How long can extensions be

How Long Can Extensions Be On Your House?

Many households in the UK are in need of more space, that’s why so many people choose to have extensions added to their properties in order to create more light, space, and connection to outdoor areas.

Planning an extension should be exciting, allowing you to dream about all the extra space you will have for your home.

Problems often get in the way, though, Planning permission is usually a big one.

We’ve put together everything you need to consider when planning an extension for your home.

What’s The Largest Size For Extensions Without Gaining Planning Permission?

The first point on our list is the focus of this guide, what size can extensions be without having planning permission?

It’s a big question on many people’s minds.

In general, a single-story extension can’t extend further than the back wall of what’s called the ‘original house’ by any more than four metres to a house that is detached.

Or if it is more than three metres for all other houses.

The phrase ‘original house’ means its original design e.g. when the house was built.

It can also mean as it appeared on July 1st 1948.

Is It Possible To Extend A House By Six Metres?

Luckily, the strictness of planning permission in England was relaxed in 2019, meaning that extensions for single storeys that are not on designated land or sites of specific interest will not need the planning permission.

You just need to make sure that glazed building extensions for houses that are attached do not exceed six metres, or eight metres for houses that are detached.

Do You Need To Consult Your Neighbours For The Planning Permission?

The short answer is yes.

The Neighbour Consultation Scheme (sometimes called prior notification) means that you have to provide your immediate neighbours with 21 days to decide whether they want to make an objection to your extension project or not.

However, they have to give valid reasoning for their opposition.

So don’t think it’s just your neighbours disliking you.

If your neighbours do give you permission, the local authorities also have 21 days after that to confirm the project.

Are There Regulations With A Single-Story Extension?

The slight differences between building and planning regulations are sometimes hard to understand if you’re not familiar with these processes.

The point of planning regulations is because we need to make sure that our cities, countryside, and towns develop in a way that lessens the impact on the natural and metropolitan environment.

On the other hand, building regulations are all about setting standards in regard to the construction and design of extensions,.

This ensures that they are safe and secure.

Building regulations could be needed if a glazed extension does not have a translucent roof of 70%.

The other features that may mean building regulations are required include:

  • 50% glass coverage on walls that are newly constructed, if the area of the internal floor exceeds 30 square metres
  • if the extension isn’t sited to ground level
  • If it has no barrier (doors) that is between the primary building or house.

Is Planning Permission Needed To Extend Upwards?

There is more and more demand for housing in the UK.

That’s why the government granted new powers in 2020 to allow English homeowners to extend upwards without needing planning permission in full.

These new powers allow up to two additional storeys.

  • With the exception of houses that were built between 2nd July 1948 and 29th October 2018
  • Houses that are detached with two storeys or more
  • Terraced or semi-detached houses, for which you can build three and a half metres higher than the houses that are attached

You must think about the impact on your neighbours and the overall appearance of your new extension.

It’s also required to give prior notification, and tradespeople will also need to follow regulations for the required building.

Sash Window Opening

Fitting Sash Windows

Sash windows are becoming more and more popular every year.

They can give your home the right balance between a traditional and modern style.

The problem is that sash windows have a bit of a reputation for being difficult to fit and maintain.

They often need replacing but this doesn’t have to be the case.

To help our customers, we’ve written this brief guide on fitting replacement sash windows to help you out.

Measuring the frame

First of all, you need to measure the frame that is already there in the wall.

Make sure you measure straight across from the jamb to the opposite jamb for the width.

Then measure from the sill to the head jamb for the height.

Removing old sashes

Now you need to pry off any window stops on the sides of the sashes.

Locate the lower sash, pull it out, and disconnect the chain.

Next is the parting bead, a trim in a recessed sort of groove – remove it in pieces and discard them.

The upper sash needs to be removed as well, and also disconnect the chain like before.

The pulleys need to be removed next but you can discard them straight away.

Inspecting the frame

Take a look at the existing frame – is it in good condition?

Replace or repair the rotted sections, and make sure the head and sill jambs are both level.

Lastly, check that the side jambs are both plumb.

Jamb liners

Install the liner clips.

You need to check the manufacture’s specifications, but usually one is needed about four inches from the head jamb and another at four inches up from the sill.

Place several more in between this – the number is based on the height of the window jamb.

The clips can be installed by putting them up against the outer window trim, then taking them back about an eighth of an inch.

Drill a hole for starters, then put your nail in place using one-inch roofing nails that are galvanised.

Make sure you don’t get the nails in too tight – if you do, you might not be able to move them around if necessary.

Also make sure to install the brackets evenly to ensure the tabs fit in the jamb liners. On each side, snap the jamb liner into place.

Installing the sashes

The top sash is the best place to start – tilt it into the opening and engage the lower pin in the metal cam in the liner.

The other side needs to be lowered until the pin also hits the metal cam.

Lift the sash, push the jamb liner, and ease the sash to its position.

Do this for the lower sash as well now.

Get in touch

We hope we’ve given you some helpful information of fitting sash windows.

It can be tricky, but with the right knowhow, you’ll get the job done.

If you any have further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Sash Windows Alternatives

Alternative Options to Sash Windows

Most people want traditionally styled sash windows for their homes, but it isn’t always possible due to prices and design issues.

There are many other types of windows you can have though, and we’ve written this short guide to help you decide.

Casement windows

The first window on our list, the casement window, is the oldest style of window.

Casement windows are the most versatile and suit most types of properties.

You can choose single or double panels (or more panels if you have the space), and they are highly energy efficient.

Tilt and Turn windows

Popular for their uPVC double glazing, tilt and turn windows are hung either on their sides so they can swing fully open, or they are hung at the bottom to tilt inwards.

It is this ability to open in different ways that makes them even more popular.

One benefit of opening them completely is that you can clean the glass from inside the property.

You’ll find tilt and turn windows on more modern properties.

Sliding windows

A sliding window means allowing the frame to slide horizontally like a patio door.

They are perfect for kitchens, where you can easily slide them open and walk out to a patio with food or drinks in your hands.

They are often large and function as doors, but they can also be small like serving hatches.

Sliding windows suit modern properties.

They are usually very energy efficient and suitable for keeping out noise.

Bay windows

Bay windows are usually seen in classic Edwardian and Victorian houses, and for this reason they are considered very stylish.

The bay window serves as a focal point for the house, projecting from the wall with extended brickwork.

They are not just for style, however, as the extended are a gives more space and light to the room, lets in more air, and allows for more of a panoramic view.

The only downside to new bay windows is that they need planning permission.

Bow windows

Similar to the bay window, a bow window also projects from the wall but without adding any extra bricks.

Bow windows sort of float without anything underneath.

Just like bay windows, bow windows let in more light and more air and they offer panoramic views.

However, they are also handy for creating extra shelving space, and often they can also make rooms feel that little bit bigger.

People often choose bow windows if they don’t want to go through the hassle of getting planning permission for bay windows. 

Get in touch

Sash windows are a very popular choice for many homeowners, and we hope we’ve helped to give you some alternatives to sash windows.

Go over our list, write down some ideas, and then speak to an expert. If you have any more questions about the types of windows that will suit your property, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.


Does An Orangery Add Value To Your Home?

Like any other home improvement, whether it’s gardening, an extension or a full renovation, you want to increase the enjoy you get form having a nice home – but its also an investment.

As such, it can be a difficult balance between budget, added value and the personal time and commitment required to make substantial changes to your home.

Adding an orangery to your property, offers a simpler, more time friendly option to improve your home and increase its value.

How much will it cost and how much is it worth?

It’s worth bearing in mind that as with almost all home improvements, it should be seen as an investment, so building an orangery will come at a cost.

This cost will depend primarily on the size and complexity of the orangery and the quality of the materials which are used to build it.

The scale for the cost of an orangery is relatively flexible and as such this will allow to make a more substantial, riskier ‘investment’ or one which is less expensive and would carry less risk.

As always, you should consider many things when budgeting for the build, factoring in the cost of maintenance or ongoing repairs which may result from using less expensive materials.

However, you will need to determine whether the cost of the orangery translates to an increase in value for the property itself.

What value does it add?

Despite this, there are many benefits to having an orangery both in terms of the monetary and personal value which it adds to the home.

An orangery will provide the home with an abundance of new living space, giving you a substantial amount of window-space, which introduces no shortage of natural light into the home.

As well as this, the windows and light will also narrow the boundary between inside and outside the home, creating a unique space which differs from anywhere else in the house.

The actual monetary value of the orangery will depend on a variety of factors.

They can provide a strong selling point and be a genuine key feature of the house and the added value created will primarily depend on the quality of the build, design and finish which is given to the orangery.

Risk vs. Reward

Taking all the above into account, an orangery has the potential to  increase its potential resale value.

However, you should always budget and plan appropriately, reasonably and within your means.

And it’s worth remembering, that although a quality orangery will always add value, you may wish to give the personal value more weight, rather than expecting to recoup your building costs.

10 signs you need to replace your front door

10 Signs You Need To Replace Your Front Door

Your front door is the first thing people see when they come to your house.

That’s why it’s important you keep your front door in good shape – or maybe even consider replacing it altogether.

Here are the 10 things you should look out for when thinking about replacing your front door…

1. Is there space around the door?

Space around the sides of the door and underneath is a bad sign in general, it means the shape of the door has warped with age, damage, or even bad fitting.

If there is space around the door, water can get inside, along with insects, and possibly rodents in extreme cases.

It can also let in draughts and unwanted noise.

You can fix door space by applying weather stripping, but weather stripping still needs to be replaced after a while.

We recommend that you invest in a brand new door instead.

2. Are there dents in the door?

If your door is less sturdy than others, dents will be common occur over time and use

With these types of doors, light impacts like using your shoulder or knee on the door can cause surprising amounts of damage.

At the end of the day, these types of doors are simply cheap and low quality.

We recommend upgrading to a stronger type of material for the door, like composite or aluminium.

3. Is there peeling and splitting?

If the timber of your front door is old, it’s probably prone to splitting and pealing.

The wood will warp, split, and crack, and the paint will start to peel.

Looks aside, splitting and peeling can result in water damage, which can cause rot and the door to expand and damage the frame.

4. Is the door rotting?

Once moisture does get inside the door, everything goes downhill.

The wood will rot and start to seriously deteriorate from inside out, becoming unstable, dangerous, and a risk for security.

If you have water damage in your front door, we recommend getting a new door with higher quality timber or a door constructed from uPVC.

5. Do the hinges squeak?

Most people think that squeaky hinges are a small problem and just a nuisance, something is easily fixed by applying lubricant.

This might be the case, but it’s an overall sign that the hinges are old and malfunctioning.

Thieves are opportunists, and they might even identify the hinges as a major weak spot that they can break and then gain full access to your home.

6. Is the lock functioning?

We don’t have to tell you that a secure lock is absolutely vital for the security of your home.

One thing you might not know, however, is that some lock and door combinations aren’t a good match.

This might be the case if you find the lock keeps breaking, and it’s often the case for old doors.

We can advise you on whether you need a new door or not, along with advice on the newest locking systems.

7. Is the door hard to open?

If your door is hard to open, it could mean that water has gotten into the frame, which is a sign of future deterioration.

Maybe the door has always been hard to open, and now it’s getting worse.

The door was probably fitted poorly, or it could have been the wrong type of door in the first place.

8. Can you feel a draft from the door?

On cold or windy days, you might be able to feel a draft from the door.

Don’t underestimate the impact of a cold draft in regard to the overall temperature of your home.

The cold air can drastically reduce the temperature inside, not to mention letting warm air out as well.

We’ve already talked about the potential of spaces around the door, but there’s also the possibility that the door’s material is not good enough and is letting air through and heat out.

In both cases, it’s best to get a new door.

9. Is your door window single glazed?

If your door has a window, check if the glass is single or double glazed.

Single glazing is now extremely outdated and is no longer efficient for insulation.

Save on your heating bills by either replacing the glass or by getting a new door.

10. Is your door attractive and fashionable?

The last sign on our list might not apply to everyone, but we think most people will care a lot about the style of their door.

After all, the front door is the first thing people and see and a major focal point of the house.

Colour fading can be common in front doors, along with dents and general damage.

If your door just needs a fresh coat of paint, then go ahead.

For other cases, we recommend a brand new door.

Invest In Windows This Winter

Invest In Windows This Winter

Are you thinking of investing in new windows this winter?

With the wide variety of homes situated in Essex, choosing the right style of windows to suit your home could be easier than you think!

This time of year we all find ourselves battling with the colder temperatures, but did you know a lot of heat loss within homes is due to windows that need replacing?

Have you found yourself colder in these winter months?

Knowing a lot of the heat lost is escaping through your windows but you are determined to conserve the natural aesthetics of your beautiful home?

Then hardwood windows could be just what you are looking for.

These windows create the most natural effect and are available in a variety of finishes.

UPVC are considered to be the most thermally efficient, and with their 10-year warranty as standard it is obvious why these are a popular choice.

If however you find yourself looking for a sleeker look, where durability and strength is a must then aluminium may be just what you are looking for.

Aluminium windows come in the largest range of colours so you are guaranteed to find exactly what you are looking for.

For those of you looking to create an elegant appearance, or perhaps looking to provide a key feature for your home, sliding sash windows could well be the answer.

They are classically designed and provide improved insulation and noise reduction whilst also creating a focal point for the external of your property.

Whether you are looking to improve the insulation of your home whilst retaining the character, or find yourself looking for the latest designs and styles to complement your modern apartment, look no further than Sovereign Home Improvements.

With our amazing range of windows and exemplary service there really is no other place to look for windows in Essex!

bifold doors

Can Bi-fold Doors Replace French Doors?

French doors have been the preferred choice for glazed extensions for decades, providing a the classic and stylish entrance which combines aesthetic beauty with practical function.

However, although French doors are still popular with some, in recent times there’s been a new kid on the block: bi-fold doors.

Bi-fold doors offer all the benefits of French doors – but better.

Maximising the use of space and helping the flow between indoors and out, they’re a wonderfully modern solution.

But can bifold doors simply replace French doors?

Here’s what you need to know.

What Are Bi-fold Doors?

Bi-fold doors can be best described as a hybrid of sliding doors and traditional French doors, with a little extra thrown in.

Made up of different panels, rather than being slid or thrown open, they fold up concertina-style.

Fitted to runners underneath, bi-fold doors slide back and fold simultaneously, allowing you access to the full width of the doorway while being unencumbered by the door being swung open.

This allows you to use all of the space on either side of the doorway, without having to consider the path of the door opening outwards or inwards.

Bi-fold doors come in many different sizes so can be used for small areas as well as opening up the whole of the frontage.

Can Bi-fold Doors Replace French Doors?

Yes, absolutely; many people are opting to swap their older French doors with a more modern bi-fold door.

As they encourage a more natural flow from the internal space into the garden, bi-fold doors help to create a seamless feel and “bring the outside in”.

Are Bi-fold Doors Secure?

Modern designs such as aluminium and timber bi-fold doors feature the latest in security, bringing the very best of stylish design together with optimum safety.

Using premium frames and multipoint locks plus a whole range of other security features, you can have confidence that your bifold door will be safe and secure.

Many bi-fold doors now feature toughened glass, which is up to five times strong than the single glazing that is typically used in traditional French doors.

This means they are much more secure and is one of the reasons that existing French doors are being upgraded to bi-fold.

Will Planning Permission Be Needed to Replace French Doors with Bi-fold Doors?

In the majority of cases, you won’t need planning permission to replace your old French doors with bi-fold doors.

There are a few exceptions such as:

• It’s a new build property
• The use is being changed from commercial to residential
• The doors are being installed in a large glazed extension that goes beyond permitted development size
• It’s a listed building, or the property is in a designated area such as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or a conservation area.

What Sizes Do Bi-fold Doors Come In?

Bi-fold doors can be made with anything from three to eight panels, giving you enormous choice over the size you want. If you only plan on replacing your existing French doors, then three panels will probably be sufficient.

However, if you want a more radical renovation, you can extend the space in your wall to utilise up to eight panels. For these much larger projects, you may need planning permission and a structural survey to ensure the change is suitable.

Whatever type of bi-fold doors you’d like, we will provide advice and guidance for every step.

Get in touch today for an informal chat.

Coloured Front Doors

The Best Door Colours To Help Add Value To Your Home

The front door to your home is a statement, it should be high quality, well made and above all, look good!

Having the right front door colour can really make your home stand out and attract lots of attention.

If you plan on selling your home then we have devised a list of some of the most en vogue, popular and modern door colours to consider painting your front door.

This alone can add real value to your property.

When it comes to choosing a door colour to paint your door when you are selling your home it is important to choose a colour that will match your house and make it stand out.

You want people to have a good first impression.

Your front door is the first thing people will see when viewing your house so it is important to choose the right colour to make your house stand out when you are selling your property.

The colour of your front door can potentially have a massive impact on the sale of your home.

To put it simply, an ugly or damaged door will turn potential buyers off before they’ve even stepped foot inside your home.

What Does The Colour Of Your Front Door Mean?

First, let’s start with considering what the colour of your front door means and why it matters, especially when selling your property.

Whilst it is your home, and you are ultimately in charge of what colour you choose for your front door, colour does carry a large significance and meaning.

So if you want to pick a door colour based on the psychology of colour and why it symbolises, then consider the following:


  • Red – A red door will attract attention and make your home stand out, it shows confidence and power and is well suited to period properties.


  • Orange – Painting your front door orange can often portray joy and enthusiasm. A great colour for an extrovert property that demands to be seen.


  • Yellow – If you choose to paint your door yellow, this shows energy and success and is a sure way to stand out from the crowd.


  • Blue – Painting your door blue resembles calm and peacefulness and is a classic choice in colour.


  • Green – A green door is refreshing and is generally associated with nature and good health. A green door goes great with a garden property.


  • Brown – Brown represents earth, safety and reliability. Brown tends to go with the colour of most houses and is always a safe colour to choose.


  • Grey – Grey is generally associated with maturity and tends to avoid attention however it adds a subtle modern look to your home.


  • Black – Black is a go to colour for a strong sophisticated look and is a popular choice for most traditional and new houses alike.


  • White – The stereotypical uPVC white door is the most common in the UK as it looks clean, modern and fresh. Any kind of property suits white and it often matches the windows.


Why not give our team of experts a call to get a full list of our available doors and colours to choose the right one for your unique and individual property.

Tripple Glazing

5 Common Myths Around Triple Glazing

  • Interested in upgrading from your double-glazed windows to triple-glazed windows?
  • Have you read some negative opinions and material that has perhaps caused some second thoughts or created doubt?
  • Are you struggling to separate the truths from the myths?

Well fear not, we are going to share our expert knowledge surrounding some of the most common myths about triple glazing.

Take a look below at some common misconceptions and learn how triple-glazing, may be the solution to your needs.

Myth #1 – Triple Glazed Windows Can Be Easily Broken Into

This myth is entirely false!

Triple glazing offers the exact same security as double glazing your windows and offers a subtle enhancement to the performance due to a vacuum or normally argon gas that fills the space between each individual pane of the glass, of the window.

Triple glazing is a great addition to improving energy efficiency as well as giving you complete reassurance that your home is completely safe from any undesired guests.


Myth #2 – Triple Glazing Will Not Increase Noise Reduction Compared To That Of Double Glazing

Not surprisngly, triple glazing actually provides greater noise reduction than double glazing, meaning that they are actually more soundproof than their counterparts.

The extra layer of triple glazing is designed to create a nice, quiet living environment by blocking any noise from traffic and loud neighbours.

Upgrading your windows to triple glazing is a sure way to combat unwanted loud noises and insulates the room helping to retain heat,.

Thus, saving you money on your energy bills.

It’s a great choice if you live near a busy road.

Myth #3 – Triple Glazing May Taint The Look Of My House

We can safely say that the original unique beauty of your home will still be completely preserved when using triple glazing,.

This is especially true, because of the huge selection of frames and windows on offer.

You can choose everything from sash windows to uPVC and wood, or aluminium casement windows guaranteed to bring a modern, luxury feel to any home.

Myth #4 – Triple Glazing Is Completely Different Looking Than Double Glazing

Most people would assume triple glazing is going to look much bigger, thicker and heavy-duty compared to what double glazing looks like.

But is there any truth in this?

We can confidently inform you that they do not as the only difference is that there are two glass panes in double glazed windows, and three glass panes in triple glazed windows.

Believe it or not, there aren’t any actual noticeable aesthetic differences in the two either from a distance or up close.

Myth #5 – Triple Glazing Can Cause Windows To Creak, Crack Or Warp

This myth is highly inaccurate!

Modern triple glazed windows are well reinforced to prevent their structure and shape from being effected by the elements, even in the harshest of weather.

Therefore creaking, cracking and warping are not common factors to be worried about. With modern technology, even wooden windows can be glazed to a high standard to last for many years to come.

Why not consult with our glazing experts to receive a quote for upgrading your windows to triple glazing?

aluminium front doors

Benefits Of Installing An Aluminium Entrance Door

Thinking about upgrading your home’s main entrance door?

We can all agree that a front door says a lot about a house but have you considered all the options?

Why not choose an aluminium entrance door for the strength, stability and aesthetic design that they can bring to a home.

An aluminium entrance door is a great way for your home to stand out from all of your neighbours while providing a sleek and modern look to any home.

Aluminium entrance doors have become a massive trend in homes throughout the UK.

They offer a sleek, aesthetically pleasing, modern look to any home.

Coupled with their sturdy, reliable performance this makes aluminium entrance doors an increasingly popular choice.

Compared to the likes of some of the more traditional entrance door materials like timber and uPVC, these doors can make a real staement.

Aluminium entrance doors will provide you with an extensive list of benefits you might not have considered.

So, let’s take a closer look at the top advantages of installing an aluminium entrance door.

Strong, Durable And Very Secure

Your front door is the main entrance to your home, so of course, you’re going to want to ensure that it will be safe, secure and keep any unwanted visitors from getting in.

Aluminium is extremely strong and durable and can withstand a good amount of force.

Aluminium entrance doors are there for a great choice for a front door where many burglars can attempt to gain entry.

Virtually No Maintenance Required

Aluminium entrance doors require little to none in terms of maintenance.

A quick clean and wipe with some warm water and soap is all that will be required.

Aluminium entrance doors have a very long life span, and will easily last over 30 years when cared for properly.

A Sustainable Choice

Aluminium entrance doors are very environmentally friendly and sustainable as they can be recycled.

When aluminium is recycled, it produces new aluminium with minimal effort and is consistently of extremely good quality.

It takes approximately 5% of the energy used creating the aluminium for the very first time for it to be recycled at this level.

So, a great choice of renewable material for the environment.

They Look Amazing!

Aluminium entrance doors look absolutely stunning on modern-day homes.

They offer a simple but sleek design and come in a huge range of colours meaning that they can also look great on older homes too.

Adding an aluminium entrance door is a great way to modernise your home whatever the style, modern or period.

Resistant To The Elements

Unlike other materials such as wood and iron, aluminium is extremely durable as well as being naturally resistant to all the elements of the weather.

You can have peace of mind that your aluminium entrance door won’t corrode or rust from exposure to the elements.

Our wide range of powder coating colours can help add an even further layer of protection.

We have so many styles of modern aluminium front doors on offer, so why not get in touch with one of our experts who can provide a consultation about adding an aluminium entrance door to your home.