Roof Repair Case Study – Broken Roof Tile and Rotten Fascia

Repair broken roof tile and rotten fasci and box end

Roof Repair – Broken roof tile leading to a rotten fascia and box end

One of the roof the tiles was cracked all the way down the centre of the tile. The tile in question was fitted on the gable end of the house in the bottom row and had been notched out by the builders to fit round the brickwork. The cut had been made by an angle grinder and in making the cut it looks like the tile had been split in half but used anyway. This meant rain water had been running down through the split and slowly rotting away the fascia (although on the gable end it would normally be a barge board this was horizontal from the return around the eves overhang so therefore a fascia), box end and the end of one of the eves.

After some phoning around and investigation on google the tile was identified as a concrete Marley Bold Roll tile which Marley stopped manufacturing sometime around 2007. A call to a few reclamation yards turned up a good supply in a company down near Braintree.

If the property was built around or before 2000 then take care to inspect the soffits and also undercloaking (thin board used between the roof tile and facias or barge boards on the bottom row of roof tiles). If you are unsure and suspect asbestos, then it’s definitely worth getting it checked out. Have a look online. There are companies which will come out to take a sample and do a 48 hour turn around on the analysis and give you advice on how to proceed for around £150.

Broken Marley Bold Roll Roof Tile
Broken Marley Bold Roll Roof Tile

Stage 1 – Remove broken roof tile

A solid standoff on the ladder makes a good platform to hold the tools and materials while working. Always take care to follow ladder safety and make sure that the ladder is on level ground and do not overreach.

First off the gutter that was attached to the fascia had to be removed. This can be slightly tricky with older plastic guttering that has gone hard and brittle due to the elements. Try sliding the guttering back and forth in the clips being careful not to upset the rest of the run and then pull the clips out and up pushing the guttering inwards to release it. The gutter will have to be removed all the way up to the first joint beyond the fascia to be replaced. The gutter is usually joined by a slide out rubber seal. Once the guttering is off unscrew the clips and keep them safe for when it comes time to put the gutter back up.

Use a claw hammer or crow bar to lift up the tiles above and around the broken one. If any of the tiles being removed or lifted up are at the edge of the gable end then the cement between the undercloaking and tile will need to be carefully knocked out. The bottom row of roof tiles is normally nailed to the roof batten. Try and get the claw of the crow bar underneath the clout nail to lever it up in order to pull the broken tile out. If you can’t get purchase on the nail, then carefully try levering the tile up under the nail and then when slightly raised the nail can be knocked out with a thin metal bar. Slide the roof tile out. Depending on how much the tile above the one to be removed is raised up by will determine how easily the batten lugs, if any, of the tile to be removed will slide over the batten. The tile may have to be jiggled around a bit to pull it out.

Rotten Fascia and Box End
Rotten Fascia and Box End

Stage 2 – Remove rotten fascia and box end

After enough tiles have been removed to gain access to the part of the rotten fascia being replaced pull back the felt (sometimes the overlapping felt has rotted away) and remove any undercloaking if any. A cordless reciprocating saw was used to place a mitre cut just beyond the rotten part of the fascia, taking care not to saw through the soffit vent, in order for them to be removed after the nails holding the soffit vent to the facia were removed. In this case the box end had to be removed as well as it too was rotten. It was nailed to the rotten barge board through a 45 degree mitre joint.

The ends of the eves that had gone rotten were cleaned up and sealed with a timber treatment. The felt was replaced with enough left to overlap between the new fascia and gutter when replaced and then stuck down with roofing felt adhesive to make the joint water tight.

New fascia and box end cut from pressure treated timber
New fascia and box end cut from pressure treated timber

Stage 3 – Make new fascia and box end

The new fascia and box end were cut out of pressure treated timber and painted with 2 coats of exterior white gloss paint. They were offered up into position and then holes were drilled to allow the box end and new facia to be screwed together and the new fascia to be screwed to the old fascia. The soffit vent was tacked back into position on the fascia. The screw heads and mitre joints were filled with exterior repair filler and painted over.

Replacement Marley Bold Roll Roof Tile with notch cut out
Replacement Marley Bold Roll Roof Tile with notch cut out

Stage 4 – Cut a notch out of the replacement roof tile and put back

Now was time to cut the notch out of the replacement Marley Bold Roll tile using an angle grinder taking care to wear protective ear defenders and eye protection. The tile was offered up to make sure it fitted. Happy with the fit of the replacement tile the rest of the tiles were put back wit a bead of an MS Polymer exterior adhesive was placed down the edges of the tile that will be in contact with the roofing batten and the felt. This was because it is difficult to get the clout nails back into the tile nail holes without damaging the tiles around it particularly if close to tiles near the hip, valley or gable end of the roof. Then using the same procedure as removal the tiles were put back by placing a claw hammer under the existing tiles to allow the tiles to be slid in and interlocked, taking care to get the batten lug over the batten.

The last tile which in this case was the replacement tile with the notch cut out was put back having had the fibre cement undercloak nailed back on to the top of the new replaced box end first and a bed of exterior repair cement laid on top that the replacement tile would bed into.

The last job was to screw the gutter clips back on to the facia and put the gutter back up making sure the fall was in the right direction to allow the rain water to drain away.


Make Your House Entrance Hall Pop With An Engineered Oak Wood Floor

Finally The Engineered Oak Floor Is Complete

The entrance hall is the first thing that everyone sees when they step into to your property. One of the easiest ways to give your house an upgraded hallway is to put down a gorgeous engineered oak floor to really make it stand out.

First job is to remove all the old carpet and underlay along with the gripper rods and door threshold bars. Then all the skirting boards were removed. These were a little tricky to remove because they had been nailed through the dry wall and into the thermalite blocks as well as being dot and dabbed but prizing them off the wall using a wall paper scraper, claw hammer and cold chisel did the job. Then  the walls were filed, sanded down and repainted.

Removing Old Carpet, Underlay and Skirting Boards
Removing Old Carpet, Underlay and Skirting Boards

We did a moisture check on the concrete screeded floor and found that the reading was around 3 to 4 percent which is a little on the high side when laying wooden floors. To minimise the amount of water that could permeate through to the engineered boards we decided to apply a rapid drying liquid damp proof membrane (DPM). We painted this on using a large brush and allowed an hour between coats and then let it totally dry for 24 hours.

3 Layers of Rapid Liquid Damp Proof Membrane Being Applied
3 Layers of Rapid Liquid Damp Proof Membrane Being Applied

Now it was time to start laying the hand beveled oak smoked engineered boards. The width of the first board was calculated to allow the width of the last board on the opposite side to be a similar width. The boards were laid in a randomised staggered pattern so as not to have any uniformity where the joints were made. A gap of 10mm was left between the dry wall and the edge of the board to allow for some expansion. An MS Polymer adhesive was used to glue the boards down with the first row being weighted down and allowed to dry before the rest of the boards were laid. The boards have a tongue and groove joint which was tapped into place with a rubber mallet and block of wood to protect the face of the boards. To apply the adhesive to the floor a 10mm v notched trowel was used to spread the glue after it was poored on the screed. A chop saw with an fine 80 tooth blade was used to cut the boards. But none of the cut ends are on show as they are all hidden under the thresholds.

The Engineered Oak Dark Smoked Hand Beveled Brushed & UV Oiled Boards Being Glued To The Substrate With a MS Polymer Adhesive
The Engineered Oak Dark Smoked Hand Beveled Brushed & UV Oiled Boards Being Glued To The Substrate With a MS Polymer Adhesive

A multitool was used to cut the architraves at the bottom of the door frames to allow the boards to be slid in underneath.

The Floor Boards Being Fitted Under The Door Frames and Architraves
The Floor Boards Being Fitted Under The Door Frames and Architraves

Once all the boards were laid the the skirting boards were glued back on to the dry wall. Skirting was added around the newel posts and gap filler was run around the top of the newly applied skirting.

The Solid Oak Thresholds Being Fitted Between The Room Junctions
The Solid Oak Thresholds Being Fitted Between The Room Junctions

Then solid oak thresholds were added underneath the door stops to finish off the junctions between the cloak room, living room and kitchen.


Replacing a Multipoint Lock System in a uPVC Door

Door with completed replacement Multipoint Lock

The deadlock in this uPVC door failed so it was time to replace it with a new one. For the most part their are a couple of variants for the dimensions of Euro Profile door mechanisms. The face plate can be 16mm or 20mm in width and the depth from the centre of the cylinder to the face plate can be 35mm or 45mm. This one was a 16mm face plate width and 35mm cylinder depth.

First unscrew the handles and take the bolt out of the face plate that keeps the Euro Cylinder in place.

Undo screws and remove Extension Bars and Lock Plate
Undo screws and remove Extension Bars and Lock Plate

Then using the key adjust the revolving cam inside the Euro Cylinder to be in the downward position and pull the Euro Cylinder out. This will be used in the replacement system.

Euro Cylinder being removed by turning the key to put the revolving cam in a downward position to enable it to be pulled out
Euro Cylinder being removed by turning the key to put the revolving cam in a downward position to enable it to be pulled out

Then remove the face plate. Some times there can be separate face plates for the hooks at the top and bottom and the latch and lock in the middle. The replacement for this system has separate plates so the latch and lock plate is offered up first. The existing housing in the uPVC door needs some adjustment so that is cut using a drill and multitool to fit the new latch and lock case.

Adjust Centre Latch and Deadlock Housing
Adjust Centre Latch and Deadlock Housing

Once the lock case fits into the door then pilot holes are drilled in the door in the positions where the screws will be fitted to secure the face plate. The screws are then put into the face plate and tightened up. At this point put the Euro Cylinder is put back into the lock case using the key to make sure the revolving cam is in the downward position and the bolt is screwed back in to secure the Euro Cylinder. Put the spindle back through the latch and place the handles back on the door and do up their retaining bolts. Make sure the latch and deadlock move freely when turning the handle.

Offer up the latch and lock plate keep to the frame and make sure the existing keep housing in the door frame is in the right position otherwise adjust as required. On this system there is a datum line on the face plate in the door that has to match up with a datum line on the keep. The keeps for this system have packing grub screws to allow a secure footing when the keep overlaps thinner keep gully’s of the old door frame but they are not long enough for these older frames so I used pieces of wood screwed into the metal part of the door frame by drilling pilot holes and securing the wood strips with self tapping screws. Then drill pilot holes for the keep screws and screw the keep to the frame. Test shutting and locking the door and adjust the keep plates as necessary with the grub screw adjusters.

Lock Keep fitted in position and being adjusted to accept Latch and Deadlock
Lock Keep fitted in position with packing and being adjusted to accept Latch and Deadlock

This system has a roller as well as a hook to pull the door tight when turning the handle but some just have a hook. Offer up the bottom hook and roller face plate and adjust the housing in the door by cutting the uPVC as necessary.

Adjust bottom housing for hook case
Adjust bottom housing for hook case

When offering up the hook plate make sure the hook is in the fully retracted position when you place the outer male toothed conrod of the hook face plate into the female toothed conrod of the centre lock plate.

Centre Lock Plate Conrod with Female Toothed Section
Centre Lock Plate Conrod with Female Toothed Section

The hook unit case is also sometimes called the gearbox. When you are happy that the hook plate is in the best position to work with the centre lock plate and the existing keep housing in the door frame make pilot holes where the fixing screws should go through the door and then insert the screws and do them up. This system has a cover plate which has a location pip which locates in the centre lock plate and then a grub screw into the hook plate to cover the join between the two.

Cover Plate for Centre Lock Plate and Hook Plate
Cover Plate for Centre Lock Plate and Hook Plate

Go through the same process for the bottom hook plate keep as was applied to the centre lock plate keep and test the mechanism. Pay special attention to the hooks and that they clear the bottom of the keep when closing. Repeat the process for the top lock plate keep.

Top Hook and Roller keep fitted to the frame with packing
Top Hook and Roller keep fitted to the frame with packing

Once all the keeps are fitted test closing, locking, un-locking and re-opening the door.

Door with completed replacement Multipoint Lock
Door with completed replacement Multipoint Lock

Cloak-room makeover

Corner sink basin

This cloak-room has remained the same since the house was built in 2000. It was uninspiring then with all the inlet and waste pipes unflatteringly on display below the wall hung corner basin. Now was the time to give the cloak-room a makeover and give it a more contemporary feel.

Old cloak-room in need of renovation
Old cloak-room in need of renovation

The first job was to pull up the old carpet and level the floor with a self leveling screed. The old toilet was unscrewed and removed (nb the toilet and corner basin were recycled on the freecycle website reducing waste costs and helping the environment at the same time!) making sure the waste pipe was taped up to stop waste gases coming out of the pipe and into the house. A long spirit level was used to show high points in the floor.

Cloak-room concrete floor
Cloak-room concrete floor

Once the floor was leveled it was time to lay some tiles. A dark gray square porcelain tile was chosen and laid in a square brickwork pattern with a 4 mm grout joint width.

Gray slate porcelain tile laid in square brickwork pat
Gray slate porcelain tile laid in square brickwork pattern

The tiles were laid with a rapid flexible adhesive that requires only three hours setting time before the grouting can be applied. A light gray grout was used and as always pulling the grout float at 45 degrees across the grout lines so as not to drag the grout out of the joints and then taking the excess off with a sponge before it dries hard on the tiles. The grout was left to harden for 24 hours before the tiles were then cleaned up with a grout remover using a non scratch scouring sponge and washed off with plenty of water.

Gray grout
Gray grout

Next job was to cut off the old overflow pipe and fill the remaining hole as the new toilet has an integral overflow outlet that vents into the pan and to re-position the water inlet pipe to accommodate the new back to the wall close coupled WC.

Remove overflow and re-position inlet

To re-position the copper water inlet pipe the old elbow had to be removed and replaced with a new one at a different angle. First the water was turned off, the pipe was cut after the elbow and any water in the pipe was taken out. The paint around the joint was rubbed off with emery cloth and flux was brushed around the joint. Then to de-solder the elbow joint heat was applied to the elbow very carefully by placing a heat protecting soldering mat over the pipe to stop the flame from burning the wall. Map gas was used in the blow torch as this burns hotter than propane. Heat had to be applied to the joint for about a minute right in the hottest part of the flame about an inch from the torch nozzle before the soldered joint released itself and the elbow could be taken off.

Soldered copper elbow joint to be removed
Soldered copper elbow joint to be removed

Then a new elbow was soldered on making sure the pipe and elbow were cleaned up first with wire wool and flux was placed around the inside of the copper elbow and outside of the pipe. A new piece of pipe was soldered on the other end of the elbow and a 1/2 inch straight tap connector soldered onto that. This enabled a braided hose with an isolating ball valve to be screwed on the end to connect to the cistern inlet for the water supply.

Soldered copper pipe for cistern inlet
Soldered copper pipe for cistern inlet with elbow and isolating ball valve

Next the wall was painted and the new back to the wall toilet and cistern were connected and screwed down. With there being no gap behind the WC it does make connecting the waste pan connector and inlet water supply slightly tricky. A flexible pan connector and 500 mm braided hose for the water supply give enough play to allow the joints to be made without too much trouble. A tip for putting the pan connector on is to put washing up liquid over the exterior of the pan outlet pipe to aid sliding the pan connector on.

Back to the wall WC
Back to the wall WC

Next the sink was removed and the rest of the walls painted . The hot and cold water supply inlet copper pipes were cut to allow 1/2 inch straight tap connectors to be soldered on and isolating ball valves screwed on to those in order for the tap connectors to be attached later when the sink gets installed.

Isolation ball valves and tap connectors for sink
Isolation ball valves and tap connectors for sink

Next the vanity unit was altered with cutouts made in the shelves and carcass to allow it to fit around the pipework. The vanity unit was screwed to the wall at the top and bottom to make it stable.

Altered vanity unit carcass
Altered vanity unit carcass

With the vanity unit fitted the tap and clicker waste were installed in the sink with clear jointing compound placed around the joints of the clicker waste to help the seal and the sink was put in place with dobs of silicon placed around the top of the vanity unit carcass to keep the sink in place. The tap connectors were screwed on and the waste connected up with a flexible hose and the door put on the vanity unit. A tiled mosaic splash back was created around the sink using a contrasting tile of grays, greens and browns with a light gray grout to tie in with the grout used for the floor tiles. Then the skirting board was fitted and the fixtures and fittings put on the wall.

Cloak room makeover
Cloak-room makeover
Vanity unit in cloak-room makeover
Vanity unit in cloak-room makeover
Cloak-room makeover finished
Cloak-room makeover complete

Time to reconsider epoxy grout

Mosaic tiles with epoxy grout closeup

In the early days epoxy grout gained a reputation for being hard to work with and making the cost of the job too expensive. The product has evolved over the last 20 years and has much different properties to that which it had in the noughties.

Epoxy grout has excellent properties when used in shower cubicles, wet-rooms, swimming pools and anywhere that requires prevention of mold buildup, staining and requires good antibacterial qualities.

Early products had very short pot open times which means the product cured very quickly and that you had to work fast to get the product into the tile gap and remove the excess. Even straight after mixing the grout and the hardener it still had a plastic like quality fresh out of the mixing pot that did not make it easy to push into the grout lines.

Modern two part epoxy is much more like standard grout with a greater pot life and a more fluid consistency making it much easier to work with. It still requires a slightly different approach than standard grout but definitely puts it in the realm of general use.

One of the reasons to re-grout an area maybe because old ordinary grout has gone moldy and discoloured. The old grout can be ground out effectively with an oscillating multi-tool and a diamond tile/grout cutting blade. Wear eye protection and ear protection as these can be a little noisy. You only need one channel in the old grout to give the epoxy grout a good key to get adhesion when re-grouting.

Oscillating multitool with diamind blade grout tile cutter
Oscillating multitool with diamond blade grout tile cutter

If you are applying the grout to freshly laid tiles I always allow 48 hours for the tile adhesive to cure thoroughly but check with the guidelines that came with your tile adhesive. Depending on the adhesive you have used to lay the tiles it maybe that you can allow a shorter time or are required to allow longer before applying the grout. Wear protective gloves when applying the grout.

Most two part systems suggest mixing up the entire pot and using in one go. Even though the pot open times are now longer I still prefer to part mix into a separate pot. If you read the specification sheet supplied with the epoxy grout you should see a grout to hardener ratio specified. Normally its around 9:1 grout to hardener. I use some postage scales to work out the amount of grout and hardener to mix together – don’t forget to take into account the weight of the pot you are mixing up the grout in. I normally try and do 2 meter squared areas in one go. The amount to mix will be dependent on your grout line width and depth but try with about 800 mg total amount to start with and see how far that goes.

After stirring thoroughly the measured amounts of grout and hardener its time to start applying the grout. The epoxy grout should stay workable for between 30 to 40 minutes. I start by working the grout into the grout lines with a metal spatula and then using plenty of water and a rubber grout float pulled diagonally across the grout lines take off the excess grout from the tile surface. Next again using plenty of water use white scouring pads rubbed in a circular motion over the grouted area to remove the grout residue from the surface of the tiles. Keep rinsing the sponges in water and be prepared to go through quite a few sponges. Keep the circular motions fairly light pressured at a diagonal to the grout lines as much as possible and don’t press too hard so as not to pull the grout out of the tile gaps too much.

Once the epoxy grout has been applied, and as much excess removed at the time of grouting, I allow 12 to 24 hours for the grout to cure and then start the process for removing the haze residue that gets left behind on the tile after grouting. You can buy specialist products for removing epoxy grout haze. Be sure to wear protective gloves and have protection for your eyes. Also make sure of good ventilation as the cleaners can be rather potent acid based liquids.

Like applying the grout I try and clean the tiles in 2 meter squared areas. Spray the cleaner and leave to get into the glaze for 30 minutes or so. Then using more white scouring pads start rubbing the left over grout haze off the tiles with plenty of water and the scouring side of the sponge. You can tell when the residue has gone as the tiles take on a smoother feel. If you find any lumps of the epoxy grout stuck to the tiles then you will need a knife or scraper just to knock the leftover grout off. Keep rinsing the sponge and again like grouting be prepared to go through a few sponges. Once you are happy that all the haze has gone with the sponge side of the scourer and plenty of water, give the cleaned area a good soaking and then mop up the water giving the cleaned tiles a good wipe over.

white scouring sponges
Have plenty of white scouring sponges for removing the epxoy grout residue and haze

Now all the grout haze has been removed and the tiles are dry its time to seal them. Various types of sealer are available. One that actually soaks into and impregnates the tile and one that just sits on and coats the surface of the tile. For wet environments I always use the impregnating type. They will not give the surface a shiny finish but you can get ones that improve the lustre and intensify the colour of the tiles. Non impregnating sealers tend to be used for non wet high traffic areas. There are also differing sealers for natural stone as opposed to porcelain or ceramic tiles. Check you are getting a sealer for the right type of tile you are working with.

Mosaic tiles with epoxy grout
Mosaic tiles with epoxy grout on a wetroom floor

Some of the products like the polyurethane sealers give off lots of vapor so work in as ventilated environment as possible and wear protection and if sealing an en-suite make sure you leave a few hours for the smell to vapourise before going to bed. Pour some of the sealer into a clean dry pot and rub a thin layer over the tiles with a sponge. If you have really porous tiles you may need to apply 2 coats. Allow the sealer to dry for at least 24 hours before subjecting the area to water.



How to maximise space by turning a standard 6 panel door into bifold doors

6 panel bi-fold doors

I have just such a room, a dining room, that has high traffic and is also used as a temporary work space. It has 2 entrances, one from the kitchen and one from the lounge, with the 2 sets of doors being close together. One of the doorways has a double door which really protrudes into the room. One of the double doors is always clattering into the door of the kitchen and blocking the walkway space into the room.

The solution was to make the double doors from the lounge into bifolds thus tucking the doors out of the way and stopping them from clashing with the kitchen door while freeing up walkway space around the door area.

My initial search for 6 panel doors that came as readymade bifolds revealed only that they came as part of a kit where there was a track that would go along the header of the door in which the bifolded doors would run. The logic behind this was that the track was needed to support the doors when closed and keep them straight in the doorframe. This meant the doors in the kit were 30 or 40 millimetres shorter due to the track mechanism than I needed. I was planning to use thumb turned rack bolts at the top and bottom of the door to hold the doors shut so I wanted full height doors.

The only option was to take 2 standard hollow 6 panel doors and turn them into a bifold doors.


The doors were slightly too big for the opening so a line was scribed along the top with the doors with the doors being parallel to the jam on the hinge side giving the door a couple of millimetres clearance between the door and the header when cut. If the threshold of the door is not parallel with the bottom of the door then scribe a line on the bottom of the door as well. Make sure that timber removed from the top and bottom of the door leaves a gap above and below the door of a couple of millimetres. The timber was carefully removed using a fine 60 tooth bladed circular saw.


The doors were cut down the centre of the panels using the circular saw. The doors were clamped on top of 2 work benches. Cutting the doors in half revealed the hollow insides of the doors which are filled with thin cardboard. The cardboard was pushed in to allow timber battens that were planed to 27mm thick and 36mm wide to be glued in the gap and clamped.


The timber battens were allowed to set for 24 hours. The hinges were then marked up on the doors matching the existing hinge placements. The hinge housings were then cut out using a router to a depth of 1.5 times the thickness of the hinge leaves. The housing needs to be deep enough to take the hinge leaf and accept part of the depth of the hinge knuckle. See the diagram below of the parts of a hinge being the knuckle, leaf and cap.


Don’t worry if the housings are too deep as the hinge depth can be fine tuned with pieces of thin card or paper placed in the housing. Old Christmas cards or Birthday cards are good for this. I used grade 7 fire rated ball bearing hinges to give the doors stability and a smooth movement.


Clamp the 2 doors together and mark the position of the hinges that join the 2 doors together. Then using the router chop out the housings for the hinges. Fit the hinges to the 2 doors so that they join together and then hang the door into the frame. Repeat these steps for the other door. Adjust the depth of the hinges to allow the minimum gap when closed.


If the doors are too wide then trim the door on the hinge side and use the router to recreate the housings for the hinges. If the gap between the doors is too big then use cardboard or paper shims placed under the hinge to close the gap.I used thumb turns and rack bolts to finish off the doors and allow them to be locked into position when closed.


Creating the finishing touches to your property with style!

Living room space

Whether you are setting up your first home, modernising or designing a home from scratch, when your project gets to the point of choosing the look of your rooms, it always brings a new energy to the build!!

It doesn’t matter if your property is for yourself or an investment to sell on, today the internet has taken out a lot of the leg-work of finding the look you want to achieve, you can now create your own mood boards from the comfort of your settee!  Once you have an idea of what you are looking for, you can purchase everything off the internet or if you want to get a feel of the textures and quality of furnishings you can wander around stores and suppliers for inspiration.

When it comes to kitchens, there are so many to choose from on the market, whether you have a company design one for you or you create your own, the choice of cabinets, work-tops, taps, tiles, flooring etc is endless, catering for all tastes whether minimalistic, sleek lines, colourful, or cosy!




The furnishings, lighting and colours for bedrooms can be anything from neutral shades, cool tones, to striking colours with bold statement pieces.  The displays online or in department stores showcase complete rooms with items complimenting each other and all available to buy in one place.



Living rooms used to be the hub of the home but as times and lifestyles change and we use kitchens as more of a social meeting place and the kids spend more time in their own spaces, this room has become more of a chill out area, this can either be very chic or cosy depending on your style.  The choice of furnishings, lighting and media are endless!!!





With our fast pace lives, bathrooms have increasingly become sleek, functional and ultra modern – wet rooms have become very popular, with standalone baths becoming focal pieces …




Whether on a budget, limited to space or time, with technology and the creativity of furnishings today, the design, choice and co-ordination of rooms is endless and fun!

Top 5 ways to make your house a home this Christmas

John Lewis Christmas Decorations

New home owner? Looking to make your house a home this Christmas? It’s that time of year again and UK retailers are bursting at the seams with festive treats to adorn your home for the season.

It can often be tempting to go overboard when it comes to buying Christmas decorations with so many on offer. If it’s your first Christmas in your new home and the purse strings are tight, try as best you can to stick to a budget, or agree on 4 or 5 key features to invest in and save the rest for next year. Investing in these core features will ensure family coming home for Christmas will have an amazing time with you.

1. First thing’s first, buy a tree from a Christmas Shop

Whilst the aroma of a fresh pine tree to fill your home this Christmas is appealing, artificial trees are much more economical, lasting for Christmases’ to come, and much better for any four-legged friends who may not take too kindly to needles in their paws. This John Lewis 6ft Festive Fir tree looks the part and is a festive steal at just £40.

Make Your House a Home This Christmas

2. John Lewis 6ft Festive Fir Tree £40.00

Many trees now come with built in lights too, saving you the task of buying lights as an added extra and the fiddley task of wrapping them evenly around your tree. Tesco’s 6ft pre lit Christmas tree is just £35 online.

Christmas blog-2

Tesco 6ft pre lit Christmas Tree £35


3. Christmas decorations in multi-packs

When we had Christmas in our first home, multi-pack decorations were a god send. Decide on a theme, choose a colour and pick a pack of decorations. Whilst individual decorations can give a personal touch to your Christmas tree, it can be expensive and when you’re first starting out watching the pennies is important. Remember, decorations can always be replaced over time.

Check out Marks and Spencer’s bumper pack of 100 traditional Christmas baubles for only £15. The retailer often runs 3 for 2 offers on Christmas decorations too so worth taking a look

Make Your House a Home This Christmas

4. Christmas candles

There’s nothing like the scent of Christmas to get you in the mood. Candles are an ideal way of adding a warm, festive atmosphere to any room (just don’t leave them unattended). Lily Flame’s Merry Christmas candle is infused with winter spices and fresh ginger and has a burn time of 35 hours. The price of this candle at John Lewis is £9.

Make your home a house for christmas

A personal favourite, Yankee candles come in a variety of Christmas scents. Slightly more expensive than Lily Flame at £21.99 from Debenhams, although it gives you a 115 hours of burn time.

home a house for christmas

5. Festive furnishings From a Christmas Shop

Making your house a home this Christmas doesn’t have to be all about the traditional decorations – soft furnishings are increasingly on trend, from cushions to throws and ornaments you can deck out your home with a festive touch without breaking the bank.

Marks and Spencer’s chenille stag cushion would look right at home on a cosy armchair. Team with rich red cushions and tartan if you’re going for the ‘more is more’ look.

home a house for christmas

Marks and Spencer cushion £12 Throws are a great way to bring added texture to your home this Christmas, they’re perfect for cosying up on chilly winter evenings too. This tartan-inspired throw from John Lewis is £40 Drape over a sofa or armchair to add a festive touch to your living room.

home a house for christmas

However you make your house a home this Christmas, remember to enjoy the experience of decorating your first home for the festive season.

DIY Case Study – Problem fitting Baumatic Ceramic Hob

Beaumatic hob installed

Just fitted a new Baumatic ceramic hob in a kitchen we were renovating. The fitting instructions give the cutout dimensions which do not take into account the screws sticking out from the side of the hob.

Here is our first attempt to drop the hob into the cutout made to the size specified in the Baumatic instructions. As you can see the screws in the front of the hob are preventing the hob from fully seating in the aperture.



Here is the cutout marked up for the extra cuts to allow for the screwheads. Note also that the instructions state the the air holes in the side of the hob should not be blocked which would be the case given the cutout dimensions supplied so we have marked some extra channels to allow for these.

This shows the cutouts after they have been made. We used a small router and chiseled out the ones which were inaccessible.

After coating the freshly cut composite of the countertop with some evo stick to seal and allowing to dry the hob now fits into the hole.