Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Different Types of Roofing Materials


The roof of a building is as important as the rest of the structure. Choosing the roofing material goes beyond the beauty of the finished house; builders consider a number of factors in determining the kind of roofing materials to use. Some of these considerations include culture, climatic conditions, finance, and the design of the building.

Metals wrought into thin sheets can be used for roofing. Some come in plain sheets and others in corrugated sheets. Steel is used in roofing when coated with an alloy of zinc and aluminium. Galvanised steel is the most popular in developing regions.

The problem with untreated iron roofs is that they are bound to rust, which shortens their lifespan. For this reason, large industries use steel and copper for roofing because of their durability. It is estimated that copper roofs last for over a century. They are also easy for mechanical manipulation, suitable for sharp thermal variations, resistant to rust and require little or no maintenance at all. Metallic roofs are commonly used within the tropics for domestic purposes.

Thatched houses use plant materials that are dried and fostered into bundles which are then arranged in layers across the roof top. In Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, thatching is done using tall grass and papyrus reeds. In parts of America and Europe, thatching is done using Rye, sea grass and wheat straw. It should be noted that thatching has nothing to do with social class, but rather the availability of material and the design of the house. Thatched roofs need continuous maintenance.

The other type of roofing material is tiles. Tiles can last over a century if well designed and manufactured. Roofing tiles come in different shapes, sizes and colours. They form a much stronger roof than metal sheets and thatching. They require maintenance, and re-alignment of the tiles and repainting should be done once in ten years.

Some buildings are roofed using concrete slabs. This is common in storied buildings. You can even find a roof top garden or restaurant as the roof is as sturdy as the flooring.

There are roofs tailored for special structures and purposes, such as the roofing of a nuclear plant and other industrial applications. Synthetic tiles made from carbon compounds are common for such roofs. Synthetic roofs are actually fast becoming popular for commercial use. Using a combination of both natural and artificial materials is growing into a trend in a bid to reinforce roofs, provide variety and enhance aesthetics.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Factors to Consider While Building Your Dream House


A dream house becomes a reality for very few. This is partly because most people hardly ever build a robust image of their dream house. Naturally, they admire every great house they see or enter. This problem stems from character and personal principles.

The other thing that prevents most people from building their dream house is resources. The realities for many people are financial constraints, making it very difficult to gather all the requirements then build the house. Fortunately, there is a way you can conceptualize your dream house and make it a reality, and not declare bankruptcy.

• Conceive the dream house in the mind first, then believe in it and make it one of your cardinal objectives. Without this, one is bound to keep shifting mind on what they think to be the house they desire.

• Sketch the house on a paper and if it is a borrowed concept, get the pictures of the house and work at perfecting it. You can build a model to help capture the 2D paper drawing. Modelled house pins give the most vivid house design.

• You may contract professional architects to help you capture the mental image of the house. Otherwise, you can learn to do this by use of popular software such as architectural AutoCAD, Google Sketch Up and premium Adobe suite.

• Get professional guidance on costs by consulting established firms and individual experts in real estate and property industry. Consult as wide as possible, noting down the details of the costs and requirements.

• Collect resources through practical and reasonable means. You can take a mortgage, save money or buy the requirements bit by bit. Ideally, consult a property financing firm on finances and payment logistics.

• Once all the resources are available, engage builders and contractors. Consider their repute, assess their past projects and check their cost estimates. Location, access, possible future expansion of the compound or need for modification must be put into perspective. There are various styles of dream houses: contemporary house plans, Victorian house plans, Mediterranean House plans, Neoclassical House plans, and the new American House plan. Some houses are built for special personal assignments that you may want to carry out in future. You may want to include a garden, paved drive-way, manicured lawn and many other fancy features. Therefore, you must include everything in the house plan right from the start.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Do You Repair or Renovate? Make the Right Decision

In order to decide what a space requires by way of repairs or renovations, it is important to understand what each of the processes entail.

Repairs are pretty straight forward. They entail a rejoining of parts that are broken, leaking, lose or faulty. Often, nothing new is added in the process of repairing. Sometimes, depending on the nature of the repair, a few new parts may be required. However, the original structure or face of a space remains the same. An example would be the replacement of cracked or broken tiles or windows. All that is necessary is obtaining replacement items of the same design for the area.

Renovation, sometimes known as remodelling, is literally building a space all over again. Renovations often entail the removal of entire parts or sections of the structure and reconstructing them in a new way. For example, a kitchen remodelling job could entail the removal of all storage cabinets from one side of the kitchen and relocating them to another.

When considering whether to renovate or repair, the major question to ask is the purpose which the repair or renovation serves; if it is to repair damage or simply improve the appearance of a space. Renovation can create more space in a room, decrease the space, add to it or rearrange the floor plan entirely. The essential thing with renovations is to ensure that the structural pillars that support the building are not tampered with.

The other element to look at when considering repairs or renovations is the cost. Calculate the cost of renovation not just monetarily, but in terms of time and effort. Repairs tend to be simple unless the damage affects the structure. They also take a short amount of time. What's more, the parts that required the repair can be put back to use in a matter of hours.

Renovations, on the other hand, will often cost much more because of the complexities in recreating a structure’s appearance. They will cost more in financial terms and they will cost even more in the time they will take to complete. There is an interior designer to be paid, a construction crew that needs its money, new materials to be purchased, and so on.

Ultimately, it is advisable to check with professionals when it comes to repairs or renovations. Seek advice from them and have them do the job for you, unless of course you have the necessary qualifications in building engineering and construction or somehow know how to do it yourself.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Valuing a House through Fixtures and Fittings


A property with no fixtures and fittings is simply a shell. Fixtures and fittings are the things that make a property habitable. They are the finishing touches that help viewers visualise occupying the space.

To be clear, fixtures are those things in homes that are inbuilt in the construction process. They include light fixtures, sinks, taps, bathtubs, toilets, sockets, switches and inbuilt cupboards and cabinets. They may even include some types of flooring. Fittings are those things that are not inbuilt, but form a part of the home. They can be viewed in a similar light as furnishings. They are moveable, freestanding items such as cookers, fridges, lampshades, paintings that are hung up and free standing art, as well as curtains, rails and rods.

The importance of fixtures and fittings arises especially when it comes to purchasing property. Fixtures will often come with the property but because there is no particular law regarding fittings, one may not always find them on the day that they move into their new property. Another importance of fixtures and fittings is in their effects on the price of the property purchased. Fixtures and fittings increase the value of property. The fewer there are, the lower the value of the property.

In order to ensure that you are getting true value for your money, it is important to meet with the vendor of a property before negotiations begin to make a list of all the fixtures and fittings within the property. Once this is done, it is important to check off those that will remain and take note of those that will not. This information, as stated earlier, will come in handy when it comes to the price settlement. You, as a buyer, can deduce whether the cost you are purchasing the property at is the real cost or if the price has been inflated under the cover of fixtures and fittings, which will not be there when the moving day arrives.

In order to protect yourself from losing out during the purchase of a property, the onus is up to you the buyer to ensure that you have inspected the premises and obtained a list of fixtures and fittings from the vendor. Ensure that both parties agree on which ones will remain by checking them off a list and then sign a purchase agreement that reflects all the terms that have been agreed upon.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

All about Floors


The floor is a very key component of a construction. Many would say the ceiling or the walls would perhaps be the most crucial because they support the structure of the building or the house. However, floors receive the most wear and tear. They are more frequently in need of repair than walls or ceilings.

It is important to understand the type of floor you have in order to appropriate the necessary maintenance and repairs, so that it can serve you longer. Many types of flooring are durable and have a beautiful finish. You do not have to have the same type of flooring throughout the whole house. Different floor types are suited to different areas. For example, tiles are for wet areas as opposed to wooden finishes.

1.      Hardwood floors have a beautiful finish and are long-lasting. However, time causes the wood to expand causing swelling, or the wood could shrink causing gaps between the boards. Hardwood floors can be refinished and this is an added advantage during repairs and maintenance.

Hardwood floors are maintained by regular waxing and polishing. This keeps them waterproof and keeps the wood from absorbing or losing moisture, which is what causes them to shrink and swell.

2.      Marble flooring is durable and versatile. It is also easy to clean and maintain. Marble tiles come in different sizes, colours, and can have patterns and motifs engraved or embossed on them to create decorative finishes. They are easily replaced and a chipped tile does not necessarily mean that the whole floor has to be retiled.

Marble tiles can be maintained with water and soft soap. Keeping them dry also prevents accidents due to slipping on wet floors.

3.      Laminate flooring is easy to install and maintain. It also comes in a variety of shades and finishes. It is good for high traffic areas. However it cannot be refinished, meaning that repairs and maintenance will often entail an entire process of resurfacing.

Laminate flooring can also be maintained with soft soap and water. Keeping the surface completely dry keeps water from seeping under the surface and causing the flooring to become loose.

4.      Bamboo floors are the latest in green solutions. They are lightweight and durable and come in a variety of shades. Bamboo floors will darken with sun exposure but should never be left wet.

The maintenance of bamboo floors is similar to that of hardwood floors. They benefit from regular waxing. Should they get too dark, you can sand and reapply the wax on them.

5.      Ceramic tiles, like marble tiles, are also durable and versatile. They are easy to clean and maintain as well as replace. However, cracks are more difficult to mask and low quality tiles are likely to chip.

Like marble tiles, they are good for wet areas and can often withstand prolonged periods in water. When cracked or chipped, they should be replaced immediately and not just for the aesthetics. The disrepair could affect other tiles around causing them to be disconnected from the bonding.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Post Construction Inspection

The importance of post construction inspection cannot be overstated. Although it is the responsibility of the contractor through the building inspector to ensure that everything in the building works and has been constructed up to the building code standards, there is a degree of responsibility on the part of the person wishing to occupy the space to ensure that they do not get the short end of the stick after the construction is done.

A good way of doing the necessary inspection is by personally visiting the premises that you intend to occupy. It is also advisable to take someone else along with you to provide an extra set of eyes, ears, and mind for insight. Even if one is not a contractor, engineer, or building inspector, it is possible to do a thorough inspection. The value here is that your inspection is from the perspective of a user. As a result, your view would not be technical, but rather, functional.

In order to conduct a meaningful inspection that does not just entail admiring the interior design and finishing, allocate a reasonable amount of time for the visit. Show houses or show rooms are just that. They are for show. They give an idea of what the final product is expected to look like. They are not the final product. You should visit the real building.

Make a list of the expectations you may have of the space, its fixtures, and fittings. Once you are clear on what your expectations are, organise to visit the premises. Usually, someone will be there to walk you through the house, highlighting things such as the space and the materials used in certain fixtures, fittings, and finishes. When this is done, they normally walk away perhaps to another room to let you ponder and weigh your options.

This is where that list you made comes into play. Go to each and every room and test the sturdiness of handles, knobs, hinges, hooks, rods, latches, taps, and the plumbing as well as the water supply. Make notes where applicable and share these with your guide in order to have them addressed. Handles, knobs, and hinges should be firmly fitted and smooth in their motion. Hooks and rods should be firmly fitted and not loose or easy to pull out. A simple firm yank at them can easily determine this. Latches should also be firmly fitted and smooth in their motion.

The only way to inspect taps and plumbing is by running the taps for a few minutes. Debris and dust collect in the inside of taps and plumbing during construction. Running taps for a minute or two helps to clear the debris and determine if there is any blockage or leakage in the plumbing. The same process applies for the toilet- flushing once or twice allows you to gauge the efficacy of the cistern.

A well inspected building sets the tone for negotiation. It serves an individual well to carry out one of their own and have any emerging issues addressed before occupying it.

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Friday, 26 April 2013

Helpful Tips on Hiring Home Builders


Building a unique home is a dream many people cherish, so this should be an essential investment decision in your life. You need to check on different miniscule details, from choosing the floor plan and deciding a colour theme to shaping the exterior. After getting all the resources you need to set up the home, the main step remaining between you and the realization of the dream is to get a building contractor. Here are useful tips to make the process easier.

Prior to starting the project, carry out groundwork. To save on money, effort, and time, you should outline the basics. Start with budgeting to find out how much the entire project will cost you. Before making any foray, you should appraise the property value. Try to synchronize the budget with the latest market prices to ensure your expenditure does not exceed the approximate market price. There is a possibility that you may have to go for construction loans to help you tackle the costs. In spite of the situation, do your best to stick to the budget.

You should understand the construction materials required. Always purchase high quality materials, which are quality tested and certified. Steer clear of any dubious dealers that provide low quality products at a lower cost than the market price. Keep in mind that product quality will finally determine the durability of the structure. Apart from that, you should consider the amount of space, project viability, desired expectations, and so on.

You might have thought about numerous ideas to build your home, but found it hard to make them work. This is where you will find homebuilders handy. These contractors will have knowledge, expertise, artistic vision, and the latest technology needed to actualize your vision.  From the first planning and conceptualization to designing and execution, these experts will handle every minor detail. They will take you through the whole process and ensure nothing is left out during planning. With the assistance of homebuilders, you will save more money in your construction project.

The other aspect is to know what to search for in the homebuilders. Your priority should always be to select the best homebuilders. With the different kinds of building contractors in the market, you should take your time to find a reliable contractor who will meet your expectations. Thus, you should go with the time-tested concepts; verify licensing, check for experience and reputation of the firm, check for insurance, and find out whether the builder is experienced in handling projects similar to the one you have. The best way to evaluate the company’s credibility is to check the existing customer testimonials or records from the local builders associations.

The best way to proceed is to find bids from different competitive sources and then compare these bids to ensure you get the value of your investment. Also, assess whether the company carries out the same amount of work, offers quality work, and charges similar prices. If you make these considerations, you will find a builder whose services fit your construction requirements.