WINNERS - BEST OF HOUZZ AWARDS 2017

We have been awarded the Best of Houzz 2017 award for both 'Design' and 'Service' on Houzz®, the leading platform for home renovation and design. We have been chosen by more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, home improvement and design industry professionals.

jeff in London, Greater London, UK on Houzz
jeff in London, Greater London, UK on Houzz

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honours are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2016. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognised with the Photography award. A “Best Of Houzz 2017” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign oftheir commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals on Houzz.

jeff in London, Greater London, UK on Houzz

Bring Alive your Walls with a Vertical Garden

Do you have garden walls that need a revamp? well rather than repointing or painting, a vertical garden could be the answer. Also known as green or living walls they are a modern way to add some colour and body to both urban outdoor and internal areas. Originally there was only one option and that was a living wall which essentially was a special mesh that was fixed to the wall and then individual potted plants slotted into the mesh pockets to form a wall of vegetation. This was then watered by an automatic irrigation system or manually. There are now several other methods of fixing and planting and the most exciting form for inner city gardens and urban areas is that using artificial plants.

Artificial plants have really come leaps and bounds in terms of design and finish over the past few years and now can be hard to differentiate between artificial and real. The main benefit is that they do not require watering or feeding so maintenance is nil. Secondary to that is that the 'living' (artificial) wall does not require any special waterproofing membrane to the wall to prevent water ingress. 

We like the living and artificial garden walls and believe that these are becoming more and more popular (especially the artificial ones). 

No matter how big or small, if you would like to create a green wall, please get in touch.

An example of a living wall

An example of a living wall

Faux Brick and Stone Cladding

We often are asked to construct exposed brick walls within Kitchen and Living areas to create a cool Urban space. We have completed several and then end result is always satisfactory but in all honesty we don't feel the real authentic look is achieved as the 'rustic' feel is not achieved even when you use a lime based mortar and carefully brush up the pointing to give it a weathered look. Some clients just go for standard sand:cement and pointing however we feel this just leaves you with a nicely finished wall that looks like it should be in the garden. 

Over the last two years we have been using faux cladding ranging from brick to stone and now concrete panels. They are constructed in a variety of materials but our main supplier uses a foam type sub base material and a hard finish layer. They are delivered in panels approx 1sqm and slot together after being mechanically fixed or bonded to the wall. The joints between the panels are filled with a specially supplied mastic that once dried seamlessly joins the panels so they appear as one unit. 

There are a huge range of brick and stone finishes to choose from and we are delighted with the product as are our clients. We have used in various rooms from the Kitchen, living room alcoves, bedroom walls. Its so effective and everyone believes its the real deal even when touching. 

Some other beneficial qualities: increased thermal and acoustic qualities, quick clean installation, no maintenance required, can be painted over, non-permeable. 

We thoroughly recommend considering the use of faux panels and can provide details of our supplier and provide estimates for you and your project. See below photo of the panels in use on a job we recently completed. 

Bedroom with Faux brick panels

Bedroom with Faux brick panels

What a load of waste!

Rubbish clearance is a costly business. We often get asked if its recommended to have a skip or a use a local 'wait and load' service. They both have their benefits. 

Skips work out cheaper in terms of the amount of volume removed per sqm cost, however there are set up costs and often difficulties with obtaining permissions from the Council and associated costs of suspending parking bays. These associated and set-up costs often outweigh the saving gains made in respect of additional volume they can handle (compared to a 'wait and load' service)

Wait & Load services are often more flexible and can come within a few hours of making a telephone call. This can help is some situations. Admittedly they usually cannot take the same volume of waste as a skip however there are larger volume vehicles that can attend. The benefits are that there is no requirement to organise any license from the Council for permission and waste can be categorised and taken in various types, i.e. hardcore only, timber only or mixed waste. Each type has a different cost and as such overall savings can be achieved. 

On larger projects where there is private space and access, we tend to use skips as they carry more load and allow us to mix the waste so its easy. On smaller projects or where space is key and parking or road restrictions in place, we tend to use a 'wait and load' service or cart the waste ourselves. 

If you want to discuss how it would be best to cart your waste away please feel free to contact us. 

SKIP vs 'WAIT & LOAD'

SKIP vs 'WAIT & LOAD'

Waterproofing Bathrooms and Showers

People often believe that a tile covering in the Bathroom or Shower is waterproof and then are surprised when they find out there are leaks. We often have enquiries asking us how we overcome this problem and waterproof our wet-zones. Its a simple answer - use a waterproof mat or membrane.

Simply put tile coverings are not waterproof. Moisture can seep through the joints and damage the building structure. This can be effectively prevented with bonded waterproofing assemblies. Schlüter®-DITRA and Schlüter®-KERDI are complete systems of matching components for waterproofing. There are also other products on the market such as Mapai or Aquaseal which we often use independent or in conjunction with Schlüter®

First of all you require a solid base for the base and walls. This is why we nearly always recommend replacing any sub floor with a new WBP Plywood sub deck. We use Moisture Resistant Plasterboard for the walls and ceilings (or mesh with a cement:adhesive mix). Your then ready to go with a new level and straight box to tile. Yes its more expensive in the short term, however it's the proper job and avoids leaks and costly emergency repairs and insurance claims in the future. 

Any questions or queries please get in touch. 

Ditra MAT

Ditra MAT