Small things can make the world of difference

Apr 25

Small things can make the world of difference


Fences of the traditional variety are one of my pet hates. I much prefer a more contemporary fence such as these open slat type or gabion fences.

With a fence on our boundary that was only replaced shortly before we bought the house in 2012 and funds tight I decided  to look at painting our existing panels before we put them back.

I had a look around online for options that came in a grey colour but getting hold of samples wasn’t easy or cheap and I didn’t want to waste  money buying a large tin that might not be suitable.

On a trip to Wickes for other materials  I discovered they did sample pots for the Cuprinol Garden Shades range and came away with two to test out; Urban Slate and Silver Birch.

After applying a little of each onto a sample strip of wood I instantly new  the Urban Slate was one to go for. I purchased large tins of the paint and set to work painting the panels doing two coats on each side. It is a time consuming process but I was excited to see the end results.

This weekend we finally completed the panels that had been removed and as you can see here with the panels back in place it has really transformed the fence and it works particularly well against the white and greys we have used for the house finishes.

Painting the fence grey has also brought out the texture of the wood and provides an excellent backdrop to the green of plants, really making them pop.

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March Madness

Apr 06

March Madness

March Madness (06/04/16)

Having gone to the director of the rendering to complain about how our project was being handled, I found he wasn’t much better and didn’t address / answer many of my points raised.  I ended up back dealing with the same person managing the project  but we did eventually get the rendering work completed, the scaffolding down and the rubbish cleared away before the end of March.

We can now finally see the front elevation in all its glory and driving up to it each time feels a little strange,  as though its not our house, I found myself thinking ‘did we really achieve this’.

There is still a lot to do; cladding, interiors, phase 2, driveway and the garden to be done and with the surprise news that I was being made redundant from my job, its certainly not going to be easy or soon before its all finished and we can fully enjoy it.

For now any significant spending has been halted and we are doing jobs ourselves that don’t cost very much.

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Frustrating February

Mar 06

Frustrating February

Frustrating February (06.03.16)

After January ended with the high of the windows being fitted unfortunately February has been full of frustration.

The insulation and render should have begun straight away but the materials weren’t delivered until the 11th. The scaffolding then went up on the 12th and we thought work would begin on the 15th but despite many attempts to speak to my contact at the company doing it, calls weren’t returned and work didn’t get under way and a start date wasn’t provided. Fed up with it all we spoke to the office twice on Monday the 21st and the work men then arrived that day to begin work.  Two days later and the two side elevations were insulated and the base coat of render applied. Then after a visit by the manufacturer’s technical guy on Wednesday it became apparent the front facade couldn’t be done as planned and it needed the whole elevation to be render boarded. The boarding was ordered and arrived on the Friday and it was arranged for the work men to return on the Saturday to board and base coat the front and to do our window box. We discovered our contact had neglected to order any fixings to fit the boards so in the interest of trying to get things resolved quickly I agreed to get the fixings.  We were advised which screws to get which necessitated us visiting three different screw fix stores to get enough screws.  Then on Saturday the installers did a test and discovered the screws didn’t hold into the blocks which meant we had to return to the three branches of Screw Fix he visited the previous day to exchange the screws for different ones.

In addition to this the box surrounding the front window which has been discussed on numerous occasions with the installation company and I had been assured wouldn’t pose a problem hadn’t been thought through properly and the installers recommended that it should be made of wood and then clad in render board, necessitating yet another trip to get materials.

Despite all of the above the workmen completed the boarding and window box and got it base coated on the Saturday. They did a great job and it really did transform the front elevation. It was arranged they would return on the Monday to apply the primer and top coat, and all finally seemed to be coming together.

Having finally had time to absorb what had gone on during the week, I had become a little suspicious of the top coat product we had. The technical guy had been pointed out it shouldn’t be kept outside in freezing temperatures, something it had been doing since delivery on the 11th and I had been told a winter formula render was being used due to the time of year and the weather conditions.

I decided to look into this further to discover the product we had been sent wasn’t the winter formula at all. Armed with this info I called my contact first thing on Monday to discuss this, he said it was too cold to do the top coat today for either products but maintained we had the right product, when I pointed out it should have a different name and be in yellow tubs not white and he said he would look into it and come back to me. Shortly after this the workmen arrived and I informed them of my conversation they then called the guy and the message came back to me he was going to order the correct product and they would return to complete the work later in the week once it had been delivered. The workmen painted on the primer whilst here and left for the day.

Of course my contact didn’t call me back and after anticipating delivery would happen by Wednesday and nothing arrived I called the workmen to tell them it hadn’t arrived yet. I was then told he had heard from my contact and he was saying it is the correct product again.

This was the final straw and we finally felt we had no choice but to contact the company director with a complaint about the way our installation was being managed and gave them 24 hours to respond. I did get an initial response quickly however I was told it was going to be looked at by another director and had to chase again the following day before hearing from him.

The current state of play is that he is going to speak to the person we were dealing with and look into all the issues raised and come back to me tomorrow.

It remains to be seen if he will rectify things quickly so that the rendering can be completed.




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Windows at last

Jan 27

Windows at last


On Monday the day finally arrived for our windows to arrive and be installed.

We couldn’t help but feel both excited and anxious as we really needed everything to go well and for there to be no major problems due to the approaching deadline for our insulation and render installation.

Yesterday the window installation was completed and we are very pleased with the results and relieved all has gone well. The fact that we have single sashes gives us loads more light and makes the window openings seem so much bigger

I am now trying to coordinate some electrics, plumbing and plastering to be done before the render guys start work. My biggest frustration is that trades don’t seem to appreciate you need to arrange in advance time off work for when they are coming or that you need to know when they are coming so that you can arrange other things around this.

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We have a Front Door again !

Jan 20

We have a Front Door again !

January 20th

So last Friday the plumbers, gas man and builders all turned up to get the water main changed, gas supply and meter moved and our new boiler connected up and working.  I am very pleased and relieved all worked together to get the job done and it all went well.

Over the weekend we finished off insulating and boarding the front bedroom .

With the old boiler removed the builders returned on Monday were finally able to remove the last remaining chimney breast and block up a section of wall alongside it that had been previously built as a single skin of bricks and therefore not up to building regs. In addition we got them to remove our back door and block this up at the same time. This is in preparation for the insulation and rendering being done in a couple of weeks and ultimately stage two of the project, when we make alterations to the kitchen and have bifold doors installed.

This now only leaves a few minor bits for the builders to do and for their plasterers to return to plaster the window reveals once the windows have been installed next week.

Today was finally the day for our front door to be installed and we were both feeling pretty excited.

The fitters arrived and fitted the door without any problems and it looks fantastic.

The door was from the Entre Economy range from RK Door Systems and whilst it was pretty expensive for a front door,  many other aluminium doors suppliers charge a lot more for the same kind of spec so it represented good value for money. The fitters were from Woodfield windows and did a great job, it was definitely worth paying the extra expense to have a specialist fit it.

We are really very pleased with the result, now I just have to keep a close eye on plasterers etc to ensure they don’t mark the door at all.


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Plumbers start to install new boiler

Jan 10

Plumbers start to install new boiler


This week we had the arrival of our plumbers to start installing a new Worcester combination boiler.

The plan was for them to get preparatory work done so that next week the gas meter and water main can be moved and the new boiler commissioned.

As we don’t have the funds to do all the building works at once or to do all the underfloor heating in one go it is a bit more complex than a standard boiler install. We need to keep the existing central heating (radiators) working but at the same time have the manifold and ability to start installing the underfloor heating. Eventually once the underfloor heating has been installed throughout all the radiators except for 2 towel radiators will be redundant.

After 2 days of work the plumbers have done their preparatory work and they will be back next Friday when the gas and water are changed over to get it all running. Fingers crossed there aren’t any issues and all goes to plan.

Its getting very cold now and having no water or heating would be nightmare scenario.

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