Thursday, March 28, 2013

Choosing the Right Roofing Material

It’s important to ensure that when developing your roof, you get the important decisions right. After all, a roof gone wrong can cause all sorts of problems, including a loss of heat and water leaks.  In the long run, it can also lead to the decrease in value of your property.  That’s why we’ve written this guide on how to choose the right materials.
Location is one of the most important aspects in choosing the material, as the climate can make a significant difference to the needs of the occupant.  If you live in naturally very warm climates, then light-coloured roofs are more suitable as they will reflect the heat.  Vice versa for colder climates and darker roofs.   Anyone who wants to save money on heating bills should definitely consider a darker roof!
Another choice that needs to be considered is whether or not you want to make a long term investment or a short term investment.  Materials such as fibreglass are more expensive initially but are far more resistant to wear and tear due to their lack of joinery.  Typical slate roofing, though, is cheaper to get started with but will also require more maintenance in the long run.  As with all areas of substantial investment, this requires careful thought!
Take into account your energy costs.  A lot of people aren’t necessarily aware that certain roofing materials can make a significant difference to the costs of their home energy bills.  If you live in an area where your central heating is on at all times, then a material such as fibreglass can make for a great investment, as it will keep the heat in and bring the bills down.  Obviously if you live in an extremely hot climate then you won’t have to worry about the issues.
The last point to consider is which firm you get to fit the roof.  With such a substantial investment, it’s important that you pick a company who has a substantial reputation for efficiency and excellent value for money.   Whilst many jobs out there can be considered  for a bit of do it yourself, roofing is definitely not one of them.  Unless you’re a certified builder yourself, of course!
This article was written on behalf of Stuart Pease Ltd, UK experts in fibreglass construction.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The kitchen benchtop

The kitchen benchtop has to be able to take a lot of abuse including the heat of pots, cutting and knives and abrasive cleansers. The ideal benchtop should be able to stand up to heat and the sharp edge of a knife.

Let us take a look at 7 of the most popular kitchen benchtop materials being used today:
Granite - A natural stone, granite is a popular choice for its classic beauty and durability.  Granite is the hardest and densest of the natural stones.   It can create a kitchen benchtop that is extremely scratch resistant and can keep its luster longer than most materials.  They are the most expensive of all kitchen benchtop surfaces; although it is still considered a very practical material in that it is virtually imperishable.

Marble – Marble is considered to be the height of stylishness and will last longer than most kitchens. It is however, is very exclusive and requires some care: acidic foods such as orange juice will scrape the finished surface of a marble kitchen benchtop.

Slate – Because of it richness and beauty slate is usually used in interior applications such as kitchen benchtops, bathroom basins or fireplace surrounds. It can be used in either modern or traditional kitchens as well as in combination with marble.  Slate is durable, sturdy, and can withstand hard use.  It is less expensive than marble.

Concrete – This is one of the biggest trends in kitchen benchtops today. Available in pre formed sections or poured and formed on-site.  Concrete is a good material for unusually shaped counters.  Concrete kitchen benchtops are expensive and must be treated with care.  The benchtop can crack if the concrete should contract.  Concrete can be stained any colour.  The most popular colour is a natural grey tone. The top layer can be finished as desired.

Corian - A solid surface material that first became popular in the 1990’s it is highly recommended by kitchen benchtop experts.  It is a totally manmade product and is not porous.  As a solid surface it can easily be repaired if scratched or burned.

Stainless Steel - Advantages include very hygienic, easy to clean, has ability to stand up to extreme wear and heat.  Stainless steel can provide a great look for an ultra-modern kitchen.  Some disadvantages with stainless is that it can be noisy and that scratches can develop.

Tile - Tile surfaces can be tough, hard-wearing, takes hot pans, heat and stain resistant as well as beautiful. There are many types of tiles including ceramic, porcelain, quarry, glass, natural stone and mosaic.  Available in many colours, sizes and textures.  It has good design flexibility.  Tile can often be used for trim or backsplashes.  The downside of tile is that the grouts can be easily stained.  Also the tiles can become chipped or cracked.