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Category Archives: General

31 
Jul

How To Make the Most of Your House in Summer

Once the summer arrives so does DIY season. There is only so much you can do yourself Garden Benchhowever and if you’re looking to make the most of your home this summer, there are many renovations and refurbishments you can consider. Here we’re looking at just three things you could consider for your home to make summer times in the UK even more enjoyable.

Roof Lights

Roof lights look fantastic and add even more light and sunshine to your home. In addition to this they can also cut the cost of your electricity as you spend less money on artificial lighting. Roof lights bring quality lighting to the central spaces in your home and they also provide improved ventilation for your home, great for those stuffier days. Roof lights also look fantastic and can be a centrepiece or focal point in any room.  There are many different types of roof lights available with different kinds of opening and all are designed with security and safety in mind too.

Double Glazing and Bifolds

Although double glazing is usually associated with its insulating benefits, it also ensures your home is cooler in summer. Double glazing is designed to insulate against all extremes of temperature, including those hot summer rays. Like roof lights it also helps to bring down your energy bill. Similarly, you may choose to invest in bifold doors this summer, once again to maximise the natural light that comes into your home and to make access to your garden or outdoor space even easier. Bifold doors are a flexible addition to any home and you have many options to find the type of bifold doors that best fit your home.

Decking and Patios

There is nothing like enjoying the summer months out in your own private garden and it is the perfect time to add some decking or patio to your space, so you can set up an outdoor dining area or simply make the most of the space you have. Options such as split-level decking further enhance the opportunities in your outdoor space and allow you to create a space with dedicated areas. You may have a separate dining space for example, or somewhere for the children to play.

Even if you have a summer holiday booked chances are you’ll spend plenty of this summer at home, so it makes sense to make the most of it and improve it in any way you can.

For more details of our services please contact us at Wisecraft Ltd

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Published Date: 31st July 2017
Category: General


 

14 
Jul

Why Install An Old Fashioned Pantry?

If you have a traditional style kitchen and dining space or even if you have a more modern pantry1home, investing in a pantry can provide you with ample opportunity for a better organised kitchen. There are pantries available in both traditional styles and more modern, and while they are thought of as old fashioned, they provide your home with much more room for food storage and can even be better option for the quality of your food. Below is a closer look at why investing in an old fashioned pantry is a great idea.

Expand your Storage Space

Probably the most obvious reason people invest in a pantry is to add storage space. Your kitchen will look much less cluttered with a dedicated area for organising your cooking utensils and food. It also gives you many different options for exactly how to organise your kitchen with the many different pantry designs available.

Enjoy Cooking More

It may seem a little strange but tied into the above, once your kitchen is organised you can enjoy it more. A pantry makes it more convenient to cook from home and save on takeaways and it also makes it easy to store foods which may have always ended up jammed at the back of a cupboard and never used.

Better than the Fridge

Greengrocers have argued that opting for a pantry is a better option for keeping your food fresh than a fridge. A well-installed pantry will be extremely cool with insulated walls and cold stone floors. This allows food to stay fresher and is perfect for storing fruit and vegetables. Cool and dark places are almost always recommended for a wide range of fruit and vegetables, ensuring they stay fresher for much longer. Even foods such as eggs and cheese can be freshly stored in a pantry.

Add to the Value of your Home

Any modification to your home which is carried out professionally and to a good standard will add value to it. Updating your kitchen with a spacious pantry just adds on more selling point should you ever choose to move and it may even increase the value of your home considerably.

Pantries were a standard element of all kitchens, even in smaller homes, less than a century ago but they seemed to fall out of fashion. The benefits they bring in terms of organisation, food freshness and convenience make them a sound investment for kitchens of many styles.

If you’d like to learn more about about Kitchen services please contact us for more details.

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Published Date: 14th July 2017
Category: General, Kitchens


 

01 
Jul

How Long Will My Extension Take To Build?

One of the most frequently asked questions that we as trusted Bolton builders get asked is, how long will an extension take to build? In many cases the answer is the same as to ‘how long is a piece of string?’ because all projects will differ. Exact timescales can be affected by numerous factors including; complexity of the build, size, single or double story, specific site factors; the intended use, building products chosen etc.Portfolio2-1

However, for an average single-story extension we generally say that you should allow at least 12 weeks from the builders getting onto site to completion. Although some very complex projects can take up to twice as long as this.  However, for an average 12 weeks build we can normally expect the project to following the below stages.

Weeks 1-2

Setting out, footings dug, foundations laid

The builders will arrive on site and the project will begin.

Weeks 3-4

Walls built up to damp-proof course and this installed, drains and floor structure put in place

The final shape and size of your extension will begin to emerge and what may have been bare earth before will become the beginning of your new floor!

Week 5

External walls are built

Both the inner block work and outer brickwork will be completed and cavity wall insulation will be installed.

Weeks 6-7

Internal walls are built and roof made watertight

Now is the time to finalise your choices of windows and doors etc so that these can be ordered.

Week 8

Windows and doors are installed

Your extension is now fully watertight.

Week 9

First fix electrics and plumbing; carpentry started

Now is the time to make final decisions about where you want your utilities, down to the exact position of light switches and plug sockets.

Week 10

Break through from existing house wall, steel installation

This is the time where you might want to consider moving out as the real mess and dust will start to invade your house!

Week 11

Plastering

Once the plastering has been finished it will need to be left to dry out for a few days.

Week 12

Finishing

Second fix electrics and plumbing will be installed, floors will be laid and kitchens etc will be fitted.

Snagging

Sometimes post-build there will need to be a period of snagging to make any changes or rectify any issues that have arisen once you have started to live in your new extension.

For more information about what you can expect when undertaking any building project, contact the friendly builders at Wisecraft Ltd today.

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Published Date: 1st July 2017
Category: General, Handy Tips


 

20 
Jun

How To Keep Your House Cool

We know that it’s forecast every year, but this year it really is looking like we might just be in for Wisecraft Ltd - Bolton Buildersa long hot summer. As much as this sounds wonderful in principle we all know that in reality we Brits are actually pretty awful at coping with hot weather as we’re just not really set up for it. However there are a number of sensible investments and clever tricks that can help to you to keep your cool whilst those around you are expounding the infamous; ‘I like it hot, but not this hot!’

 

For many of us thinking about insulation and double glazing is something that we do in winter when we’re all desperately trying to keep warm, however it can be just as important in summer for keeping us cool. A well-insulated house with energy efficient double glazing will actually stay much cooler in hot weather, as just as these measures help to keep heat in, they also help to keep it out.

Use your windows

It may seem like a no brainer, but using your windows correctly during hot weather will also help to keep your house much cooler and keep fresh air circulating around which will make everything much fresher. For example if you have sash windows then open them equally at the top and the bottom so that hot air can be drawn out if the top and cool air can be drawn in below. The same principle applies if you have a 2 story house; open windows upstairs and down and make sure that any doors between levels are open to allow air to circulate freely.

Block out sunlight

It may seem a terrible waste to close your curtains and blinds on a hot sunny day, however keeping direct sunlight out of your rooms will help to keep them much cooler – just think about all the houses that you see with closed shutters in naturally much hotter countries. But if this just seems like too much of a sacrifice, then why not consider investing in a sun-awning for the sunniest parts of your house. These can be opened out to provide shade from the sun whilst still letting the light in.

Use a fan efficiently

If you are still boiling then you may end up resorting to an electric fan, however it is important to make sure that if you are going to do so then you use it correctly. Ensure that you position it across from an open window to create a cross breeze and angle it slightly downwards to push cooler air up into the rising heat.

To find out more about installing double glazing, insulation or many other ways to keep your house cool this summer, contact the friendly Bolton builders at Wisecraft today.

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Published Date: 20th June 2017
Category: General


 

22 
May

What To Do Before You Start A Building Project

Hooray! You’ve finally made the decision that the time is right to get that extension built, remodel the kitchen, convert the loft or turn the garage from dumping ground into your dream yoga studio! However in amongst all the excitement of planning wallpaper and how much you are going to love your new space and use it only for throwing elegant soirees (instead of watching TV and eating takeaways!), it is important to properly think through your plans before you even consider starting to put them into action. In many cases it can be a good idea to get an experienced local builder round to look at your space and discuss potential options and what can realistically be achieved – and the friendly Bolton builders of Wisecraft Ltd could be just the people!

Along with this there are some other important steps that you should take now, to ensure that you end up with a dream home and not a nightmare project.

Really think about your design

It may be that you want to engage the services of an architect right from the outset and get them to guide you through the design process. However even if you do choose to go down this route then it is always a good idea to have some concrete thoughts down on paper even before your first meeting. Why not try sitting down and drawing out your proposed space and thinking about how you would really use it and how the flow of the space will work. Getting these details right now will ultimately save you time and money than if you have to start making amends to the project once it is in progress.

Get proper drawings

In many cases it is almost impossible for a builder to be able to provide an accurate quote for the cost and timescale of your project if they don’t have proper, accurate drawings to work from. Depending on the type and extent of your project you may need drawings to get planning permission and building regulations approval anyway. But you will also find that with proper drawings you can see exactly what will be required for your space and plan accordingly.

Sort out the money

Far too many building projects end up being seriously compromised or even abandoned all together as a result of running out of money part way through. So it is important to secure your finances early on, set a budget and then stick to it. Also don’t forget to include a contingency, as even the simplest looking project could end up uncovering something unexpected which could leave you without the funds to finish if you haven’t already planned for the worst.

To discuss any thoughts or ideas you may have about turning your house into your dream home, or even just getting that leaky roof fixed before you find yourself sitting through another winter surrounded by buckets catching the drips, contact the friendly builders at Wisecraft Ltd today – we’re always happy to pop round for a chat – and we only take 17 sugars in our tea!

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Published Date: 22nd May 2017
Category: General, Handy Tips


 

10 
May

How To Live In Your House During Building Works

Obviously the ideal thing to do is to move out (preferably to some form of 5 star tropical beach Loft Conversionresort!) whilst you are having any major renovations or building work down to your house. However this is not always possible. Friends and family may not be lining up to invite you and your 14 dogs to move in or the funds just might not be available to decamp off on holiday or into rented accommodation for the duration of the project. So here are some of our top tips for how to live in your house during building works.

Clear up every day

It may seem like a thankless and pointless task, but clearing up as much as you can at the end of the day will help keep sense or order and calm amongst the chaos. Also keeping on top of the dust and mess will help to stop it spreading quite as badly through the rest of the house.

Contain the mess

As much as possible make sure that you always shut doors behind you as this can make a huge difference in containing all of the inevitable dust and mess. If there are rooms that you don’t need to use then tape the door seals shut to completely banish the dust. Also consider covering furniture that you won’t be using or even just covering it during the day so that you can come home in evening and uncover a clean sofa to sit on.

Don’t let rubbish build up

Going on seemingly endless tip runs may drive you crazy but it is fair easier to deal with rubbish as you go along than having to sort out a giant heap at the end of the project. Try to make sure that you put as much out for recycling and general waste collection on your usual collection days as possible too.

Keep dust sheets clean

This may sound like an oxymoron but regularly washing or at least shaking out dust sheets could make all of the difference between a dust explosion and relative cleanliness.

Plan ahead for day-to-day life

If you are going to be without a usable kitchen or bathroom for some time then it makes sense to plan ahead. Talk to your builders about what they can rig up to help to see you through – everything from a camp kitchen in the living room to a washing machine in the garage could make a huge difference to your standard of living.

For more information about turning your house into the home of your dreams (and how to get through the process of actually getting there!), contact the friendly Bolton builders of Wisecraft Ltd today.

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Published Date: 10th May 2017
Category: General, Handy Tips


 

27 
Apr

Conservatories vs Home Extensions

If you are looking to extend your living space there are a number of options open to you. Of building-imagescourse you could just up sticks and move into a bigger house, but what if you want to stay where you are and just make your current house work better for you? Getting the advice of your friendly local builder could be a great first option (if you live in Bolton then why not give Wisecraft a ring – we’ve got eons of experience and are happy to pop round and provide a free no obligation quote, or even just some initial advice), or you could employ the services of an architect.

For some people options such as loft conversions or garage conversions offer the most viable option as they can extend your living space without losing any of your current outdoor space. However these aren’t going to be right or practical for everyone. For many people the aim is to achieve that dream light and airy large kitchen-dining-living space and in many properties the only way to do this is to increase your ground floor space. But how should you do this? Should you go for a conservatory or a proper brick built home extension? Have a look at our thoughts about the pros and cons of each below to help you make up your mind.

Conservatory Pros

If your main aim is light then conservatory can be a great way of achieving this. By their very nature conservatories are nearly all glass and even have roofs that let light in too, so these can be a great way of creating a light and airy room. Due to the high proportion of glazing they can also form a fantastic transition zone between your house and garden. Also you can fill them full of plants (that will love all the light they are getting) and you can emphasise this feeling further. Also in most cases a conservatory will be a cheaper option than an extension.

Conservatory Cons

A conservatory cannot really be classed as an actual extra room as their method of construction does not comply with the building regulations that an extension would warrant. Also one of the main drawbacks (even with the improvements in glass manufacturing technology) is that a room made of glass is never going to have the same insulating properties as a masonry built room with full thickness insulation. In many cases a conservatory is liable to become too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. This may mean that you have to keep doors between your conservatory and the rest of the house which would negate the possibility for properly open plan living.

Home Extension Pros

Because an extension is built in the same way as the rest of your house it can offer much greater flexibility of use than a conservatory and also isn’t limited to just a single story. A properly built extension will do what it says on the tin and truly extend your house without any of the drawbacks of a conservatory. It will be fully insulated and so will regulate temperature and can easily be converted to a number of different uses. An extension will also add significantly more value to your house than a conservatory.

Home Extension Cons

Because an extension is a much more significant building project than a conservatory you should expect it to take longer, potentially cause more disruption during the building process and will ultimately cost more. Also unless it falls under the remit of permitted development then many extensions will require planning permission and will come under the responsibility of building regulations which can be both timely and costly.

To find out more about your options for extending your home contact the friendly Bolton builders of Wisecraft Ltd today.

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Published Date: 27th April 2017
Category: General


 

14 
Apr

How To Choose A Quote For Your Building Work

So you’ve got your plan in place, the architect has provided detailed drawings of the home of building-imagesyour dreams, you’ve sent these out to numerous builders and building firms and you’ve got at least 3 quotes back. Now how do you go about choosing which one to go for? It may be tempting to just opt for the cheapest price, but is this really always the right decision? Have a look at some of our top tips below for how to choose the right quote for your building work.

Check if it is a quote or an estimate?

A quote is a fixed price so that you know what you are getting for your money, whereas an estimate is basically a guess. A quote can change, but any changes will have to be agreed between you and your builder, whereas an estimate can change at any time and you could easily end up paying more that you originally thought. If you have only been provided with an estimate then it might be a good idea to go back and ask for a proper written quote.

Get professional advice

Once you have said yes to a quote then it is a binding agreement between you and the builder that the works will be completed and the agreed amount will be paid. So if you’re not sure what you’re doing then it might be worth getting some professional and independent advice. Your architect may be able to manage the quoting process for you, or you could commission a quantity surveyor to produce an independent cost assessment which you can use to judge quotes by and could also be useful if it comes to negotiation.

How detailed is the quote?

Check that each part of the building work has been fully itemised, if some parts have generic titles or provisional sums then it is likely that these may change. Also if the quote simply includes a final price then asking for a full breakdown of costs can let you see exactly where the money is being spent and can compare different builders prices for the same work. Also if the quote includes the price of installing tiles for example at £20 per square meter but then you fall in love with tiles that cost £50 per square meter then this could significantly affect the final price. It is also worth carefully checking exactly what is included and what is excluded in the price. If one quote is higher but includes more things then a direct cost comparison would be invalid.

To discuss your dream building project, contact Wisectaft Ltd Bolton today.

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Published Date: 14th April 2017
Category: General, Handy Tips


 

17 
Mar

What Does Your Home Say About You?

OK, so we all know that we shouldn’t judge a book by the cover, but is it fair to judge a person Bathrooms & Kitchens Boltonby their home? Many psychologists believe that with everything from a first glimpse at the exterior of your home to a really good rummage around in the back of someone cupboards, people will be making judgments and assumptions about you. So what does your home say about you?

Examining your home’s exterior

We know that when looking to buy many people make up their mind about a house within the first 7 seconds of seeing it – yes, even before they get in through the front door. But what about the assumptions that potential buyers, your friends, your family and even complete strangers are making about you just from the way that the exterior of your home looks?

Simple aspects such as the size of your home can say a lot about you. For example if you live in a large house people may assume that you are well off. Or if your house is extravagantly bling-covered then people may assume that you are extravagant and showy too. Colours can also say a lot about you. Bold colours can suggest homeowners that are exciting and adventurous, whereas muted colours could suggest the owners are more classic or retiring.

Grading your garden

Another aspect of your home that can inform people’s assumptions about you before they even step inside is your garden. A really wonderful garden takes time and effort and so will reflect that the homeowners are dedicated and creative. However a straggle of weeds and the odd pile of rubbish could tell others that you are lazy and unorganised.

The design choices that you make in your garden can also be seen to reflect your personality. Minimalist planting and clean lines could suggest a tidy and ordered mind, whereas intricate planting and charming details could reflect a love for the finer things in life and an attention to detail.

Inspecting the interior

This is where your personality often shines through the brightest. Your choice of interior colours can reflect a either a bright vivacious personality or a more constrained and classical outlook. The floorplan of your home can also be telling; an open plan design could show an emphasis on openness and togetherness, whereas a series of smaller more closed off spaces could reflect a more private personality.

When you look around your home, what do you think that it says about you? If it is saying the wrong thing then why not contact the trusted Bolton builders at Wisecraft Ltd? They are more than happy to pop round for a free no obligation chat about how to create a home that truly reflects who you are.

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Published Date: 17th March 2017
Category: General


 

07 
Mar

Britain’s New Build Homes Are The Smallest In Europe?

When it comes to either getting onto the property ladder for the first time or deciding to try andnew-houses move up a rung or two, one of the most important considerations for many prospective buyers is whether to buy a new build home or an older resale property. However a recent report has suggested that if its space that you want then a new build home in the UK might not be the way to go.

The average size of a newly built home in the UK is now the smallest in Europe at just 76 square meters, smaller than second place Italy, where an average new build comes in at 81.5 square meters and lagging miles behind the spacious likes of France (112.8 square meters), Belgium (119 square meters) and Denmark which at an average of 137 square meters is nearly twice the size of a new build in the UK!

However there are also worries that this average size of a UK new build might be getting even smaller due to a recent relaxation of the government’s minimum new build house size standards, as published in their most recent housing white paper. Currently the minimum floor area for any new home is 37 square meters, which is hardly huge; however the relaxation of planning laws, especially in relation to the conversion of office blocks into residential dwellings, means that there are some new studio flats which are significantly smaller than that. The conversion from office to residential is, in many cases, viewed as ‘permitted development’ and so not subject to minimum sizing laws. One example being a development of studio flats in Croydon which measure just 14.9 square meters, and plans have been submitted in Archway, Islington, which include studio flats measuring just 13.5 square meters – smaller than many people’s bedrooms yet supposedly big enough for two people to live in.

The obvious issue is that the UK population is expanding but the amount of available land is not. The government’s white paper sets out plans to review the guidance on minimum residential dwelling sizes, giving more autonomy to local councils to set minimum size guidelines, which could see more and more tiny homes being built.

So, if you are looking to move into a new build home then it might be worth thinking again – especially if you want to have enough space to both swing a cat, and store the vacuum cleaner that will be required to clean up all the hair afterwards! Older and resale properties can offer significantly more space for your money than new builds, and if the thought of any property maintenance issues concerns you, then why not find a trusted local builder (such as the jolly lovely Bolton builders of Wisecraft LTD to take on any work for you?

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Published Date: 7th March 2017
Category: General


 

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