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Yearly Archives: 2016

18 
Dec

Types Of Exterior Cladding

If you are considering an extension or even a full blown new build then there will no doubt be acladding million thoughts running through your head; how big should it be, what should the layout be like, what should I use the new space for and last but certainly not least, what should it look like?! There are heaps of design decisions to be made inside, but also don’t forget about what the exterior of your property is going to look like?

The actual design of your property is one thing, for example where will the windows and doors be, how big will they be, what will the roof look like etc? But it is also worth considering what the actual exterior finish of the house will be. Just because your current house is made out of bricks, does your extension have to be brick built too? There are a number of different options for the exterior cladding of your house, so have a look at some of the most popular cladding options below.

Bricks or brick slips

Probably the most common form of exterior cladding is traditional brickwork, however it may be worth considering brick slips, which are thin slices of brick (usually 20mm-25mm) that can be used as a lightweight alternative. Brick slips are usually attached to a backing panel with adhesive and then traditional mortar is inserted into the gaps.

Timber

Wooden cladding has long been a popular choice in rural areas where wood was the most abundant natural resource, but it is now becoming more and more popular as a modern design statement. There are numerous options for timber cladding, depending on the type of wood and level of treatment that you choose. For example untreated softwoods can have a relatively low initial purchase price, but bear in mind they will need regular weatherproofing to keep them in good condition, whereas treated hardwoods will cost more initially but will be significantly more durable.

Render

This is a type of weatherproof plaster that is applied to your exterior walls to form a smooth or textured finish. Again there are many different types of render which will vary in price, these can be pre-coloured or may require painting and can have varying thermal insulation properties. There are also different types of render which will be more suitable for different types of properties, for example the traditional lime render is best for older properties, whereas modern silicone-based renders are flexible, breathable and low-maintenance.

For more information about choosing the right type of exterior cladding for your home, contact the friendly Bolton builders at Wisecraft Ltd today.

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Published Date: 18th December 2016
Category: General


 

18 
Nov

Why Should You Insulate Your Floors?

When it comes to keeping your home nice and toasty there are a few things that we all already Loft Conversionknow are a good idea; insulating your roof, installing cavity wall insulation, fitting double glazed windows and doors, using an energy efficient boiler etc. But what about insulating your floors as well? Approximately 10% of a home’s heat can be lost through the floors – not only is this thoroughly annoying, but cold floors equal cold and feet and no one wants that, especially not the lovely Bolton builders at Wisecraft Ltd!

When considering a new extension or other building project, or you just want to keep your house warm whilst keeping your energy bills down, it can really pay to think about floor insulation as well as everything else!

Types of floor insulation

The type of floor insulation that you choose largely depends on the type of floor that you have:

  • Suspended floors – older houses often have wooden floors that are suspended on joists over a void. There are a number of options to insulate these types of floors; if you have a carpet over your suspended floor then you could add a layer of insulation above the boards but under the carpet. Alternatively it is possible to install underfloor insulation that is attached to the underside of the boards; this can be glass/mineral fibre or sheep’s wool insulation that is held up by netting or alternatively you can install Batts.
  • Solid concrete floors – these tend to be found in houses built since the 1930’s and floors are made up of a solid concrete slab. These can often have quite a good thermal mass but depending on the choice of floor covering can feel quite cold. The easiest way to insulate solid concrete floors is with a layer of solid insulation which is placed directly on top of the floor.
  • Insulated concrete floors – most modern houses now have solid concrete floors but with a layer of polystyrene insulation that a few inches under the floor’s surface to provide insulation. In some cases this may not require much further insulation, but you could also consider adding an extra layer of insulation on top of the concrete under your floor covering to really ensure that you stay warm and toasty.

What else to consider

When thinking about insulating your floors, especially if you have a traditional suspended floor, then it is important to consider leaving ample opportunity for ventilation, for example ensuring that air bricks are not blocked. If air is not allowed to circulate freely then your floor boards and joists could get damp and begin to rot. This can also apply to solid floors, ensure that air bricks above floor level are not blocked or air can be prevented from circulating through cavity walls etc.

For more information about insulating your floors, contact the friendly experts at Wisecraft Ltd Bolton.

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Published Date: 18th November 2016
Category: General


 

11 
Nov

How To Care For Your Brickwork

Brick has been one of the most popular choices for building for many centuries, even Henry Brick Wall ImageVIII’s Hampton Court Palace is made of gorgeous red bricks, and it is likely that you house is made from brick too. Brick is durable and built to last, but there are some things that can cause damage to your brick work which, if not caught early, can lead to more serious problems such as water ingress or even complete wall collapse. However there are a few simple things that you can do to care for and to maintain your brickwork.

Clean your brickwork

Once a year it is advisable to properly look over your brickwork and clean any areas that are showing obvious dirt. This can be a simple as hosing it down with the spray nozzle on your garden hose, or in some cases it may be necessary to mix one capful of bleach into a gallon of water before using a natural bristle brush to gently scrub off any areas of moss, mould or mildew (this can result from areas of brickwork that do not get much natural light and are close to overhanging vegetation). Ensure that you give the brick a good soaking before applying the bleach solution to avoid the brick absorbing the bleach.

Avoid water damage

Water can damage your brick from two sources. Firstly from rain beating against your brick eventually soaking into the mortar causing the mortar and/or brick to split or crack. Or as a result of rising damp, when the salt crystals left behind after the damp naturally evaporates cause damage to both the mortar and the brick. Once the brick is water damaged, freezing and thawing cycles can quickly cause further damage to the brick, so catching water damage early is essential.

Repointing

If the mortar of your bricks has been damaged it will be necessary to repoint it. This will give your brick work a new lease of life and leave it looking much neater too. When repointing it is essential that all damaged mortar is carefully removed before adding thin layers of new mortar to form a safe and waterproof seal, mortar should be replaced to a depth of at least twice the width of the joint. It is also important to ensure that the new mortar matches to colour and texture of your existing mortar.

To get a free assessment of your brickwork or to employ some of Bolton’s best builders to undertake any repointing or maintenance contact Wisecraft Ltd Bolton Builders today.

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Published Date: 11th November 2016
Category: General, Handy Tips


 

31 
Oct

How Much Will It Cost You To Move House?

When your house is no longer feeling like your dream home, you might start thinking about Bolton Property Management Servicesupping sticks and moving. But quite apart from the actual cost of your new house, there are a number of other costs to consider when planning your move. Is it always better to move or when you do the maths is maybe just staying put and getting the lovely Bolton builders at Wisecraft to extend, convert or renovate your home until you and your house are back in a loving relationship a better idea?

So what are some of the average costs involved in moving house?

Deposit – this is usually between 5%-20% of the total cost of your new home and can either come from savings or from any equity raised from selling your current property.

Stamp Duty – this is a government tax paid on properties costing more than £125,000. The rates vary from between 2% and 12% of the purchase price depending on how much your new house costs. There is also an additional tax of 3% to pay on any second homes or buy-to-let properties.

Valuation Fee – this is charged by your mortgage lender to assess the amount that they are willing to lend you; it is typically between £150 and £1,500, although some mortgage companies do not charge you this at all.

Survey – these can vary in extensiveness and thus can cost anywhere between £250 and £750 depending on whether you get a basic home condition survey or a full structural survey.

Legal Fees – buying and selling a home is not something that you can do yourself so you must instruct a solicitor or licenced conveyancer to carry out all of the legal work for you. Legal fees are typically around £500-£1500 and on top of this there will be a charge for local searches to check for any planning issues of approximately £250-£300.

Electronic Transfer Fee – it will cost approx. £40-£50 to electronically transfer the cost of the house from the mortgage lender to the solicitor.

Estate Agent’s Fees – these are only paid by the seller and typically cost around 1%-3% of the sale price plus 20% VAT. In some cases cheaper prices can be found by using online only estate agencies etc.

Removal Costs – of course it may be possible to do this yourself, however it can be extremely hard work and time consuming. Removal costs, of course, vary with the amount to be moved and the distance, and can be anywhere between £500 and £3000. 

To get a more accurate idea of your specific home move costs, there are some great calculators at Money Supermarket and Rightmove. But if it all seems like too much hassle why not get the lovely people at Wisecraft Ltd Bolton to come a give you a lovely free no obligation quote to transform your current house back into your dream home?

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Published Date: 31st October 2016
Category: General


 

17 
Oct

5 Things You Need To Know When Planning Your Extension

In this uncertain post-Brexit housing market many people are choosing to improve their homes,UPVC Windowsrather than facing the perils of moving. Whether it is a loft conversion, garage conversion or a home extension, making sure than you plan your project properly can mean the difference between your dream house and a disaster. So what are some of the most important things to take into account when planning your extension?

  1. Confirm your budget

There is no point in embarking on a project that you can’t afford to finish, so the first step in any project is finding out realistically how much you can afford to spend and then ensuring that your project is actually affordable at that budget. Nearly all projects will have some form of unexpected expenses so ensure that you also include at least 10% of your budget for contingency

  1. What do you want to achieve?

Do you want some extra living space, an extra bedroom, a home office or to solve your home’s bad layout problems? The answer to this question will then determine what type of project you need to undertake.

  1. Do you need planning permission?

According to the rules of permissive development, not all home alterations require planning permission. However it is important to be entirely sure whether or not you need to acquire planning permission before you start any project. Lots of information can often be found on your local council’s website, but it is always worth consulting with an expert who can actually look at your property before making a decision.

  1. Think through your design

We have seen too many homes ruined by badly designed extensions, so it is essential that you are completely happy with the design before you start. It is sometimes possible to make alterations during the build process; however this inevitably adds to the cost and can sometimes end up with a compromised design. It may be worth employing the services of an architect, who are experts in building design, or some experienced building firms will also have high levels of design experience.

  1. Consider your timetable

All building projects take time, especially large ones, so set a realistic timetable with your builders before you start, and then plan when you are going to commence. It is worth considering the time of the year, planned holidays and family occasions for which you are going to need full use of your house and then set a start date that will fit around these.

For more information about planning your dream extension contact the experts at Wisecraft Builders Bolton. today.

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Published Date: 17th October 2016
Category: General


 

03 
Oct

Top Causes Of A Leaking Roof

There’s no point in spending time and money on the rest of your house if you roof is not doing Bolton Roofing Serviceswhat it’s supposed to be doing and keeping the water out. Starting from the top down is one of the most often used practices in building for a reason – it’s the right way to do things! So a leaky roof is something that you need to get onto and get fixed as soon as possible. But don’t worry, often the causes of roof leaks are surprisingly quick and easy to fix.

Broken or slipped roof tiles or slates

One of the most obvious and most common causes of roof leaks is when the tiles or slates that cover the roof have become damaged or dislodged. Once this happens water can then easily breach the roof and will drain directly into your house causing a leak. Depending on the extent of the damage, this can often be a relatively easy repair, when placed in the hands of the experts, such as those jolly clever Bolton builders of Wisecraft Ltd. Although be warned that the longer you leave it the worse the damage will inevitably get and the more it will cost you to repair.

Underlay failure

Many people don’t actually realise that your roof is made up of more than just tiles or slates. In fact, underneath these is a membrane known as the underlay. In the case of very strong winds it can be possible that rain is forced through any gaps or underneath the tiles. Initially the underlay will collect this water and cause it to travel down towards the guttering, but over time and with continued exposure to water, the underlay may begin to rot which can lead to a leak.

Damaged flashing

Unfortunately flashing is the name of the areas of lead (or other metal) that cover the joins between different areas of your roof, and nothing to do with funky disco lights! If flashing is installed and functioning effectively then it will ensure that water does not seep through any gaps between your tiled areas. However even a small area of damaged flashing can have a surprisingly serious effect, so ensure that you catch the problem soon and that a reputable expert is employed to repair it.

Clogged Gutters

From the ground you may not be able to see if your gutters are full of leaves and moss, but if they are then water may end up pooling at the edge of your roof, rather than running off effectively. As it is stationary, water will naturally find the path of least resistance and may end up working its way into your roof or walls through any small gaps or cracks. However a simple cleaning of your gutters can easily remedy this.

To find out more about ensuring that your roof is in tip top condition, contact the friendly expert builders at Wisecraft Ltd today.

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Published Date: 3rd October 2016
Category: General, Handy Tips, Roofing


 

20 
Sep

Do You Need An Architect?

For many people the decision to take on a home renovation project can be both exciting, but also a bit daunting. It often represents quite a large financial investment and for those who aren’t in the building trade knowing where to start can be difficult. Add to that the pressure of needing to get it right as it’s not something that can often easily be changed afterwards without a sometimes serious additional cost. So where do you start? Is your project something that can be tackled on your own, or should you employ the services of an architect on top of the costs of your builder etc?

Architects can be employed to help you to design your project (this can be anything from a new build to a simple bathroom redesign) and can then draw up plans from which your builder will work. There is no legal requirement to use an architect on your project, as long as the finished product complies with building regulations, but there are some projects for which it is understood that using an architect can be advisable.

Advantages of employing an architect:

  • If your project requires planning permission they will have knowledge of the exact requirements for your project and can be invaluable in successfully navigating the local planning authority.
  • If you don’t know what you want, architects can help to give you ideas for how to transform your space. They will also plan the design down to the small details, such as which ways doors should open, which you may not think of.
  • Architects are subject to a statutory code of practice and have Professional Indemnity Insurance to protect their clients.

Disadvantages of employing an architect:

  • An architect’s fee can add up to 20% to the cost of a project, which can be out of the question for those on a tight budget.
  • Adding an architect into the mix can sometimes be one extra thing to deal with too far. Negotiating the relationship between your architect, builder and other contractors can sometimes prove more difficult than it needs to be.

However whether or not you employ an architect is up to you. Many people successfully take on comparatively large projects without the services of an architect. If you have a good idea of what you want and have a builder that you trust who has vision, then this could render the additional expense of an architect obsolete. So before you do anything, why not speak to the friendly experts at Wisecraft Ltd Bolton Builders today – we can come and discuss your project and offer a free and no obligation quote. So call us today – we love a chat – and the odd chocolate biscuit!

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Published Date: 20th September 2016
Category: General, Handy Tips


 

01 
Sep

What Are Building Regulations?

You may have heard the term ‘Building Regulations’ on TV property shows, but what does it actually mean and how do these affect you if you are thinking about taking on a building project? Read on and let your friendly Bolton builders at Wisecraft explain all (well nearly all – to explain all would be a somewhat lengthy tomb!).

In essence Building Regulations refer to the minimum standards for the design, construction and alteration to any building. These are standards that are developed by the Government and approved by Parliament and so must be adhered to. Ensuring that any building project complies with Building Regulations is the responsibility of the Buildings Inspector, who will have to inspect and sign off builds at certain stages of their construction.

Building Regulations are regularly updated and create standards that ensure safe and adequate foundations, damp-proofing, overall stability of the building, insulation, ventilation, heating, fire protection and means of escape in case of fire are provided in all buildings. They consist of 14 sections that cover:

  • Structure
  • Fire Safety
  • Site Preparation and Resistance to Contaminants and Moisture
  • Toxic Substances
  • Resistance to the Passage of Sound
  • Ventilation
  • Hygiene
  • Drainage and Waste Disposal
  • Combustion Appliances and Fuel Storage Systems
  • Protection from Falling, Collision and Impact
  • Conservation of Fuel and Power
  • Access to and Use of Buildings
  • Glazing Safety in relation to Impact, Opening and Cleaning
  • Electrical Safety

What happens if you do not comply to Building Regulations? If it is found that your building does not meet the Building Regulations then you will have to make necessary alterations (which in some cases can mean virtually starting from scratch) until it is deemed up to standard by the Buildings Inspector. If this is not done then the building will not be seen as fit for habitation (or whatever other use it has) and you will not be able to get insurance.

So, it pays to make sure that any building project complies with Building Regulations – talk to the experts builders at Wisecraft Ltd today to find out more.

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Published Date: 1st September 2016
Category: General, Handy Tips


 

20 
Aug

How To Increase The Value Of Your Home

Whether you are planning to sell your home or not, increasing its value can only ever seem like Bi Folding Doorsa good idea, especially as for most of us our home is our most expensive asset. There is a certain amount that you can do with soft furnishings to make your home seem more attractive to potential buyers and thus potentially get a slightly better sale price, but when it comes to adding serious monetary value to your home you will need to look to bricks and mortar. So what should you be talking to your favourite local builder (Bolton builder’s called Wisecraft perhaps?!) about when looking to add value to your home?

Add a loft conversion

This is one of the easiest and least disruptive ways of adding serious square footage (and thus value) to your home. According to a survey of 110 estate agents, carried out by mortgage lender GE Money, adding a loft conversion will increase the value of your home by on average 12.5%. In some cases this means spend £20,000 on a loft conversion and increase your home’s value by £40,000 – a no brainer really.

Extend your living space

Increasing the actual amount of living space in your home is guaranteed to increase its value (unless you employ a terrible cowboy builder who does such a bad job that the only option is to knock it down and start again – avoid this by employing the lovely people at Wisecraft!). When planning your extension it is important to get the design right and make it really feel like part of the house, rather than an unloved bolt on. Simple tricks such as knocked through doorways and using the same flooring throughout will help your extension merge seamlessly into the rest of your home. On average an extension will increase the value of your home by 11%.

Concentrate on the kitchen

If you can afford to do only one room, then make it the kitchen. A fantastic new kitchen will add up to 5% to the value of your house, as these are now seen as the true heart of the home, not only do we cook in them but we also watch TV, entertain and just generally live in our modern spacious kitchen areas. Ensure that the work-surface is gorgeous and the design of the kitchen allows easy access between the cooker, sink and fridge and also try and include lots of seating areas.

For more information about how we could increase the value of your home, contact Wisecraft Ltd today.

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Published Date: 20th August 2016
Category: General, Handy Tips, Loft Conversions


 

04 
Jul

Do Bedrooms Have To Be Upstairs?

For most people when we think of a house, we think of coming in through the front door to a suite of rooms including the main living space and kitchen and then going upstairs to the bedrooms. But does this always have to be the case? There is a growing trend for ‘upside-down’ houses, where the bedrooms are on the ground floor and the living accommodation is on the upper floors. Upside-down houses are generally thought to originate in Scandinavia, with the trend also being popular in Australia.  So is this a design choice that you should be considering when planning your new home?

So what are the pros and cons of living in an upside-down house?

Pros of upside-down houses

  • This can be site specific, but many people choose to build upside-down houses because there are amazing views from the upper floors which would not be visible from the ground floor. In these cases there may be an argument for being able to wake up to a wonderful view in the morning, however for the majority of time we spend in our bedrooms we are fast asleep, so these views would be wasted.
  • Having the bedrooms on the ground floor means that it is easy to keep them cooler and darker, as lower floors are easier to shade. One very attractive method of doing this is to install a veranda around the first floor which increases your living space and also casts shade on the floors below.

Cons of upside-down houses

  • Privacy – for many people the thought of having their bedrooms downstairs is off-putting because of the privacy issues, especially if your house is in an urban location where you are likely to get more passers-by peering into your bedroom windows. Although of course, you could just install blinds etc.
  • Increased cost of installing utilities – in some cases these can be higher as you have to install a greater number of these on upper floors which can lead to increased costs.
  • Another downside of upside-down houses is that it can have an impact if you wish to achieve seamless inside/outside living. Whereas if your living space is on the ground floor you can easily move between this and your outside space, separating these by a floor can put a sizeable barrier in the way.

For more information about designing your perfect home, contact the experts at Wisecraft Ltd today.

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Published Date: 4th July 2016
Category: General


 

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