Month: February 2017

Picking the Right Boiler

boiler adviceChoosing the Right Boiler for your Home

One of the major decisions we encountered came in the form of choosing the right kind of boiler for our project. A new boiler system represents a major investment and we felt it was crucial that we got it right first time in order to save us the bother of some rather costly financial headaches down the line. It’s my intention to share with you my thought process and hopefully to be able to inform and educate on the subject. First of all, an overview of the main options we considered with

Combi Boilers

How it works:

Combis work as sealed systems, providing hot water for both the taps and central heating system, heating the water directly from the mains when it is necessary – this means there’s no requirement for any hot water storage cylinder, or a cistern inside roof space.

Benefits: Combis are quicker, easier and more cost-effective to install than system boilers, and also space saving due to the lack of a cylinder or cistern. Water is provided at mains pressure, so you’re able to benefit from a stronger (although not ‘power’) shower.

Disadvantages: It’s a priority system, therefore it just handles one heating requirement at a time to an acceptable standard. While fine for small families with one bathroom, bigger families will experience poor flow rates whenever multiple outlets are utilized at the same time. Functionality is furthermore reliant on the diameter of the pipe entering into the property: when it’s lower than 22mm, then a combi is definitely a bad option.

Despite the convenience of combi boilers in terms of installation and space saving, we felt that the advantages outweighed the disadvantages as we will often require multiple simultaneous heating requirements, rendering the combi boiler a non-starter.

System Boilers

How they work:

System boilers are designed for sealed heating systems, but unlike combis they operate on the theory of holding hot water inside a cylinder, to enable them to supply numerous outlets simultaneously at mains pressure. There’s no need for a cistern inside the loft and the expansion vessel is built in.

Advantages: Ideal for large homes with bigger demands, and as they already have most of their major components built in (i.e. expansion vessel and pump), installation is faster, more cost-effective and neater. Flow rates are typically high for the reason that water is provided at mains pressure, not to mention hot water is instantaneous.

Disadvantages: Is going to use up all your hot water when overused. A number of fitters assert they are more technical and prone to complications compared with regular boilers, for instance pressure loss.

Regular/Conventional Boiler

regular boiler layout
The way they work:

Regular boilers are currently generally obtained as replacements for homes using an open-vented heating system (i.e. supplied by means of a feed and expansion cistern inside the roof space, which means the system is open to air). Just like system boilers, they function on the principle of stored water and require an independent hot water cylinder.

Advantages: The water out of the taps is going to be at a good flow rate (not to be confused with pressure) and also hot water is provided instantaneously. It’s the most suitable setup for a ‘power’ shower, which demands a cold water feed from your cistern as well as a distinct electric pump.

Drawbacks: They’re more costly to install, needing more parts and pipework, as well as requiring extra space. They could experience low pressure when the cistern isn’t placed high enough, this means additional shower boosters may be necessary. Hot water can run out.

We felt that the extra space required for this set up was an unacceptable trade off and therefore a conventional boiler wasn’t a serious consideration for us.

In the end we opted for the system boiler as we wanted instantaneous hot water without the huge space demands of a conventional boiler. It’s important for you to weigh up the pros and cons of the aforementioned heating systems and apply them to your own situation – a system boiler wouldn’t be necessary for a smaller household for instance. Learn more about boilers for your home here:

or take a look at the video below from Which?

Choosing the Right Material For Your Roof

types of roofingA Guide to Choosing the Right Roof for your Home.

From natural resources such as slate to synthetic materials including asphalt, sheet metal, and plastic polymers; there are many more styles and types of roofs to pick from today than previously. Whilst each has its advantages and cons, each of them can also add a distinctive design feature for the home. So ask yourself, which type of roof covering meets your needs? Below is an analysis of the pros and cons of four different types of roof covering we considered for our project.

What to consider in a Roof?

When taking on this project, we took several factors into consideration when picking the right roof covering for us, for instance the durability of the roof, will the established roof structure have the capability to support it, does the roof have sufficient slope, will the appearance accentuate the appearance of the house, will the materials be environmentally friendly and recyclable, is the variety of roof covering allowed by local building codes, and lastly, how much will it end up costing? In brainstorming for this project we were reminded of the old axiom ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ by

Benefits and drawbacks

Some kinds of roofing may be more suited for your house compared to others. Elements such as the angle of the roof and strength of the framework may possibly constrain your possibilities. In locations more prone to adverse weather conditions in the winter such as our own, it is worth searching for a product with good resistance to the wind. Moreover, measures can be taken throughout the setup of various kinds of roofing to boost their resistance to wind. Below is a rundown about the various kinds of roof coverings we analysed for our project.

Asphalt Composition Shingles

Asphalt roof shingles are known as the most popular kind of roof covering for homes, incorporating more than 80% of domestic roofing market. They’re manufactured from either an organic paper fibre mat (far better for cold weather and also wind resistance) or fiberglass (significantly more fire and moisture resistant) impregnated with asphalt and layered with mineral granules. Typically, they are obtainable in standard 3-tab shingles or larger laminated “architectural” shingles. Not a notably ecologically friendly material, though it can be recycled instead of basically taken to a dump. Asphalt shingles are not a particularly durable material. Algae repellent shingles can be bought in humid climates to protect from staining. Moderate in weight and can be used on relatively low to stiffer sloped roofs. Possesses good fire resistance and fair resistance to the wind. Low-cost to average when it comes to cost. Whilst we were tempted to choose this common roof covering due to the very reasonable cost, we finally rejected it as a serious contender due to the lack of wind resistance which could prove to be problematic in the winter.

metal roofing for your homeMetal

While higher in price than asphalt, metal roofing lasts for a longer time and is significantly more wind resistant. Metal roofs can be constructed from steel, aluminum, copper, or zinc alloy. Steel roofs have either a zinc coating or painted finish. Copper roofs are installed unfinished and acquire a protective green patina with each passing year. They’re obtainable in sheets or in shingles that mimic many other materials. They could be fitted with the fasteners hidden (standing seam) or exposed. in terms of ecological friendliness, They can be produced from recycled materials and could be recycled when swapped out. Metal roofs absorb 1 / 3 less heat than asphalt. Metal as a roofing substance is fairly to extremely durable, according to material, and is perceived to be a lightweight alternative, hence not putting a lot of stress upon the roofing framework. This product is readily available for both low and steep roofing gradients, having superior level of resistance to both fire and wind. The cost of metal roofing can vary from average in the instance of a steel roof, to expensive for copper. For our project, we dismissed this alternative on the grounds of cost as the idea of a steel roof was aesthetically unappealing whereas a copper roof was simply too expensive an option.

a clay tileClay Tile

Whilst brittle and heavy, clay tiles can last a long time and are incredibly fire resistant. Clay tiles are produced from natural clay that’s fired in a kiln. Frequently attainable in a classic Italian or Spanish look, they can even be designed to appear like wood shakes or slate. They’re composed of natural materials but necessitates substantial energy to create. When it comes to longevity, they are long lasting as well as low maintenance but brittle and might break and also needing a reinforced roof framework to support them due to their heaviness. Clay tiles are extremely practical on modest to higher sloped roof together with outstanding resistance to fire and fair to mediocre wind resistance. Additionally, it signifies a costly alternative, however it frequently looks great and its integrated easily into existing design features. We deemed this type of roof covering to be potentially problematic in winter weather and therefore it wasn’t taken under serious consideration, but if you happen to benefit from more temperate winters then there’s no reason this shouldn’t prove to be an aesthetically pleasing addition to your property.

slate roofingSlate

Slate is one of the oldest roofing materials. Though brittle and costly, it is extremely durable and resists both wind and fire. Slate tiles are made from natural slate rock. In terms of style, they are generally dark gray along with abnormal visual appearance. Slate tiles represent an ecologically friendly option as they’re produced from natural materials. Slate offers a long-lasting, durable material (depending on where quarried), although it’s also heavy, that means it demands reinforced roofing structure to support. Slate is really only appropriate for a steep sloped roof, possesses superior fire and wind resistance yet is also particularly expensive due to the knowledge necessary to install and maintain it.


All four of our inital options have their merits, however when it came to selecting the best roofing material for our home we decided upon slate, due to the fact that as well as being aesthetically pleasing it’s also incredibly durable – perfect for weathering the harsh winter climate in these parts. The upfront cost is more expensive than some other options such as flat roofing materials , but we felt that as it is as durable as a metal roof (benefitting from low maintenance costs) and easier to incorporate into the existing design features that the additional cost was worth it.

Adding Value To Your Home

increasing property value5 Options for Adding Value to your House

Home improvements can transform a property and ultimately add more value. You could invest thousands creating a brand new kitchen, bathroom or conservatory, but which would give your home’s value the greatest raise?

Are you going to add value?

Prior to deciding to splash out on an extension or conservatory you ought to calculate the expense and then determine how much value they’re going to really add to the property as well as whether the time and effort would be worthwhile.

Just how much might home improvements cost and what value would they create?

An extension

Extensions can vary greatly, from two-storey ones that nearly double a house in proportions through to the addition of an extra downstairs room.

Since they are so different it’s hard to include a figure regarding how much they cost or how much value they will likely add.

A well built extension that adds good-sized additional rooms in a fashion that is complementary to your property or changes its character coherently can be quite a big selling feature – and also one you may enjoy for quite some time being an owner.

loftheightA loft conversion

Incorporating an added bedroom will add around 10 percent towards the valuation on your house, especially if it’s a loft conversion.

It is essential to not cut into living area to do it, but if you can find room to expand to your loft you will get a good return – as well as some all-important extra room.

Primarily based on the size plus the area of your home, you should expect to fork out £15,000 to get a small loft conversion or £25,000 to £40,000 for a large one. There’s a great article on which goes into further detail.

You’ll need to inform your home insurer of your changes.

Extra bathroom

A supplementary bathroom might be a nice selling feature for a property aided by the requirement for en-suites fuelling this trend.

An additional bathroom might add up to 6 per cent to your value of your home.

Depdning on the kind of tiles, fittings and fixtures you would like, a whole new bathroom could cost from £2,500 to more than £6,000.

New kitchen

A kitchen is often the center point of a home and can mirror the owner’s individuality.

It might also be the first thing a purchaser looks to change, so if you can offer an appealing space, purchasers might be in a position to pay more in order to save themselves the headache of getting a new kitchen.

The massive difference in recent years has become the trend for open plan kitchen, dining and living rooms
A new kitchen with will cost you on average £8,000, but will add approximately 6 per cent to the valuation of your home.


A conservatory offers additional room in your house, but means giving up some garden space.
If it is under a particular size, you will not need to have planning permission and can do it under permitted development

A conservatory can be a good way of providing added living space on the cheap or getting some open plan living, although bear in mind you might need to abide by rules on doors closing off areas.
Your conservatory may enhance property value by 5 per cent, but count on paying somewhere between £4,000 and £10,000.

Every such home improvement, or possibly 2 or 3 home improvements in tandem represents an excellent method of delivering extra living space and value without going to the significant trouble of acquiring a larger property and the pain of leaving the community you currently enjoy living in.

If your looking at ways to increase the value of your home you may find the video below handy: