Month: February 2020

How to pick the best lighting for every room in your home

Lighting plays a big role in affecting or upgrading the look and feel of a room. From lighting colours, fixture styles and location, there’s a lot that goes into choosing the right lights! With room-specific lighting as well, some styles are just the best!

Halat Electrical Ltd. in Calgary is an electrical contractor company for high-quality electrical services. If your home renovation includes new electrical and lighting fixtures, read these tips for picking the best lighting for every room in your home:

Kitchen: bright lights with ambient and task

Kitchen lighting will benefit the most from having ambient overhead lighting, with specifically placed task lights. For the type of ambient light, you want something that is a nice, bright white. Kitchens work best with bright lighting because it helps create a more energetic atmosphere. It also provides the most light to work under, which is perfect for preparing meals. For ambient fixtures, pendant lights are a popular choice. Hang them over top of your countertops for both added ambiance and décor appeal.

As for the task lighting, recessed lights installed underneath cabinets are the best choice. They take up minimal space and are the perfect lighting for specific tasks. Recessed lights can also be installed in the ceiling and paired with pendant lights to double your ambient light sources. Plus, you get the benefit of two different fixture styles for bonus décor appeal.

Living room: soft white with ambient and accent

Unlike kitchens, you don’t want bright, white lights in your living room. Instead, a softer, white light will help add to that classic cozy, welcoming feel. For the source of the light, both ambient and accent work best. Accents lights should be used to highlight a specific object or piece of furniture — for example, a piece of art. Accent fixtures can range from recessed lights to table lamps, depending on what look you want. As for ambient light fixtures, most fixtures will work in a living room. Chandeliers are great for added elegance, or for a more modern décor, use pendant lights.

Bathrooms: bright white with ambient and task

In general, bathroom lights should be a nice bright white, similar to kitchen lighting. Still, the right balance of light is important to avoid causing glare or casting shadows. For overhead lighting, recessed lights are a popular choice. They easily light up the entire room and will provide even lighting throughout. Task lighting should be installed on either side of vanity mirrors to avoid casting shadows on your face. For these, either wall mounted lights or sconces are the best choices.

Bedrooms: warm light with ambient and task

Like living rooms, bedrooms do best with warm, cooler lighting. This similarly helps add coziness to the room but also helps keep your energy levels down. Common sources of bedroom task lights are table lamps, typically placed next to or near the bed. For the ambient lighting, you don’t want the light shining straight down onto the bed. Instead, angle the light away and have it shine on other parts of the room. Ceiling mounted fixtures are a standard choice for most bedroom lighting. Still, opting for a chandelier instead can add a luxury lighting upgrade to your room! Take a look at some of these other unique, luxurious bedroom light fixtures.

Electricians in Calgary

Halat Electric Ltd. prides themselves on delivering quality electrical services for every one of their customers. They also pride themselves on going above and beyond to ensure their customer’s needs are always exceeded. Halat Electric Ltd. offers electrical services from installations to upgrades and everything in-between.

Ready to light up your home? Contact Halat Electric Ltd. today!

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RenovationFind Certified is a symbol of integrity held by only the most trustworthy companies in home improvement, service, maintenance.  It increases consumer confidence in your business, giving you an edge over your competition while validating you like the best.
More than an online directory, we are Western Canada’s fastest-growing marketing platform for promoting and connecting the best trades, service, and home improvement companies to homeowners.

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Concrete repair: causes of damage and types of repairs

Recently discovered a crack in your concrete driveway or walkway? If you’ve taken care to maintain your concrete, it can be frustrating to find it damaged. But, it’s also important to know what causes different types of damage and how to repair it. Some issues are quick, easy fixes, while others are easily preventable with certain precautions.

Rock It Concrete Ltd. in Calgary offer professional concrete installation and repairs. They share some common causes of concrete damage and what repairs are needed to fit them:

Narrow cracks: resurface repair

If your driveway or walkways have hairline cracks, it’s nothing to be concerned about. These cracks are caused when the cement dries too quickly during installation. The quickest way to repair these is to resurface your concrete.

Narrow or small cracks are also easily be repaired with resurfacing once the cracks are filled. The main risk from these is the chance of water seeping in, freezing and then expanding. This will quickly worsen the problem, so do any crack repairs quickly. These types of cracks are typically caused by having excess water in the cement mix. As concrete dries, the water evaporates and the concrete shrinks. The more water in the mix, the more it will shrink, which causes cracking. Make sure the cracks are filled and dried before resurfacing everything.

Pitting: repair and resurface

When water on concrete surfaces seeps into the pores and freezes, it causes damage to the surface by flaking the concrete. Pitting, as it’s called, is typically caused by improper mixing of the cement before it’s applied. Another cause, though, can be from using salt in the winters. Salt speeds up the melting process of ice and invites the unnecessary risk of freeze-thawing. That’s why it’s better to use sand instead of salt for traction on your driveway and walkways during the winter. Still, pitting is easily repaired by filling in the holes with new cement. Once everything has set and dried, resurface the area to protect it! You can also add a decorative overlay for double the protection. Take a look at some of these decorative concrete overlays for inspiration!

Lifting: replace

Either freeze-thaws or tree roots can be the culprits causing cement to lift up. Aside from being a safety hazard, raised concrete invites the risk of water moisture seeping in and freezing. If left unrepaired, the damage can quickly worsen and become much more costly. When lifting occurs, it’s better to replace the damaged concrete and find the cause. If tree roots are the source, then consider a root barrier system to protect from it happening again.

Concrete Contractors in Calgary

At Rock It Concrete Ltd., they pride themselves on transforming their customers’ yards with concrete additions. They offer concrete installation, repairs, as well as a wide selection of concrete finishes and colours. No concrete job is the same, as Rock It Concrete Ltd. will turn your custom concrete dream into a custom reality.

Contact Rock It Concrete Ltd. today and request your free estimate! 

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RenovationFind Certified is a symbol of integrity held by only the most trustworthy companies in home improvement, service, maintenance.  It increases consumer confidence in your business, giving you an edge over your competition while validating you as the best.
More than an online directory, we are Western Canada’s fastest growing marketing platform for promoting and connecting the best trades, service, and home improvement companies to homeowners.

This post first appeared on https://blog.renovationfind.com

Kitchen countertops: tips to mix and match for the perfect look

Choosing a kitchen countertop is an essential step in your kitchen remodel. Did you know that mixing countertops designs is quickly becoming a popular, beautiful trend for stunning kitchen renos!

Smart Stone Granite and Marble in Calgary are a family-owned and operated countertop company. They share tips when it comes to mixing your countertop designs for the perfect look:

First things first: what’s the function

You shouldn’t pick a new countertop based on the look or colour alone. It also needs to fit your cooking needs. If your main countertop sees plenty of spills, stains and exposure to moisture, you need something durable. For that, a good choice is a quartz or granite countertop. Those who bake sometimes prefer marble because the surface is cool and the dough doesn’t stick to it. Each option has slightly different maintenance requirements, so make sure you check with your countertop company to see which is best for how you need it to function.

Mix designs, but match colour

As with mixing any designs, you don’t want the finished look to be too stark of a difference. If you have different coloured cabinets, countertops and floors, it becomes a colourful overload. To match colours, pick from complementing shades that are already in your countertop. For example, with a golden-hued marble island, make your other countertops either light brown granite or vanilla quartz. Another pairing, if you have a white countertop with bold grey or black veins, is to match that boldness. Install the rest of your countertops in a stunning black granite that’ll really complement and transform your kitchen!

Don’t clash patterns

Another thing you don’t want to have too much of is different countertop patterns. Not only does it risk the looks clashing, but too many patterns can be visually overwhelming. A safe rule of thumb to follow is to have one patterned countertop and the rest a solid-colour. For example, kitchen islands with beautiful thick veins or speckles will pair well against a solid countertop. Whatever you choose, colour your solid countertop with something complementary to your patterned ones. Or, pick two colours that match, to really pull the two looks together.

Pay attention to accents

Accent colours will come from your floors, cabinets, fixtures and any furniture. When you choose two new countertops and colours, you don’t want those accents to be left out. Either it’ll make your kitchen too colourful from the mix of colours and patterns. Or, your countertops will stand out and won’t complement your overall kitchen décor. If you have a bright, light kitchen, then either warm countertops or stunning darks will pair well. Likewise, if you have lots of solid colours, you can be bolder with your countertop patterns. Just be sure to test out samples before you install new countertops! Not sure what colours go together best in kitchens? Take a look at this kitchen colour guide for some inspiration and ideas.

Countertops in Calgary

With over 20 years of experience, Smart Stone Granite and Marble know all about what makes the perfect countertop. As a family-owned and operated company, they are just as passionate about their work as they are about having happy customers. From quality granite, quartz, marble or slate, they have every countertop style and design available for your home.

Contact Smart Stone Granite and Marble today!

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RenovationFind Certified is a symbol of integrity held by only the most trustworthy companies in home improvement, service, maintenance.  It increases consumer confidence in your business, giving you an edge over your competition while validating you like the best.
More than an online directory, we are Western Canada’s fastest-growing marketing platform for promoting and connecting the best trades, service, and home improvement companies to homeowners.

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Energy savings: the benefits of retrofitting your home

If you live in an older or mid-ranged home, it’s important to take a look at your monthly energy bills. High monthly bills or outdated electrical systems often go hand-in-hand with older homes. Losing money each month is never ideal, which is why retrofitting is a perfect solution.

TayPark Electric in Edmonton are a professional electric business for residential, commercial and industrial services. They explain the benefits of retrofitting your home for better energy savings:

What is retrofitting?

Retrofitting a home updates an old electrical system to help improve its overall energy efficiency. The more energy-efficient your home is, the lower those monthly bills will be. It also helps make an older home safer overall. Old or outdated electrical systems invite the risk of fires, overloading circuits or damage from any electrical surges. When you retrofit your home, though, the entire electrical system is inspected and updated. This makes it both more functional and efficient, as well as guarantees your safety.

Benefits of an electrical retrofit 

The biggest benefit of a retrofit is the energy savings that come with it. Electric retrofits target your lighting system, appliances, furnace, hot water and even HVAC systems. The right lighting set up can provide better fixtures, energy-efficient bulbs and improve the lighting layout in a room.

Energy-efficient appliances are also updated so that less energy is used overall. A more efficient furnace and hot water tank will also help lower heating bills. In addition to an HVAC system keeping your home temperatures even, it’ll also provide cleaner air.

With an electrical retrofit, the cost for repairs and replacements will also go down. Instead of constantly spending money on repairs, invest that money into updating your home. You’ll save even more expenses by only needing regular maintenance checks, not regular repairs. Take a look at these other tips and tricks to make your home more energy-efficient.

Retrofitting boosts home value

It’s no secret that an energy-efficient home will see a boost in value and appeal to potential buyers. As with any major home investment, it is always guaranteed to pay itself back in the future. With an electrical retrofit, not only does your home value improve, but your quality of life will too. Having an energy-efficient and safe home will offer a more comfortable and secure day-to-day living.

Electricians in Edmonton

At TayPark Electric Ltd., they pride themselves on giving each customer the best service and care possible. They strive to understand and provide for their customer’s needs and wants, to ensure absolute satisfaction. TayPark Electric Ltd. offers a full range of residential electrical services such as new fittings, consultations, upgrades and much more. Whatever your electrical needs, TayPark Electric Ltd. has the services and skills to help.

Contact them today for any questions or electrical needs!

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More than an online directory, we are Western Canada’s fastest growing marketing platform for promoting and connecting the best trades, service, and home improvement companies to homeowners.

Click to Find the >>>> Best Electricians in Edmonton.

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7 Minor Kitchen Remodeling Projects That Will Make a Big Impact

Whether you’re remodeling on a budget or just want to update a few smaller things in your cooking space, here are a few minor remodeling project ideas to try in your kitchen:

7 Minor Kitchen Remodeling Project Ideas

1. Repaint the Walls (or Just One of Them)

Paint is a simple way to boost your kitchen’s look and feel. Most kitchens can usually be totally painted using just two gallons of paint (which can cover up to 800 square feet). 

Glossy paint is usually the best choice for kitchens, as it is easier to clean off grease and sauce splatters from regular cooking. 

Need some color inspiration? 

Here are a few resources to help you choose the right hue for your kitchen: 

Need a professional painter? Find home painting services near you.

2. Repaint, Refinish or Reface the Cabinets

When it comes to updating cabinets, repainting, refinishing or refacing them are much cheaper options than replacing them entirely. 

  • Refinishing or Repainting Cabinets: This is the process of sanding and repainting or restaining your cabinets. It is the most budget-friendly option, and ideal if your cabinets are in great shape but need a cosmetic facelift. Refinishing cabinets costs about two-thirds the price of refacing. 
  • Refacing Cabinets: This is the process of removing and replacing just the doors (or faces) of your cabinets. Though slightly more expensive, this is still about 25% less expensive than replacing cabinets. 

To connect with an expert carpenter, find professional carpentry services near you.

3. Update Your Cabinet Hardware

While you’re working on your kitchen cabinets, consider removing and replacing the hardware with more modern handles or drawer pulls. It’s one of the easiest minor kitchen remodeling projects, and must less expensive than replacing or refacing your cabinets. 

In 2020, kitchen hardware is trending toward handles instead of knobs. Try going with clean, straight lines and shiny metal finishes for a sleek, updated look. For a farmhouse style kitchen with white cabinets, dark wood handles add a lovely natural accent and contrast.

Check out these kitchen hardware ideas for more inspiration: 

4. Replace the Countertops

A countertop upgrade is a quick way to change the entire feel of your kitchen’s working areas. Butcher’s block countertops are becoming incredibly popular in many kitchens; oftentimes, you can just replace one section of your counters with butcher’s block instead of all of them, saving you more on countertop materials. 

Find a kitchen countertop design below to kick off your minor kitchen remodel: 

5. Install New Flooring

Kitchen floors can take a beating – if yours have seen better days, consider replacing them with a new covering.

Linoleum and vinyl are great, low-cost options for a minor kitchen remodel. If you want the feel of real wood, engineered hardwood flooring is a good budget-friendly alternative to solid hardwood flooring. 

Request a free quote for flooring installation in your area.

6. Upgrade Your Light Fixtures

Want to see your kitchen in a new light? Upgrading your light fixtures is a simple, but impactful, kitchen remodeling project that can change the whole look of the space. 

Light up your kitchen with the help of an expert lighting and electrical services craftsman.

7. Add a Backsplash

Adding a tile backsplash is a simple way to make any kitchen pop. Porcelain or ceramic tiles are popular, reasonably-priced options for kitchen backsplashes, but if you’re looking to tackle this minor kitchen remodel on a budget, you can also try peel-and-stick options that give the appearance of tile or glass. 

Here are a few articles to help you choose the right backsplash for your home: 

Found a design you love? Have a tile installation expert help you bring it to life. 

Tackle Kitchen Remodeling Projects Big and Small With Handyman Connection 

From a simple paint job to a full kitchen remodel, Handyman Connection can help connect you with the top home improvement experts in your area to bring your dream kitchen to life. Find the right craftsman for your needs with a simple call to 1-800-88-HANDY.

The post 7 Minor Kitchen Remodeling Projects That Will Make a Big Impact appeared first on Handyman Connection.

Which Kitchen Countertops are Best for Me?

You’re going to be using your countertops every day. A remodeling services company will make sure you’re happy with the counters you choose and that they’re functional for your kitchen. As you’re shopping around though, there are a few things to keep in mind.


Things to Consider Before Choosing a Countertop


Your countertops should be water resistant and easy to clean. If you’re going to be doing a lot of food-prep on the counters, it’s good to have something that won’t absorb smells or juices. There are a few design aspects to consider too – do you want your countertops to stand out or fade into the background? What you decide might affect the look of your kitchen for years to come, so it’s important to keep that in mind.

4 Popular Kitchen Countertop Options 

Granite

Looking for a luxurious feel in your kitchen? Granite and other natural stone options are the way to go. Though more expensive than other kitchen countertop options, granite will stand the test of time and then some. It is incredibly heat resistant and can withstand hot pots and pans (though this may weaken your countertop’s sealant over time – make sure to call a tile maintenance professional to stay on top of your regular countertop sealing).

Perhaps the only weakness granite has is its porousness. Granite is slightly porous and can absorb stains if not sealed properly. Also, acidic liquids like wine can eat through the sealant and stain your countertops; make sure to wipe up spills quickly and wipe down your counters as regular maintenance. 


Stainless Steel

Once used only in commercial kitchens, stainless steel is fast becoming a popular kitchen countertop option in modern homes. In addition to its sleek, stylish appeal, it’s a solidly efficient and easy-to-clean choice if you’re going to be doing a lot of cooking and prep work on your new counters. Its non-porous surface makes it practically impervious to stains – even from wine, beets or grape juices. 

But keep in mind, stainless steel does have a tendency to scratch, though some homeowners end up loving the soft patina effect that results from years of wear and tear. Also, be careful not to slam heavy pots and pans on the surface, as it can dent the surface. 


Laminate

Laminate countertops are a great, cost-efficient option and can mimic the look of more expensive options like marble, granite, or wood. In addition, they’re water resistant when properly installed and won’t become easily scratched or damaged.

These countertops are not heat-resistant and can burn or melt, so do not place hot pans directly on top of them. 


Solid Surface

Like laminate, solid surface countertops are a great way to get the look of more luxurious materials without the higher price tag. Solid surface countertops are made of acrylic and resin and they’re stain-resistant. 

The downside? They’re not heat resistant and can become water damaged over a longer period of time.That being said, they are still considered incredibly sturdy countertops for their price.


Found a countertop you love? Call Handyman Connection to handle the installation

Once you’ve decided on your dream kitchen countertops, call Handyman Connection to handle their installation. We offer expert remodeling services from qualified craftsmen that will provide the high-quality work your home deserves.

The post Which Kitchen Countertops are Best for Me? appeared first on Handyman Connection.

Ways to Fall in Love With Your Kitchen Again [Infographic]

If it’s been a while since your last kitchen update, you may be wondering which upgrades will make the most impact in your space. Here are a few tips from the kitchen remodeling experts at Handyman Connection that will help you fall in love with your kitchen all over again.

How to Fall in Love with Your Kitchen Again

Ways to Fall in Love With Your Kitchen

The post Ways to Fall in Love With Your Kitchen Again [Infographic] appeared first on Handyman Connection.

Home Improvers in Leasehold Properties Face Serious Issues, Says CMA

There is worrying evidence of potential mis-selling and unfair contract terms in the leasing household sector, according to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which could impact those trying to improve their homes.

The CMA is planning to launch enforcement action against companies deemed to have misled and taken advantage of people who buy leasehold properties.

Leaseholders in England and Wales do not own the land the property is built on, and rent the property from the freeholder. This makes carrying out home improvements such as buiilding an extension or knocking down internal walls more difficult as leaseholders are required to obtain prior permission from the freeholder.

As part of an investigation into the leasehold industry, the CMA reports that people are being charged excessive and disproportionate permission fees for home improvements. Contesting these charges can be costly and, as such, very few people decide to go through with it. 

Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said: “We have found worrying evidence that people who buy leasehold properties are being misled and taken advantage of.

“Buying a home is one of the most important and expensive investments you can make, and once you’re living there you want to feel secure and happy. But for thousands of leasehold homeowners, this is not the case.”

Concerning Findings for Home Improvers

The CMA also identified that homeowners have been misled about the price of converting their leasehold to freehold ownership. Some are initially told this would cost a small sum, only for it to be increased by up to thousands of pounds later in the process without sufficient warning.

Moreover, some buyers are reportedly not told upfront that a property is leasehold, and do not understand what this means. Developers fail to explain the fees the homeowners need to pay and when. Having signed signed a contract the leaseholders are therefore unable to pull out of the purchase, and can find themselves struggling to sell their home and trapped in the contract.

The findings are very concerning for those planning to renovate, extend or in other ways improve their leasehold home, but the CMA’s investigation could lead to legal action which impacts the leasehold sector. 

If the CMA finds that any companies have broken consumer law then it could lead to firms signing legal commitments to change how they operate. The CMA could also take firms to court to enforce their compliance with the law

The CMA says it is also developing advice for people who own, or plan to own leasehold properties, with tips on how to proceed with renovating a house and or adding an extension, as well as what they should do with permission fees they consider unreasonable. 

This post first appeared on https://www.homebuilding.co.uk

Foundation Systems and Soil Types

Foundation systems and soil types go hand-in-hand as the type of soil you encounter on your plot will inform the best foundation system for you to use for your project.

Neglecting to investigate the ground conditions on your site is one of the earliest and costly mistakes a self builder can make.

If you haven’t yet purchased your plot, take a look at this building plot checklist to make sure you exercise due diligence regarding various factors (including soil type) as best you can before committing to a purchase.

You can either check with your local authority or building inspector, or undertake a soil investigation. A soil investigation could cost as little as £500, but would flag any major issues before you start, which could save you £1,000s.

It is always a good idea to allocate at least 10% of your budget for a contingency fund should you encounter any unforeseen issues with your soil type.

Here, we explain the soil types you might encounter and the foundation system you should choose.

Ready to start laying out? Check out this step-by-step guide to building foundations.

What Soil Types Might I Find on my Plot?

If you don’t already know the soil type of your plot, a good starting point is to call your local authority Building Control department. They can give you an idea of the typical soil type in the area you are building, and the sort of foundation that is appropriate.

Most local authorities produce a fact sheet on typical foundation solutions for different soil types commonly found in the area.

Another useful source of information is the Building Regulations Approved Document A: 2004 which lists seven types of soil plus subsoil conditions and practical field tests to help you identify soil type.

Rock

Includes:

  • limestone
  • granite
  • sandstone
  • shale
  • hard solid chalk

These rocks have a high bearing capacity. The rock may simply need to be stripped back and levelled off to build from.

Rock can be impervious, so topsoil is likely to require drainage as it is not possible to build soakaways to dispose of rainwater or surface water. Off-mains drainage options will also be very limited.

Chalk

Providing the chalk is not too soft, widths of 450mm for low-rise buildings are generally acceptable. The depth of the foundation must be below any frost action (700mm). If the chalk is soft it will need to be excavated until firm chalk is reached.

Chalk soils can be prone to erosion so be wary of hollows or caves.

Gravel and sand

Dry compact gravel, or gravel and sand subsoils are usually adequate for strip foundations. Generally a depth of 700mm is acceptable, as long as the ground has adequate bearing capacity.

If the water table is high (i.e. the gravel is submerged), the bearing capacity is halved, so it’s important to keep the foundations as high as possible. A shallow, reinforced, wide strip foundation may be suitable.

Sand holds together reasonably well when damp, compacted and uniform, but trenches may collapse and so sheet piling is often used to retain the ground in trenches until the concrete is poured.

Clay

The first 900-1,200mm layer of clay is subject to movement due to expansion and shrinkage depending on moisture content, so it is generally necessary to excavate foundations to a depth where the moisture content of the clay remains stable. British Standard 8004 recommends a minimum depth of 1m for foundations But if there are, or were, trees nearby, depths of up to 3m may be necessary.

In clay, prior to concreting the foundations, the trench is often protected from heave by lining it with a compressible layer (e.g. Clayboard).

Firm clay over soft clay

A traditional strip foundation is sometimes acceptable but it is important not to overdig as this may increase the stress on the softer clay beneath. A common solution is to dig wide strip foundations with steel reinforcement — however an engineered foundation may be necessary.

Peat

Peat and loose waterlogged sand are very poor subsoils. If the peat can be stripped back to find suitable load-bearing ground of at least 1.5m depth, strip foundations may be suitable. A reinforced raft foundation will likely be required.

Filled ground

Where ground has previously been excavated and filled, it is generally necessary to dig down to a level beneath the area of the fill.

Sloping sites

Sloping sites require stepped foundations. Guidelines are given in the Building Regulations.

Do I Need a Soil Survey?

Soil investigations can prove very useful but are not a prerequisite. Most sites start without a formal soil investigation, relying instead on either the knowledge of the designer, or the local expertise of the building inspector.

The process involves holes being dug at various points on the site and extrapolating the findings in each hole to assume the subsoil conditions throughout the site.


Types of Foundation Systems

What are Strip Foundations?

The standard routine is to place as little solid concrete as possible into trenches and then to build up from this in blockwork until ground level, where the walls switch to brick or stone or whatever the chosen external cladding should be. This is known as a strip foundation.

For a single storey building strip foundations will typically be 450mm wide and at least 200mm deep, and for two storeys 600mm wide and 200mm deep.

Deep Strip Foundations: Where strip foundations need to be at a lower level to reach soil with suitable bearing capacity, a wider, deeper trench can be dug to work in, and the strip foundations dug and poured at a lower level. Walls are then built up to ground level in masonry.

Wide Strip Foundations: Where the soil is soft or of a low load-bearing capacity, wide strip foundations can be used to spread the load over a larger area, reinforced with steel so that the loading per m² is reduced.

What are Trenchfill Foundations?

A widely used alternative is the trenchfill foundation, where the trenches are filled with ready-mixed concrete to just below ground level. Steel reinforcement may be added in areas close to trees. While this method saves on labour, it will add to the overall cost of your foundations. Just above ground level, the footings are topped with a damp-proof course and then the ground floor is fixed.

Compared to deep strip foundations, trench fill minimises the width of the dig and the labour and materials required for building masonry below ground level, offsetting the cost of the additional concrete.

(MORE: How much will my foundations cost?)

Deep Foundations

If you have a plot where the ground is deemed to be difficult, then standard strip or trenchfill foundations are unlikely to suit. There are alternative options, but they are considerably more expensive.

Digging deeper trenches and filling with more concrete, and potentially adding sheets of polystyrene beside the trenches to act as a slip membrane can be a simple solution.

But if you are having to dig beyond 2.5m in depth, then this solution becomes impractical. Not only will the amount of concrete needed to fill the trench become prohibitively expensive, but working at that depth can prove dangerous.

If the site requires deep foundations in more than a couple of spots, then it is now usual to use a different approach, most often piling, occasionally using concrete rafts.

(MORE: Foundations for difficult sites)

What are Raft Foundations?

A raft is an alternative to piled foundations as it can be less expensive

As the name suggests, a concrete raft is designed to ‘float’ on the ground beneath. The structure is made up of an extra-thick floor slab, strengthened by masses on steel reinforcing. Rafts have the advantage of providing the base of a ground floor solution, not just wall trenching, but they are reckoned to be rather more complex to construct.

A raft is used where the soil requires such a large bearing area that wide strip foundations are spread too far, making it more economical to pour one large reinforced concrete slab.

What are Piled Foundations?

Short bore piles are typically 2–3m long and can be reinforced with steel

Some housebuilders now use piled foundations on every site because the costs are predictable. Piles are driven into the ground and then filled with concrete, and the whole foundation gets topped with a ground beam to build off.

Short bore pile and beam: Short bore piles are typically 2–3m long and can be reinforced with steel. Each pile is then connected at the top by a precast horizontal beam of reinforced concrete. A suspended reinforced concrete ground floor can then be built using precast components, or cast in situ.

Friction Piles: A similar concept to short bore pile and beam used in situations where there is no suitable bearing stratum at an acceptable depth. Friction piles rely on skin resistance against the soil.

What are Pad Foundations?

Used when isolated loads need to be supported, for instance to support the columns of a steel or post and beam frame house. The load is concentrated on a small area.

(MORE: How much does it cost to build a house?)

What Might Affect my Choice of Foundation System?

Tree Roots

Where the foundations are affected by tree roots (or their previous removal), you may be required to employ a fairly deep trench filled with concrete but with a compressible material to one or both sides of the external trenches to counteract any heave or expansion in the ground.

Water Pipes

Water pipes must enter the building at a depth of at least 750mm but no more than 1.35m below ground. If that means that they pass through a concrete foundation then they must either be laid prior to pouring or, better still, a duct installed for them to be pushed through later.

Sewage Pipes

If sewage pipes leaving the building have to be deeper than the top of the foundation concrete then they should also be ducted; they cannot be trapped within the concrete and must be able to move freely.

Electricity and Gas

Electricity and gas don’t usually need to be ducted or installed at this point as they are normally surface mounted. Finally, the building and warranty inspectors will have to approve the excavated foundations prior to any concrete being poured.

(MOREHow to bring electricity to site)


This year marks the very special 30th anniversary of Homebuilding & Renovating. Over the next 12 months, we’ll be sharing some of our favourite memories and bringing you special content to mark the occasion. Thank you for celebrating with us.

This post first appeared on https://www.homebuilding.co.uk

UK Weather: Self Builders Face Snow Disruption in Parts of UK

The UK was braced for snow overnight, and depending on where you live you perhaps either woke up disappointed or to a ‘snow day’. But if you are currently in the midst of a self build, extension or renovation project then snow can prove an interesting foil.  

The UK has been in the throes of inclement weather for what feels like most of 2020, with Storms Ciara and Dennis bringing flooding, travel disruption, as well as challenging conditions for building sites.

For those building, extending or renovating a house, the sight of snow can cause worry about what this means for their building project.

(MORE: Building an Extension: Beginner’s Guide)

We all know snow (as well as rain and wind) can cause havoc with travel, and if you are working with builders travelling some distance to your site, there can be delays. In some instances, it may not be possible for tradespeople to get to your property or site, meaning work needs to be rescheduled. 

Not only can this affect your project’s timeline, but delays in the schedule can also cost money.

Forecasters say up to 5cm of snow could fall in some areas, and the Met Office has put weather warnings in place for the next three days. Be sure to monitor the weather in your area in case you need to make adjustments to your build programme. 

Don’t Let Your Site Problems Snowball

Safety is ultimately paramount. You and your tradespeople don’t want to risk injury working in dangerous conditions outside. If conditions are unsafe then it’s best, if possible, to focus on another part of your project, such as the interior.

If, however, you are not directly affected by the snow but concerned about the weather affecting your project, here are five things you can do to keep your project on track.

  1. Anticipate the time of year when the UK is most vulnerable to cold weather, and try to adjust your work schedule to avoid working in colder temperatures
  2. Utilise floodlights and site heating to ensure that full days can be maintained when there is limited daylight
  3. Protect your tools and equipment: in the increased hours of darkness thieves are more likely to try their luck
  4. Stagger deliveries from tradespeople to avoid high-value items and materials sitting around in bad weather
  5. Liaise with tradespeople over the safety problems facing your project in the winter, and mitigate these issues where possible

Renovators can also take additional steps to prepare their properties for winter conditions.

Winter weather can cause a variety of problems, so planning for these in advance can mitigate the disruption mid-build, and protect your home once completed.

This post first appeared on https://www.homebuilding.co.uk

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