Category: Homeowner and landlord advice

The leaves are changing colour, the evenings are drawing in, and before we know it, the clocks will be turning back. Autumn is here, and there are a host of things you can do to your home to get it ready for colder nights and wetter days.

Check your heating

Across offices and bars, the debate is already raging – have you turned your heating on yet? If you haven’t, then the chances are it hasn’t been on for a very long time. If that’s the case, then there’s no better time to make sure your boiler and your central heating system are all in full working order. Get yours checked over before all the engineers are busy with emergency callouts – or before you’re stuck with your own emergency breakdown.
Hire a heating engineer

Update your windows and doors

As temperatures drop, our cosy nights in can be rudely interrupted by cold drafts. Single-glazed windows and wooden doors can be the main culprits for these. Make sure yours are well-fitted and up to date to keep the cold out, and improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Hire a window fitter / carpenter

Repair any broken fences or gates

Strong winds and falling branches can wreak havoc on fences and gates, while wet conditions can cause wood to swell, warp and rot. Before any more bad weather sets in, it’s worth checking for any damaged panels or posts. Fixing them early can save money and effort further down the line
Hire a fencer

 

 

Fix damaged roof tiles

One of the easiest ways to prevent major problems from occurring is to keep an eye on your roof for signs of damage. Even a few loose tiles can lead to nasty leaks. An experienced roofer can inspect everything and should be able to show you pictures of any damage you might need to have repaired.
Hire a roofer

Make sure your home is insulated

No one wants a chilly and unwelcoming home when autumn begins to bite, so making sure your home is properly insulated is essential to keeping things nice and toasty. It can be a big job depending on what you want done, but can benefit your home for years to come.
Hire an insulation installer

Add new lighting

If you want to turn your indoor spaces into a safe haven from autumn’s damp and drizzle, lighting is key to creating the perfect atmosphere. Adding spotlights, accent lighting, or even just dimmer switches, can help change the character of a room with immediate impact.
Hire an electrician

Victoria Plum small bathroom Smart Walnut

 

In this guest blog, the team at VictoriaPlum.com explains how to make the most of a small bathroom.

 

2.4 metres x 2.7 metres.

According to a recent survey of VictoriaPlum.com customers, this is the average size of a UK bathroom. If you think about it, that doesn’t really give you much to work with in terms of floor space, being not much bigger than a king sized mattress.

Striking a balance between style and practicality is the bane of the bathroom fitter’s life. On the one hand, the homeowner is looking to achieve a certain look and feel, but on the other hand, the actual size and shape of the room can throw a real spanner into the works, turning a grand plan into something quite disappointing.

But, before you think it’s all doom and gloom, there are some tricks of the trade that you can employ, to leave your bathroom feeling bigger than it actually is. Follow our tips below to make the best use of every square inch.

 

Always look on the bright side

 

Forget smoke and mirrors, if you really want to create the illusion of space in a small bathroom, light and mirrors are the winning combination. The aim is to bounce both natural and artificial light around the bathroom, turning a gloomy space into one that is welcoming, and there are a number of ways you can do this.

The easiest method is to place a large mirror on the wall adjacent to the window. If the bathroom you’re renovating doesn’t have a window, a full length mirror could be a great option to boost any interior lighting. Mirrors with LED lights are superb, providing additional task lighting when applying makeup or putting contact lenses in. You can even choose between warm and cold light to create a particular ambience.

 

Lighten up a little

 

A dark colour scheme can immediately make a small space feel oppressive, so you’ll need to make sure any tiles, paint or even wallpaper you use are of a sufficiently light shade. However, whilst fairly bland colours like beige, cream or light brown spring to mind, there are ways you can inject a touch of personality and contemporary style into proceedings.

These days, monochrome colour palettes are proving incredibly popular, and one of the reasons for this is that they work well with small bathrooms. Whites and light greys keep things feeling clean and uncluttered, whilst a border or mosaic pattern can break up any design that appears a little too plain.

When choosing your wall or floor coverings, gloss tiles can add another reflective surface into the mix, enhancing both natural and artificial light.

 

Victoria Plum small bathroom fairbanks

 

Don’t get cornered

 

The corners of a bathroom are often the most underutilised space in the whole room, however you can turn them to your advantage. With a corner toilet, basin or quadrant shower enclosure, the tricky corner can be put to serious use.

By fitting a corner installation, you can overcome issues caused by radiators that need to be positioned along a wall. Or, to solve the problem another way, there are now even heated towel rails that fit into corners, giving you greater heating options.

 

Vanity project

 

Many homeowners don’t think creatively enough when it comes to installing a basin or bathroom suite. Whilst the traditional pedestal basin is still a very common choice, the vanity unit is gaining popularity with its smart combination of storage space and style.

Thanks to space-saving designs that are just over 200mm in depth, you’ll find plenty of vanity units that fit a small space. If you really want to squeeze every last inch out of your floor space, why not consider a combination unit? By combining the toilet, basin and vanity into one easy-to-fit unit, you not only provide extra storage space, but you’ll save both time and money too.

For great space-saving inspiration, you can head to VictoriaPlum.com and discover even more small bathroom ideas.

Daniel Morgan - Roofer

 

With September drawing near and children getting ready to start the school year, now is the perfect time to embrace change and bring some new features to your home. Before the weather becomes fully autumnal, there are a number of external jobs you can undertake to boost your home’s kerb appeal and make your property look its best.

Add a New Coat of Paint

Painting over brickwork, or refreshing any paintwork that is already in place, is the one of the simplest ways to make a big and effective change to your home. An experienced decorator will be able to talk you through all the options for getting the best finish.
Find a painter

Fix your Fence or Wall

Overgrown plants, poor weather, tree roots and wayward car parking can all take their toll on fences and walls, making your property look messy and uncared for. A professional will be able to repair or replace any damaged parts.
Find a fencer

Deal with your Garden

A messy and unkempt front garden can spoil the whole atmosphere of your property, whether it’s cracked paving or a weed-filled lawn. A landscaper will have lots of ideas for how to improve the space and make it more manageable.
Find a landscape gardener

Build a Porch

Creating a dedicated porch not only keeps you dry when you’re fumbling for your keys, but also changes the look and feel of your property. In the vast majority of cases, they do not require planning permission.
Find a builder

 

James Edney - Driveway Paver, Fencer, Landscape Gardener

 

Upgrade your Windows

Whether you have draughty wooden frames or uPVC double-glazing that hasn’t been touched since the 1980s, changing your windows can have a huge impact on the look of your home, as well as improving your energy efficiency.
Find a window fitter

Gut your Gutters

An easily overlooked, but vital element of your home are any fascias, soffits and guttering you have. If they’ve seen better days, replacing them can smarten up your home – and they’ll also help ward off leaks and damp.
Find a fascias, soffits and guttering specialist

Change your Roof

It’s a big project, but one that has a huge effect on both the look and the structural integrity of your home. A new roof can give you peace of mind for decades to come.
Find a roofer

Replace your Door

Peeling paint, a battered letterbox, old fashioned locks – none of these create a good first impression when people come knocking. Speak to a joiner or carpenter who can give you a front door to be proud of.
Find a carpenter

 

Roof Professionals Direct Roofer, Fascias, Soffits and Guttering Specialist in Northamptonshire

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Recently, we went to meet a MyBuilder tradesman in Oxfordshire building a stunning home extension from straw bales. Natural materials and careful craftsmanship were being skilfully combined to build something useful, beautiful and eco-friendly.

While building out of straw may not be the most practical route for everyone, there are plenty of things you can start doing to help make your home more green. Here are some steps you can take to cut your carbon footprint.

 

Insulate Your Home

One of the biggest steps you can take to improve your home’s energy efficiency is to make sure it is properly insulated. Both loft insulation and cavity wall insulation can help reduce the amount of heat wasted, especially in older homes.
Find an insulation installer

 

Fit Double Glazing

Double glazing doesn’t have to mean typical white plastic frames – modern windows can be both stylish and efficient, keeping the heat in, cutting bills, and making your home greener.
Find a window fitter

 

Upgrade Your Boiler

Efficiency is the name of the game, so installing a modern condensing boiler is a great way to invest in improving your home’s energy usage.
Find a gas engineer

 

Install a Water Saving Shower

While lots of us are good at turning off the tap when we brush our teeth, we can all be guilty of spending too long in the shower. Modern showers can reduce the water used, without cutting the flow to a dribble.
Find a plumber

 

Use Eco-friendly Paint

Many traditional paints can cause environmental damage in their production. Eco-paints are often plant-based, using naturally occurring solvents, and are catching up with traditional paints in terms of price and effectiveness.
Find a painter and decorator

 

If you have any more ideas for kick starting a green transformation in your home, get in touch with a tradesman today.

DDIY-header

 

Lots of us love using bank holidays to try out some DIY, but it’s not always possible to reach for the toolbox. If your time is precious, or you simply lack the confidence, hiring a professional is the best way to ensure a job well done. With the May bank holiday looming, here are some ideas for DIY jobs you might want to leave to the experts.

 

Inspect your Roof Tiles
It goes without saying that care needs to be taken whenever ladders and heights are involved, but care also needs to be taken with fragile roof tiles – what can be a simple job for an experienced roofer can turn into a costly mess if mistakes are made.
Find a Roofer

 

Cut Back your Trees
Climbing trees with tools – whether a powerful chainsaw or an old-fashioned hand-saw – is always a risky proposition. Tree surgeons have specialised equipment and training to deal with unruly branches smartly and safely.
Find a Tree Surgeon

 

Grout the Bathroom
What can seem like a superficially easy job is often riddled with complications, needing just the right materials and a perfect finish. A tiler will be able to do the job quickly and neatly.
Find a Tiler

 

Paint your Living Room
The time-honoured way to update your interior design, painting is a starting point for many DIYers. However, without the right system of coats, it can also be a surefire way to end up with a rough job that never looks quite right. A painter and decorator will know how to get the best results and can save you money in the long run.
Find a Painter and Decorator

 

carpets

 

Fit a New Carpet
Cutting a carpet to fit a room doesn’t seem like the biggest task, but one wrong cut could see you with a pricey, but useless carpet that no longer meets the wall. A practiced carpet fitter can refresh a room in a day.
Find a Carpet Fitter

 

Put up Some Shelves
Another old standby for tool-happy homeowners, putting up shelves is perhaps the quintessential DIY job. But if you’re worried about hitting a wire, ruining your dry wall, or just leaving it wonky, a handyman can help.
Find a Handyman

 

Lay New Paving
It’s not as easy as just putting down some slabs – have you considered sub-grades, sub-bases, drainage, and everything else that needs taking care of? If you’re in any doubt, a driveway paver or landscape gardener can step in.
Find a Driveway Paver | Find a Landscape Gardener

 

Stay Away from Gas and Electrics
While there are many jobs that you can tackle yourself, two areas should definitely be left to the experts: anything involving gas in the home should be dealt with by a gas engineer on the Gas Safety Register, while electrics should be handled by a competent electrician who can self-certify their work.
Find a Gas Engineer | Find an Electrician

 

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Going out into our gardens is a simple pleasure that many of us enjoy, but it’s also one that lots us take for granted. For those with disabilities or issues with their mobility, making the most of their garden can be difficult – especially if the space hasn’t been adapted for them. If you’re interested in making a garden more accessible, here are some tips to get you started.

 

Tame the Jungle

 

One of the best ways to take back your garden space is to physically clear out the things that have taken it over. Long grass, weeds, climbing ivy and other plants can all choke a garden if left and unchecked, while old broken down sheds and garages can end up as nothing but eyesores that have long outlived their usefulness. A demolitions and clearance expert might be best placed to help remove the detritus that making your garden such an unwelcome space.

 

Don’t Step on the Cracks

 

Old paving, loose blockwork and broken concrete can all prove to be huge impediments to enjoying a garden – while any stairs can be more like barriers for wheelchair users. If a path is meant to lead you through the garden, then it needs to be fit for purpose, while a ramp can replace stairs. A tradesman who does paving and hardstanding can help get them up to scratch.

 

Bed Time

 

Gardening is a British obsession, and even those of us without a green thumb can enjoy planting everything from beautiful flowers to tasty vegetable. However, bending over to get your hands dirty can be difficult for many people – so raised beds, where the planters are brought up to be more accessible – can be a great solution. A good carpenter or joiner can help create an attractive wooden design.

 

Turn on the Bright Lights

 

We all want to make as much of our outdoor space as possible, but it can be difficult when the light is fading and the evenings grow colder. Adding lighting to the seating area of your garden can help transform an underused space, and while it’s simple to add cheap, solar powered lights, an electrician will be able to install a more permanent and comprehensive solution.

 

Ready to take back control?

 

If you or someone you know is in dire need of a garden makeover, you could be in luck. MyBuilder is currently running a competition with a garden makeover worth £1,000 up for grabs. All you have to do to enter is submit a picture of the garden with the people who use it, and tell us what the makeover would mean to you.

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MyBuilder is an online marketplace for homeowners to find quality tradesmen. The blog features competitions, advice and opinion pieces about home improvement.
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