Bi-Fiolding Doors

The Advantages Of Bi-folding Doors

Bringing the outside inside has never been easier with our aluminium bi-fold doors.

Bi-folding doors have become an increasingly popular choice in UK homes, adding a sense of confident elegance and grandeur.

Here are just some of the many advantages of purchasing bi-fold doors for your UK home.

Let There Be Light

Regardless of the bi-folding doors being opened or closed, they are sure to flood your living space with natural light.

Sleekly designed with the minimum amount of frame, and maximum amount of glass whilst still maintaining complete integrity, bi-folding doors are a modern approach to completely lighting and changing the look and feel of a room.

Furthermore, allowing more natural light into your home will mean you spend less money on artificial energy.

Little Required Maintenance

Bi-folding doors are designed to last.

Little maintenance will be required. B

i-folding doors are able to withstand all the elements the UK has to offer whether its rain, hail, wind or snow the doors will remain entirely intact.

The only required maintenance is to occasionally clean them with a non-harsh detergent and some water.

Luckily enough, bi-folding doors are extremely easily cleaned.

We recommend cleaning once every month to keep them in new like condition.

Safe & Secure

We understand home safety and the security of loved ones is at the forefront of any homeowners mind.

That’s why our bi-fold doors are made from strong durable materials and include a multi-point locking system.

The multi-point locking system allows you to lock the bi-fold doors at multiple points (in the doors frame) using a key to ultimately securing your home.

A Superb Investment

Our modern bi-fold doors can last for eternity if maintained, making them an excellent return on investment.

The use of high quality, sturdy materials coupled with our ahead of the curve manufacturing techniques ensures long term durability. P

lus, they practically pay for themselves with the money you will save on energy bills!

Between us, they will most definitely contribute to the value of your Essex home should you decide to place it on the market in the distant future.

Modernise Your Home

The vast amount of natural light and the contemporary style that bi-folding doors add to any living space is sure to make any room feel brand new.

Bi-folding doors also provide a wider view into your home’s outdoor space.

Finally, what more can we say, our exquisite bi-folding doors are guaranteed to look absolutely stunning in any home and are sure to bring a stylistic flair to your living space.

They provide practicality and much more usability and access to the outside of your home.

Our bi-folding doors come in a variety of sizes and over 150+ RAL colours to suit your home.

Our expert team here will recommend the best bi-folding door configuration for your needs.


Extending Your Home: How Far Can You Go?

A glazed extension is a popular way for homeowners to get more out of their property, providing a light and airy space that connects the interior and garden.

However, before you plunge ahead with your plans, it’s important to ensure that you aren’t inadvertently breaching the planning permissions which apply.

Wading through the technical wording can seem a bit daunting but our overview below highlights the most important points you need to bear in mind.

Is there a maximum size I can extend without needing planning permission?

Yes. Presuming it's a single-storey extension, you won’t be able to extend beyond a maximum of three metres (for terraced and semi-detached homes) or four metres (for detached homes).

This distance is measured from the original rear wall, regardless of what the structure looks like now.

This means the place where the rear wall stood when it was originally built or in the case of ambiguity in older properties, where it would have stood on 1st July 1948.

But I thought I could extend my home by 6 metres?

Planning permissions in England were relaxed on 1st June 2019, allowing single-storey extensions up to six metres (or eight metres for detached properties). This new rule only applies to glazed
extensions which are outside ‘Sites of Specific Interest’.

Will my neighbours be consulted before planning permission is granted?

Single-storey extensions which are bigger fall within the Neighbour Consultation Scheme.

This is often referred to as prior notification and gives your neighbour 21 days to raise an objection.

There must be valid reasons for their objection to succeed.

Once this initial 21-day period has elapsed, there is a further 21-day period for your local authority to confirm you are able to proceed.

If your extension requires planning permission, neighbour notification is mandatory.

What building regulations must a single-storey extension conform to?

Don’t confuse planning permission and building regulations; they’re not the same thing.

Planning permission is about the way development is carried out within an area, the general look and how the work will impact on the surrounding environment.

In contrast, building regulations specify standards that work must abide by in order to ensure the health, safety and well-being for those inside the property and others who live around it.

A glazed extension such as a conservatory, orangery or garden room may still require building regulations if any of the following apply:

• The roof is not at least 70% translucent
• The internal floor space exceeds 30 square metres
• There is less than 50% glass coverage on walls that have been newly constructed
• The extension is not at ground level
• There is no physical barrier that separates the extension from the main building, such as doors

Do I need planning permission to extend upwards?

Of course, not all extensions move outwards; some are upwards. From 31st August 2020 homeowners have been able to extend upwards without requiring full planning permission, but only
if certain criteria are fulfilled:

• The property must have been built between 2nd July 1948 and 29th October 2018
• Detached houses must have two or more storeys
• Terraced or semi-detached houses can only build to a maximum of 3.5 metres above the attached neighbours’ houses

Due to the potential impact on the surrounding homes, prior notification applies and building regulations must still be adhered to. Due regard must be given to the appearance of the extension.

To find out more about planning permission and building regulations, get in touch with us today.


Home Insurance

How Will My Home Insurance Be Affected by Building an Extension?

If you’re in need of more space, you may be weighing up whether to move house or stay put and extend your home.

Many families are opting for the latter, adding extensions to create more space while staying in the home they love.

Whether you’re adding a single-story extension, conservatory, garden room, or orangery, it’s important to consider the wider impact – including home insurance.

Here’s what you need to know about extensions and home insurance, and what you need to do.

Does my home insurance provider need to know about a new extension?

Yes.

It’s important to tell your provider about any changes to the structure of your home so they can carry out an updated risk assessment.

Building work carries extra risk and your insurer will need to know what’s going on.

The terms and conditions of your policy will probably stipulate that you inform them of any planned structural changes before the work is carried out.

If you don’t tell them and you need to claim, you might find that your policy is invalidated – leaving you seriously out of pocket.

Does this mean my home insurance will cost more if I get an extension?

The quote for your home insurance will be based on the value of your property, so if the building work increases the space you have available – and therefore the property price – it’s reasonable to
expect your home insurance premium to rise too.

A single-story extension can add at least 5% to the value of your property.

For a home that’s worth £250,000, that’s an extra £12,500 – and your home insurance certainly won’t increase by that much!

When calculating the increased home insurance, don’t forget to update your contents insurance too.

Your extension will have carpets, blinds, curtains, and furniture so you may need to increase the amount of cover you have.

Do I need insurance while my extension is being built?

While the building work is being carried out, there are extra risks to your existing structure.

Even the most careful builders can accidentally cause damage which is why insurance is important.

You don’t need to take out extra insurance; the construction company will have employers’ liability insurance and public liability insurance to cover all eventualities.

Reputable building companies will also offer guarantees and warranties with their work, so you can have complete peace of mind that everything is fully protected.

Look for building firms that are professionally accredited such as Trustmark and FENSA.

How much will an extension cost to build?

The quote for an extension is dependent on many different factors such as size, materials, specification etc, so it’s not possible to estimate in advance how much the work may cost.

We price every job individually to ensure you get the very best price and so that you’ll get exactly what you want.

To find out more, get in touch with us today to see how we could help.


fascias and soffits

Everything You Need to Know About Replacing Fascias and Soffits

Many homeowners take their fascias and soffits for granted as they can appear to be there purely for aesthetic purposes only. In reality, they play a much larger role in your home and support it to breathe and function effectively all year round.

Some of the main problems that occur when soffits and fascias are not correctly cared for or replaced include wood rot, moisture problems, unwanted pests and even curling shingles. Find out more about soffits and fascias here.

What Are Fascias and Soffits?

The soffit on your building is the part where the roof meets the side and overlaps so that rain, snow and hail can run off the roof without causing damage to your house. The soffit is the part that closes the gap between the overhand and the side of your building. It works hard to help with regulating the temperature of your home by pulling in cool air so that hot air is expelled through the roof vents.

The fascias are the boards that sit against the overhanging part of the roof to give it the neat and finished look you will want to achieve. The fascia is more than just a pretty finish though, and works to help the ventilation function properly as well as protecting the roof from damage.

Both the soffits and fascias are essential, but they often get ignored until problems begin to occur.

When Should I Organise Replacements for My Soffits and Fascias?

It’s clear to see that both the soffit and fascia parts of your property are essential when you want to prevent damage to your roof or shingles from weather like rain, snow and hail. Sadly, in many properties, the soffit and fascias may appear to be absolutely fine but then turn out to have been incorrectly installed and can cause major problems with your flashing, which will cause damage to your roof.

If you are wondering when to get your soffits and fascias replaced, then there are a number of warning signs that you can look out for. These include:

  • Noticing any water leaks in the walls or peeling paint inside the property when there is no internal cause.
  • Signs of rotting wood on the soffits and fascias that have caused holes or splits that can be seen with ease.
  • Peeling paint from either the soffit or fascia part of the roof.
  • Paint that is discoloured along the roof and siding or that looks dirty.
  • Pests or rodents gaining access to your home.
  • Being unable to remember when the last replacement took place, especially if you have owned the property for a long time.

All of these are clear signs that your soffits or fascias are either damaged or failing to protect the property properly and require urgent replacement. In reality, each of these issues will cause you discomfort when trying to enjoy your home and can cause structural damage that will cost a lot to repair.

How Do I Arrange Soffit and Fascia Replacements?

When you are ready to install new soffits and fascias, you will need to get in touch with a company that specialises in this area and who have excellent feedback and affordable prices. This is not an area that should ever be tackled by a keen DIY’er as both the soffit and fascias are a vital part of the ventilation to your home. Failing to have them correctly installed could cause more damage and invalidate your home insurance.


Window in need of repair

How to Know When it is Time to Replace Your Windows

If you want to make your home more efficient and improve the way your property looks, then new windows are an effective choice. The great thing about giving your windows some TLC is that you don’t always need to install a whole new unit. In fact, choosing to weatherstrip, install window films or add new PVC edging will help to extend the life of your current windows. However, if your windows have seen better days, then installing new ones may be the best way forward.

How Can I Tell If I Need to Replace My Windows

If you aren’t sure whether to invest in new windows or not, then lookout for any of the following signs that suggest it’s time to get them done:

Cracked Panes or Frames

If you have windows that are cracked or window frames that have warped or are damaged, then new installation is the best choice. It’s important to remember that damaged windows go beyond looking unattractive and can create ongoing issues with insulation, heating and mould.

Foggy Glass

If you have double or triple glazed windows and have noticed that they are getting condensation on the inside, then it is time to get them replaced. The area between the panes is filled with a special gas, and if that is leaking out and being replaced with air, then your windows will not work as well as they once did.

Softening Frames

Wooden window frames look fantastic, but if the wood is beginning to soften, it means it is rotting and needs to be replaced. This fault can be annoying, especially if your windows still look great, but rotting wood will not just reduce the effectiveness of your windows but can let in moisture in your home.

Stuck Windows

If you notice that your windows are getting stuck when you try to open or close them and there is no debris in the way, then you may find it is time to replace them. Opening and closing windows puts strain on the frame, which will eventually crack and warp, resulting in stuck windows.

Feeling a Breeze

The last thing anyone expects when they close their windows and doors is a breeze flowing through the house. If you find that this is happening to you, then it may be the result of cold drafts being let in through the windows. Getting them replaced will help to rectify the problem and warm your home up too.

Increased Energy Bills

If you’re paying out more on your bills than usual, your windows may need replacing. Quality windows and doors work to keep the warmth in and the cold out, but as they age, they lose effectiveness. Investing in new windows will result in less gas and electricity being used.

How to Replace Windows

If you have decided to replace your windows, then you can choose between retrofitting or replacing. Retrofitting will cost less upfront but doesn’t always offer the best reduction in energy bills, whereas replacing will cost more upfront but potentially save you more in the long run.

If you are keen to pursue new windows, then always remember to get advice from an expert so that you get the best results that will last the test of time.  Sovereign Home are always at the end of the phone with friendly advice, so give us a call today on


What Are The Different Types Of Double Glazing?

When it comes to buying new windows, there is an endless number of options available to you.

Whether it’s the style, frame material, or even frame colour, the type of glass is often low down on the list of decisions.

However, the glass itself also comes with a range of options….

There are eight main glass types used in double glazed windows throughout the UK:

 

1. Annealed/float glass

Nowadays, most windows are made by floating molten glass over molten metal to give the glass a consistent thickness and a flat surface.

This is annealed glass, also known as float glass.

All of the following forms of double-glazing start out as annealed glass, made by this method.

Double glazing is made by connecting two panes of annealed glass with a pocket of heavy gas such as argon in between.

The gas is heavier than atmospheric air, and this is what gives double-glazing qualities such as strength, insulation, and even soundproofing.

COST: This form of glass is the most cost-effective and sets the standard throughout the range.

 

2. Tempered/toughened glass

This option stays in good condition between 5 – 10 years longer than standard annealed glass so it doesn’t need to be replaced as often, which could balance out the higher initial cost factor.

For safety, when tempered glass breaks it shatters into small pieces which reduces the chance of serious injury in comparison to standard glass which breaks into long shards. Building Regulations require tempered glass for:

  • Windows which have been fitted 800mm or lower from the floor level,
  • Windows which have been fitted at a distance of 300mm or less from a door, and up to 1500mm from the level of the floor,
  • Glazed doors fitted up to 1500mm from the floor level.

COST: Up to 25% more expensive than standard glass.

 

3.Laminated glass

There is a plastic interlayer in laminated glass which coasts the pane and holds the glass is place when the window is shattered, reducing risk of injury. This glass is often used in shop windows and car windscreens.

This option has the additional benefit of security against break-ins as the glass holds tightly in place when broken. This glass also protects carpets and furniture from sun bleaching.

COST: Up to 40% more expensive than standard glass.

 

4. Low E glass

Low E – short for ‘energy’ – glass reflects heat back into the home using a thin film of metal which coats the glass pane.

The metal film is transparent, allowing heat and light to pass through the glass.

COST: Up to 25% more expensive than standard glass, however savings made on energy bills can balance out the cost of the initial investment.

 

5. Self-cleaning glass

Self-cleaning glass has a thin layer of titanium dioxide on the outside – thin enough to allow a minimum of 95% light of a standard window through.

The titanium dioxide is stimulated by UV rays to extract water from the air.

These water molecules react with the titanium dioxide on the surface of the window to break down any organic matter.

The organic matter is either washed away when it rains, or when gravity causes the thin film of water molecules to run down the window, cleaning away the organic matter.

The glass inside the home still needs to be cleaned manually, and the effectiveness of self-cleaning glass is limited in areas with high pollutant levels, or significant airborne salt levels.

COST: Up to 20% more expensive than standard glass.

 

6. Noise control glass

This option is best for properties located in areas of high noise pollution.

Described as ‘acoustically insulating glass’, this option incorporates a specially manufactured interlayer to limit noise by up to 75%.

The interlayer also provides a shatterproof quality, for added safety.

COST: Up to 25% more expensive than standard glass, so it may be worthwhile installing this option in select windows, such as those at the front of the property if the property faces the main road.

 

7. Fire protection glass

As well as being fire-resistant for up to 180 minutes at temperatures of up to 870oC, this glass can also withstand smoke which can be even more detrimental to health.

The clear resin interlayers between the glass panes are fire-resistant, and the panes themselves are thicker than standard glass. The thicker glass also offers noise reduction, and UV protection.

 


Getting A Conservatory Built On 0% Finance

Adding a conservatory to your home not only gives you more living space to enjoy, but it can also add value to your property – up to 7%, according to TV property guru, Phil Spencer.

With sunnier days approaching, it’s the perfect time to think about investing in a conservatory to enjoy with friends and family.

Buying a conservatory is now easier than ever, with 0% interest and for some of our windows and doors, there is even 0% APR.

Sovereign Home Improvements offer credit on these terms between 36 months and 10 years with no early repayment fees.

Alternatively, take up a short-term loan with 0% interest and minimal APR.

 

Representative examples:

Amount of Credit £3000 £2500 £2000
Deposit £0 £0 £0
Representative Rate 0%*APR 0%* APR 9.9% APR
Duration 120 Months 36 Months 24 Months
Monthly Payments £25 £69.44 £91.80
Interest Rate (fixed) 0% 0% 9.9%
Total Amount repayable £3000 £2500 £2203.20

 

Why buy a conservatory on finance?

  • 0% deposit – you won’t need to make a dent in your savings to add value to your home.
  • Budget friendly– you’ll know exactly how much is coming out of your bank every month.
  • On your terms– we’ll work together to make the best repayment plan to suit you.
  • Rewarded – there are no hidden charges if you pay off your loan earlier than planned.
  • Safe – your home won’t be used as collateral against the loan.
  • Convenience – apply for your loan from the comfort of your own home.
  • Fast– there’s no long wait for a decision on your loan approval.
  • Peace of mind– your loan is protected by law under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

 

Why invest in a conservatory?

If the idea of adding value to your home didn’t sell you on buying a conservatory and you’re still on the fence about whether or not to contact us, here are a few ideas of how a conservatory could improve your living space:

  • Guest bedroom: with the right heating and window coverings to ensure your guests get a restful night’s sleep, a conservatory can add an extra bedroom to your property.
  • Dining room: you can soon invite your family and friends over to sample your lockdown-learned cookery skills in a new conservatory dining room.
  • Games room: for kids and big kids alike – it is an ideal space for a playroom or a pool table.
  • Living room: a conservatory can provide a restful and peaceful environment with open views over your garden so you can enjoy nature, even in inclement weather.
  • Home office: it could be an excellent workspace away from the hubbub of home life.
  • Greenhouse: conservatories can offer excellent growing conditions for your house plants and provide the ideal conditions for an indoor green space.

 

How to buy a conservatory with Sovereign Home Improvements?

Once you’ve chosen your ideal conservatory, call us on 0800 1777 771 to arrange a home design survey.

After the initial appointment, we can confirm the price, installation start date and schedule of works.

We will then arrange a payment plan* with our lender Creation Consumer Finance Ltd.

 


*Payment plans are available on all applicable products, but loans are subject to approval by our lender Creation Consumer Finance Ltd and are based on finance suitability.


French Doors vs Patio Doors

Is there a difference between a French door and a Patio door?

New French doors or sliding Patio doors are a great addition to your home, especially in the summer months.

Letting in plenty of light and some welcomed fresh air on those sunny mornings and warm evenings.

Combining indoor and outdoor space effortlessly, these style of doors have become a popular choice for homeowners for decades, but the question is, which is best for you, French or Patio?

The answer is simple, it all depends on how you plan on using the doors in your home?

Let me explain in a bit more detail….

The classic patio

Most homes today opt for the classic sliding patio door.

The patio door allows one door to simply slide across and tuck behind the other, making it ideal for homes that need to utilise the space they have.

There is the benefit of not having doors opening in or out onto the garden or inside the property.

Sovereign Home Improvements provide doors that slide smoothly on a specially designed track and roller system, allowing the doors to slide open and shut gently and quietly while making the most of the living space, making it appear much larger than it would with French doors.

Patio doors have several other qualities, including;

  • Allowing for disabled access due to the low thresholds
  • They don’t need space to be fully opened
  • They offer more glass than the frame, allowing for a full view of the garden space, making the rear of the home appear larger and more spacious
  • The glass is A+ energy rated
  • They are available in UPVC, aluminium, and wood material
  • Patio doors come in a range of colours and materials that can be customised

The chic French door

The French door gets its name from, you guessed it, France.

This style dated back to the 17th century and was created initially for balconies and verandas.

Today you can find the French door at the rear of a property or a conservatory.

Two individual vertical panels of glass open outwards, allowing light and fresh air to quickly enter a living space.

Other benefits of French doors include;

  • A primary door and a second door panel offers more entrance and exit flexibility
  • All glass is A+ energy rated
  • French doors are available in UPVC, aluminium, or wood material
  • Styles are flexible and come in a selection of colours and patterns.
  • A tasteful classic with all the modern benefits
  • Doors are tailored to your interior/exterior design with over 150 RAL colours to choose from

Whatever door you opt for, always consider the space you have.

The area is a crucial factor when choosing the style of door.

Do you need the doors to be accessible in a particular way or for a specific reason?

How will your doors reflect your home?

We are here to give all the advice you need when selecting the right doors, give us a call today.

We’ll be happy to discuss all the options with you.


Conservatory Planning Permission Across Essex

Applying for planning permission has a reputation for being a notoriously time-consuming process, but it can cost you a lot more time, stress and money if fallen foul of. At Sovereign Home Improvements, we believe in making life easy for our customers, so we’ll guide you through every step of the process, including whether your conservatory in Essex will require planning permission.

Suppose planning permission is necessary for your conservatory. In that instance, we’ll send out one of our highly trained team to gather all relevant information and supply it, along with detailed drawings, to the council on your behalf. It’s all part of our commitment to excellent customer service. 

Conservatory Planning Permission in Essex

Does my conservatory need planning permission?

We’ll assess the likelihood of needing planning permission as part of our full inspection when we design your conservatory. In general, most conservatories in Essex do not require planning permission if they adhere to the following points:

  • Single-storey extensions situated outside of designated land and Sites of Specific Interest do not require planning permission as long as glazed extensions on attached houses don’t exceed 6m or 8m for detached homes.

*Subject to The Neighbour Consultation Scheme

  • The conservatory roof does not exceed 4m’s in height and is no higher than your home’s roof.
  • Your property is not listed or in a conservation area.
  • Permitted Development Rights (PDR) have not been removed from your property.
  • There are no balconies, verandas or raised platforms.
  • The conservatory is sited at ground level.
  • The conservatory is permanently separated from the remainder of the property through a door.

Meeting Building Regulations, What You Should Know

While planning permission for conservatories in Essex is usually not needed, it’s important to note that you may be required to meet building regulations. Should any of the below be relevant to your conservatory, it will need to meet building regulations, something we’ll discuss with you at the design stage.

  • The conservatory has an internal floor area exceeding 30 square meters.
  • The conservatory is not sited at ground level.
  • The conservatory doesn’t have a 70% translucent roof.
  • The conservatory doesn’t have 50% glass coverage on newly constructed walls.
  • The conservatory has no door between it and the main house.

If the thought of dealing with building regulations and planning permission in Essex is putting you off expanding your home with a conservatory, give us a call today. We’ll be happy to put your mind at ease and take the burden off your shoulders. 


conservatory energy efficacy

Can you make your conservatory more energy efficient

As the mornings turn frosty and the evenings start to draw in, many homeowners are asking how they can make their conservatory more energy efficient. Too often, conservatories are only usable during brief periods of the year. “My conservatory is too hot in the summer, and too cold in the autumn and winter.” Does this sound familiar? This is a common problem in the UK and is particularly true for older conservatories. 

The good news is that making your conservatory more energy efficient isn’t an impossible task, nor does it require a total rebuild. If you’re looking for ways to make a  genuinely noticeable difference to the ambient temperature of your conservatory, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll be sharing the best way to ensure your conservatory is comfortable year-round. 

A Note On DIY Conservatory Improvements

There are all manner of DIY options available, some of which provide an ok solution in the short-term, but the majority of which are cheap gimmicks. If you’re a homeowner, we’d always recommend investing in improvements that will impact the efficiency of your conservatory in the long-term, whether that’s to provide you a more comfortable retirement or to increase the resale value of your home.

Making Your Conservatory Energy Efficient

If you’re serious about turning your conservatory into an energy efficient space that you can use year-round, the best results will come by replacing your roof. Most roofs are constructed from polycarbonate or glass, and while these materials allow extra light into a room, they’re far from being the most efficient conservatory roofing available.

At Sovereign Home Improvements, we use patented Guardian Warm Roof technology to undertake conservatory upgrades. This is the ideal option for insulating your conservatory, using a sturdy yet lightweight aluminium frame to create a warm, watertight tiled roof.

By replacing your existing conservatory roof, you’ll have an additional room in your home that can be used in all seasons, the tiled roof essentially turning your conservatory into an extension. And with a guarantee on every roof, you can rest assured that you’ll be enjoying your new room for many years to come.

If you’d like to learn more about how Sovereign Home Improvements can make your conservatory efficient this winter, get in touch for a free, no-obligation quote.