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6-Home-Improvements

#6 Home Improvements (Exterior Renovations) – From the Outside Looking In

So the inside of your home is now up to date. The place is a palace on the inside, but the exterior no longer does it justice. Now might be the time to consider that external renovation to add the finishing touch in creating your dream home.

Plan
  1. Purpose. What exactly do you want to achieve on the exterior? If the extension didn’t quite match the rest of the house and you prefer the look of the extension then this is a good place to start. Do you want to add some specific features i.e. a veranda or some decorative features.
  2. Planning Permission. For exterior renovations, planning permissions are rarely required but as always, it is definitely worth checking. Homes in conservation areas and listed buildings will need permissions so it is best to check with the local council and your Renovation Company before undergoing any work.
  3. Neighbours. Take a look around the neighbourhood. You will want your home to stand out and showcase the craftsmanship but you don’t want it to stick out like a sore thumb and ruin the neighbourhoods current aesthetic. Also, as always, consider the effect on your direct neighbours i.e. will it restrict light etc.
Design
  1. Exterior Material. The route you take all depends on the desired effect. If your house is looking run down but you wish to keep the original look, then consider repointing. Professional builders enlisted to do the job will leave the house looking as good as new. If you want a brand new look then cladding is certainly the way to go. With modern looking brickwork cladding, your home will take on a whole new look. There is still the option of painting but this choice requires a lot of upkeep. You will need to repaint and touch up regularly so in most cases it is not worth the headache. If you do decide to paint then make sure you use fungicide and a stabilising basecoat before applying the paint.
  2. Windows and Doors. It is amazing the difference a new set of windows and doors can make. When it comes to windows, there are the modern looking PVC windows, which are cheap and efficient due to the double glazing though they do not last as long. Timber on the other hand is very long lasting, with maintenance, though this option is much more expensive. Front doors should be seriously considered because it is the entrance to your home. Think efficiency and safety when choosing and opt for the new PVC doors unless a more traditional wooden door is better suited. Remember by stylising with number plates, knockers and handles, great effects can be achieved with little cost.
  3. Porch. Add a little life to the front of the house; give the building that extra shape, by building a front porch. For bigger homes, this small addition to the front makes a huge difference. It gives the house a little more body and is your chance to present a welcoming area before anyone actually enters the home. If opting for a porch make sure it complements the building but doesn’t look like it was “stuck on”. If the house is smaller and a porch is too much, then consider a simple veranda, which gives that sense of extra body without overpowering the look.
  4. Garden and Decking. You want your garden to feel as welcoming as possible. With a small lawn that is easy to maintain, a subtle well-lit pathway and a driveway you will not draw focus away from the house but instead complement it. A few flowers wouldn’t go amiss either. As for decking, think proportionately. Too small and it’s useless, too large and it’s overpowering, finding a balance is key with the garden area.

Always remember, it can be very tempting to want to do everything and think in a dream like manner but do always be realistic in your ambitions. If you’re the type who finds themselves thinking “MORE POWER!” make sure you have somebody on hand to tell you “I don’t think so Tim!”

Good Luck with your Home Improvements!

For more information regarding home improvements, please Get in Touch. Also like and follow us on Facebook & Google+.

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Starting from Scratch with a New Build

So conversions are out of the question and extensions aren’t plausible, it’s time to find somewhere new. You’ve decided rather than to buy a home, you want to build one. This is a daring and very rewarding method and is the closest you can get to that dream home. Of course, certain limitations might mean it is not an exact replica of the home you envisioned but it’s as close as you can get.

Plan
  1. Land. To build your own home you will first need a plot of land. This can be tricky, as even with the perfect plot of land you may not get the planning permission to go ahead so be very careful. There are a few options such as estate agents, land agents, internet options and auctions. Be very careful about the land and before you purchase it, ensure you enquire about the permission to build on it, for what is the point in buying land that you cannot build on? Another option is to buy a rundown derelict home and its plot, then knock it down and start from scratch. Although this will incur addition costs such as demolition, the permissions will be easier to gain.
  2. Planning Permission. Make sure you can obtain the planning permission before buying the land as mentioned above. The best route would be to enquire and study all of the planning permission laws before even beginning to look for the land. Once you know the ins and outs then find the plot and you can begin work.
  3. Architect. Finding a reliable architect can be extremely difficult, do extensive research and choose wisely. Make sure the budget is discussed thoroughly and come to an agreement before the compromises need to be made. Be prepared to be flexible and compromise some of your artistic vision in order to meet structural requirements and planning restrictions.
Design
  1. Size. Obviously, your dream home’s size should reflect the size of your vision. However, planning permissions and structural restrictions may hinder this. Working closely with the architect, ensure the size fits within the plot of land and in proportion to it.
  2. Layout. Do you want an open plan home? How many rooms do you need? Where do you want these rooms? Again working closely with the architect to keep the structural integrity of the building, you can plan where you want your kitchen located, if you want an en suite, basement and lofts etc.
  3. Storage. Something to bear in mind is storage. If you have chosen an open plan layout or have no dedicated room for storage then consider built in cupboards shelves and other storage features to ensure that when you move in, you aren’t stuck with more stuff than space.
  4. Materials. What will your house be made of? If your building within an existing neighbourhood then following the aesthetic will be a good idea. Experiment in the design phase and use existing styles to create a unique interpretation.
  5. Windows. When building from the ground up, the opportunity for creativity is much freer. Why not try tall, thin windows that stretch across two stories for your stairwell. What about a small circle window as decoration. Look at old design trends for inspiration when considering all of these options.

New builds offer the most creativity and deliver tailored results every time. If the cost isn’t an issue then be daring, be creative but most importantly of all, don’t forget to be realistic. As mentioned above, look to old design trends for inspiration and make a start on building the home of your dreams.

For more information regarding home new builds, please Get in Touch. Also like and follow us on Facebook & Google+.

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5 tips on Choosing the Right Contractor for your Build

Whenever you are searching for a building and renovations company for your home renovation in Yorkshire or perhaps home extension in Yorkshire, you can grow pretty bewildered in searching for the right person for the job. I bet you are feeling frustrated that your dream house is on hold, not to worry, we feel your pain. It is essential to find a great construction company that is local and can get the job done as fast as humanly possible. Here are a few tips on how to identify and opt in for a great contractor following these 5 simple steps.

1. Use the internet, it’s your friend.

While it is not completely essential in searching for a local contractor, it can help speed up the process in finding a highly rated tradesmen qualified for the job. Using online directories are also a good approach in deciding on the best company in your area, but most construction companies usually refer their services by word of mouth.

2. Get at least 3 quotes.

The cheapest quote is not necessarily the best in terms of value, you need to consider the workload, materials, time etc. To ensure that you are getting the right price for the quality of work, you need quotes. Contractors can give you a quote on a build for free, from these you can assess which one is within your budget. If a quote seems blown out of proportion, don’t go for it, in some cases contractors will think you haven’t done your homework and quote you higher, we recommend you have a look around before you make your final decision.

3. Ask for credentials

So you now have your desired quote and are ready for your contractor to go ahead with the build. Before you do, make sure that this particular contractor has a good reputation and has worked professionally with previous owners. We recommend you ask for referrals, these will further reinforce their expertise and integrity for the project. If they don’t have any, then this is when you should be worried, we strongly advise you not to go ahead if they don’t provide you with any referrals.

4. Look out for signs of cowboy builder syndrome

We see horror stories on TV about builders that do shoddy work then demand extortionate prices or even in some cases leave without finishing the job. These programmes do look at the extreme cases, but most builders are very up front and honest about their trade, but if you are aroused by any suspicion, then do not be afraid to confront them as soon as possible. One of the main tell-tale signs is that the builders are not associated with any real national trade association or not accredited to any relevant organisation, have no identification or ask for cash payments in advance. Ask them questions about their company, the experience of their workers and how many projects they are currently working on, information like this will give you more of an idea of who they really are.

5. Good management of materials.

A good contractor can estimate the right amount of materials needed, thus reducing the amount of extra materials not used in the build. They also give a detailed description of every material they are proposing to work with on a given project.

Wintek Construction know that your dream house entails a tremendous amount of time and expense, but we can help you determine a proper evaluation and expertise to deliver high quality building work, as a building company in Bradford, West Yorkshire, we look forward to the challenge in building your dream home.

For more information regarding home renovations and extensions, please Get in Touch. Also like and follow us on Facebook & Google+.

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Wood Flooring Options for your Kitchen or Bathroom Remodeling

If you are considering renovating your bathroom or kitchen areas you need to carefully consider the type of floor solution you intend to fit. Unlike most parts of the home where the temperature remains about the same, the bathroom and kitchen areas often include wet and humid conditions that naturally affect the temperature and present challenging conditions for most floors.

If you are considering fitting wood floors in these areas it is important to understand your options of type and finish as you can easily fit the wrong type resulting in further costs and aggravation. Naturally, Wintek Construction has fast experience in renovating the bathroom and kitchen areas so using their service will eliminate the likelihood such mistakes. For those homeowners venturing on their own, we are here to explain about your options.

Wood Flooring Types:

There are two types of floorboard construction made from real wood. One type called ‘solid’ is made from complete wood, while an alternative called ‘engineered’ is made from various layers of wood and artificial materials.

The most widely fitted option in the UK is the solid type that fits most of the house with the exception of the bathroom and kitchen areas. All natural woods and certainly solid wood react to changes in temperature by expanding in hot humid climate and contracting in wet cold climate. Fitting solid wood floors in the bathroom and kitchen areas may result in the floor lifting (when expanding) or for gaps to appear between the floorboards (when contracting).

Your only option is fitting engineered wood floors as the mix construction using artificial materials (namely MDF and Plywood) and solid wood keeps the floor in shape even in challenging conditions. The first visual layer is made from wood while the backing contains the artificial materials so visually it looks identical to solid wood.

Wood Flooring finish:

Each floorboard, whether it is solid or engineered wood type is traditionally covered in a transparent layer made from oil or wax. In most cases, homeowners will choose a finish to match the interior, however in the case of wooden flooring in wet or humid areas design has to play second fiddle to practicality. Lacquered based finishes do not filter into the wood, but remain on the surface (unlike oil for example). While this results in expedited wear of the finish, it also makes it waterproof. It is simply a question of applying a fresh coat of finish from time to time.

If you are looking to fit wood floors anywhere in your home, contact Wintek Construction for a competitive quote.

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Are you Considering a Self Build?

Many people are looking into developing their own homes these days, especially when the current property market is not looking so great, but at least extending your current property is looking promising.

In a recent survey, The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveys (RICS) have identified that the housing stock market is growing because of fewer houses being sold, people are moving on average every 15 years. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that by extending your property you can increase the overall value of your house, make much better use of space, and benefit in staying in the same neighbourhood and same schools if you have children.

Anyone with the right mindset can start their own self build project, you don’t necessarily need to have experience to be able to take on a self-build project, but it would be more of a streamlined build if you do find builders in West Yorkshire, saving you a lot of time and headache (we will get to that part).

First of all you’ll need the necessary paperwork so that the extension is safe to use and live in, we don’t want it to fall like someone’s lost at playing giant Jenga, so making sure that the build complies with current standards of the building regulations is required, this is done by submitting a building regulation application. Ideally you need an experienced professional such as a surveyor, architect or an engineer to examine the property, this way they can submit the building regulation application on their behalf, killing two birds with one stone as one might say. During your build, an on-site surveyor will also be required to inspect the work as it progresses and is finished.

With a first build, we recommend you use a reputable builder, preferably one that has expertise in your type of project. It takes a lot of time and effort for a new build, getting help can save you the hassle. Wintek Construction have done dozens of builds, and thoroughly plan and design projects, reducing additional fees you might come across. We also draw out building plans that will ensure plans are executed successfully and to deadline.

We know all too well the challenges involved in hiring contractors, working with an Architect/Engineer, and dealing with all the day to day processes involved in a self build, it would be more efficient if all these things were under one roof (pun intended), this is where Wintek comes to the rescue. We will communicate all the necessary parts of the build and make sure we lay out the plans clearly at the start. If you are considering a self built project, is it worth pulling your hair out for?

If you want to keep your hair, give Wintek Construction a ring today or fill in our form for a free quotation. Like and follow us on Facebook and Google+ for more exciting updates on current builds we’re working on.

If you have dealt with us in the past and was happy with our service, please feel free to leave a review on Google+.

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All you need to know about flat roof repair

Flat roofs are generally uncommon in residential properties, although there are some examples out there which use the design. This style of building has lots of negative associations and a flat roof is often enough to scare people away from a renovation project.

However, while it’s fair to say that flat roofs can be more susceptible to damage and leaks than their sloped counterparts, this is largely due to the quality of materials that were used in the initial construction. Flat roofs were at their most popular in the 1960s and 70s. The lack of technology and material knowledge at this time has led to the link between flat roofs and construction nightmares. It is not necessarily the concept which is at fault; rather, it was the methods and materials used.

If you’re embarking on a renovation project and your building has a flat roof – do not despair. There’s no need to construct an expensive, sloping roof. There are lots of modern options available, which make repairing a flat roof and bringing it up to modern standards, affordable and effective.

Felt

The cheapest and quickest option to use is felt. This was also the material of choice in the 1960s on mass building projects. The material is particularly susceptible to damage when hot, so years of warm summers baking in the heat can leave it in something of a sorry state. This may be the cheapest, but it’s one to avoid if you want long-term stability.

Liquid Coating

Liquid Coating uses the latest technology and materials and is the most effective, long-term option available. Materials such as Elastaseal are used to make roof surfaces completely waterproof and the method used to apply it avoids the dangerous technique used to apply felt. Companies like County Durham based Tor Coatings use these materials as part of their flat roof repair techniques and their website indicates that this method could protect a roof for up to 25 years.

What’s more, this waterproof layer provides the perfect layer on which to construct a green roof, with plants or grass growing on the surface of the roof. This has become an increasingly popular construction trend. As well as offering an effective layer of insulation, vegetation prevents water from pooling on flat surfaces and causing water damage. For more information on creating a green roof and the benefits of doing so, consult this guide from the UK government.

Fiberglass

It stands to reason why fibreglass is a popular option for repairing flat roofs. It’s lightweight, durable and can cope with the natural movement of buildings, as they expand and contract with the heat. It’s also possible to do the work yourself if you’re working on a limited budget. Take a look at this guide to replacing a roof with fibreglass.

Sheet Metal

When it comes to replacing a flat roof with metal, the most popular materials used are copper, stainless steel and zinc. This is an expensive, yet strong option, so it’s particular effective protection against extreme weather, like wind and rain. It’s also possible to apply a coating, such as a metal primer, to extend the life of a metal roof.

On the other hand, metal doesn’t cope well with extreme changes in temperature; constant expanding and contracting can cause cracks.

Which option you go for will depend on your budget and the results you want to achieve with your repairs. However, if you intend to live in a property for a long time, you should prioritise long-lasting results over cost-cutting.

If you are having any problems with your own roofs and need roof repairing in Bradford, why not let Wintek Construction have a look at it. Fill in our Online Enquiry Form today and get a free estimate. For more information on our current builds, please follow us on Facebook and Google+.

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