Monday, 19 August 2013

The final straight. Fireplaces and wardrobes .

It's been a while since I've posted. It's been a busy, busy few weeks. We're running a few weeks behind  so to help thing along I roped in a few friends to help with the easier jobs like painting. Thanks so much Stef , Kate and Asid. The whole bungalow has had the first coat of white paint . The entire lounge has had it's ceiling painted in a white sheen too.

Ceiling of the 3rd bedroom/study.

Moving on to what's been going on. The fireplace was installed today.

I contacted a local fireplace store called a few months ago. They conducted a site survey free of charge and explained what fireplaces I could choose from to fit my chimney. They also recommended a chimney sweep to sweep the chimney. 

We had to build out the chimney breast. This was done in concrete block where the fireplace would go and plasterboard above. The area was recessed so I can fit a new TV.  With the TV being recessed heat shouldn't be a problem from the fireplace. The reason we had to do build out the chimney breast was because our hole for the fireplace wasn't central to the chimney breast. To keep the chimney breast from protruding too far the builders of the bungalow made a back to back chimney breast. This meant my chimney breast would extend into the neighbours lounge , on the left of the chimney breast and the neighbour's would come into my lounge on the right. The old fireplace was positioned central to the breast but the flue it self was actually located on the left .  A new one would have have to do dead centre to the hole which would mean it would go to the left of the chimney breast. 

I would have to build out the breast to centralise the fireplace. To keep costs down Neil at Herts Fireplace Gallery recommend I get my builder to build out the breast.

If you look above you can see the old breast which wasn't plastered at the time this picture was taken. The old breast won't be obvious as the wall has been made out for sound proofing.  I sent Neil photos of the build as we were making it and he was pleased with it all.

If you look above the fireplace a recess has been cut out for a in ceiling projector screen.

Neil sent one of his guys round today to fit the fireplace. It took just half a day to install. Finally the finished product. Very pleased. The heat doesn't come directly above so I am not worried about the TV at all. 

The pebbles glow a lovely red when the fire is on.

Really pleased with the end result. A big thank you to Neil at Herts Fire place gallery.

Upstairs I have had built in wardrobes installed. As we have lost the walk in wardrobe I had originally planned for due to lack of space we had to have wardrobes in the bedroom instead. I opted for built in to maximise the space.  I chose a local firm called Spacemaker. They came round conducted a site survey and over a cup of tea we negotiated a good price which wasn't far off Ikea prices.

For the interior I have had two rails behind each door apart from the central door which is full height rails for coats, it also has two shelves here too. I opted for white glass sliding doors.

For the other side of the door I opted for mirror doors. I have also had 2 rails put in here to maximise hanging space.

The quality of the wardrobe is second to none. The rails are reassuringly smooth and have a nice soft close mechanism. The carcass is over 30mm thick and feels very , very solid.

Will update throughout the week with the rest of the build.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Security! British Gas safe and secure, soundproofing and updated pictures of the build.

So the final weeks are upon us! a lot is going on all at once so we can finish in time. This week I have taken delivery of a Home security system. I spent quite a bit of time researching the various options in the market for intruder alarms.

System requirements

1Wanted to be alerted when the alarm was triggered
2 Ability to monitor remotely and set alarm- helps in case I forget to set the alarm.
3 Ability to install additional  motion senors , door sensors etc

Wired or Wireless

Wired tends to be more reliable than wireless, however fitting a wired system is best to do when you're redecorating  , or renovating like I am so you can chase all the cables in the wall. Retro fitting a wired system can often be quite a messy task. Wireless technology has hugely improved over the years , and with improved battery performance I was leaning towards a wireless alarm.

A wireless systems were quoted cheaper due to the little amount of time it takes to install.

I contacted a few companies local to me but the quotes were coming in for around £1000- that was with me getting my builders to run any cables first too.

If I wanted to be alerted that the alarm had gone off I was looking at a around £25-30 a month in monitoring fees- this I thought was pretty expensive. Especially because the police would not be called straight away. Someone phoning me to tell me my alarm had gone is no more useful than a text or email.

I looked at ADT, Yale alarms , alarms on ebay etc.

The monthly fees ruled out ADT, Yale didn't have a remote app to set the alarm or check on it remotely. I didn't trust the quality of the alarms on ebay.

I discovered that British Gas have entered the home security alarm market with  , their alarm is called Safe and Secure.

This ticked all the boxes for.

1) Low monthly fee for Text alerts £8- ( If you don't want the text alerts you can save £8 a month)
2) iphone and android app to remotely monitor the alarm and activate / deactivate the alarm.
3) Easy to set up self install this is due to the fact it is also a wireless system
4) Not expensive

So what do you get?

For £199 you get the starter pack

1 hub- this is connected to your router via a cat5 cable. This can be hidden anywhere
2 two motion sensors (these can be upgraded to pet friendly sensors free of charge)
3 2 remote fobs- to turn the alarm on and off, like a car remote . I preferred this over having a keypad on the wall of the hallway like most alarms.
4 Smart plug- you can plug a light/radio etc to into the smart plug and remotely turn it on and off from the app. Smart plug also acts as a signal booster for all the sensors and home plug.
5 - Decoy box- looks like an external siren but doesn't actually make a noise

Optional accessories

External siren
Internal siren- basically deafens intruders
Carbon Monoxide detector
Gas leak  detector
Water Leak detector
Smoke detector
control / panic button

I didn't want a fully monitored service with police response as I am having IP cameras installed inside and have bought CCTV outside which can be remotely monitored. If the alarm goes off, I can remotely see if the bungalow has been broken into via the cameras and call the police myself. The alarm can also email a second person so I can give a family member access to the CCTV and they can see if anyone has broken in too.

I am awaiting for the walls to be plastered and then will install the alarm and go into more details on the interface.

The side extension has finally been tiled - which is good timing with the torrential rain we have had.

Inside the downstairs has been plasterboarded through out. I have wired the cabling for the 5 speakers in the lounge and HDMI cables throughout the lounge.

I have also run the cabling for the lutron keypads and intercom system.

Downstairs lounge ceiling needs to be plasterboarded and then we're ready for skimming! On the home straight.

Below is the study/3rd bedroom which was hard to picture with my phone.

I wanted to soundproof the room. After installing the best part of 20 speakers in the house the last thing I wanted to do was not be able to use it properly. I wouldn't enjoy cranking up the system if I knew the sound was travelling next door and inconveniencing the neighbours.

We only have one wall we share with next door which is the lounge and front bedroom . The extension wall is independent as is the loft dormer wall. The front bedroom will have have a wardrobe along the party wall which will naturally act as a sound barrier.

The main lounge wall was my concern.

To build and effective sound barrier I had to construct a free standing wall, it would mean I would lose about 120mm of my room but as the room is 5 meters wide I didn't see that being a big problem.

I left a 1inch gap from the wall and then had the builders build the stud frame. The frame had to be completely independent from the front wall to make sure sound didn't travel into the wall. The stud frame was filled with acoustic insulation.

Acoustic plasterboard was laid on top of the stud. Green Glue will be then applied to another layer of plasterboard. and then screwed on top of the first layer of plasterboard. Green Glue is a noise proofing compound that is applied using a silicon gun

This should effectively stop sound going through the wall.

I have also bought Hoody speaker hoods for the ceiling speakers. Not only do they help with meeting the requirements of building regulation as they help prevent the spread of fire, but they also prevent noise leaking from the top of the ceiling speaker. This coupled with insulation in-between the ceiling joists and upstairs floor should hopefully help prevent noise leakage.

That's all for now!