Monthly Archives: March 2013

The right Ironmongery

What is ironmongery? Ironmongery is an item such as a door handle, door knob, hinges, screws, door closure, letter plate any many other iron related items.

Never underestimate the importance of ironmongery on your property, something as simple as the right handle choice can be the difference between a dull or beautiful front door!

When it comes to choosing the right ironmongery there are a number of different things to consider, the age of your property, the finish required, which lock to choose, are you in a conservation area? These are a few of the questions you must ask yourself.

Choosing the right lock for your doors is hugely important, it is imperative that you check your insurance policy to see if there is any stipulation to which locks you must have, do they need to be British Standard? Then you need to consider if you want a Yale nightlatch, a mortice sashlock, mortice deadlock or even a rim lock?

Next you have to make the decision on which finish you want your ironmongery to have, brass, stainless steel, satin chrome, polished chrome, black wrought iron, aluminium, bronze? There are also many more to choose from, but take your time and have a good think about not only the front door, but the whole house. Do you want to have the same finish flowing throughout the house or do you want each area to be individual? Have a good look around and see what is available, if you decide to go for the same finish throughout your home, make sure that you can get all of the items of ironmongery in that finish such as window locks, kitchen cupboard handles and even bathroom furniture!

So, next time you’re thinking about changing your knobs and knockers think about the effect it will have on your whole property!

Structural damage

Over 60% of the houses in England are almost 50 years old and many are a lot older than that, approximately 40% of the houses in England were built before the 2nd world war.

A combination of the age of our housing stock and the unpredictable climate in recent years in the UK has only increased the importance of monitoring your property for signs of cracks and movement in order to keep your home safe and reduce the need for expensive repairs.

There are a number of things that you do and look out for around your property to catch a potential problem before it worsens –

Check for any signs of damage or cracking in your brickwork on a regular basis

Not all cracking is serious, it may be down to shrinkage and expansion over the years but it could also be related to subsidence. All signs of structural damage should be checked by a qualified structural engineer if the problem worsens or even just for peace of mind.

Keep an eye on your drains

Regular checks on your drainage system are hugely important, a regular lift of the inspection chamber to check if the drains are flowing well should be enough, if you have a chamber at the front and rear of the house flush some toilet paper and check that it gets from A to B. If you find that the drains are not flowing properly or are blocked, which may in turn lead to “wash out” of the sub-soil around the drain and your foundations, which can cause subsidence, employ the services of a drainage company to clear and then CCTV survey the drainage system. Please do be careful when lifting manhole lids, they are sometimes heavier than they look and also chambers may be very deep.

Trees and root damage

Trees can also be the cause of structural damage to your house, tree roots love drains and will wrap themselves around a pipe and breach it which will cause blockages and tree roots can also remove the moisture from the soil around your foundations and cause them to move. Think carefully before planting any trees and if you need to remove an existing tree seek information from the council about tree preservation.

Extend, convert or move?

Spring is in the air (along with the snow) and soon peoples minds will turn to either moving home or some home improvements.

One of the most popular ways to both improve your home and increase its value is to add some living space. If you are finding that you need some extra space at home but don’t want the hassle or expense of moving home then maybe an extension, loft or garage conversion is the answer. You must be careful not to make the wrong choice, if you decided to have a loft conversion to create an additional bedroom you must ensure that there is enough living space downstairs to cater for the extra bedroom, you don’t want to make the house top heavy.

It is always advisable to talk to a good architect to get some ideas of what is possible and get some answers to those nagging questions in the back of your head, what are the costs, is my loft suitable to be converted, what planning permission do I need? It is also a good idea to talk to your local estate agent to ensure that what you have planned is going to not only increase the saleability of your home but also the value.

Snow damage

Up to 12 inches of snow has fallen over the last few days over the UK and more is predicted for the upcoming Easter weekend. The increased load weight of a large snow fall on the roof of your property can cause damage, here are some hints and tips to help avoid “snow damage”
Replace and repair any slipped or missing slates or tiles as soon as possible- water which is allowed to penetrate the roof structure may freeze and move other tiles.
Keep your gutters clear- when the melting snow freezes in your blocked gutters it increases the weight load on the overall roof and can also split or damage your guttering.
Keep your drains clear – once the thaw begins, moss and other debris which has accumulated over the year could block your gullies and cause localised flooding.
Keep an eye on the inside of you roof – during daylight hours check your loft/attic for any tell-tell signs of light entering from between slipped slates or tiles and any cracks in the timbers.
And finally, be careful, roofs are dangerous places and you should only let a trained person who has carried out a full risk assessment on to your roof, always call a professional to quote for any roof works.