Top Qualities Your Chosen Kingston builder should have

I receive lots of queries with regards to the construction of quality custom homes. Among them, there is one particular question that stands out:

What are the qualities I should look for in a Kingston builder when planning to construct my new home?

Home construction is a worthwhile investment but it can cost a lot. So, it should be taken seriously. I wanted to list down the top qualities I would take into consideration when looking for a home builder. Therefore, here are the leading custom home qualities you need to search for. Kingston builder

Home Construction Process

When you begin to search for a custom home builder, you will come across some that have their own specific ways of doing things. However, it is more important to find a proven and cost- efficient process that suits you best. As an example, when you come across a custom home builder within your vicinity that seems to be knowledgeable in this field, ask them a number of questions. One particular question is: “When you custom build my new home, how will you go about it?”  If the process is not comprehensive or does not meet your requirements, consider looking for another Kingston builder. The best builder for you should have a comprehensive home building process that works out for the builder and meets your custom-built home needs.

Right Experience

When looking for the right builder, you should not only choose the one that is experienced in constructing custom homes but also in planning, constructing and supporting the process of home building. In any case, you would not want a builder that constructs low-quality homes but one that stays by your side in the planning and building of your dream house.

Past Customer Satisfaction

A custom home builder with several highly satisfied customers reveals the contractor’s good reputation. So, even before you make a commitment and sign a contract, it would help to request some testimonials from their past/present customers and projects they have accomplished. Whenever possible, check the feedback of the builder’s clientele. Go to their website and search for customer testimonials. Also, use Google to search for online reviews and try to contact some customers to know what they have to say about the builder.

Customer satisfaction

Do You Have Any Doubts?

Custom home building is not only a pricey investment but it requires you to do lots of research and investigation. In addition, it has to take another element into consideration. It has to be a fit. If you have any doubts or if you and your home builder do not get along well in several aspects, it may be time to search for other Kingston builders for your custom-built home.

All-In-One Establishment

Would you prefer to shop at several, different stores to look for what you need or would you rather go to just one store and get everything you need? Lots of people want to deal with only one store and establish a relationship with only one provider.

The same thing applies with your custom home builder. For this reason, it pays to look for a builder that offers things such as a hands-on design center to actually view and touch things you intend to buy for your home as well as experience building and making use of branded materials and components in your home. A real estate agency can also help you look for the right fit for your neighborhood and time-tested quality service, which is supported by customer testimonials.

Discovering the Best Custom Home Builder for You

In building your dream home, it is crucial to know the qualities to look for in a custom home builder. Do your research to find the Kingston builder that is the best fit for you, with the right process, loyal customers, and years of experience to construct your home as well as everything under one roof.

Different Kinds of Fences You Can Choose From

Wrought iron fence

When buying a home, choosing the type of fence is one of the most important things to consider. It plays a major part in the exterior design of a home and offers what most homeowners look for: security. In fact, the two basic things that Americans look for in a home are security and privacy. A fence installed by a professional provides the “home” in the true sense of the word. A homeowner’s choice of fence, whether is it wrought iron or wood, will have an effect on his/her sense of home.  So, before having a fence installed, know more about the common types of fencing.

Aluminum Fencing

Aluminum fencing is among the most basic and attractive types of fences. The main advantage of choosing this is its simple maintenance. You just have to spend on installation and also, whenever you want to paint or embellish it. However, it does not offer the kind of security that most homeowners are looking for. In addition, it is not as durable as others may think so an aluminum fence is not advisable for places that experience extreme weather conditions.

Wood Fencing

In the US, wood fencing is the most popular type.  Because of its height, it can provide homeowners with the sense of privacy they need. It can also be among the most attractive choices available. It offers a warm and airy ambience. You don’t have to spend much to have a wood fence installed. The price you need to pay will be based on the width and height of your fence. Certainly, if you need more lumber, your fencing will cost more. Aside from this, like all other types of fence, they take time to install. So, a smaller fence will be cheaper and faster to install. wooden-fence

One of the major benefits of wood fences is their longevity. They can last as long as your home. Similar to hardwood floors, the quality of your fence will rely on your choice of wood, which comes in a wide range of options.

PVC Fencing             

Homeowners who want to save on fencing costs can go for those made of PVC. Fences, such as these, use PVC in the place of wooden pickets and stakes. Though they are not as durable as wood, they can definitely serve their purpose. To make the fence more stable, posts made from PVC sleeves are positioned above wooden posts. This reduces the costs of materials since less wood is used. At times, PVC stakes are fastened to the cross bars using an adhesive. Sometimes, they are attached with the help of screws. PVC fencing is available in a wide range of colors and heights. The PVC fencing structure allows it to resist the elements and last for a long time.

Wrought iron fence

Wrought Iron Fencing

Homeowners who go for wrought iron fences are usually fond of funky designs atop their fences. These fences are beautiful and strong but require regular maintenance. In order to maintain these qualities, they need to be repainted or sanded every other year or so, which makes them costly.

Moreover, when it comes to the security that most homeowners seek, wrought iron fences are not for those on the conservative side. In addition, since wrought iron fences are customized, they are certainly not cheap.


A guide to converting a loft – Part 2

Hi all, I’m back with the second part of the guide. Here it is, I’ve received some valuable insights from a loft conversion Ealing company, and I hope you will find them useful. Enjoy!

  1. Installing windows for getting natural light

Installation of skylight windows doesn’t require many structural changes. These are comparatively easier to install. Normally the rafters on each side are doubled-up and trimmed all over the top of the cavity, whereas Dormer windows comprise of walls plus a roof and the window, giving it a complete structure. At the backside of a number of homes these may fall within the permissible development allowance and thus won’t require any formal approval. However, installing these on the frontage of a house requires formal permission. That’s why skylights are preferred and more popular.

It may be necessary to have Dormer windows for maximizing headroom inside the loft and creating usable area, but you’ll need to support these on the ridge, the highest point. Ridge beam is fixed below the apex prior to fixing of the dormer roof joists themselves plus weathering of roof. During the period when dormer windows are under construction, the loft conversion gets exposed to weather elements, necessitating the need of good temporary cover for protection against weather.

  1. Loft stairs

Due scarcity of space, designing the stairs is a tricky affair. You may have       narrow flights in zigzag design but these may pose problem for carrying furniture upstairs. Especially made staircase would cost ten times the standard designs.

If you go for especially designed staircase, you would better get the plan approved from local Building Control Official prior to their erection. You should ask your builder to forward one copy of your plan to Building Control Office. It is important from the point of view of fire safety regulations as you need to provide an escape route in case of fire.

  1. Improvements for fire protection

Undertaking loft conversions in bungalows hardly affects their fire safety as long as windows are big enough for providing escape routes. However, in case of two storied houses wherein a third storey gets added, there are problems. The fresh floor would need to offer a minimum of thirty minutes of fire protection. This may necessitate re-plastering of ceilings beneath it. Additionally, loft room has to be kept separate from a fire door at the bottom or top of new staircase. You’ll also require at least one window which is sufficiently large for escaping in every room. You can get skylight windows especially for such situations. Loft conversion fire protection

Homes don’t require self closing devices for doors anymore as they are proven to be risky for children who get their fingers trapped therein. Instead, present doors in the stairway should be swapped with fire resistant doors. As per the old rules for safety, you were required to provide self closing mechanism on all doors. As far as electrical installation goes, you need to provide smoke alarms on every floor. These must be connected to the main supply and interconnected so that all of them set the alarm bells ringing when one gets activated. Usually, they come with rechargeable battery unit that backs up when you like to extend supply from a lighting circuit.

  1. Insulation against noise

You can make the fresh floor soundproof by putting a mineral fiber cover amid the joists. Lighter insulation won’t be of any help here, so use denser heavier insulation cover. The same holds valid for all internal stud partitions amid bathrooms or bedrooms. Likewise, you may also insulate all party walls against noise and heat. You may have a framework of wood made and cover the same with plasterboard of sound resistant quality.

  1. Insulation to prevent loss of heat

With the standards of loft conversions becoming high, their insulation has become awkward. A cut will be needed in the inclined ceiling and fixed among rafters on their top. Insulation has to be very thin since the plasterboard has to be set via the bottom of insulation sheet. It means you’ll need to utilize insulation of high quality for these areas. You’ll also have to employ similar insulation for dormers and walls before getting them plaster boarded.

Loft conversion insulation

  1. Storage

On converting your loft you’ll be sacrificing some storage space. Yet, you can make maximum use of available space by utilizing the eaves at the back of the ashlering by fitting access hatches along with roll-out storage boxes ready to fit. You can also create storage space by insulating beneath the rafter lines. Since normal wardrobes won’t fit in the bedroom created in loft, you may prefer having built-in variety.

A guide to converting a loft – Part 1

An increasing number of homeowners are opting for loft conversion as it makes available additional space and adds value to the property.

Before getting started with the process of loft conversion, you would do well to understand what it means, how it could influence the design of an existing house and what all it involves. You should consider the following ten important features to decide if it would prove worthwhile for you to go for loft conversion for creating additional space in your home.

  1. Can the existing structure of your home bear the additional weight due to loft conversion?

Needless to add, the conversion will cause additional load on the existing structure. Though it won’t be a lot, you should ensure that the present structure is suited for that load. It would involve some digging to check foundations, beams and lintels that are going to bear extra weight.

The Building Control Official of your area would also come to inspect these components. So, you have to dig a hole to expose the foundations. In case it is realized that the structure requires some underpinning for carrying additional weight, the cost of the project may get doubled up.

  1. Building Laws and Party Walls

It is obligatory for homeowners to get approval from local government agency (Building Regulations) before starting the project of loft conversion. It helps to get the required approval before entrusting the job to any builder. Getting your design approved minimizes associated risks and allows the builder to give an accurate estimate of expenses involved.

Loft conversion

If the terrace or any wall of your structure is shared with neighbors, you must alert them of your intended project. This will be as per the Party Wall Act 1996. Building Control Official of your area will visit the site as the work progresses and issue a completion certificate after final inspection. So, you should make final payment to your builder only after you have been issued this certificate.

  1. Ensure that you get adequate headspace

Often, homeowners are disappointed by the headroom created as a result of loft conversion as it is not very clearly calculated from the drawings. So, ask you designer to confirm this beforehand. You would certainly prefer having enough headroom so that you can stand up straight. You should be aware that a staircase will be needed for accessing the loft. Ensure that it is designed in such a manner as not to eat into the space in your existing bedroom and it surmounts the older one. You’ll agree loft conversion isn’t a worthwhile proposition if you are asked to sacrifice a complete room.

In case there is insufficient space on the roof for housing water tank plus plumbing, you may need to replace heating plus hot water arrangement with a sealed unit. Rather than going for a boiler combination, you should prefer having an unvented cylinder for hot water arrangement. This will occupy the space of the size of a cupboard. So make sure you have some place somewhere for housing it.

  1. Modifying the structure of roof

Nearly all roofs are designed to have internal support rods within the loft, supporting the rafters plus purling (horizontal roof beams) in pitched roofs and roofs with conventional cut whereas modern roofs have mesh of braces. You’ll need to remove all such supports for entering the new room. These will be changed with new ones that don’t eat into space.

Though there are a number of ways for modifying the structure of roof while undertaking loft conversion, there is one common feature of all and that is the ceiling joists would invariably be insufficient as floor joists. It means the new floor joists need to be fitted next to them, somewhat raised over the ceiling plasterboard to keep away from contacting it. These joists with a depth of 200-225mm will go over the tops of the present ceiling joists to shape the floor structure. These may stand straightway onto the present wall plates of internal or external load bearing walls or on freshly erected beams, as per their span.

Generally, in case of smaller lofts the floor joists themselves are utilized for supporting sloping rafters. It can be done by making a small wooden wall of one or one and a half meter height, which is called ashlering. With ashlering providing the needed support, you can safely remove braces plus internal struts.