5 Ways To Tell When Your Sash Windows Need Servicing Or Repair

Do you have sash windows? If so, you might find it useful to know when they need service or repair. Here are five ways to tell…

5 Ways To Tell When Your Sash Windows Need Servicing Or Repair

1. The joints on your lower sashes

When considering the structural condition of sash windows, the first place to look is outside. Almost all wear and tare occurs externally. The most common points on a window to fail are the joints of the lower sash. These are mortice and tenoned together and bound by wedging and epoxy glue. This is a joint that can hold for more than a hundred years in UK weather conditions but will eventually fail. This occurs when paint begins to peel away and moisture penetrates under the rail. This swells the stile and makes it pull away from the lower rail. Also, the moisture helps to deteriorate the joint of glue and timber so it’s a double effect.

Fortunately there’s a simple solution to this. Make sure you keep the lower rail of your sash well painted to moisture can’t penetrate. Maintenance before repairs will save a fortune. The cost of replacing a lower rail in this situation is around £400 as the window needs removing, then the rail repairing, and then the sash needs refitting with new sash cords which is a lengthy process.

2. The sash cords are beginning to fray

Sash cords begin to fray after twenty years. This assumes they are high quality nylon core, lower quality cloth only cords might only last ten years. The problem with a sash cord that frays is the possibility of breaking panes of glass when the window is open. You open the window for some fresh air and then walk away, only to hear a loud crash and that dreaded broken glass noise. As the sash falls it lands on one edge first causing the shape to distort as timber has a lot of flexibility. Unfortunately glass doesn’t and this pushes the edge of the glass into the pins that hold it in or frame of the sash.

On the other hand if the glass was installed correctly with a 3mm gap around the edges and the putty holding glass to sash firmly then you might be lucky, the glass might not break and you’ll only need to replace the sash cords. Most sash window repair companies will offer this service for around £200. Historic England offer plenty of sound advice in their PDF with regards to traditional window care.

3. Sash window sill starts to look rotten

When sash window sills start to look weathered and rotten they can actually be replaced without replacing the window entirely. There are sash window repair specialists that can cut out the effective timber, treat the remaining section, and then splice timber back with a resin bond to ensure a lasting job. The repairs are then primed and undercoated. You might not ever realise your windows have been repaired if done properly.

4. Misted double glazed units

If you already have double glazed sash windows, which is perfectly normal since they were introduced twenty years ago, then you might be the first to have a glazing repair bill. Some sash window companies will simply remove the sash affected, replace the double glazed unit, and put the window back together. Other sash window specialists refuse to carry out these repairs and deem the window beyond economical repair, attempting to push more new windows. That’s fine if you’re happy with that, but certainly not necessary.

5. Flaking paint on the outside of your sash windows

When paint starts to flake outside its time to paint, as we mentioned in the first and third point it is the beginning of significant repairs and the basis to keeping your windows in tip top condition. If painting is kept up then you’re going to cut sash window repair bills considerably.

*This is a collaborative post.

Green Homes Need Green Gardens 

More and more homeowners have transformed their interior decor and lifestyle to create nature-friendly attitudes at home. You might have switched all your light bulbs for LED solutions that are not only cost-effective but that also dramatically reduce your energy consumption, for instance. Perhaps you’ve been encouraging your family to take shorter showers and turn the tap off while brushing their teeth. It is not uncommon, as well, to pursue your green motivations into the kitchen, where your grocery shopping focuses only on the most sustainable options, from packaging to production. In a word, you have a green home.

However, if your green home is surrounded by a grey and dull garden, your efforts in protecting the ecosystem might seem vain. As a nature-lover, you need to invest time and energy in turning your yard into a green and lush garden. Why so? Because the best way to protect the environment is to create a space where wildlife can roam freely and safely directly at home.

Green Homes Need Green Gardens 

Is it flooded in places?

Home maintenance is the responsibility of the homeowner. You wouldn’t dream of putting your house at risk by falling your maintenance schedule, from cleaning the gutters to keeping your HVAC system under control. However, the same level of care isn’t passed onto the garden. If the gutters on your driveways tend to flood easily, for instance, it might be a sign that they’re blocked. The excess water can lead to wet patches in your garden, which affects not only the vegetation but also the overall soil structure. Additionally, the presence of stagnant water in your garden can also be a health hazard for pets and children. In other words, you want to ensure that rainwater has a clear escape path.

Soil needs nutrients to be productive

Unless you’re a professional gardener, you probably don’t know the soil composition in your garden. However, you can observe if there are visible issues. For instance, if plants struggle to grow, your soil might not be fertile enough. You can use feeding solutions such as Seasol to give your garden all the nutrients it needs. Additionally, you can also make your own compost bin, using biodegradable garbage – fruits and vegetable peels are a favourite, but you can also use eggshells, for instance – to feed your soil. Besides, using composting benefits not only the soil but the environment, as you can dramatically reduce your wastes.

Is your soil too compact or overcrowded?

Last, but not least, if you notice a lot of wet or empty patches where nothing seems to grow, it’s a sign that you might need to dig deep. Indeed, the presence of rocks and other large obstacles – such as bricks or even construction rambles from a previous construction site – in the ground affects its ability to absorb water. Consequently, your garden appears to flood when it rain, even though you’ve got a water evacuation system. Additionally, plants can’t grow roots in the proximity of stones, and therefore they can’t survive. Large obstacles might need breaking up or even professional equipment to be removed safely. For small stones and rocks, you can use a shovel to solve the issue.

Gardening pic of a shovel and a wall

A green garden is a welcoming place for wildlife. It provides shelter and food for small animals and insects. Additionally, it also actively purifies the air around your home and makes your green home lifestyle come true.

*This is a collaborative post

Future-Proof Your Home And Reduce Future Costs

You never what is going to happen in the future. And that is especially the case in the home. There are lots of faults that could occur to the various systems in a property, and these could end up being very expensive to get fixed. Plus, small accidents could leave some furniture and other items in your home in need of repair or replacement. All of these little jobs might not seem like such a big deal when they occur, but over time all of that work and maintenance will eventually add up. When you look back, you might be shocked to learn just how much it’ll cost you.

That’s why it’s a good idea to think about ways you can future-proof your home. This just means that you protect it from things that could go wrong in the future. To find out more about this, read on to learn some great tips…

 Future-Proof Your Home And Reduce Future Costs

Get Your Heating System Serviced

It can be a real pain when a home’s boiler breaks down or has a major fault. You will need to find someone who can fix it as soon as possible, especially if it breaks in the winter months, and this might not be cheap. Thankfully, there is one way to reduce your risk of a fault with the heating. You just need to see your local HVAC contractor and see if they also carry out services. If you get your system serviced at least once a year, then any potential problem could be stopped dead in its tracks.

Make It Eco-Friendly

Lots of people are now very mindful about how their way of life impacts on the environment. As many more people are becoming conscious of this, lots of homeowners are now thinking of ways in which they can make their home more eco-friendly. For instance, you might want to replace your furniture with pieces made from sustainable or recycled materials. It could also be worth installing solar panels to your roof. Not only do they provide your home with greener energy, but you will find that they can also help you reduce your monthly energy bill as well.

See To The Gutters On A Regular Basis

One of the main jobs that gets neglected by homeowners is cleaning the gutters out. Even though this may not seem like such an urgent job, keeping on top of your gutters can help you prevent a lot of damage to the property. When gutters get blocked, the rainwater that collects in them can’t flow down to the drain. Instead, the gutters overflow and the water runs straight down the wall. Water damage is extremely expensive to repair, so you need to stop this happening by cleaning out your gutters on a regular basis!

 

Choose Easy To Clean Floors

Carpets may look nice, but they can be problematic if anything gets spilled on them. To make sure you don’t have to go to the expense of replacing a stained carpet, opt for easy to clean floors, like laminate or wood.

You really do need to look after your home well into the future!

*This is a collaborative post.

Upgrading a Run-Down Property

Working on a property project can be very exciting, especially if you love DIY and styling your home. So when you’ve got a rundown property, here are a few ways to upgrade and improve it

Upgrading A Run Down Property

Set Yourself A Budget & Time Scale

Firstly you want to go about setting a budget for the project. Whether it’s working on one or two rooms or the whole house, it’s important to have a budget. Do your research and find out what the cost would be for materials and any other services you might need to pay for. Don’t go over your budget or set one that’s too high or you can’t afford.

It’s worth also having a timeline for your project. Of course, the inevitable and unexpected can happen, which can delay it, but it’s good to have a deadline of some sort.

Identify Any Permissions Needed

It’s important to identify any permissions that might be needed for you to proceed with any work. Planning permissions can delay a project, so be sure to sort this out before starting the work. Consult your local government or council in regards to the work and if needed, get a solicitor to help with any problems you may encounter along the way. When you’re building an extension of any sort, you also want to factor in your neighbors. At the end of the day, you don’t want to upset anyone, especially those living by you, so approach them regarding your plans.

Work On The Structure

The structure of a house is the most crucial because if it’s not, then it poses a danger to yourself and the household and will no doubt cost you considerably if something bad were to happen. It might be handy to get in a professional to survey the property prior to any work being done as they may be able to spot the damage you don’t see for yourself. Getting it fixed immediately is going to save you money down the line and will make it much more sellable if you decide to move on.

It’s handy to have roof inspections too as this is another part of the property, you won’t be able to see for yourself unless you want to brave it on a ladder. Make sure that any gaps or holes are filled in to prevent you having to call out pest control services. This is particularly important throughout the colder months as vermin, and other pests will seek warmth and find your home attractive!

Replace Old Windows And Doors

You might already have windows and doors that are functioning perfectly well, but after you’ve worked on the structure of the property, it’s a good idea to check just how beneficial they are in keeping your home warm and energy efficient. Double or triple glazing is recommended for windows to lock out the cold and keep in the heat. Your doors could be too heavy or perhaps might not be fireproof.

Insulate Before Decorating

Insulating your home is incredibly important because it will keep your home warm throughout the year and will also save you a huge amount of money over time. Check your wall cavities and roofing to see if there’s any insulation installed already and if not, make it a priority to do so. The materials come in various forms that are suitable for every budget.

Windows and doors can also be insulated such as hanging heavy curtains or thermal blinds. You can also install or have draught excluders attached to the doors to save on heating.

Style The Property To Suit You

The advantages of upgrading a run down property mean you can make it work for you, whatever way you’d like it to do. Whether that’s having open spaces or bedrooms with en-suites, design a property that suits your way of living.

This also factors in when it comes to the decor of your home too. From what kind of furnishings you have, the colors of your wall and whether you have underfloor heating.

Take advantage of any original features that might already be part of the house and emphasize these features. When picking out appliances and white goods, go for quality because they’ll last much longer than the cheap options.

Working on a project like a run down property can be incredibly exciting. You can really transform a property into your perfect home. So if you fancy taking on something new, why not try your hand at a run down property?

*This is a collaborative post

The Ultimate Indoor Gardening Cheat Sheet: Guest Post by Emma – Fixtures and Flowers

It’s a scientific fact that plants breathe life into the atmosphere. Without plants or trees to absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen the human race would have no source of clean air. The world would be forced to breathe recycled or artificially produced oxygen.

The more plants there is then, the less pollution there is. Cities with more trees have healthier populations than those that only have a park or two. This premise applies to individual homes as well. A household would greatly benefit from having more plants inside the residence.

The size of the home is irrelevant, what matters is that there are plants indoors to help clean the air. Other than a natural air purifying system, indoor plants can also produce fresh herbs, vegetables and even fruits. Starting an indoor garden is not all that difficult. Take a look at this ultimate indoor gardening cheat sheet to make it easy…

The Ultimate Indoor Gardening Cheat Sheet: Guest Post by Emma - Fixtures and Flowers

Planting in Soil using containers

The style of using pots and decorative planting containers is the classic method for indoor gardening. It is also one of the most popular and convenient ways to start an indoor garden. The containers can be made of any material, ceramic, metal, plastic or even stone.

There is a timeless beauty in using free-standing containers. They bring a touch of nature indoors and brighten any room as well. They are also easy to handle because one can move them around the house with ease. There are a few things to keep in mind before starting an indoor garden using containers.

Sun spot

Choose an area in the house that takes inadequate sunlight. Proper sunlight is essential for a plant to reach its full potential. As long as the spot gets at least four to six hours of daylight then that should be enough.

Position the plants in that sun spot and decorate around it. Setting the plants in sun-filled setting will be easier than having to move the pot or container outside for it to get some sun.

Soil

Choose the kind of plants that are suitable to be grown indoors. Different types of soil fit the needs of specific plants. Research the type of soil required for the plants before starting an indoor garden. Each kind of plant needs a particular kind of soil.

Preparing the right soil for potted plants is crucial to keep them healthy. For most plants, a store-bought potting mix is an excellent soil base to start with. Then mix that with some compost, and that will create the perfect soil to nurture indoor plants.

Succulents would need a gritty mix that drains well. This is one of those cases where crushed gravel would be the perfect top dressing. Don’t forget to add homemade fertilisers to give your plants more nutrients.

Water

All plant life needs water on a regular basis. That is their primary form of sustenance. Plants absorb water and carbon dioxide to jumpstart photosynthesis.

Water the potted plants using a watering can. Water them early in the morning so that they have the whole day to absorb the water through their roots.

Hydroponics

Indoor gardening has gone through many innovations over the years, and hydroponics is one of them. Hydroponics is a soilless growing system that substitutes soil with an inert media. The purpose of the inert media is to hold the plant upright. It is the base of the plant which suspends it over the water.

Water culture

This is often used in the most basic hydroponics systems. To grow plants in water culture, first put each plant in a container or a growing tray filled with inert medium.

Then immerse the plant containers in an even bigger container filled with nutrient solution. For best results, use an air pump to create bubbles in the nutrient solution to help with aeration.

Nutrient film

This technique foregoes the use on any inert media and suspends the plants right over the nutrient solution. Holes are drilled through PVC tubes to house the plants, and their roots are allowed to grow at the bottom directly immersed in the nutrient solution. It is also advised to use an air pump when using this method to promote root aeration.

Drip system

Instead of the plants being suspended over the nutrient solution. This hydroponic growing technique circulates the nutrient solution throughout the growing media. A water pump continuously pumps the nutrient growing solution.

Aquaponics

This indoor growing technique would be perfect for people that own and love their aquariums. Instead of suspending the plants over a container with a nutrient solution this technique uses the nutrient from fish waste and feeds it directly to the plants.

The plants are set on top of a growing media which is then placed atop the fish tank. The microorganisms in the growing media would then break down the fish waste into proper nutrients for the plants. The plants would then absorb these nutrients.

The microorganisms found in the growing media would technically clean the water of any waste. Aquaponics is an efficient solution to the disposal of fish waste and cost-effective as well because it forgoes the need for the nutrient solution.

Aeroponics

Aeroponics is another new growing technique that can be used for indoor gardening. Here, the plants are housed in containers that do not have any soil and isn’t immersed in any nutrient solution. The containers are there to support the plant and provide access when water is sprayed.

The lower half of the container is filled with small holes or grills which allow the grower to spray water or nutrient solution directly on the roots. This is the same growing technique used by astronauts and is gaining popularity all over the world.

Conclusion

There are several paths to start practising indoor gardening. Choose the technique that best suits your personality. Consider all the factors, pros and cons of each growing technique. No matter what method is used the end results will be the same. Cleaner oxygen, fresh vegetable, fruits and a healthier lifestyle.

Author Bio

Author picture - Emma - Fixtures and Flowers

Emma is a part-time property developer, part-time home improvements and gardening blogger at Fixtures and Flowers, and full time Mum. Given her background, Emma has a lot of advice, tips and tricks that she loves sharing on her blog.

What Food Can You Grow In Winter?

If you enjoy growing your own food, you maybe wondering what you can grow over the colder months and how to prepare your garden now autumn is here, ready for winter. So here are some tips…

What Food Can You Grow In Winter?

Greenhouse

Whilst some plants can survive directly outdoors in winter, is useful to have a greenhouse to successfully grow your own food during the colder months here in the UK. Variable temperatures, hard frost and possible snow means that some won’t thrive without help. If you don’t already have a greenhouse, it is worth investing. Even if you don’t have much space for something larger, there are plenty of options such as these lean to greenhouses for sale from GBC Group for example.

What to plant

There are several things you can still plant outdoors or in a greenhouse to grow over the winter months. Don’t forget you can also plant herbs inside to. Here are some ideas of what to consider planting around October, if you haven’t aready:

Winter salad

This is best planted in a greenhouse, as it will need some protection from the elements.

Leafy Crops

Rockets, chard, kale and other leafy crops manage over winter with some help. Cabbage also does too.

Broad beans

These tend to do quite well over winter and can then be harvested much earlier than those planted in spring.

Peas

Peas tend to be quite hardy so these can be planted outdoors if you wish.

Onions

Onions don’t need much care but they do take a long time to grow. If you plant some now they will be ready next summer. So no time like the present!

Growing onions

Garlic

Growing garlic is similar to onions; planting now will mean they are ready to harvest next summer.

Carrots

Carrots will both just about manage over winter with a little protection. Pop them in the greenhouse and they will do just fine!

Parsnips

Parsnips are also hardy and will do well over winter.

Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts take up alot of space for a fairly long time, but they do well over winter so are worth considering.

Tips

• Protect your plants from hard frost by covering them over with a plastic sheet, tunnel, frame, or grow them in a greenhouse. Adding a layer of mulch will also help protect them.

• Use netting to protect your crop from birds over winter. Also beware of insects during these months, as you would throughout the other seasons.

• Water your crop sparingly over the wetter winter months.

Do you have any tips for preparing your food garden for winter? What else do you grow? 

*This is a collaborative post.

 

 

Eco-Friendly Tiny House Styles: Guest Post by Rose Burke

There are many reasons people decide to join the tiny house community. Some are looking for an off the grid lifestyle while others want the freedom to travel with their house in tow. Without a doubt, the most common reason people opt for living in a tiny house is that they want to reduce their carbon footprint. Ultimately, occupying a small space forces you to be more eco-friendly, even if that wasn’t your original intention. If you’re interested in changing your lifestyle by reducing the number of resources you use each day, find inspiration in these eco-friendly tiny house styles…

Eco-Friendly Tiny House Styles text with tiny house in side of hill image

Solar Powered Tiny House

When a tiny house is built on wheels or in an isolated area, you can’t always get electricity by plugging into the power grid. This factor has inspired members of the tiny house community to come up with some incredibly unique eco-friendly options. One of the most popular electrical alternatives for tiny houses is solar power. While the initial setup can be expensive, they can significantly reduce your electric bill. Over time, they pay for themselves while providing your tiny house with electricity.

Solar powered tiny house

Wind Turbine Powered Tiny House

Since solar power can sometimes be unreliable, it’s essential to have a backup plan. For this reason, those who are designing an eco-friendly home will often use both wind and solar power. Wind turbines can provide your tiny house with electricity during storms and cloudy days when your solar panels might not be getting enough sunlight. Of course, there are more reliable backup options such as a generator for those who can’t go without electricity.

Wind turbine tiny house

Tiny House Natural Lighting

A tiny house with an open design plan offers natural light during the day, eliminating the need for powered lamps until the sun goes down. While some houses do this with wall-length windows, an outdoor porch can have the same effect. Allowing natural light into your tiny house will also give the illusion that it’s larger than it really is.

Natural light

Tiny House Bathrooms Using Composting Toilets

Composting toilets are ideal for the eco-friendly members of the tiny house community, as they’re waterless. While it’s possible to hook up a traditional toilet, that would require being hooked up to a sewage system. If you’re taking your tiny house on the road or want to save some water, then a composting toilet is definitely the best option. They’ve advanced to the point where they can feel no different than being in any other bathroom. Here are the composting toilet options:

• Split systems which secure the composting tank carrying the waste below the toilet and is considered separate from the unit.

• Self-contained systems which store waste in the pedestal of the toilet.

• Continuous systems which allow waste to run out into a compost pile continually.

• Batch systems which separate the waste, composting them at different times.

Bathroom

Tiny House Community Vegetable Gardens

When you’re living off the grid, you can’t just hop in your car and make a trip to the supermarket. The same goes for those who like to travel. For this reason, having a personal vegetable garden has become a popular trend in the tiny house community. Someone with a stationary home will have more room to build their garden, but that doesn’t mean those who keep their house on wheels can’t participate as well. Additionally, many tiny house dwellers who rent pieces of the same land will come together to build a community garden. This allows people to work for their food, but also to have the freedom to pack up their house and move on when they want.

Tiny house veg garden

 

Tiny House Built Out Of Recycled Materials

Since most tiny homes are made on a budget, it only makes sense that they would be created from recycled materials. While some tiny house builders use wood or sheet metal from old and demolished structures, others repurpose storage containers, train cars, school buses, or anything else they can get their hands on. And that’s just the exterior. The interior tends to be eco-friendly as well. Everything from the house’s insulation to the lighting fixtures are often made of recycled or repurposed materials. Even those without a creative bone in their body will find themselves working on a few DIY projects if it means staying on budget.

Recycled house

Summary

As you can see, when it comes to choosing a tiny house style that’s most suitable for your needs, there are a number of eco-friendly options to choose from. To what degree you decide to reduce your mark on the environment is ultimately up to you. By taking on a tiny lifestyle, you’re already taking a big step in the right direction!

*This is a guest post.

Maximising Space in Your Home

As autumn draws in, you might be thinking about how to make your home cosy for winter. Clutter, or general lack of space, can take away from that homely feeling and often prevents us from fully being able to relax. Finding ways to maximise space in your home, so that everything is organised and has its place, helps us to create an ideal environment for those winter lazy days…

Maximising Space in Your Home text with image of shelving in a small room

Storage

Wall to wall and/ or floor to ceiling shelves help to keep everything tidy so the rest of the room has more space. Storage can also be used to section off rooms and provide various areas within your home, creating useful spaces for different purposes.

Woman sat on chair reading. Wall to wall ceiling to floor bookcase behind her

Put things higher up

If possible, keep things off the floor. Try to put shelving above eye level to give a spacious feel to the room. Wall mount your TV too if possible. The more stuff on the floor, the more closed in and cluttered a room feels. Shelving and cupboards help to spread things out; display on shelves what you want to see and hide in cupboards what you don’t.

Wall mounted tv in a modern room with nature themed decor

Furniture

Fewer but well chosen pieces of furniture will maximise the space you have available. Small, low furniture gives the impression the room is larger.

On the otherhand, larger furniture can be multi-purpose so uses space effectively too. For example, opt for a day bed or bed with underneath storage.

Use Rooms Effectively

If you have a particularly large room, or open plan, you might want to consider making these rooms multi-purpose. For example, you could create a small office space in the corner of your kitchen. You can use storage to partition rooms too, as explained above.

Kitchen with a desk and chair in the corner. Multi-purpose use of space.

Outdoors

It is very useful to have some form of outdoor storage, to get some of your belongings out of the house completely. Sheds can be handy, depending on what you want to store. Garages also provide excellent storage, and/ or can be used as an extra working space as well. When trying to maximise space indoors, remember to think of your outdoor spaces too!

A solid shed for storage

Do you have any tips for maximising space in your home? I would love to read them in comments!

*This is a collaborative post.

Energy saving tips: Are solar panels right for my home?

On paper, the prospect of using solar panels – otherwise known as solar photovoltaic or solar PV panels – to meet your home’s energy needs looks very promising. Imagine always having a stream of free electricity on tap, with its availability affected only by the sun.

This is the ideal, anyway – but, in practice, not all of this would be borne out. There are various issues to consider if you are undecided about whether to opt for solar panels…

Energy saving tips: Are solar panels right for my home?

Do you have a suitable roof?

Thinking about whether or not to have solar panels fitted could essentially be pointless if your roof wouldn’t be suitable for them anyway. You should rule out solar panels for a north-facing roof, as it won’t get enough direct sunlight, warns the Energy Saving Trust.

Your roof also needs to be sufficiently strong to hold up PV panels,as they are heavy, Which? cautions. A roofing North East firm could strengthen your roof if you live in the local area.

Do you primarily aim to save carbon or money?

People tend to decide on solar panel installation due to the possibility of trimming the household’s greenhouse gas emissions or its financial expenditure on energy.

In your case, you need to decide which of the two is more important to you. Though you could yearly save as much as two tonnes of carbon, the financial savings are not always so clear-cut, as the installation would typically cost over £5,000 and so could take a disconcerting while to pay for itself.

The feed-in tariff is getting slowly reduced

In an attempt to somewhat make up for the initial financial blow of a solar PV installation, you could apply for the feed-in-tariff (FiT), a government scheme that pays you to make your own electricity.

However, in July 2018, the government revealed its intent to bar new applications to FiT from April 2019. You would only be exempt if you both commission your installation and get a complete MCS certificate issued prior to 31 March 2019; you could apply for FiT until 31 January 2020, Which? says.

Investigate whether you would need planning permission

The good news is that, for the majority of domestic solar panels, planning permission isn’t necessary – provided that these panels are below a particular size. However, we still urge you to get in touch with your council to learn for certain.

You would require planning permission if, for example, you want solar panels added to a listed building or a building either in a conservation area or on a World Heritage Site.

Solar panels

Are there other costs to consider?

Once a solar PV system is in place, you shouldn’t expect to have to spend a lot of time on maintaining it due to its relative simplicity and absence of moving parts. Still, within 25 years, you would have to replace the inverter at a cost of roughly £1,000 in many instances. There is evidence that you might even need to replace it much sooner than that.

*This is a collaborative post.

Eco- Friendly Options For Your Interiors

After recently finishing off decorating a room, it can sometimes feel like you could start over as it just isn’t looking how you imagined. But, constantly changing your home’s interior can not only be costly to your bank balance, it can also have a big environmental cost. Even when starting a new project from the ground up, there are a number of environmental considerations to make in each step.

Choosing interior design pieces that are environmentally friendly is definitely something that you should consider. Eco-chic is becoming a large part of many professional designers work and something they are beginning to actively promote. Of course, going eco-friendly doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on your design.

Reusing & Recycling

Book chair #reuse #upcycle

Before you make the decision to makeover your room with a great new design, you should take into consideration what is working already. Maybe you have a set of cabinets which are serving a purpose that couldn’t be replaced, so there is no need to remove them. Perhaps consider moving them to another place within the room. If you don’t like the colour, you can simple spruce them up with a few coats of paint to match your new interior colour scheme.

Another great idea is to switch around your curtains or drapes between rooms. If you have a set of curtains/drapes which will not match up with the new design, perhaps you can change them with another room in your house, rather than going out and purchasing a new pair. If you don’t have anything suitable in your own home, then why not see if you can swap with your friends?

Recycling Glass

Recycled glass table

With a number of suppliers coming up in the past few years offering recycled glass to be used in your home. A wide variety of design options are available for using glass within your home, with specialists even developing recycled glass into a source material used in wall tiles.

The tiles produced from this recycled glass give a great reflective sparkle and really catch the light in a unique way. This means that they are the perfect addition to any bathroom. These recycled glass products can also be used on your kitchen counters, lighting panels and even on your table top. If you are looking to use either a quartz or granite in your design, then you should consider replacing these with recycled glass, which makes for a smarter and more environmentally alternative.

Timber

When it comes to timber, you are best avoiding any furniture which uses hardwood (high density) within its construction. Hardwoods are mainly brought in from tropical rain forests, which are already being heavily depleted. There are a number of environmentally friendly options available in terms of wood furniture, so make sure you take a look around before deciding.

If you are wanting to go with a hardwood then you should make sure that you look out for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) mark. Eco furniture which is often made using reclaimed wood and saw dust, can often be a lot more stylish and fitting for a room than hardwood. So don’t go abandoning the idea straight away.

Other options to achieve a more wooden look whilst being environmentally friendly is to choose a real wood venetian blind for your window dressing. These blinds are made using wood from sustainable forests and have a very low impact on the environment throughout their production.

Hardwood floors

Eco-Chic Flooring

Choosing the right flooring for you interior can be challenging, especially when considering one that is made using a sustainable material. However, there are many suppliers who are seeing the demand for this style of flooring and the popularity it currently has. If you are looking for a floor that is hard wearing then bamboo is definitely a great choice! With bamboo having a high fiber rating than most hardwood flooring and being overall very strong.

As bamboo has a very short grow time which means that it can be harvested regularly unlike with hardwood. It has a great underfoot feeling and is a great natural material which can be recycled after it has been used. Another option would be to use interlocking eco floor tiles. These are made from hard wearing recycled material and look fantastic whether you use them in your kitchen or bathroom. With another benefit being that they give great thermal insulation.

Paint

VOC free paint logo

A number of paint products contain harmful chemicals, these are known as VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds). Therefore, it is important that you choose a paint which doesn’t contain these compounds (VOC Free), especially if you are painting your children’s bedrooms. Reusing your past paint trays are a better choice than going out and buying new ones. Of course, if you’re a first time buyer or have only just moved out of your parents home, you won’t have any old paint trays. Instead, you could select reusable paint trays, which are made using recycled cardboard.

*This is a collaborative post.