10 things to consider when choosing a builder

The building industry does still have a stigma of the rouge traders or cowboy builders attached to it, many of the people I visit are scared to commit to anyone due to the horror stories they have heard or experienced themselves. Here are 10 tips to help you make the best decision possible:

  1. Company reviews and testimonials. Make sure you use companies such as check a trade and which as the reviews left are by real customers and are fully vetted reviews. Some other search engines are not vetted and anyone can leave reviews which is misleading to customers.
  2. Photos of previous work, make sure you can see visual evidence of the companies work not just images from the internet they show you.
  3. Ask to see some work and speak to real customers of theirs to get a real view into what it is like dealing with them as a company. Seeing work for your own eyes and speaking to real people gives a great insight into what working with them will be like.
  4. Company history, make sure the company has some trading history, no discrepancies against them etc. Some people set up a lot of companies and fold them every single year which is not good.
  5. Breakdown of the quote, may sure its very detailed and you know exactly what you are and are not getting. Especially look for ‘hidden extras’ there could potentially be.
  6. Payments, make sure they are broken down clearly. Stage payments is what we believe is the best way to work. This means you pay once each stage is completed. A usually extension will have roughly 12 stage payments.
  7. Quality of products, make sure when you do your comparisons it is like for like as a lot of companies will use cheaper products than others. Also make sure the products confirm with building regulations.
  8. Point of contacts, make sure there are multiple people you are able to contact as one-man band builders are sometimes hard to get hold of as they are on the tools a lot so need someone else to speak to when you need it.
  9. Accreditations, make sure the company has some form of accreditations with governing bodies.
  10. Insurances, make sure the company has all of its public and personal insurances in place before starting work at your property.

Difference between a UPVC Door and Composite Door

You’ve probably heard about uPVC doors – they’ve been around for a while after, all – but what about a Composite Door? Newer on the market, these became popular in the late 90s, and are the first choice for most homeowners these days.

But what’s so special about them? And why should you also consider uPVC for your back or front door? We’ll go onto discuss both types of door here, to give you a better idea when it comes to choosing your next front door.

Composite doors

As its name suggest, a composite door is produced from more than one material. It’s actually hardwood at the core, with a PVC sub-frame and a uPVC outer frame (which is reinforced with galvanized steel for extra sturdiness). The combination of these ingredients leads to a rigid and sturdy door while a foam core leads to better insulation and a glass-reinforced plastic grained surface makes it more resistant to becoming dented or easily scratched. Meanwhile, it’s worth mentioning here that our own Sovereign Home Improvements composite doors are 48mm doors – 10 per cent thicker than our nearest competitors, making them amongst the strongest on the market right now!

Meanwhile, as well as providing super-effective security for your home, a composite door will also remain looking good for longer. Rest-assured the colour of your door won’t fade or the shade alter – even despite the often-harsh British weather. The end result is a door which is solid, secure and easy to maintain. It should also last your for around 35 years.

uPVC doors

If you opt for a uPVC door, then you will have a one which consists of an insulated steel frame inside a casing of un-plasticized polyvinyl chloride (uPVC). This gives the door it’s thermal properties, as well as making it a sturdy and effective choice for any front door. Slightly thinner than a composite door, this type of door is nevertheless also easy to maintain; simply wipe over with a damp cloth if need be. You can expect to have your uPVC door for around 25 years – a decade less than the composite.

The main advantage of a uPVC door over its more contemporary composite equivalent though is the fact that it’s less expensive to buy – you could save as much as 50 per cent by opting for a uPVC door over a composite door. Another advantage of this type of door is the choice of design. More likely chosen for a back rather than a front door, a uPVC door can consist of a full panel or half panel of double glazing which means more light can flood into your kitchen area. This is a great compromise if the room is rather gloomy, making it a must for narrow galley kitchens in particular.

Door locking

Both composite doors and uPVC doors are available these days with a multi-point locking system. This means all locks close simultaneously consisting of a cylinder with kite-mark. This makes them incredibly effective should a burglar attempt to break into your home by this means.

Want to know about our composite or uPVC doors? Then take a look at our website. There you’ll find we offer both in a selection of colours or woodgrain finishes and at very competitive prices.


Why You Should Opt for a Local Home Improvement Firm

When it comes to getting new windows or doors installed it’s always a better bet to go with a local – rather than national – company. Why? Well, there are many reasons and here at Sovereign Home Improvements Ltd in Brentwood, we have attempted to list some of the main ones right here:

Local knowledge

It’s possible to speed up the planning process (if necessary) by using an individual who has knowledge of how the local council’s planning and building regulation teams work. This is particularly valuable should you run into a problem concerning a conservation or similar issue somewhere along the line. A local installer will know which individual to contact in order to remedy the situation, as well as how to go about approaching the Council’s team.

Fixer on hand

Very occasionally problems can arise with a new set of windows or doors. If this happens you can get your local installer on the scene right away. If it’s a national company who have carried out the installation then it could take days or even weeks for them to get someone on the scene. And that means increased stress and anguish for the unfortunate home owner.

Friend and colleague recommendations

With a local firm chances are your friends and colleagues have already used their services. If so, you can get recommendations that you know you can trust to be genuine and truthful (and which isn’t always the case with online reviews). Not only that, but you can physically go and see for yourself the work that the local company carried out. That way you don’t have to take anybody’s word for the fact they can supply exactly what you’re looking for.

Better communication

Communication is always better face-to-face – and is something you will be able to achieve with a local firm. They may even have a showroom where you can go and see windows, doors and conservatories etc for yourself. At the same time, being able to discuss something quickly with the person on the spot is far better than attempting to solve an issue over the phone or by email.

Better deals with local suppliers

Local firms tend to be better at securing local discounts on materials than national firms. This ensures that your home improvements are undertaken with cost-savings in mind right from the very start.

Giving back to the community

Hiring a local company and ensuring it stay afloat means a benefit to your own community and safeguards jobs for local people.

Contact your local Sovereign Homes today

If you live in the Brentwood area of the East of England then you can consider ourselves at Sovereign Home Improvements Ltd a local company. As such we would be happy to have a chat and provide a free quote for windows, doors, a patio, conservatory etc. For a quote call our team on 0800 1777 771. If it’s advice you would like then the number to ring is 01277 810 910. Alternatively drop us an email via info@sovereignhome.co.uk.


Why You Don’t Have to Wait for New Windows or Doors

Is the thought of paying upfront putting you off having those new windows you fancy? Or is it a brand-new front door you’d like to have installed? Well, now you don’t have to worry about big upfront payments.

That’s because, here at Sovereign Home Improvements Ltd we’ve made it easy for you with our zero per cent interest-free payment scheme. This allows you to pay what you can afford each month over a set number of years, making purchasing those windows and doors far more manageable as far as your finances are concerned. Most people pay monthly over a number of years for their car, so why not do the same for your windows and other home improvements? For your windows or doors there isn’t even any large deposit to pay upfront.

Interest-free credit available on all windows and doors

The good news is our interest-free payment scheme is available for all of our windows and doors. That means you can choose from Bow Bay, uPVC and Tilt & Turn windows, as well as aluminium or casement versions for your home. Both double and triple glazing qualify for the scheme.

The same applies to our doors in relation to the scheme. This means you can treat yourself and your home to anything from a set of stylish French doors, to contemporary bi-folding doors, doors for your patio, a composite front and back door, or some uPVC doors. All our doors are weather-proof draught-proof. The popular bi-fold doors we sell are equipped with a multi-point stainless steel locking mechanism, toughened or laminated glass and come with a high-security lock cylinder. There are also around 260 colour combinations to choose from.

Our recognised credit credentials

We are also authorised and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). What this means that you will be entitled to compensation in the event of any default (which is highly unlikely). In addition, all companies which are registered with the FCA have a strict set of guidelines and rules to adhere to with relation to finance and consumers.

At Sovereign Home Improvements Limited our financial role is as a credit broker. Rest-assured too that our zero per cent finance scheme is administered using only one single lender.

We have physical commercial premises at Systems House, Horndon Industrial Park, West Horndon in Brentwood CM13 3XL. The company is registered in England and Wales (VAT number 08164017). 

Get in touch for more information and advice

If 2020 is the year you would like to finally replace those old windows of your and, at the same time, benefit from a warmer and better insulated home, then contact us today. One of our installation team will be happy to advise you on the different types of windows or doors we have available, along with their benefits and costs.

In order to book a free quote, call us on tel: 0800 1777 771. For more general information call 01277 810 910 or send us an email via info@sovereignhome.co.uk.


A Compelling Case for Composite Doors

Thinking of investing in a new front or back door? If so, experts agree, composite doors should be your first choice.

Why? Well, they don’t just look good thanks to a wealth of contemporary designs and colours, but security-wise they are well above standard. And the latter is nothing to be complacent about. Figures from the government’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) show there were 291,816 residential burglaries in England and Wales between June 2018 and June 2019. Not surprisingly, when the nights are darkest (October to February) the number of break-ins increase by more than one third. This begs the question, how secure are your doors and windows?

What makes composite doors so strong?

The main reason composite doors get such high praise from those in the home security realm is because of the way they are constructed. Unlike timber and uPVC glass doors for instance, composite doors are capable of withstanding salt erosion (perfect for those who live near the sea), chemicals and UV light (which can quickly fade colour in ordinary doors).

Composite doors are also twice the thickness of uPVC doors. That’s because they comprise either a thick foam core which is coated in Glass Reinforced Plastic (GPR) or a solid timber core with an inner thermo-plastic. Here at Sovereign Home we are proud to be able to announce that our own 48mm thick timber composite doors are around 10 per cent thicker than our nearest competitors, making them the most secure on the market.

Hardly lacking when it comes to locks

Shockingly, a recent survey by the online consumer site MoneySupermarket showed that five per cent of house burglaries are caused by the thief simply walking in through the front door! But if you’re not the absent-minded type and do actually remember to secure the door when you go out – is your current lock good enough? After all, the same survey showed that thieves got in by the front door in almost three quarter of burglary cases in England and Wales.

Our composite doors are all fixed with the Ultion system of locks to ensure once you’ve turned the key, it can’t be picked. That’s because if a burglar does attempt to prise open the door by tampering with the lock a second, hidden lock springs into action. This provides double protection – regardless of whether you leave the key in the lock overnight or not.

Household items most regularly stolen

Those burglars that do manage to penetrate a home’s defences usually look for cash, says the MoneySupermarket survey. Next most popular items are laptops and other electronic devices. Almost one third of burglars also make off with jewellery, including watches. Make sure it’s not yours they’re after…

Get in touch for your peace of mind

At Sovereign Home we offer a choice of up to 256 different colour combinations of doors. They range from contemporary shades to beautiful and realistic woodgrains. To find out how a composite door can improve your home security and, at the same time, enhance the appearance of your home, get in touch today. Call 0800 1777 771 or email us at info@sovereignhome.co.uk. We look forward to hearing from you!


Are Conservatories Cold in Winter?

Some conservatories – particular older structures built more than a decade ago– can certainly be cold in winter (and conversely too hot in summer). But certainly not all conservatories – and especially the newer-built models that we provide here at Sovereign Homes. The reason for this is mainly down to the superior glazing used today ie solar reflective glass.

Rework your roofing

Advanced technology in glazing means it’s possible to have a tiled roof with thermal insulating properties meaning it’ll be warmer during the winter and keep out heat during the summer months. And the best bit? This type of light-weight roof can also be retro-fitted, provided the existing structure is strong enough to support it.

But you don’t have to do away with glass in your conservatory roof completely. Not, that is, if you go for a hybrid option ie a roof that has both tile and glass panels. Vaulted powder-coated aluminium roof panels and insulted glass panels can work well together to regulate temperature in a conservatory. Certainly, both of these options (the thermal tiling and hybrid roof) are far better and more functional than the original polycarbonate or decade-old double-glass roofing.

But what if you’ve already replaced your roof in recent years and you’re still feeling a tad on the chilly side? Well, look out for the following heat thieves too:

Gaps in windows and doors

After a period of time – and with much use – doors and windows can start to lose insulating efficiency. Gaps can develop and need to be sealed.

Dampness

It puts a chill in us just writing that word but it’s true – dampness can make any room feel cold. And worse still, if it’s allowed to exist untreated then it will spread and can cost quite a bit of money to repair. If the dampness is minor then make sure the conservatory is well-insulated. One way to achieve this is to leave the doors between the conservatory and house open. Next, use a dehumidifier to prevent it getting any worse.

Cold flooring

Because it’s on ground level, conservatory floors can be cold; particularly in winter. One way to alleviate this problem is to install under-floor heating; a less costly option is to put down a large rug or several smaller scatter rugs to toast your toes while you’re sitting down. And, on that note, keeping blankets and big snuggly cushions in your conservatory during the autumn and winter months, isn’t a bad idea either…

Exposed windows

There’s a reason we close the curtains at night – it keeps the heat in during the winter. If you’ve no curtains or blinds in your conservatory because you like the sight of plain glass, then it’s time to reconsider.

No helpful heating

We think nothing of switching on the storage heating in our homes when it gets cold, so why shouldn’t we turn on heating in the conservatory too? Electric heaters aren’t particularly expensive to buy (although they will cost more than gas and storage when it comes to the utility bill). If you’re only using them during the really cold periods then surely you can justify their use?

Even just employing two or three of the measures mentioned in this article can make a big difference to the temperature of your conservatory. Do the lot and your conservatory may just become the most popular room in your home this winter!

Thinking of getting a conservatory – or need some advice on making her existing extension warmer? Then why not give us a call here at Sovereign Homes today? Tel: 01277 810 910.


Triple Glazing vs Double Glazing

Fancy upgrading your windows – or about to choose windows for a self-build – but confused over which to type to choose? Then you’re not alone.

Unless you actually work in the construction industry, you’re unlikely to have read all that much research on the different kinds of glazing available today – such as double glazing and tripe glazing. And hence the reason for this article – to summarise the difference and the benefits of both: 

Double glazing 

The way double glazing works is by trapping a gas (usually Argon) inside two panes of glass. The reason Argon is chosen is because it’s heavier than air, making it a poor heat conductor. As a result, it traps more heat in your room.

Types of double glazing available

It’s possible to buy double glazing in different designs, such as Turn & Tilt, Bi-folding and in windows large enough to fit Conservatories and Orangeries.

Triple glazing

Triple glazing has, as its name suggest, three panes of glass. Instead of Argon it’s often Krypton glass that is used for thermal insulation in between the panes.

The additional panes and gas make triple glazing at least two degrees warmer than double glazing. A room in a new-build home with energy-efficient double glazing will be around 16°C if heated to 21°C; but with triple glazing the heat can reach 18°C.

Experts have calculated that around 20 per cent of the heat in a room escapes via the windows so it’s important to get the right type of glazing for your home and current insulation needs.

For this reason, you’ll find triple glazing routinely used in countries such as Norway and Sweden. It gets colder there, of course, and whether triple glazing is necessary here in the UK with our milder winters, is a big point of debate.

Another criticism of triple glazing is whether it’s possible to recoup the additional costs. For instance, it could take at least two decades to make up the difference considering the savings in your energy bill may only be around £40 a year. The only way you could really maximise the benefits of triple glazing is if the whole house was insulated to the same extent and is what you can expect from a Passivhaus design concept.

Benefits of double glazing

  • It’s cheaper (at least 20 per cent cheater than triple glazing)
  • Double glazing today can have a U value (which is used to measure energy efficiency) of 1.6. This compares to 0.8 for triple glazing – so there’s really not a huge amount of difference between the two.
  • They are light and easy to fit (heavier glazing, such as triple, usually requires more robust window frames to support the weight of the additional pane of glass).

Benefits of triple glazing

  • You’ll save more money on your annual heating bills due to better insulation
  • If your doors and flooring are insulated to the same extent (giving you a constant room temperature) then you’ll really maximise on the savings.
  • Some Passivhaus designs claim energy bills as low as £120 a year.

If you’d like to chat about the type of windows that would be best for your home, then do give us a call here. We’d be happy to provide some guidance. Simply call us on 0800 1777 771.


Why Planning and Design for your Extension or New Home is Essential

Come the start of the new year there is no better time to sit down and start planning that new extension or conservatory. Or maybe you’re even more ambitious and in the market for building a new home?

Whatever your and your family’s home construction dream, in order to get the most for your money it’s essential to plan meticulously from the off. Enthusiasm to get started is great – but the build process has to be methodical and well-thought out from the very start. And that means covering a number of different aspects, such as:

  • A site survey. This can determine what kind of soil the ground you plan on building on has and whether it’s really suitable for what you’re planning after all. Poor soil could lead to more expensive foundations having to be built or the land could be a flooding risk. You’ll also want to know if the land is on a slope and what the drainage facilities nearby are like. So, it’s essential not to skip this part!
  • This is where you sit down with the architectural designer and explain what’s in your mind. You can then both work together and discuss what the finished outcome should look – and feel – like. A designer can provide you with ideas you may never even have considered. He or she can also advise you about new materials on the market, including eco solutions.
  • It’s very easy when building a new home or extension to go over budget. And it’s why you need an experienced design company to advise you during the build. It all depends on what materials you plan on using and the type of fixtures and fittings opted for. A designer can ‘rein you in’ should you get carried away (and it’s extremely easy for this to happen!).
  • Planning applications. You will more than likely have to apply for planning permission. This varies from council to council but there are uniform restrictions regarding how high you can build so that your plans aren’t intrusive to neighbouring properties. The appearance of your extension or home will also have to be ‘signed off’ by council planners. The forms have to be filled out in a particular style and tend to be pretty detailed.
  • CAD plans. Design technology is pretty impressive these days. It allows you to see three dimensional renderings (representations) of your extension or property. This gives you a better feel for the space and means you can correct any inconsistencies right at the start (saving you money further down the line when a piece of wall has to come down etc). You can also alter the CAD drawing as the project advances eg change the window frames, add furniture for perspective etc. In many cases it’s possible to have a virtual walkthrough of your home before the first brick has even been laid!
  • Drawings for building regulations. It could prove necessary to present documents to the Building Control department of the council. Whereas Planning deals more with the environment, physical layout and use of an extension, house etc, Building Control is more interested in aspects such as the materials being used, the building’s structure, insulation and access.

Find out more about what the planning and design of an extension or new home involves by taking a look at our planning and design section here.


Recommended Essex Builders…

Recommended builders essex - CheckaTrade.com, Sovereign Home Improvemnts EssexWhen it comes to high tickets items for the home, we all like the security of knowing you have chosen the right team and we are pleased to say we are highly recommended Essex Builders…

Our customer ratings with Checkatrade.com are second to none in the area!


As a family firm based in the county, Sovereign Home Improvements are one of the leading builders in Essex that are highly recommended by CheckaTrade, Which? Trusted Trader and have many great reviews on Google and Facebook.

This is because we do an honest job at an honest price and treat every customer as we would wish to be treated ourselves.

We don’t cut corners.

The result is that every customer gets the finished job that turns out exactly as they wanted it and as we promised it.

We get asked to construct a considerable number of home extensions because many people with growing families don’t wish to move home and leave family and friends yet need more space.

Recommended Essex Builders – Kitchens…

 

Recommended builders essex -kItchens - Windows & Doors, Orangeries, Roofs, Extentions, Sovereign Home, Essex (2485)

Adding an extension in the form of perhaps another bedroom gives the extra space, and at considerably less cost than moving home in most instances.

Other customers want a kitchen extension, and this is becoming quite common.

The fact is that the kitchen is no longer a room just for doing the cooking and washing up but has become a room where we also eat and entertain your guests as well.

Sovereign Home Improvements can do wonders with a kitchen extension.

You can have an island cooking area or an island dining table.

You can have the latest marble or granite worktops that will really dazzle your family and friends.

You can have all your appliances hidden behind doors that match all your cabinetry.

You might install a range.

There is no end to what you can do with a kitchen extension.

 

Recommended builders essex -kItchens - Windows & Doors, Orangeries, Roofs, Extentions, Sovereign Home, Essex (2485)

Recommended Essex Builders – Home Office…

Then again, some people need a home office.

Apart from anything else, it saves the dreaded two-hour a day commute.

Recommended builders essex -kItchens - Windows & Doors, Orangeries, Roofs, Extentions, Sovereign Home, Essex (2485)s, Roofs, Extentions, Sovereign Home, Essex (2474)

With the internet today, many people can work from home.

However, if you have young kids running around the home, getting some peace and quiet can be a problem.

The answer is coule be a ‘Home Office’.

You can have an extension built into the garden or perhaps a loft extension.

You might even have a garage that you can convert.

There are lots of possibilities.

Of course, another favourite type of extension for many people is a conservatory.

This enables you to enjoy your garden with windows all around it and you can sit there whatever the weather is doing.

You can also grow some exotic plants in your conservatory too.


Whether you are looking for a new Kitchen, a new Home Office or any other new work you require, use a recommended Essex Builders!

At Sovereign Home Improvements we can do it for you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Save on energy bills…

Save on Energy bills - aug 2019 - Sovereign home improvements - EssexThey say your home is your most valuable asset but how can you save on energy bills?

It goes without saying, we want our properties not only to look good but also to be safe and secure and EFFICIENT!

Sometimes, merely updating your double glazing windows, UPVC windows or a front door can bolster the overall aesthetic look of your home.

Not to mention, save you a pretty penny or two on your energy bills – so it’s win-win when updating your home…


Save on energy bills – Windows…

Our double glazing Essex windows are ideal for any home, as they come in a variety of colours and sizes.

They’re well designed and comply with the recommended industry standards.

Our locking systems are even Police approved and offer customers peace of mind as they have their double glazing Essex UPVC windows installed.

Contact us today to see how we could help.

Save on energy bills – Front Doors…

Everyone wants to know that when they close their front doors in Essex, that their home is safe, dry and secure.

This is why we offer Composite and Solidor front doors in Essex.

They come in loads of different colours, so you’re bound to find one that suits your needs.

If you’re interested in a Composite door, you should also know that they boast a 48mm design that’s 10% thicker.

This offers just that little bit more protection for you and your family.

Alternatively, you may be interested in a Solidor door.

These are made from solid timber cores, making it the most durable composite door on the market.

Send us an email to find out how we can help.

Save on energy bills – Our double glazing promise to you…

We at Sovereignhome offer new and existing shoppers excellent customer service.

Our fully trained, helpful, and knowledgeable customer care team can give you lots of information about front doors in Essex, double glazing and UPVC windows.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve already placed an order or you’re thinking about booking a home visit; they’ll happily answer your query.

Save on energy bills – Why do we care…

We’re a family-run business and having satisfied customers really matters to us.

After all, we’re going to be spending time in your home with you, so it’s essential you’re happy with our service.

In addition, we are keen on making sure you also save on energy bills.

Whatever your reason for wanting to invest your hard-earned money in new double glazing, UPVC windows or front doors in Essex, you’ll be in safe hands with us.

So what are you waiting for?

Get in touch for more info and a no-obligation quote.