Public holidays can feel few and far between in the UK, especially at this point in the year – the August bank holiday is the last day off until Christmas, and no one wants to think about the festive period just yet. When these days are hard to come by, it’s essential we make the most of them – so why not make plans this weekend to make some positive changes to your home?

 

Post a job

 

Clear away your summer clutter

 

If you still haven’t got round to putting away your suitcase after a sunny holiday in the past few weeks, don’t feel guilty – maybe you just don’t have a good place to put it. We all have stuff that never seems to have a place to go, so why not finally make somewhere? Converting your attic into useful storage space can make a huge difference and mean there’s always somewhere for your luggage to go.

 

Change up a room

 

We all have a tired room that needs a lick of paint t0 sort out, but we’re usually all too busy during the summer to get it done. Now there’s an extra day at your disposal, why not take it on – and if you don’t fancy doing it yourself, just hire a painter and decorator who can get it done quickly, and to a high standard.

 

Get rid of your old shed

 

If you’ve spent the summer going for long bike rides or spending lazy evenings cooking on the barbecue, you might have had to endure the rusty nails and giant spiderwebs of your garden shed more than you would have liked to – so why not ensure you don’t have to go through it all again next year? A demolitions specialist can clear out an old shed in next to no time, clearing the way for the nice new one you deserve.

 

Clean the chimney

 

September is fast closing in, with colder weather following close behind, and while it might not feel like time to light the fire and get cosy just yet, you don’t want to be caught out when the opportunity presents itself. If you’re not sure your stove or fireplace is up to it, find an expert who can make sure it’s all in working order and ready to go.

 

Cut down any dangerous branches

 

Glorious summer weather may have seen our gardens filled with blooming flowers and towering trees, but if you have any overgrown branches that look like they could cause a problem if bad weather strikes, then it’s worth nipping them in the bud. An experienced tree surgeon can help advise on what needs to go and carry out any work safely.

 

Check your roof tiles

 

A few downpours aside, this summer has been very kind to our roofs and gutters, but are you ready for the next shower? We all know the old saying about fixing roofs and shining suns, so while we’re still in August, get rid of any doubts by getting in touch with a roofer who can take a look and put right any issues.

 

Inspect your boiler

 

We recommend this tip all the time on MyBuilder, but it’s for good reason. Firstly, no one wants to have the hot water go off when you need it most, and secondly, gas boilers need to be checked to make sure they’re safe and not letting off dangerous gasses like carbon monoxide. Getting your boiler inspected can be done any time of year, but if you’ve got a whole day away from work, you have no excuse not to spend a few minutes booking an appointment with a Gas Safe engineer.

 

Post a job

 

Every year at this time, millions of teenagers across the country summon up their courage and tear open the envelopes containing their exam results, taking out the pieces of paper that will decide what they’ll be doing for the next year, and beyond.

 

Many of us swear that school will be the end of our exams, but the truth is, we never stop being put to the test. From our jobs to our homes, we always have questions to answer and goals to achieve. If you want to see if your home is up to standard, we’ve posed some brain teasers that you can tackle – but don’t worry, there’s no pass or fail here… because we’ve given you the answers too!

 

Post a job

 

Is your home light enough?

 

If your home feels dark and dingy, there are a number of ways to approach the problem. First, are your windows being blocked, either by towering walls and fences or by looming plants and trees? In the first instance, a bricklayer or fencer may be able replace your problem fence with an alternative such as trellis, which allows more light through, while a tree surgeon can tackle unruly trees and overhanging branches.

 

Secondly, are you using lighting properly? A few well-placed lamps can help illuminate your home, but more permanent solutions can have more dramatic results – spotlights in a hallway, or above-cabinet lighting in a kitchen for example. An electrician can help install these fixes.

 

Thirdly, think about the role decoration plays. Dark shades of paint and heavy woods can drain the lightness from a room. A painter and decorator can introduce brighter tones and help lift a space.

 

 

Is your home well ventilated?

 

If your home has issues with damp and mould, you’re not alone – but there are simple ways to overcome the problem. Buying a digital hygrometer can help you keep tabs on the moisture levels in your property, but the key things are to keep air flowing and avoid producing too much moisture to begin with. Open windows where you can, and try to steer clear of drying clothes on radiators or taking long, steamy showers. You should also check your extractor fans to make sure they’re working, or have them installed if you don’t have any. If there are persistent damp spots in certain places, such as under windows, then you check if there are issues with leaks, either from the window itself or from the brickwork around the windowsill.

 

 

Is your home well insulated?

 

If your home feels too hot during warm summer months, but freezing cold in winter, you should consider your insulation. As well as saving money on heating bills, it will also make your home more energy efficient.

 

Windows are doors are prime candidates for being upgraded if you want to improve your insulation. Properly-fitted double glazing will make a big impact. Cavity wall insulation and loft insulation are bigger steps, but can also produce great long-term results. You can also insulate beneath the floors and target things such as pipes to prevent them freezing during winter.

 

Post a job

 

A good laugh can brighten up the working week and everyone has one of those stories that is guaranteed to get a laugh. Have you got a hilarious, embarrassing or shocking true story from working in the trade? Send it in and we’ll share the best ones!

 

Share your story

 

This week’s best stories:

 

We asked the great tradespeople who use MyBuilder for their funniest work stories and it turns out they are a bunch of pranksters… Not that we want to encourage this sort of carry on, but when it’s all good clean fun, we just had to share a few of our favourites…

 

A pizza the action

 

I told the labourer that the customer was ordering dinner, you just had to tell him what pizza you wanted – and so he did. He walked straight in and said “Hi, I will have meat feast thank you” which the customer knew nothing about. The labourer came out and we were all laughing. Always a funny one to watch.

 

Things that go bump in the pipes

 

Me and my buddy were working on a full heating installation just outside Edinburgh. The gentleman of the house left early in the morning for work and we carried on with the job. Around lunchtime, a woman came to the front door to inform us that the gentleman had died at his work. She was his niece and she told us to carry on with the work as normal and to call her when the work was complete.

In the afternoon, my buddy was in attic running a 28mm copper gas pipe. He had taken it up into the attic from the meter outside earlier that morning. I heard him moving around the attic so I decided to go outside and whisper ghost voices up the open ended gas pipe into the attic. “Ahhhhhh, Paaaaul, sorry I died young man……. please finish off my Central heating……  oooooo!”

Well, you should’ve heard him screaming and tripping over stuff in the attic. He basically fell down the attic ladder and ran outside! I had to run away slightly when I told him what I’d done. Laugh about it now though! 🙂

 

All you can cheat

 

Just told you a story about me and my buddy Paul…… ghost story, Well he got me back big time!!

We were at a job in Edinburgh. The customer left for work and we were working away.
During the job he said “Hey, look at this note beside the kettle: it says help yourself to tea, coffee, juice, sandwiches, biscuits.”

I thought it was an excellent gesture from the woman and she did seem the type to do this. We did intend to work until 7pm that night to get as much done as possible, but Paul got a phone call and had to leave.
As he was leaving, he said, “See you tomorrow buddy. Oh, by the way, I wrote that note!”…. and he left.
I had to down tools, head to the nearest Tesco and buy all the stuff we had ate! Total nightmare! Funny though when I look back on it.

 

 
Got a story too good not to share? Tell us what happened!

 

Share your story

 

 

We all want to be as healthy as possible, and we’ve never been more aware of the importance of things like eating a balanced diet and getting some exercise. But just as important as what we do to our bodies and what we put in them is where we spend our time – and nowhere is that more important than our homes. We’ve put together some tips on how you can make your home a more healthy place to be.

 

 

Install alarms

 

It’s a basic safety element that no home should be without, but many of us our lax when it comes to putting in smoke alarms and keeping the batteries fresh. It’s also a good idea to have a carbon monoxide alarm as well, which checks for high levels of the gas which can result from issues with your boiler. If you need help putting them on the ceiling or on a wall, a handyman can help you install them and put your mind at ease today.

 

Make sure your extractor fans are working

 

Modern homes are typically well insulated, which helps keep them warm, but isn’t always good for keeping fresh air circulating. In bathrooms and kitchens in particular, if there isn’t enough ventilation, stagnant air can build up. A good extractor fan will help keep air moving and freshen up your home. An electrician is a good starting point for getting one installed if needed.

 

Check for water leaks

 

Unchecked mould can lead to respiratory problems, so it’s important to tackle any sort of moisture build up which lead to damp. As well as tackling ventilation, checking for leaks is also vital, to make sure water isn’t getting anywhere it shouldn’t such as under floors or behind plasterboard. A good plumber can make sure your plumbing system is leak free.

 

Clean your chimney

 

If you have a working fireplace and chimney in your home, it’s essential that it is regularly checked and maintained. Any blockages can lead to harmful gasses building up, while if there is larger debris trapped in the flue, it can lead to fires. A chimney and fireplace specialist will be able to take a look and give you the all clear.

 

Inspect your paint

 

If you live in an older home, especially one with rooms or features that were last renovated prior to the 1980s, it is worth checking to see if any of paint used was lead-based. High levels of lead are toxic, but it was commonly used for many years. Care needs to be taken if covering up or removing lead paint, so make sure you speak to an experienced painter and decorator. For more information, read the government advice.

 

Replace your carpets

 

If you are particularly sensitive to allergies, especially dust and pollen, then replacing carpets with a wood or lino alternative can make a difference, as carpet fibres hang on to dust and pollen leading to further irritation. A flooring fitter can give you a quote on how much it would cost to replace any carpets.

 

 

It’s a fact: Homes are getting smarter. With innovations such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple HomePod allowing us to do anything from playing music to turning off the lights without having to lift a finger, isn’t it time bathrooms played catch-up?

In terms of technology, the humble bathroom really hasn’t changed much over the decades, but all that is set to change. We asked Adam Chard, bathroom expert at VictoriaPlum.com, to give us a taste of the type of bathroom tech we’ll be installing over the next few years.

 

 

Smart mirrors

 

Whilst a wide range of new bathroom technology is now both readily available and affordable, many homeowners are still resistant to change. If you fall into this bracket, why not start small? One of the easiest ways to make your bathroom that little bit smarter is by adding an LED mirror.

Not only will an illuminated mirror bring additional task lighting (great for applying makeup, brushing your teeth), it can also be used to provide ambient lighting, which is ideal for getting the mood just right. Plus, LEDs use less energy than traditional bulbs, so it’ll save you money in the long run.

However, it’s not all about lighting. Many LED mirrors now come with smart new features, like demisters, so no matter how hot and steamy your bathroom may get, you’ll still be able to use it, even after a bath or shower. You can also find models with infrared sensor switches, meaning wet or soapy hands needn’t cause you any issues.

With technology moving at a rapid pace, expect to see mirrors that sync with your messages, emails and social media in the near future.

 

 

Don’t miss out…

 

Why should you miss out on your favourite programmes just because you’re in the tub? Now, every bath time can become a soap opera, thanks to the widespread availability of bathroom TVs.

Specially-designed to be splash-resistant, with an IX64 rating, these TVs can be used in bathroom zone 1 and upwards, which even includes your shower enclosure! They can even be positioned flush to your bathroom tiles, blending seamlessly with the overall décor.

They come with a fully waterproof remote, so there’s no worries if you accidentally drop it into your bath. Plus, with all the great sports events taking place this year, you really wouldn’t want to miss a goal, try, wicket or point, just because you had to answer a call of nature!

 

Hands-free

 

That old, reliable combination of basin and toilet hasn’t altered much over the years in terms of design. However, there are a few innovations that are challenging the traditional way we use our bathroom suite.

The motion sensor flush may be more commonly found in public toilets, where a large number of users means this option is more hygienic, however they are now finding more practical use in homes. For older people, or those with restricted mobility, a motion sensor can provide much-needed relief, meaning no twisting or awkward bending is required to flush the toilet.

Likewise, motion sensor taps are now also finding their way into domestic settings, providing a more hygienic experience all round.

 

 

Bidet toilets

 

Taking things a step further, bidet toilets may be something you immediately associate with Japan, rather than the UK, however they are becoming more prevalent.

Costing significantly more than a traditional close coupled toilet, an electronic toilet system offers the user greater comfort and control over their personal hygiene. Ideal for the elderly, disabled or those with restricted mobility, this type of toilet usually features a warm air dryer, personal sprays and self-cleaning. Some can even be raised and lowered, so minimal bending of the legs is required, allowing the user to enjoy independent living well into their more senior years.

 

Smart showers

 

Again, something that is slowly but surely creeping into bathrooms up and down the country, smart showers are taking digital showering technology to another level entirely.

With a smart shower, like the SmarTap system from VictoriaPlum.com, you can fully customise and control all aspects of your showering experience, allowing individual family members to set their own perfect temperature, flow and duration. This can even be used to set your bath running, so it’s ready the minute you walk through the door.

Not only are smart showers good for a personalised experience, they can also be used to monitor usage, which is great if you’re looking to save water caring for an elderly relative. They can also be used to spot and solve any potential issues with your plumbing, with remote access meaning no need to call a qualified expert out.

Smart shower systems are great for people with different forms of disability, as, when combined with a smart home system such as Amazon Alexa, they can be voice activated.

 

To find out more about the latest bathroom tech, head to VictoriaPlum.com and keep up with the latest in bathroom technology.

 

 

Millions of people across the UK suffer from hay fever – an allergy to the pollen produced by trees, grass and weeds. It causes stuffy noses, itchy eyes and other cold-like symptoms, and for many people, staying indoors and keeping the windows closed feels like the only way to escape the suffering.

One growing trend in UK gardens might also provide some relief though – artificial grass is increasing in popularity all the time. In a recent survey carried out by MyBuilder, 40% of people said their dream garden would feature a low-maintenance synthetic lawn. A whopping 87% of people said they expected artificial grass to become more common across the UK in future – despite the fact that three quarters of people said they could still tell a fake lawn apart from the natural alternative.

 

 

If you’re interested in changing up your garden, adding an artificial lawn is just one option. Here are some other moves you can make to add some excitement to your garden this summer.

 

Build a barbecue

 

Instead of relying on a cheap disposable barbecue, or a rusty old kettle grill lost at the back of the shed, you could become the queen or king of the coals this summer by building a purpose-built brick barbecue. A good brick barbecue will become a centrepiece of your garden – a talented bricklayer will be able to help you construct one in no time.

 

Add a new shed

 

Brits are famed for their fabulous sheds, which have been turned into everything from traditional pubs to elaborate model railway showrooms. But for most of us, the shed is a rickety wooden shack, filled with spiderwebs and broken plant pots. If yours is leaking and liable to fall down in the next storm, why not invest in a new one that will actually be useful – a driveway paver can help create a base for it to stand on that will ensure it actually lasts this time.

 

 

Create a treehouse

 

If you have kids, or are just a big kid at heart, building a treehouse is a way to build memories for years to come. While you can buy kits to assemble, a carpenter could help you to build a unique creation that will be a family favourite for years to come.

 

Introduce a pond

 

Many people enjoy the relaxing and soothing character of having water in their garden, be it a fountain, a pond, or other water feature. A pond can be home to fish, frogs and other wildlife, and be a wonderful way to bring more of the natural world into the garden. A landscape gardener will help create a pond that suits the space.

 


MyBuilder is an online marketplace for homeowners to find quality tradesmen. The blog features competitions, advice and opinion pieces about home improvement.
Looking for a tradesperson?Post a job for free today!
Are you a tradesperson looking for work? Create a trade account