Choosing the Right Exterior Window Style in London

White wooden framed glass windows
Are you thinking about updating the windows of your London home? When it comes to how to choose windows that suit your home, there are some key things to consider. From energy efficiency to functionality, this guide will break down everything you need to know.

The Different Types of Windows

If you’re confused about the different types of windows, here are some pros and cons of the most popular types:

Sash Windows

A sash window is made of two framed panes which overlap. The different parts of the window overlap to open and close. 

Made from: uPVC, wood or aluminium

Pros

  • Double or triple glazed are extremely energy efficient
  • Well-insulated so don’t allow a draft in
  • Side-hung offer good ventilation

Cons

  • Fairly easy to snap in high winds when fully opened
  • Side-hung can pose a risk if installed in a child’s room
  • Opening them can be obstructed by screens or trees outside the window

Casement Windows

These are widely used in new-build properties. They have a hinged pane which opens outwards using a lever handle. 

Casement windows can either be side-hung or top-hung. Top-hung have small windows that open at the top, whereas side-hung have large windows which open up half of the entire window. 

Made from: uPVC, aluminium or timber

Pros

  • Energy efficient
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Easy to clean and open

Cons

  • Older versions used for restorations are not as energy efficient as new models
  • Can only be opened halfway, limiting ventilation
The different types of windows and styles

Bay Windows

These are the large, rounded windows you often find on the front of Victorian homes. Just like a glass extension, bay windows increase living space and offer a lovely focal point, increasing the value of your property. 

Made from: uPVC, wood or aluminium

Pros

  • Add more floor space
  • Allows a lot of light into the room
  • Add value by making the front of the house aesthetically pleasing

Cons

  • One of the most expensive options
  • Harder to install or replace
  • Take up outside space if installing for the first time

Tilt & Turn Windows

As the name suggests, these windows tilt and turn to open. The hinged mechanism allows the top of the window to tilt open, giving just a few inches of open space. Or when the handle is turned, the window opens fully, giving fantastic ventilation. 

Made from: uPVC or aluminium

Pros

  • Good security
  • Safe for children as the “turn” feature can be locked
  • Great ventilation

Cons

  • Limit the use of blinds since they open inwards
  • Can allow rain to enter if tilted open during a storm
  • Expensive to install or replace

How to Choose Windows

Choosing new windows

Here are the top three factors to key in mind when choosing windows:

Functionality

Above all else, you need to consider the functionality of new windows. Do your current windows function well? If not, what are the issues you need to overcome?

For example, if you struggle with ventilation, your best option is windows that have wide openings to allow better airflow. 

Your Home’s Style

If you live in a 19th-century cottage, anthracite aluminium windows are going to look out of place. On the other hand, if you live in a modern new build, vintage casement windows might not be a good fit. 

Energy-Efficiency

When it comes to the type of glass for windows, ensure they carry an approved energy efficiency rating. This is usually a star system. If you’re unsure, your builder or supplier should be able to help.

Window Installation: What you need to know

Windows with a black frame

If you’ve never had windows professionally refurbished before and you’re wondering what the process is, here is what you can expect:

Step 1: Measure the Window

Your contractor will come to your property and measure the openings of your existing windows. This will ensure they order the correct size for an air-tight fit. 

Step 2: Remove the Old Window

On the day of installation, all parts of the window will be removed, including the glass, window frame, and all traces of sealant around the opening.

Step 3: Weatherproof the Opening

This step is known as flashing and research shows 60% of builders don’t get this right, leading to issues with drafts and leaks down the road. 

Installing flashing correctly ensures the window is completely waterproof and any rainwater can easily run off without causing damage. 

Step 4: Installing the Window 

The frame is then lifted and gradually pushed in until the nailing fins are flush with the wall. Nails and screws are used to secure the window firmly in place. Finally, sealants are used to make the glass airtight. 

Final Thoughts

Replacing your home’s windows is a great way to update your home, increase energy efficiency, and increase the value.  If you’re still stuck on how to choose windows and you need help determining which window style is best for your home, let us know. We’re experts in window installation in London and are happy to help!

What You Need to Know About Second Floor Home Additions in London

Do you wish your house had more functional space? Adding a traditional extension to the back of your home is a nice idea, but it can eat into precious garden space, which is rare enough in London. Instead, why not think about adding a second floor to your London home? UK planning regulations have changed recently making this a much smoother process.  If you’re wondering if this is a viable option for you, this guide will give you everything you need to know. 

How Much Does it Cost to Add a Second Story?

Cost of adding a second floor

The building cost of adding a second story to your house in London will cost on average £2,200 per square metre. For an 85 sq metre home (the average size of a house in London), a second floor addition would cost £187,000. 

When calculating the cost of your addition, you also need to factor in costs such as upgrading plumbing and adding a staircase, which can cost around £15,000-£20,000 more. 

Building Regulations for a Second Floor Addition in London

From September 2020, planning regulations have changed in the UK. Old planning laws restricted extensions above a certain height and the planning process was lengthy. This put many homeowners off adding a second floor to their home. 
White house with second floor additions

However, new regulations have sped up the approval process, cutting it down by half to just eight weeks. And although local authorities will still have to liaise with neighbours, the ability to block extension plans is greatly reduced.  

Under new guidelines, you can add up to two storeys to your home with a relatively straightforward planning process. 

Of course, if you live in a conservation area, you’ll need to go through the full planning process to get permission.

Reasons for Adding a Second Floor

Benefits of adding a second floor

If you’re wondering why you’d add a second floor to your home, rather than the usual single-storey extension, here are X reasons to consider it. 

1. A Chance to Redesign

Adding a second story to your house completely changes the functionality and aesthetics. You can take this opportunity to create a design that works perfectly for your family. It’s also an opportunity to make some upgrades to the first floor, since your contractor will be making necessary adjustments anyway. 

2. Not Losing Outside Space

A normal extension to the rear of the property eats into usable garden space. By adding a second floor, you don’t lose any valuable garden space. 

3. No Need to Move

Most families move when they outgrow their home, but if you’ve been in the same house for years, it’s incredibly hard to let go. Adding a second floor means you don’t need to move and can keep the family home you’ve created all your memories in. 

What and Who Do You Need?

If you’re overwhelmed thinking about the logistics of a second floor addition in London, here are some key things you’ll need.
Remodelled attic as a second floor

A Reliable Contractor

Your contractor will oversee the entire project, bring in specialists as needed, manage the build team, and ensure your project stays on budget and on time. This will be the person you check in with for updates throughout the extension process. 

A Structural Engineer

They will assess the foundations of your house to ensure they are strong enough to withstand a second floor. If not, they will give you recommendations on how to build a second floor. 

An Architect

The architect will draw up a plan for the second floor, including room sizes, shape, materials, etc. This will be used by the build team to get the project completed. This is an important step as your architect will be able to give their expert advice on roofing, window placement, optimal layout, and more. 

Timeline of Second Story Additions

White house with a second story

As you can imagine, it’s not a quick process adding an entire second floor addition to a house. Here is a rough timeline to give you an idea of what you can expect:

Preparation: 2 – 4 weeks

We cannot stress how important it is to take the time to plan your extension. In the first few weeks, you should:

  • Finalise your budget
  • Put together some ideas of what you need (number of rooms, bathrooms, etc.)
  • Get quotes from several architects for design plans
  • Research the planning permission process in your area

Design: 2 – 5 weeks

Once you’ve found your architect, they will need several weeks to draw up design plans. This will involve a survey of your home to get measurements, a meeting to discuss your second story addition ideas, and drafting up the plans. 

Planning: 8 weeks

Thanks to new laws, submitting plans for second story additions is now relatively easy and should take no longer than eight weeks. 

Tender process: 2 – 4 weeks

Once plans have been approved, you can submit them to builders to get quotes for the build. Make sure to look at past projects to get a sense of the quality of the build they offer. 

Building: 2 – 4 months

The build time will vary depending on the size of the extension and the level of complexity in the build. For example, large windows or fully glazed extensions take longer than traditional builds. 

Adding Another Level of Space and Functionality to Your Home

Wondering if you should have a second floor addition? They can be a great way to increase the curb appeal of your home and bring more life to it. Contact us today and let’s build it together!

Glass Extensions: Planning And Designing Your Own

Concrete house glass extension

When most people think of a glass extension they immediately picture a conservatory. Although these are a lovely addition, they tend to become incredibly hot in the summer and too cold to use in the winter. This means they become a dumping ground for storage or worse, wasted space.

A glass box extension is the modern version of a conservatory. They look fantastic, are heated just like a normal extension, and are valuable extra space you’ll get use of all year round. If you’re thinking about building an extension in London, let’s take a look at why you should seriously consider a glass box over a conservatory or conventional addition. 

How Much Does a Glass Room Extension Cost?

The average cost of a medium-sized glass extension in the UK is between £24,000 and £37,500. When it comes to London, that price can go up to £72,000 or more depending on the size and quality of the build.

If you’re thinking of having a traditional roof and just glass walls, you might be wondering what do glass walls cost? They will set you back around £2000 per metre squared. 

Building Regulations for a Glass Extension

Most small to medium-sized glass extensions tend to be covered by UK Permitted Development Rights. However, it’s always best to contact your local planning authority in London to check if there are any restrictions. This is especially important if you live in a conservation or heritage area. 

A large-scale glass box building may be subject to Part L limits on construction. This limits the number of glazed elements or openings to 25% of the floor area. These limitations help to reduce heat loss and increase energy efficiency. 

Glass roof seen from the inside of a house

Large glass extensions are known as “over-glazed” and your design plans may be rejected by planning authorities if they fail to meet regulations. 

When working with an extension contractor, they’ll ensure your glass box is compliant so your project isn’t stalled.

How to Make a Glass Box Extension

There are many stages of a glass extension. Here is a rough timeline of what you can expect:

Week 1: Hire a contractor

Your contractor will oversee the project, organise materials, order glazing, and give input on aspects of the design. 

Your contractor should be familiar with the build of glazed extensions and have connections with a glazing specialist who can provide the materials for your project. They’ll also be able to advise you on how you can save money on your extension

Week 1-6: Hire an architect & get planning permission

No matter how well you think you can design this yourself, it’s always best to hire a professional architect to draw up plans for your glass box building. They will address any issues with your designs, make use of every inch of available space, and ensure the structure is sound.

Hiring an architect will also help your plans get accepted by planning authorities much more quickly. But it can still take around 8 weeks to get planning permission in London. 

Glass extension near pool

Week 9: Building the framework

Once planning permission has been granted, your build team will begin with the framework. The “box” needs to be connected to your exterior walls. If you’ve opted for a frameless design, this frame will be hidden in the building finishes as much as possible to give a seamless look. 

Week 10: Installing the roof & walls

Depending on the size, the roof may be one solid piece of glass or may be broken up into sections to reinforce the structure. 

When it comes to how to build glass walls, they are fixed in place using a high-grade silicone sealant. These glass panels are incredibly heavy, so this is a slow, steady process.

Glass Extensions to Inspire Your Project

If you need of some ideas for your glass extension, here is some inspiration:

Glass extension with high ceiling

The timber framing used here gives a more rustic vibe. If you love the idea of incorporating wood into your glass sunroom, this is a great way to do it.

Modern glass extension

This one is much more modern. The pitched roof not only looks great but also gives additional ceiling height inside the property. And the anthracite framing is a popular finish. 

Classic style glass extension

This conservatory-style glass sunroom floods the room with light, making it the perfect spot for a dining table. And the tall french doors give the room connection to the garden.

You can just about make out the scale of this glazed structure in the reflection of the glass. The sloped roof and square pattern of the glass make this ultra-modern yet industrial. The thin grey framing looks great and is a nice idea if you don’t want a frameless extension. 

Love the idea of a glass extension on your home?

Glass extensions make for a lovely addition to any house. Reach out to us today and let’s plan and build a room flooded with natural light.

Building an Ensuite Bathroom in London

Bright marble and gold ensuite bathroom

If you spend your mornings negotiating with your family for time in the bathroom, you’ve probably already thought about how much easier life would be with an ensuite bathroom. Nothing quite beats the peace and privacy of your own space that isn’t cluttered with everyone else’s shampoos and lotions. 

Fortunately, building an ensuite bathroom in London isn’t as daunting as it might seem. If you’ve thought about how it could work in your home, this post will answer some of your burning questions. 

How Much Will an Ensuite Bathroom Cost?

The average cost of putting in an ensuite bathroom in London is £12,500. But this doesn’t include VAT or the price of tiles, which can run into the thousands by themselves. 

Here is a breakdown of the main costs you can expect when building an ensuite bathroom in London:

  • Bath: £300-£500
  • Shower: £100-£200+
  • Shower enclosure: £300-£600
  • Wetroom enclosure: £500+
  • Basin: £200-£300
  • Toilet: £150-£300
  • Taps: £100+
  • Labour: £120+ per person, per day
Relaxing ensuite bathroom

There are also some additional costs that might pop up when adding a bathroom to your house:

  • Scaffolding (if drainage connections on the outside of the property are needed)
  • Replacing a cast iron soil pipe (if it has to be moved)
  • Replastering
  • Stud walls
  • Creating new entryways or closing up old ones
  • Adding a window
  • Underfloor heating

Do You Need a Planning Permission?

White ceramic ensuite bathroom

If you’re adding another bathroom inside the existing structure of your home in London, you shouldn’t require planning permission unless you live in a listed building. 

However, your project will have to comply with building regulations since it will involve plumbing, heating and electrical work. When necessary, a qualified electrician or gas safety engineer will need to provide you with safety certificates for the work. 

Planning and Designing The Layout

You probably already have so many ensuite bathroom ideas and know what you’d love your new bathroom to look like. But when it comes to a bathroom renovation, there are several important factors to keep in mind before you even think about tile colours:

Size

The minimum requirement for an ensuite shower room is 1.8 metres by 90cm. Although space in London comes at a premium, it’s important not to cram your ensuite into the smallest space possible. When planning the size, make sure to take functionality into account. 

If you are working with a small footprint, a small shower cubicle, pocket door, or compact basin are some space-saving solutions. 

Heating & Plumbing

When planning the layout, make sure to consult a plumber when choosing the location of the different facilities. Water and waste pipes will need to be routed to the exterior of the building to meet up with your main stack.

If your master ensuite is in an awkward location, you may need to consider a macerator toilet. These can be installed anywhere, regardless of where the main drainage pipe is located.

You also need to consider the efficiency of your boiler. If it’s not sufficient enough to handle an additional bath or shower, it may need to be upgraded as part of the project.

glass shower in ensuite bathroom

Building walls

If you’re partitioning a room or adding a completely new room to space in a hallway, you’ll need stud walls. These will need to be constructed using water-resistant plasterboard to prevent damp or mould. 

If you plan on having a wall-mounted toilet or basin, these walls will need to be reinforced with steel prior to plastering to ensure they’re strong enough for the load. 

Stud walls will add an average of £15 per square metre to your budget for construction alone. If any additional wiring or plasterwork is needed, this will be an additional cost.  

Bathroom Lighting

Lighting is often overlooked when building a master ensuite bathroom, but it is crucial to have a well-lit space. 

Bright light is best over mirrors, whereas gentler lighting is much more relaxing for bathtubs (if space allows). To accomplish this, opt for bright vanity lighting over the sink and warmer ceiling lighting to set the mood. 

When choosing lighting, make sure all fixtures meet the minimum IP rating for bathrooms. This is crucial to pass regulations and get signed off by an electrician. If you’re unsure, your build team will be able to give you advice on this.

 

Call us for a free ensuite consultation today

If your mind is racing with all the master ensuite bathroom ideas you’d love to bring to life, contact us and let’s add another layer of privacy and relaxation to your home today.

Tips and Tricks on Mounting a TV

So, you’ve just purchased a shiny new smart TV. It’s got 4K, HDR, and spans many inches. But how do you get it on the wall? Mounting a TV might seem simple, but it’s trickier than you’d imagine. You also have to think about things like what to do with the wires once it’s mounted. However, with a little know-how, you can save yourself the cost of paying someone to do it. In this post, we’ll take you through how to wall mount a TV, as well as some tips and tricks you can use while doing so. 

Wall mounted flat screen TV

Before you start

You’re probably desperate to get your new TV up on the wall. However, it’s not a project that you want to rush. There are many things to think about before you mount your flat screen to the wall. 

Firstly, you’ll want to think about the type of walls you have. For example, you may want to know how to mount a tv on a plaster wall without studs. However, a large TV can be quite heavy, so you don’t want to mount it with no studs and without the proper equipment, as it will most likely end up on the floor. 

You also want to consider the type of room it’s going in. If you’re putting it in something like a garage conversion, you can put it at the centre of your entertainment space. However, if it’s in a living room or bedroom, you want to think about the layout as well as the size of the TV. 

TV mounted on wall in a contemporary apartment

Equipment you need

When you’re thinking about how to wall mount a TV, you also need to consider the tools that you’re going to need. You might already have some of these, but there are a few that you might not. 

It’s well worth making sure that you have everything before you start. Not only does it mean you don’t have to rush to the store midway through the install, but it also makes the whole process much easier. Here are some of the essentials: 

  • Screwdriver 
  • Adjustable wrench 
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Drill 
  • Saw suitable for drywall 
  • Spirit level 
  • Stud finder 
  • Masking tape 
  • Mount
  • Lag bolts (if not included)

None of the tools on here are overly expensive. Perhaps the most costly will be the mount itself. It’s worth researching this and making sure you choose a sturdy and reliable one. 

Mistakes to avoid

TV Mounted on a living room wall

There are a few mistakes that people often make when they’re trying to figure out how to wall mount a TV. For example, you’ll often see people as ‘how to mount a TV on the wall without studs’. Although it is possible, people don’t usually do enough research to figure out the equipment needed.  

Another common error is failing to take into account the room’s lighting. There’s nothing quite as frustrating as mounting your TV and finding out that at certain times during the day you get horrendous screen glare. 

Finally, make sure you account for the wires needed for a wall-mounted TV. As well as the power cable, you also need to think about thinks like HDMIs and optical cables. 

What to do about the wires?

On the subject of wires, it’s definitely considering a solution before you mount your TV. As with any project related to updating your home, a little planning can go a long way. So what should you about wires when you wall mount a TV

One option is to hide your cords inside the wall itself. Although the easiest solution, it’s often the neatest. You’ll most likely need to get a professional to help you with this, but the results can look incredibly neat and tidy. 

Another method worth considering is having a power socket installed behind where the TV is mounted. Of course, this only solves the problem the main power cable, so it depends what else you plan on plugging into the TV. 

Finally, there are various devices that will conceal or cover your wires. These are a relatively inexpensive method of hiding the messy cords, although they’re somewhat more noticeable than other options. 

How to wall mount a TV – final thoughts 

So, mounting your TV on the wall can look fantastic, but it takes a fair amount of planning. You’ll need to make sure you consider the space you’re fitting it into, as well as whether you have all the necessary tools. 

If you’re planning on mounting it on a wall without studs, make sure you research the appropriate equipment. Similarly, think about where the wires are going to hang once the TV is mounted. 

Don’t want to go through the hassle of mounting your TV? This is why we’re here. Contact us today and let us know how we can help you.

A Short Guide to Wood Panelling

When it comes to updating a room in your home, it can sometimes be hard to find inspiration. There are many different styles, features, and flourishes that can help to transform your interior. One option worth considering is to add some wood panelling. This versatile feature can be used in both classic and contemporary designs and make for a real statement piece. We take a look at what to do with wood panelling and provide some ideas for inspiration. 

What Is Wood Panelling?

White wall panelling

If you’re taking on a project to update your home, wood panelling can be a fantastic design choice. It’s a feature that comes in many different styles and types. However, it’s usually wooden (or wood-like material) boards that cover some or all of a wall. It’s an aesthetic that dates back as far as the 13th century, where it was used to coat the walls of grand mansions. 

Today, wood panelling can be used in all sorts of designs. It adds flair to a room and gives you an extra element of customisation. You might want to use it to emphasise a feature wall or give an entire room a rustic feel – the possibilities are plentiful. 

Types Of Wood Panelling

You’ll find that there are several different types of wood panelling available. These give you the freedom to choose one that suits your needs and design choices. However, each one comes with some considerations. Here are some of the main types available:

  • Shiplap. This is one of the most popular styles at the moment. It uses grooved boards that fit together, forming a waterproof seal. Design-wise, things like farmhouse and beach house styles often use them.  
  • Tongue and groove. Similar to shiplap, although they use a different joint to connect with. They look pretty much the same but are often far cheaper than the alternative. 
Wall with brown wood panelling
  • Reclaimed wood. Another popular style, this uses wood that has been reclaimed from old properties. It has a distressed yet warm look. People often use wood boards to achieve this look, rather than expensive reclaimed wood. 
  • Board and batten. This look often appears in bathrooms and dining rooms. It features boards and planks of wood, and it fits in many different designs. 

With each type, you’ll need to consider the care and upkeep. For example, you’ll want to know how to clean wood panelling as well as how to paint varnished wood panelling if you’re redecorating.  

When it comes to how to install wood panelling on walls, some are easier than others. You can buy imitation board and batten or reclaimed wood that you can fit yourself. However, with tongue and groove and shiplap, you’ll likely want a professional to install it.

What Would Work Best For Your House

It can be difficult to decide which type of wood panelling to use in your home. In reality, the decision depends on a variety of factors. However, there are certain styles and designs where particular types of panelling work best. 

For those looking to create a rustic farmhouse look, reclaimed wood is always popular. It brings warmth and character to the walls and can create a really cosy environment. As such, a study would also benefit from this type. 

If you’re looking for a more light and roomy design, shiplap or tongue and groove are both good choices. A beach house bathroom or kitchen would benefit from horizontal shiplap with a neutral colour, for example. 

Elegant room with dark wood-panelled walls

Finally, for those seeking a classic design with some grandeur, a jacobean board and batten choice of wood panelling can look fantastic. If you’re wondering how to paint wood panelling walls, your choice should act to contrast or complement your design scheme. 

Of course, with all of these designs, you need to make sure that your walls are suitable for installation. Make sure to check with a professional if you’re unsure. 

8 Wood Panelling Design Ideas

If you’re short of inspiration for your wood panelling wall design, we’ve picked out some ideas to get you started. No matter where you’re planning on installing or building this feature, you can find some styles below:

Wall panelling painted white

In this room, the light and airy design is complemented by full-length panelling. The grey tones contrast nicely with the natural wood flooring.

Wall panelling in a dining room

This board and batten panelling covers half of this dining room’s wall. It brings an additional elegance and adds to the natural tones of the rest of the room.

White panelling in a dining room

The wooden panelling in this room is the ideal contrast to the colour of the wall. It serves to break up and lighten the grey and adds some class to the room.

white panelling in an empty room

This single line of dado rail also serves to break up the block of colour on the wall. It works well with the skirting board and coving.

Modern wood wall panelling

This modern twist on wood panelling gives a really striking effect in this room. The straight lines are mesmerising, and it really sections off the dining area of this room. 

Wooden panelling in a living room

The reclaimed wood effect of this room makes it feel both rustic and modern at the same time. The natural colours complete the look, and it fits perfectly with the rest of the decor. 

Chair near a dark brown panelled wall

The darker tones of this wooden panelling create a look that’s classic and cosy. If you’re looking to create a calming effect, this is a good choice.

Dark brown panelling on wall

Again, the panelling seen here gives a traditionally cosy feel. It’s reminiscent of that you’d see in a grand manor house years ago.

House Extension Costs You Can Avoid Spending in London

Living Room house extension idea

Have you always dreamed of a house extension but the cost is too daunting? Maybe you’ve done some research on a spacious new kitchen or additional bathroom, but you’ve never been able to figure out exactly how much an extension would cost. 

We’ve put together this guide to help you navigate through the financial commitment of a house extension in London so you can finally figure out if it’s the right move for you. 

How Much Does It Cost To Build An Extension On A House?

The cost of your project will depend on whether you’re opting for a single or two-storey extension. As well as whether or not you need any plumbing work added. 

Costs for a dining room house extension

Single-storey extension

For a high-quality single-storey extension in London, it will cost around £1300 to £2,000 per m2. You can bring this price down by using basic materials, but you won’t get the same high-end finish. 

For example, if you’re looking to add a rear house extension that’s 5m x 5m, that’s going to cost you anywhere from £32,000 to £50,000. 

You’ll also need to budget for architect fees, planning permission, a structural engineer, a contractor, and a build team. All of which can cost anywhere from £8,000 to £20,000, depending on the complexity of the extension. 

For example, a terraced house extension is going to be more difficult if the rear of the property is difficult to reach with materials. 

Two storey extension

If you’re going for a two-storey extension, this will be around 50% more than the cost of a single-storey. Plus an additional 10% for fees and labour. 

Taking the example above, you’d be looking at an additional £16,000 to £25,000 for the build. Plus an additional £800 to £2,000 for fees and labour. 

Plumbing Work

Extensions become pricier if you’re looking for a kitchen or bathroom. This is because additional planning permission is required for plumbing work and then a professional plumber is needed to run all new pipework. 

A bathroom will cost an additional £5,000+ on top of the build. Whereas a kitchen extension will be anywhere from £10,000 upwards, depending on the level of finishes you choose.

How To Finance A House Extension

A terraced house extension

If you love the idea of an extension but you’re not sure how you could afford it, here are some options:

  • A home improvement loan: A home improvement loan is usually cheaper than a personal loan and is added to your mortgage. This loan is secured against your home so it’s important to keep up the repayments to avoid your home being repossessed. 
  • Remortgage: Mortgage rates are usually significantly lower than loans and usually allow overpayments without additional fees, meaning you can pay the additional money off sooner. 
  • Personal loan: If you don’t like the idea of securing a loan against your home, you could apply for a personal loan. These often have much higher fees than home improvement loans though, so make sure you’re happy with the fees and repayments. 

How Much Does An Extension Add To The Value Of A House

When valuing a home, estate agents take into account the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and the overall square footage. 

If your extension adds an additional bedroom or bathroom to your home, you can easily add around £20,000+ to your home depending on the quality of the extension and the location of your home. 

Dining room house extension

That’s not to say a garden room extension won’t add value – it is still adding square footage to the property. But it won’t be as valuable as a kitchen or bedroom. 

A kitchen extension is another type that can add significant value to your home. However, it’s important not to overspend in order to maximise the return. 

5 Tips on Cutting Your House Extension Costs

You should never compromise on the quality of materials used during an extension build, and you definitely don’t want to rush through the job to cut costs. Instead, here are some house extension ideas that will help you cut costs effectively. 

1. Take Advantage of Connections

Do you know anyone in the trade business? Tradespeople and contractors often have access to discounts that the general public don’t. Reach out to any friends or contacts in the industry and see if they have any trade accounts you could take advantage of. 

2. Avoid Bespoke or Custom Made

Features such as custom-built roof lights or a bespoke kitchen can significantly increase the extension cost. Instead of opting for bespoke features, try to buy off the shelf first. 

Many elements such as roof lights that come ready built look fantastic and save a chunk of the budget compared to architectural glazing. 

Living Room house extension tips

3. Avoid Relocating Fixtures and Pipework

If you can leave the boiler where it is, we recommend you do. The same goes for toilets or other plumbing fixtures. 

Having to replumb pipes to new locations is costly, especially if you plan on relocating to an awkward location. It might also involve planning permission which is an additional cost. 

4. Negotiate

When undergoing an extension, you’ll be working with many service providers and purchasing dozens of different products. Although it can take more time, negotiation will get you the best price for everything, helping keep the budget in check. 

When finding the right team for different services, make sure you get several quotes for the same job so you get the best price. 

Negotiating well for services and products can easily save you up around 20% on the total cost – which is a pretty sum when taken off the total of the project. 

5. Choose the Right Build Team

You’ve probably heard horror stories from friends and family of builders who started a project and then disappeared with the purse.

This is why it’s incredibly important to find the right build team that you can count on when planning an extension. 

At Master Build Team, we’re upfront about the house extension cost, timeline, and keep our clients in the loop throughout the whole project. 

Having a specialist build team you can rely on is one of the easiest ways to keep your budget in check and take advantage of professional connections. 

Thinking About Building an Extension on Your Home?

All of our clients have the same issue when they come to us: they love their family home but just wish they had more space. 

That’s the beauty of an extension – you get the additional space that would make family life so much easier without having to say goodbye to your beloved family home. 

Are you planning to extend your home? This is why we’re here. Contact us today and let us know how we can help you.

The Basics of a Bathroom Renovation

Bathroom renovation idea

A bathroom renovation isn’t a small project to undertake. It takes considerable time, planning and a healthy budget to get a modern, high-end finish that will last for years to come. But once finished, you’re left with a beautiful, relaxing bathroom that you love to spend time in. 

If you’ve been considering a bathroom update but you’re unsure where to begin, this guide will take you through the basics to help you get started on the right foot. 

What To Ask Yourself Before You Begin

Before you dive into picking out the colours and finishes, here are some basic questions you should ask yourself:

  1. What is your overall budget? It’s best to plan this right at the beginning so you know what quality of finish you can shop for. 
  2. Is the current space functional? If not, a new layout may be needed. 
  3. What kind of toilet do you want? A wall hung toilet will need more planning than a free-standing one. 
  4. Do you have enough storage? If not, you may need to think about extra cabinets, a sink with drawer space, or a built-in linen closet. 
  5. Do you want a separate shower? If you have space, a separate shower is a great addition but there are many types of shower tray and enclosure to consider.
  6. Do you need a double sink? If multiple people use the bathroom, a double sink can save so much stress getting ready in the mornings. 

How Much Does a Bathroom Renovation Cost?

Cost of a bathroom renovation

The overall budget depends on the size of your bathroom and the quality of finishes you go for. However, in London, the average price of a new bathroom is £5,000 to £10,000. 

Bathtub: A cheap acrylic tub costs as little as £80. A better budget option is a steel bathtub starting at around £150. High-end cast iron, enamel or composite tubs can cost anything upwards of £500. 

Shower: Electric showers are usually the cheapest option, costing as little as £100. A more popular option is a power shower which starts at around £180. High-end showers come with multiple body jets, digital controls, speakers, a steam function and more, costing £250+.

Sink: A standard ceramic pedestal basin is the cheapest option at around £50. A more modern wall-hung basin with under-mount storage cost at least £150 but the better the quality, the more you’ll pay.  You can also save money on your renovation by finding a second-hand unit and upcycling it into a vintage-style vanity.

Toilet: A standard floor-mounted toilet can be as cheap as £80. However, if there’s one thing in your bathroom that you don’t want to start leaking, it’s the toilet. Wall-mounted toilets cost £200+.

Professional Fitting

Speaking of plumber labour. You should budget in the cost of labour when creating your bathroom renovation budget. 

It will take at least 2 to 3 days to fit your bathroom fixtures, which will cost around £1000 for a professional plumber. 

You may also need a professional tiler which will cost around £70 per metre squared. 

Improvements to Consider for Your Bathroom Remodel

If you’re updating a tired bathroom, here are some ideas for modern improvements to update the space:

Spa-like bathroom remodel

Low-flow hidden-tank toilet

Hidden-tank toilets have the cistern hidden behind the wall. This helps to save space in small bathrooms and also looks much more modern. 

A low-flow toilet helps save water during each flush which is more eco-friendly and can help save on water bills. 

2-inch plumbing draining pipes

Although this upgrade isn’t visible, it will make a big difference to the functionality of the room. 

Typical bathroom pipes are 1.5 or 1.25-inch PVC pipes. These clog easily, especially in family bathrooms. (Ever had issues with the shower draining too slowly?)

2-inch pipes can significantly improve the drainage in your bathroom. Helping to minimise shower backups and helping to eliminate that stale, drain smell that can linger. 

Improved Lighting

Bathrooms are the one room in the house where light is usually an issue. Windows are usually tiny and there’s usually a single light fixture in the middle of the ceiling. 

Now you’re updating your home, you should consider a new and improved lighting system. Consider wall lights either side of your mirror for a touch of luxury. 

If the room is dark, several spotlights flush to the ceiling can make the room bright and modern looking. 

5 Must-Know Bathroom Remodeling Tips

Here are some bathroom renovation ideas to help you make the most of your project:

Don’t Overdo the Tile

The biggest expense in a bathroom remodel is usually the tile. People tend to tile the entire room and the floor, which is an expensive task. The downfall is, tile is extremely hard to keep clean and can end up feeling cold. 

A little-known secret from experts is to reduce the use of tile. Tile is only needed around the bath to keep it sealed. Other walls can be left to paint to save a chunk of the budget. 

Don’t Forget Ventilation

No matter how big the windows are in your bathroom, all bathrooms should have a good quality ventilation system. This helps prevent mould from growing in the hot, steamy aftermath of hot baths or showers. 

Improved lighting in a bathroom remodel

Replace Bath with Shower

Do you ever use the bathtub or is it just gathering dust? Now may be a great time to replace the bath with a modern walk-in shower.  

Think About Bathroom Sink Height

If you’re installing a floating vanity, ensure the countertops are 32-34 inches from the floor. This is standard height for worktops. However, you also need to consider how much height difference the sink will add to this when added to the top of the vanity. 

If you have a separate sink bowl that’s being placed on the vanity, make sure this isn’t so high that it’s uncomfortable to use. If you’re unsure, your build team will be able to guide you on the proper placement. 

Splurge on a Single High-End Material

There’s no need to buy exclusively high-end finishes to make a bathroom look luxurious. Because this is often a small, plain room, just one high-end finish is all it takes to make a bathroom look expensive.

For example, save money by buying a mid-quality sink, but splurge on a large statement tap to make the entire sink look high-end. 

Is Your Bathroom in Need of a Renovation?

Just like many other remodel projects, a bathroom remodel has a lot of aspects to take into consideration. Which is why it’s important to do your homework before starting a new project. 

This is why we’re here. Contact us today and let us know how we can help you.

Your Guide to Building a Shed in East London

If you’ve found yourself with more time on your hands lately, now can be a good time to take on a DIY project. Building a shed is a project that can be enjoyable and rewarding. However, it’s not one that you want to take on lightly. You’ll need to plan and prepare to make sure the project is a success. In our guide on how to build a shed, we run through everything you need to know.
small brown wooden shed

Benefits Of Having A Shed

A garden shed is something that many of us take for granted. They’re often the forgotten structure at the bottom of the garden, unloved and neglected. However, there are so many benefits that a shed can bring. Whether you’re giving your existing on some TLC or building a new one from scratch, it can transform your garden. Here’s why:
  • Organisation. Your shed can be a hub from which you do all of your gardening. With storage shelves and space for tools and materials, it can help you get organised. You could even make it into your own little workshop.  
  • Relaxation. Your shed doesn’t have to be somewhere just for storage. Having some space outside to get away from the hustle and bustle of life can be a luxury. Whether you add some chairs to sit and relax in, or some soundproof walls so you can blast your music, a shed can be a great escape. 
  • Aesthetics. Sheds don’t have to be dilapidated and run down. In fact, they can bring some elegant charm to your garden. As well as looking great, they can add value to your property.
White and red shed on water

Deciding On The Type Of Shed

So, you’ve decided you want to build a shed. But what type should you choose? Shed design is generally quite varied, so you’ll be able to choose how ornate or practical your new one will be. 

There are also three main materials that are used in shed construction. Wooden sheds are ‘traditional’ designs. Wood is pretty versatile, so it can fit in with any garden. You can stain it or treat it to match your preferred style. However, they take a lot of upkeep and can be hard to assemble. 

Plastic sheds are pretty robust. You don’t have to treat them and they require little in the way of upkeep. They’re also lightweight and fairly easy to assemble. Unfortunately, they’re not the most attractive, and the less expensive ones can fade in the sun. 

Small woodshed design

Metal sheds are more the most heavy-duty and can withstand just about anything. However, as they’re so light, you’ll need to make sure your shed foundation is robust enough to keep it anchored. You also need to watch out for eventual rust. 

Whichever material you choose, you’ll also have to think about design. Will you build a large shed? Or do you only have space for a small shed? For those with difficult angles to work with, an L-shaped shed can be a good choice.

Shed Designs

If you’re struggling for some inspiration for your shed design, we’ve included some ideas to get your creativity flowing. Think about how each type/style would look outside your home: 

This cute wooden shed is reminiscent of a beachside getaway. The vivid blue really makes it stand out, bringing character to your garden. 

Small shed painted blue
With this green shed, you get vibes of the American west. Its barn-style design is spacious and looks fantastic.
Green wooden shed design
This compact and frankly adorable shed is the ideal tool storage solution. It’s discreet enough to fit just about anywhere, yet still practical and eye-catching.
Green wooden shed design
This cosy shed uses both wood and metal to create a rustic-looking structure. It’s a versatile design that could be used for storage or as a hideaway spot.
Small blue shed with curved roof
If you’re looking for a spacious and open design, this wooden shed is just the thing. It gives you easy access and looks simply fantastic.
Wooden shed open concept

Permissions and Regulations

We often hear the question, ‘how big can I build a shed without planning permission?’ Thankfully, a 2008 law clears things up nicely. Essentially, outbuildings are automatically given planning permission provided they follow some rules. 

The main requirement is that the structure is for ‘purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house’. This means that it can’t be for residential purposes. The other rules state: 

  • It can’t take up more than 50% of your garden. 
  • It can’t be in front of your house. 
  • It’s a single storey structure with a maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and a maximum overall height of 4 metres if it has a dual-pitched roof. In any other case, it’s 3 metres.
  • However, if it’s within 2 meters of the property boundary, it cannot be more than 2.5 meters high. 

In most other cases, you’ll need to apply for planning permission for your structure, the same as with an extension

Shed building regulations

Essential Shed Building Supplies and Tools

So if you’re looking for a project to spruce up your home, building a shed can be a great place to start. But what tools and materials should you use? We’ve outlined some of the essentials: 

  • Carpentry hand and power tools. You’ll need all of the essentials here, including a hammer, tape measure, handsaw, framing square, level, and flat pry bar. In addition, a cordless drill and impact driver are necessary. 
  • Extra tools. To make things easier, you may also want to consider a job site table saw or portable circular saw. Alternatively, a compound miter saw comes in handy. 
Array of tools for building a shed
  • Protective gear. As well as a tool belt, make sure you have eye goggles, a dust mask, hard hat, and work gloves. Ear protection can also be helpful. 
  • Foundation materials. If you buy a prefabricated shed, you’ll need to know how to build a shed base. This means you’ll need concrete and pressure-treated wood posts.

Dos And Don’ts

So, once you’ve chosen your design, figured out whether you need planning permission, and have all of your materials. It’s time to start assembling your shed. Here are some tips and tricks for the process: 

  • Don’t build at the bottom of a hill. You don’t want water collecting around your shed. It can cause rot, damage wood, and cause rust, mould and mildew. It’ll also be a nightmare to get in and out of if the ground is flooded. 
  • Do avoid wooded areas. Although you may want to tuck your shed away undercover, you should avoid doing so. Your shed needs airflow and sunshine. Additionally, you want to avoid damage from the trees. 
mistakes to avoid when building a shed
  • Don’t forget the details. Even if your shed is for purely practical purposes, don’t leave out the details. Little touches can make it look nice and make things more convenient. 
  • Do prepare your site. Do your research on things like how to build a shed on uneven ground. Make sure to then prepare your site for the construction, clearing it of any potential hazards and getting your materials close to hand. 

How to Build a Shed – Final Thoughts 

So, we’ve covered all of the essentials you need to know about building a shed. Perhaps the most essential thing is that you do your research and planning before you get started. Know what it is you want from your shed, and how you need to go about erecting yours.

How to Convert Your Garage in East London

When it comes to home renovation projects, a garage conversion can be a challenging and rewarding one to take on. With the proper research, planning, and preparation, you can renovate your garage into a practical and enjoyable space. However, there’s a lot that you need to consider before you get started. We take a look at some garage conversion ideas, as well as some other key information.

Garage conversion East London tips

Why Convert Your Garage?

Whether your garage is full of clutter or totally devoid of anything, converting it can bring a host of benefits:
  • Better use of space. No matter what you use your garage for, it’s highly likely that you can utilise the space in a more efficient way. It gives you more functional space without the need for an extension.
  • Extra living space. You can easily transform your garage into a living space. So, if things are a bit cramped, you can add another bedroom, living room or another type of space.
Pink painted garage door
  • Added value. If you take your time and add a high-quality garage conversion to your home, it can add value to your property. Some experts suggest it can add as much as 10% to the value. 
  • DIY project. Whether you’re just doing the planning or taking on the whole conversion, it can be a fun and fulfilling project. The important thing is to know how to do a garage conversion in the first place. 

What’s Required?

Before you get started, it’s essential that you’re familiar with all of the permissions and regulations needed for converting your garage. For example, you need to familiarise yourself with garage conversion planning permission rules. Luckily, we’ve outlined them here: 
  • In most cases, your conversion will fall under what’s known as Permitted Development. This means that planning permission isn’t needed. 
  • If you live in a listed building or conservation area, you likely will need planning permission for your conversion. 
  • For those with a Permitted Development, you should apply for a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC). This certificate makes things much easier if you ever sell the property. 
  • If your garage is an external structure (a detached garage conversion), you’ll need to apply for a change of use. 
If you’re in doubt as to whether or not you need planning permission, you should contact your local authority.
A person planning a garage conversion

How Much Does a Garage Conversion Cost?

The exact cost of your garage conversion will depend on a wide variety of factors. However, as an example, the cost of a basic integrated conversion is around £8,000. This takes into account a cost of around £400 per meter squared. This total cost is far less than the value you could add to your home.  When working out costs, there are several things that will influence your total outlay. This includes: 
  • Whether you need to reinforce your foundations. 
  • The condition of your existing garage walls and floors. 
  • Whether you need to raise the ceiling height and by how much. 
  • Whether you need to hire a designer, builder and structural engineer. Also think about other extension specialists.
Cost of converting a garage

You can keep your garage conversion costs down by doing as much of the process as possible yourself. However, this depends on your level of skill and experience. You also need to think about the quality of the materials and fittings you’ll use, and whether you’ll need insulation and plumbing. 

What To Convert It Into?

So, you’ve decided that you want some more space at home. Your garage is the prime spot to convert, especially if you’re not really using it for much at the moment. But what can you convert it into? Well, there are a few solid options you can choose from: 
  • An office. If you work from home, having a dedicated space away from the rest of the house can be a lifesaver. 
  • A bedroom. Whether it’s a guest room or a space for a new addition, adding an extra bedroom is a sure-fire way of adding value to your property. 
  • A playroom. Why not create a space to kick back and relax in? Whether it’s a man-cave, cinema room, or playroom, it can be a valuable addition. 
Of course, the options are as expansive as your imagination, so spend the time to think about what kind of room you’d like.
Garage converted into a family room

Design Tips

So, by this point, you’re probably raring to get started with your garage conversion. However, it’s worth considering some of the design elements of your project. We’ve highlighted some popular garage conversion design tips to help you out: 
  • Rework your space. A garage conversion can transform your downstairs living space. Account for how this new room impacts your layout, and rework your space accordingly. 
  • Consider a kitchen diner. Depending on the placement of your garage, you could consider combining it with your kitchen. Having a kitchen diner is a highly sought-after feature.
Garage door wood pattern
  • Add natural daylight. Ex-garages don’t have to be dingey. Add some windows to create a bright, light space. 
  • Make it seem bigger. Of course, you can only work with the space you have. However, the use of paint and mirrors can make a room seem more spacious. 

Design Inspiration: 5 Beautiful Garage Conversions 

If you’re still looking for some inspiration to get your project off the ground, we’ve got just the thing. Check out these stunning garage conversion ideas and see which elements you can borrow for your design:  This retro-cool design uses the existing space and adds a few flourishes. It’s practical and stylish.
Garage conversion idea: Home workshop
If you’re looking for a cosy nook to escape for a while, an office and library like this one can be just the thing.
Garage conversion idea: Cozy library
For those with a larger space to work with, this stunning room combines a living room and bedroom into one functional space.
Garage conversion idea: Living room + Bedroom
A playroom makes for the perfect garage conversion idea. This modern space utilises the available space perfectly.
Adding another living space is a great use of your unused garage. Creating a cinema or entertainment room brings many benefits.
Garage conversion idea: family room

Garage Conversions – Final Thoughts 

So, it’s clear to see why converting your garage is such a rewarding project. It can transform your home, add value to your property, and create a relaxing and functional space. 

There are many things you should consider when undertaking such a project. However, the most important thing is to make sure you take the time to plan and budget your renovation. The useful tips and design ideas we’ve outlined can go a long way to help!