Sunday, 30 June 2013

Front Door - composite or natural wood? Plus updated pictures of the build.

The front door in my opinion is one of the most important features of a home. It makes a statement and can change the whole look of a house .

There's a huge range of doors on the markets ranging from hundreds to tens of thousands of pounds.  I started researching doors and in particular those of the oak variety. I got in touch with a few suppliers but was slowly getting put off them them. Wooden doors are not maintenance free and will require restaining etc every few year/few years.  Some suppliers even said they shouldn't be in direct sunlight. Worse still some of the Oak Veneer doors I saw , the veneer had started to come away where moisture had got in.  A solid Oak doors cost 3-4 times that of a composite door, and the Oak veneer door was double.

On top of that , wooden doors contract and expand over the winter and summer months. With the door being my only barrier to the outside as I am not having a porch this started to put me off them . I didn't want a door that would let the cold in and leak noise too.

Equally I didn't want a plasticky looking door. I started too look into composite doors. I got in touch with who I found on the internet. Their prices including fitting looked very resonable. First thing I did was order a sample. The sample came through the post and I was pleased with it. From a distance you would be hard pushed to tell the difference between real and wood and the composite.  So you get the benefits of modern technology ; heat retention, noise insulation and completely maintenance fee but the look of wood. Below is a picture of the composite sample against my real wood floors.

My floor is lighter  but ignoring that, the grain is very realistic both printed and the actual feel.

I was sold so this is style I went with.

The side panels and the glass in the door are all double glazed. I chose the thermal glass upgrade option which is basically better insulated windows. 

Global Doors' surveyor came round on Monday and will fit the door on the 10th of July. The door came with a multi point lock and a thumb lock. I chose not to have the eye view as  I am having a video intercom system. From an insulation point of view a composite door will be much better than a natural wood door.  Up close a natural wood door will always look better but for me the benefits of a composite door outweighed that. 

Below is the opening the door will be going to.

On to the house. The roof is coming a long nicely. The structure of the pitched roof on the side extension is up. The membrane, tiles and roof windows should be installed this week. The flat roof along the rear extension has been laid and the first layer of felt is down. The roof lantern has been installed and the glass panes will be installed once the second layer of felt is down. The ground where the patio will be laid has been dug out and made flat. Footings for the foundation of a small retaining wall have also been dug out. The patio and rear wall should be laid this week before the front door and bi folds are installed. The small wall will be rendered and painted white with lights built into them.

The ground where the patio will be laid has been dug out and made flat. Footings for the foundation of a small retaining wall have also been dug out. The patio and rear wall should be laid this week before the front door and bi folds are installed. The small wall will be rendered and painted white with lights built into them. The garden was only 50ft to begin with and we have lost 12ft to the extension. Rather than build a big patio across the entire back, I have built an area which is 3m by 3m where the seating area will be , the rest of the patio only comes out 1.5m.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

We have walls, now for the roof

Walls are all up now. RSJs have also gone up. 6 meter bi fold has been ordered and should be installed in 3 weeks.

Front door survey has been booked in for tomorrow and should be installed a fortnight after.

The roof beams are starting to go up, unfortunately the roof goes up a lot slower than the walls. The side extension will have a pitched tiled roof . There will be two flat roof windows here for the downstairs study /3rd bedroom and bathroom.

The rear extension will be flat roof with a roof lantern over the dining area.

The roof should be completed by the end of next week.

Inside the upstairs bathroom floor has been tiled, underfloor heating installed and the shower tray and toilet installed. The second fix for the bedroom has gone in with all spot lights and mains plugs installed.

I have ordered fitted wardrobes which will be installed in the last week of July.

I have decided to start on the rear garden. Due to the garden being on a slope we need to excavate soil to make a flat patio area and a retaining wall. The patio was going to be done at a later stage but as we are losing the side entrance due to the extension I don't want to remove 20 tonnes of soil through the house, so have bought this forward.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Extension walls up.

More work on the downstairs to write about this week.

For those of you who may not know what pad foundations are. In very basic words, You dig big deep holes (pads) a few meters apart, You then fill them with concrete and then connect the pads with  RSJs which have a mesh wrapped around them and then cover them in concrete. You then build the walls on top of this. 

The picture below shows the pads covered on in concrete.

The picture below shows the RSJs placed in the channels that have been dug out. The RSJs are joined together.

Below the RSJs covered in mesh so the concrete has something to grip to.

Finally covered in Concrete

The walls have started to go up. It gives you a good idea of how big the extension is compared to the existing building. The big opening below is where the bi fold doors will be going up.

From the front of the bungalow. This is where the new entrance will be .For the current door at the side there is two steps, plus an additional step once you get through the existing PVC door. Couple this with a steep drive and you get a bungalow where the front is a lot higher than the rear. This means we're going to have 4 steps , possibly more leading from the front house to the driveway. 

Hopefully by this week the roof should start to go up as the walls should be finished by Tuesday. 

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Moving inside, bedroom plastered , bathroom bought, foundations dug and poured.

It's been a few weeks since I last updated and unfortunately the pictures don't reflect all the work that has gone on.

We had delays with the foundations as my sewer is shared with the neighbours, Unfortunately we were unable to see how close the neighbours pipes to the pad foundation were until we dug down. I had applied for a Thames build over agreement to builder over the pipes. The standard terms dictate if I am building foundations below 1.5meters I cannot build within 1meter of the pipe. My pads were 600mm away. However my pads were going below the sewer pipes so pressure would be applied. Luckily the structural engineer at MHM structural solutions got in touch with Thames Water and they agreed to let us build closer than then 1000mm. Thames Water were very helpful and emailed confirmation too so I could start work.

The first fix wiring for the down lights, wall lights and floor lamps are all in. I have also bought a video door intercom. This came with two monitors one of which is going in the kitchen and the other is going in the bedroom. So all the cable has gone in for this too.

The bedroom has been skimmed and is ready for painting. The bathroom has been delivered. I searched for ages online to buy taps, shower mixers etc. On ebay I came across a lot of mixers and taps from China for very cheap. However a recent leak in my current flat has put me off cheap fittings. I am a big fan of German products and was hell bent on buying Grohe. The reviews of Grohe have always been good and I am a fan of the build quality. However Grohe isn't cheap however after hours if not days of searching on the net I came across Nigel was great help and help choose all the bits I needed and had them out to me in a few days. They were far cheaper than anywhere I else I found and bought the bathroom taps and mixers from there and WC from there. I didn't spend a lot of money on the sink bowls and bought them from ebay.

The free standing bath also has free standing taps and a shower head.

The Grohe WC is wall hung which will be boxed in and tiled over. The shower mixer has a shower head coming out of the ceiling and also a hand held shower coming of the wall. The shower will have a small alcove to store shampoo and shower gels etc.

Below is the skylight which is in the small landing upstairs. The light will shine downstairs into the lounge below too.

Below are pictures of the foundations. The pads have been filled with concrete. Over the next few days the beams will arrive which connect the pads together and then be covered with concrete.