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Painting, decorating and home improvement tips blog

Getting your home ready for winter

Posted by admin
December 8th, 2014

Getting your home ready for winter

After such a mild autumn we could be in for a harsh winter, so being prepared in advance is vital. Doing essential jobs before the winter sets in could prevent any issues during the winter months.

If you own property and rent it out it is advisable to get your rented property checked over as well, prevention is better than cure as they say.

leaking pipe

What to check and fix before the winter

Things such as heating, boilers and radiators are the most obvious things to check and service before the winter, but less thought about things such as gutters and drains also need to be looked at.

Boiler, radiators and pipes

Getting your boiler serviced (by a qualified engineer) could not only prevent a break down when you need it most, but if it runs efficiently it could also save money on your gas bill.
Radiators should be bled to ensure no air is in the radiators and they can supply you with efficient heat, you can tell if your radiator needs bleeding as they will have a cold spot at the top, if it is cold at the bottom, this indicates a buildup of sludge and rust, this should be flushed out to get the most from your radiators this winter.
Pipes, these should be lagged including any pipes outside such as in outbuildings or garden taps. If pipes are not lagged and they freeze, they could burst and cause flooding.

You can read about how to avoid freezing pipes on our Rayfields site.

If you are going away, or you have a empty rented property, it is a good idea to leave the heating on low just to prevent pipes from freezing. Now is also a good time to know where stop cocks and valves are, just in case of an emergency.

leaves blocking gutter

Roofs, gutters and drains

Roofs take a battering in the winter with strong winds, rain, sleet and snow. It is a good idea to give it a visual inspection from the ground. If you have access to a ladder you could look at it closer but don’t get on the roof without the necessary safety equipment. Look for missing or broken tiles including ridge tiles, look at the state of the chimney if you have one. If anything needs repairing get it done sooner than later as roofers can get busy.

Gutters get full of falling leaves and can block the downpipes, clear guttering out and fit a downpipe leaf guard to stop debris falling down the downpipe. Also check where the downpipe goes, is it an open drain, does this flow well or is it blocked? A blocked drain could cause damp to your property.

You can read a post I did about cleaning out your gutters on our Rayfields site.

Frosted up window

Insulation, doors, windows

Does your loft have enough insulation in it? Are any pipes and hot water tank properly lagged all these should be looked at for both rented and private owned properties. Are you walls cavity insulated or can they be, you may even be able to have it installed for free. So it is worth a little time checking.

Do your windows and doors fit and close as they should? If you have draughts you could fit draughts excluders around windows and doors. If your windows don’t shut well because the handle is broken, get it fixed, reducing draughts will help keep the heat in and cold out, thus saving on heating bills.

Flood and ice road sign

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How plants can damage your house

Posted by admin
July 17th, 2011

Climbers and Ivy can damage your house

Climbers and ivy growing up a wall or your house can look very idyllic but you could be heading for costly repair bills if left to grow.

This post comes after decorating an exterior of a property recently. The walls were rendered and needed re-painting with masonry paint. One wall had in the past had ivy growing up the wall but had been removed.

The main issues was that when the ivy was pulled off the wall it took some of the old masonry paint with it, and left lots of the ‘suckers’ from the ivy. The wall looked ‘hairy’ and after my best efforts scrapping and pulling all the bits off, I couldn’t remove all of the old ivy from the wall, luckily it was in an area which could not be seen, which is, I guess why the ivy got a hold in the first place. After painting, the wall looked OK although you could see where the ivy had been.

If you have ivy or any climbers climbing up your walls be aware they could potentially damage your house, many climbers will pull the mortar out of the brickwork exposing gaps between the bricks where water can get in, also any evergreen climber that has leaves on all year round can trap water against the wall and create damp indoors.

Climbers can also, if allowed to, will get behind fascia board and under soffits and even lift roof tiles.

So it maybe a good idea, to consider how these plants can affect your house before planting climbers against your house walls.

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Selling your house? – Decorating tips

Posted by admin
May 16th, 2011

House graphic with For Sale board

Decorating tips that could help sell your house

If your trying to sell you house you want to show it off at it’s best. In order for you to accomplish this you may need to do a little work. There are the obvious and cliché things such as fresh flowers, freshly made bread or coffee brewing but there is more you can do. Have a look at your decorating, as a little work could be the difference between selling and not selling your house.

If there is a choice between your house and a similar house at the same price, they may go for the other house if less work is needed, something worth thinking about.

Colours can make all the difference

If you like bright colours for your woodwork or walls you may consider changing these to a more subdued colour scheme, now I’m not saying that colour is a bad thing or everything needs to be ‘magnolia and white’. I’m saying that in order to sell your house and do so quickly you may want to go for more ‘neutral’ colours as this works best for other people’s items such as furniture.

If someone looks around your house and think they are going to have to redecorate fairly soon because your decorating scheme isn’t to their taste this to them will add on money they need to spend out and be a negative on your property.

Making a good first impression

Make sure your exterior also looks presentable, peeling; flaking paintwork isn’t normally a good sign of what may follow. If your woodwork is rotten of render blown you may need to be prepared to drop the asking price if you want a quick sale.
Gates and fences should also look in good condition and maybe a quick coat of paint wouldn’t go a miss.

The Hub of a home

A kitchen is the hub of any house. If your kitchen is looking a bit tired or outdated you obviously don’t want to start fitting a new kitchen but you could always consider changing the kitchen doors and draw fronts.
This can be done a lot cheaper than replacing a kitchen but will give an old kitchen a new lease of life and make it look newer than it is. You could paint the kitchen units but if you do make sure it looks professional as badly painted kitchen units will not do you any favours. Maybe some new flooring and a lick of paint will finish of the look.

A cared for house is a welcoming new home?

Your house needs to look as if it has been cared for, not a show house but lived in and cared for. The potential buyers will then feel that any problems that have occurred you have dealt with and they aren’t buying a whole load of problems and work.

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