OUR homes take a beating during bad weather and we’ve been having that by the bucket load recently.
With the big freeze triggering multiple severe weather warnings all around the country, home improvement and maintenance companies are gearing up for a flood of enquiries in the coming weeks.
Guttering and roof trim particularly suffer in harsh winters and this is a peak time for homeowners to look for replacements. With its strong nationwide presence Anglian Home Improvements gets many enquiries at such times.
It advocates replacing wooden fascia boards and bargeboards with tough uPVC versions, which are virtually maintenance-free.
Also available from Anglian is a new gutter guard which helps reduce the time spent unblocking gutters from leaves, moss and other debris, allowing rainwater to pass through polypropylene mesh, while deflecting debris.
“We try to advocate improving on what you have had before, ” says Melanie McDonald, marketing manager at Anglian. “Why replace rotten wood with more wood which will rot again? Why not choose something maintenance-free?”
Flooding is increasingly problematic and Anglian’s response to this has been a new permeable driveway design. Two-thirds of UK floods are attributed to surface water overwhelming drainage systems.
“Flash floods can be a problem so we have introduced the new Porlock permeable driveway which allows water to drain naturally through the blocks rather than collecting as surface water, ” says David Pitt, senior product manager.
“This is good news for homeowners as planning permission is not always needed when the driveway is laid in conjunction with a permeable sub-base. Permission is required only where a driveway allows surface run-off.”
The new driveways, guaranteed for five years, are available in a choice of colours and a range of laying patterns including herringbone and basket weave, and a range of hard wearing granite setts, kerbs and edging.
Rising bills and cold weather focus minds on effective ways to insulate the home. Loft insulation, for example, can be inexpensive if you do the work yourself.
Wrap hot water tanks with a three-inch jacket and pipes with foam lagging. Turn your hot water thermostat down – it doesn’t need to be scalding. Fitting heating controls such as a good boiler programmer, room thermostat or thermostatic radiator valves can slash bills even further.
Loft conversions are an excellent way of utilising space. Building and planning regulations can restrict what you want to do although permission is often not required.
Doing a loft conversion on the cheap can result in a room that is boiling in summer and freezing in winter. If regulations are ignored not only could it end up a dangerous structure but it may also cause problems if you sell the property; surveyors check if conversions have been approved by councils.
You can get free advice from companies specialising in conversions such as Truss Loft, Apex Lofts and Econoloft.
It can be hard building an extension, having to deal with planning permission, building regulations and engaging an architect and builder but it’s almost always worth it. A good extension would complement the existing building and would not be so large that it encroaches too much onto the garden. Bear in mind it may put you in a higher council tax band and may result in higher costs.
“Spring is close and if you are thinking of an extension it is a good idea to consider a conservatory, ” says Anglian’s Melanie McDonald. “It’s an extension that brings light into your home and enables you to enjoy your garden more. It brings the outdoors indoors. We have a maintenance free uPVC range in different finishes and hardwood versions for conservation areas.”
A conservatory can be a great asset as an extra room that lets the sun flood in. It can double the size of a living room or kitchen at a stroke. Yet it is vital to pick a design that doesn’t overly encroach on the garden. If it does it may detract from the home’s value.
Anglian has been selling conservatories since 1966 and offers a 10-year guarantee. It is vital conservatories are designed to withstand extreme weather and at Anglian, postcodes are put into a system which checks the chosen roof design against any environmental factors for that area.
A conservatory built where it is sunniest can result in a magnification of light and heat where it is least needed. A north-facing unit can lighten dark areas and add cosy levels of warmth. Anglian’s Solaroof feature reduces the sun’s heat and glare. Solaroof also dramatically reduces ultra-violet rays which can cause furniture to fade.
Security is important, too, and Anglian conservatories have numerous features including superior toughened glass.
Ms McDonald added: “A third of people who’ve bought from us buy from us again, which speaks volumes about people trusting us with their homes.”
Anglian Home Improvements: 0800 500600/www.anglianhome.co.uk
Truss Loft: 0800 1953855/www.trussloft.co.uk
Apex Lofts: 0800 5423252/www.apexlofts.co.uk
Econoloft: 0800 269765/www.econoloft.co.uk