for instance a balcony or a bigger window. A balcony is probably not such a good idea if you have young kids, but a window can be accommodated so it’s safe.

storage for loft conversionsBookshelves, Cupboards and Storage

If you’re going to be using book shelves and you want more cupboards and shelves, you’ll need to make sure they’re safe from falling. If you have small children, you don’t want the books toppling over them. Planning ahead is necessary so that you have a safe area where you can either work or play, regardless of whether it’s specifically for you or youngsters.

Bathroom Storage

If you’re intending to use your loft conversion as a bathroom be sure you figure out storage space. You require somewhere you can place all your bathroom accessories safely where it can be found when you need it, and always make sure that medicines are set away securely out of reach from little hands.

loft conversion window safetyWindow Restrictors

You may choose bigger windows but you’re going to have to consider safety where younger children are involved. However, you can include something known as window restrictors to the windows that protect against children from being able to open the windows.

If your loft conversion is being converted into a play-area don’t forget to consider sound proofing for loft conversions and insulate it too with heavier carpeting and rugs, and be sure there’s very good wall insulation. That way your youngsters can play as loudly as they wish.

Start 2 Finish – For Quality Loft Conversions

If you’re seeking a no obligation quotation prior to going ahead with a loft conversion and your based in the North West of England consider AR Builders, based in Altrincham they offer loft conversions in Manchester, Chorley, Liverpool, Chesire, Lancaster, Warrington & Bolton. AR are approved members of the Guild of Master Craftsmen and Check a Trade. A great place to start if your looking for a high quakoyt conversion built to last.

Simple Tips for DIY Painting and Decorating

man painting a wallHave you ever wondered how decorators make painting a house look easy?

Well it’s not as simple as you believe but with these top tips, you can learn from the professionals and complete a painting job to be very proud of!

Most “normal” people (?) take painters and decorators for granted, it may be suggested, after all, how challenging can it be to stick a brush into a pot of paint and rub it on to a wall?

Well, realistically if you’ve ever watched a professional decorator in the workplace, you might be surprised it is not as simple as they make it look. As qualified decorators myself, I have often been called out to quote to put right DIY disasters or poor quality work when someone who called themselves a decorator actually made a bodge up of the work, typically because the home owner picked the very cheapest quote and now regrets it.

Why would a decorator bodge a painting task?

Well we live in a world where actually anyone can call themselves a decorator, from off duty fireman and milkmen, to folks on the dole and always for cash in their hand not surprisingly!

Well, very few of these part timers are any good, although of course you will find exceptions to the rule, but if you want your house painted correctly, (and take into account your property could easily be worth between £200,000 and £400,000), you …er…. really do need to dip into your pocket and get it done right!

You can DIYWhat if you, yourself wish to have a try at painting?

Not a problem, and regardless of my dire warnings above (!) doing a spot of decorating yourself might be fun, and rewarding too. Who hasn’t felt that sense of satisfaction when standing back from a wall you’ve just painted and thinking “I did that!”.

We bring some pointers and tricks today, direct from the tradesman’s mouth, Keith Blenkinsop is a 20 year veteran decorator based in Newcastle so hopefully with his advice you can say the above phrase with a smile on your face, and not, crying your eyes out.

Below are a few trade tricks and tips for successful home painting.

Tip one: You think it’s easy?

Don’t presume painting and decorating is straightforward, it’s not. If it were easy there’d be no requirement for the scores of decorating contractors globally.

If you don’t have the right equipment and tools, or the experience and confidence to do any painting, specially exterior decorating, then leave it to a proper painter please! Receiving a quote for house painting is quick and simple and a good painter will get the task done in almost no time at all, for very long lasting results.

Tip two: Preperation is the most significant component of any home décor job.

Always spend a longer period on preparation than you would actually doing the main painting in the first place. Good decorators spend about 60% to 70% of each job on the prep work, and then they have made the painting easier for themselves and they’ll achieve a remarkable finish too!

This includes the use of filler, scraping away old paint, eliminating mould, grouting or silicone filling cracks, filling out the beading gaps around windows etc etc, it’s ALL got to be done even before you open up the can of paint.

Its also wise to definitely avoid low-cost brushes (for example) as they hold less paint, and thus you have to work twice as hard for 50% less of a good paint finish. Furthermore, a cheap brush will in all probability shed its bristles on to your paint, possibly ruining the job, specifically if you are gloss painting.

Pay attention to detail for the best quality paint finish

If you remember to put down dust sheets or old blankets, this also assists with a better job, after all, what is the point of spending 2 days painting and then another 2 days cleaning off all the paint spills and drips? Use masking tape and old newspaper and cover all window cills too.

If you want to paint like a pro, dress like a pro, work like a pro, think like a pro and you WILL BE a pro! (With any luck ,). Some final thoughts….

A lot of the time it really is down your mindset and how seriously you take each painting project.

LEARN from the trade, there’s loads more advice around the web than the points we’re giving you here today.

Make sure if you are painting room, do what the professional does and move all furniture out and of course take the pictures down AND the lampshade if you are painting the ceiling.

If you’re painting or decorating externally, make sure you are at ease using ladders or scaffolding, get rid of all plants and other obstructions against the wall and, if you have read this article completely, you will be positive enough to do some painting yourself. If not and your based in the North East consider hiring a professional like Adstyle Decorators, they cover most areas in The North East of England

What Are The Benefits of Venetian Plastering

venetan living roomAre you about to revamp your home? Would you like to have a new interior design that will look classy and elegant, without costing as much as a full remodel? You might want to consider a professional artisan service that specialises in decorative wall finishes. Highly skilled applicators can create custom wall finishes using the finest quality Venetian plastering techniques. These kinds of finishes give incredible benefits to both residential and commercial.

So What Are The Benefits of Venetian Polished Plaster?

Versatile, Venetian Polished Plaster can be applied to almost any type of new surface or pre-existing wall, can be safely used on wood, bricks, stone, tiles, cement boards and drywall. Also the easiest finishing treatment option for intricate areas like archways and posts.

Durability, another superb benefit of Venetian Polished Plaster is its durability. This type of material can last for decades, once the plaster coating has dried it will be transformed into a rock-like material. It has the ability to hold up against impact and slight movements lasting longer than various other wall paint finishes, making it the most practical choice for your house.

Characteristics, one of the products distinctive features is its essentially mineral composition and its indubitable advantages provided by superb breath ability. This stops moisture from accumulating inside the wall finish providing resistance to the primary attack of damp, ageing, moulds, mildews and bacteria. This is the reason Venetian Polished Plaster finishes are suitable for Kitchens, Bathrooms and Pool/Spa areas.

You can read more about the many benefits of venetian plastering here.

What is the difference between Synthetic Venetian plasters and natural lime-based Venetian plasters?

lime based venetian plasterThis is a question that gets reviewed a whole lot on many communities around the world, and of course it comes up numerous times on the plasterers forums. Some argue that you’ll find nothing better than using all natural lime-based Venetian plasters, for example, the traditional way of doing things. However, many others argue that synthetic Venetian plasters are better because they’re more controlled, and you know how they’re going to react, but then again, can a traditional Venetian plaster be beaten with quality not to mention the desired look and feel?

How Much Does it Cost To Build a House Extension

the build costs for house extensions explainedHow Much Does an Extension Cost?

There are lots of variables which will impact the price of your extension including soil type (which impacts the foundations); whether you’re constructing a single or two storey extension; what the extension will be employed for; and how much glazing you plan to designate.

Estimated Costs For Building an Extension in the UK

Depending what your location is in the UK, for a simple extension you’ll want to allow around £1,000-2,000/m². Keep in mind that the standard of specification you decide on will have a significant influence on the build cost. Experienced renovator Peter Nolan of Heath Hill Building and Roofing in Telford, states that a single storey extension will cost the pursuing per/m².

Basic quality £1,000 to £1,680
Good quality £1,680 to £1,920
Excellent quality £1,920 to £2,160

calculator costs2 Storey House Extension Costs

A two storey extension won’t cost a great deal more per square metre according to Martin King, director at M A King Home Improvements Rayleigh because, besides the additional internal fixtures and finishes, you are only adding walls and floor joists – a roof and foundations are needed whether your extension is single or two storey.

Remember: Balance the total amount you are able to spend on your extension with the projected value it’ll add to your home.

Ways to Finance Your Extension

There are numerous options when it comes to borrowing money to finance your extension. Nonetheless prudence is the watchword – if you access more than you require you might do unnecessary things in the course of the job and have problems paying it all back. So remain conservative.

In an ideal world, we would all finance our projects using our savings, but with recent years having offered poor interest rates, the financial scenery has been one which favours credit seekers over savers. If you need to borrow the money, your easiest solutions are:

Credit card: If you wish to lend thousands rather than tens of thousands for your work, an interest-free credit card is a good choice. Look around – the best deals supply up to 27 months of zero-rated spending.

Loan: Unsecured loans of up to around £25,000 are best for smaller jobs. The loan might be enough to cover the building work and if you are fitting kitchens or bathrooms in your extension you can often purchase these on finance from bigger shops. Just keep track of repayments as they can rapidly add up when you borrow from several sources.

Remortgage or secured loan: If you are borrowing more than £25,000 you may want to remortgage your home or take out a secured loan against your home. Several building societies offer what is referred to as a Home Improvement Loan up to £200,000.


Your builder will generally stage payments for each phase of the project. Try not to make any installments in advance. If it is required to purchase a high priced item perhaps a bathroom suite or kitchen some months prior to its installation, you should make sure it’s in your name and not that of the building contractor, just in case they should go out of business. When necessary you should go to the place where it is stored and make sure the ownership is transferred to yourself.

Your designer will impose fees based on the work involved, so an exact quotation of the fee would be a very helpful thing to have prior to deciding to give the go-ahead for plans to be prepared.

It is wise to check what any quotation includes and who is financially responsible any local authority application fees. Also, ask if any provision has been made should structural calculations be necessary.

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