orangery

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.


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.