Archive for the ‘General’ Category

How to Prepare Your Home for the Big Freeze

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Ideal_Additional_Picture-169With recent weather reports spreading rumours of another ‘big-freeze’ this winter, there are a number of ways that you could choose to take this news…

  • You might like to ignore these reports and wait until you see (and feel) the bad weather for yourself.
  • Alternatively, you could end up taking some precautions to ensure that your home will be adequately protected against the elements.

Whether or not the mercury drops to record lows this year, the sensible approach would be to err on the side of caution and make sure that your home is, at the very least, ready to be a safe, habitable environment, whatever the weather.

Top tips for a warm winter home

Ideal Windows Edinburgh has compiled a list of handy hints which can help you to make your home a cosier, comfier environment this winter:

Invest in high-grade double-glazing

If you have single-glazed or older double glazed windows installed at home, you might be surprised at the difference that you’ll make to your living environment by having them replaced with new double-glazed units.

The latest models are built to lower heat-loss in your home whilst limiting draughts, meaning that you can be confident your abode will be comfortable once the frost starts to settle outside.

Ensure that your doors are up-to-scratch

A poorly-fitting or flimsily-constructed door won’t provide much defence against icy winds, whilst the warmth that your heating systems are working hard to generate will quite easily find its way out of your home.

The newest doors available today are specially designed to cut out draughts and keep your home safe and warm when the coldest winters strike, so investing in an upgrade makes a lot of sense.

Make sure that your heating system is well-maintained

Whilst new double glazing and energy-efficient doors will do their bit to lower your heating costs, another important factor to consider is the age and condition of your heating system.

By ensuring that your heating solution is fully functional and working at optimal efficiency, you’ll help to keep your home comfortable whilst saving money.

Think about your roofline

A poorly maintained roofline can be the source of many headaches in the home, especially during colder, stormier seasons: Broken verges, torn felt, smashed tiles, blocked gutters and worn-out fascias can soon turn from unflattering (but out-of-sight) eyesores, to the root of much deeper problems: Damp, rot and full-on water ingress can all end up permeating your building, transforming a once pleasant home into an uninhabitable, potentially unsafe environment.

By getting your roof checked and revitalised, you’ll be protecting yet another aspect of your home against the impending ice-age that weather reports keep promising is on its way!

Get your water pipes insulated

One of the biggest fears that many homeowners have is the possibility that their water pipes might end up freezing when the weather takes a turn for the worst: The chances of this calamity ever occurring can be minimised by investing in some foam insulation: If you decide to install these yourself, be sure to take extra care around hot pipes and to ask at your local hardware shop for advice on the best kind of foam to purchase.

If in any doubt, be sure to call in a tradesman to ensure that a safe, effective job will be carried out.

What does your door colour say about your personality?

Friday, October 11th, 2013

What_Does_Your_Door_Colour_Say_About_You_ImageAt Ideal Windows and Conservatories, we know a thing or two about home improvements: In our 20 years of serving the Edinburgh, Fife and Lothian areas, we’ve helped countless scores of customers to find the perfect windows, doors and conservatories for their properties.

When it comes to investing in new doors for your home, one of the most important factors to consider is the kind of impression you wish this vital feature to project to the world: after all, first impressions count!

Whilst security features, efficiency, durability and other aspects of performance should always be your chief concern, one of the most enjoyable aspects of investing in a new door is deciding which colour would suit your home and reflect your personality most accurately.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular (and unusual) colour choices for door finishes and see what kind of associations are linked with each hue…

Red

If you opt for a red door, you are likely to be a passionate, energetic and warm individual who likes having some excitement in their life: You are both impulsive and charming.

Green

Green means that you enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the great outdoors; you are a calm, relaxed individual with a dynamic personality.

Blue

Blue implies trustworthiness and projects a powerful image of success to the world; it also hints at a creative spark and implies that you are cool-headed and warm-hearted.

Yellow

Yellow tells the world that you are a bright, cheery and positive person whose optimism and sensitive nature rubs off on others with uplifting effects.

Brown/Wooden Effect

You are calm and reliable, with a love for tradition and understated touches of elegance: A real down-to-earth individual who enjoys being at one with the natural world.

Orange

Much like red, orange is a warming colour with a real burst of energy about it: You are sharp, enthusiastic and passionate, with a pleasant, sociable personality.

Purple

A regal purple tone implies that you are confident and dignified, with an artistic streak and empathetic nature.

Pink

Pink indicates that you are confident, outgoing and fun-loving, with a playful and emotional nature;

Turquoise

Turquoise tells others that you are compassionate, decisive and creative: You are known for projecting a calming, soothing aura.

Black

This powerful tone carries an air of authority, discipline and dignity with it and indicates a strong-minded, independent personality.

White

The lightest possible tone carries a positive vibe and implies that you are logical and organised in your way of thinking, with a love of simplicity and structure: As with black, you seek independence in your life.

Grey

Grey would tell others that you are one cool cucumber! You are a calming, comforting presence that others can depend upon.

A Beginner’s Guide to Sunrooms

Monday, July 8th, 2013

If you are considering investing in a sunroom, it is only natural that you might have a few questions before you move ahead with your project.

With this in mind, Ideal Windows and conservatories, your local sunroom Edinburgh specialist, has compiled this handy beginner’s guide to Sunrooms

What is a sunroom?

A sunroom is a versatile class of extension which closely resembles a conservatory;

Whilst conservatories are characterised by their glazed roof and walls, sunrooms typically feature at least three glazed walls and a solid roof.

Functionally, a sunroom can be used like any normal room in your home, but with the added benefits of improved levels of natural light and better views of your surroundings.

Why invest in a sunroom?

Put simply, a sunroom opens up new possibilities in your home, offering you some of the best features of a conservatory, in a more versatile package;

Such a space can be used as:

  • A place to indulge your hobbies, from a spot of painting to gardening
  • An energising, tranquil office space
  • A secure family playroom
  • A vibrant dining room
  • An extra bedroom

In fact, with a sunroom, the only limit is your imagination!

What style of sunroom should I get?

When planning out a sunroom extension, it is important to think about which style is right for your needs – some of the most popular styles include:

  • Full-glass sunrooms: From top-to-bottom, an uninterrupted wall of glass will surround each corner of your sunroom.
  • Partial-glass sunrooms: These typically feature large, prominent windows and knee-height, opaque walls.
  • Room conversion: If you have an existing, suitable room that you’d like to transform, it may be possible to turn it into a stunning sunroom.
  • Roof windows: For a sunroom that will bring extra light into your life, you might want to consider picking a design which includes roof windows.
  • Insulated: If you intend to use your sunroom all year round, an insulated design is a must!
  • Un-insulated: Alternatively, if you only wish to make use of your sunroom during the warmer months, an un-insulated design might suit your needs better.

What type of windows can I add?

Another important consideration when planning a sunroom is your decision on what kind of windows you’d like to have fitted.

Ideal Windows & Conservatories offers:

  • Casement: A popular, practical style.
  • Sash & Case: For a touch of timeless elegance.
  • Reversible: Efficient and easy to maintain.
  • Tilt & Turn: A flexible, versatile option for all seasons.

How can I get started?

Our expert team is here to answer all of your questions and to provide you with expert advice on:

  • Planning permission and building warrants requirements
  • The design of your new sunroom
  • Servicing options

Simply give us a call on 0131 440 4117, get a free online quote, or visit our showroom and set the ball rolling on your new project!

How to Choose a Roofline That Will Last

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

When it comes to protecting your house, it is easy to put a lot of emphasis on choosing robust, modern windows and doors: but one part of the home which tends to be neglected is the humble roofline: the fact that we are rarely face to face with this feature may help to explain why this feature is often underappreciated and left to degrade over the years;

Is water damage waiting to strike your home?

A poorly maintained or out-of-date roofline could fall victim to rot, warping, flaking paint or any number of damaging factors, which can all lead to deeper problems setting root in your home, including the serious possibility of water damage.

What can you do to prevent issues with your next choice of roofline?

If you are looking to upgrade to a brand new roofline, it is worth taking your time to choose carefully, to ensure that you are picking a design which will give you many years of reliable service to come;

For a wise choice, try making sure that your new roofline ticks the following boxes:

  • It should be graded as ‘weatherproof’ by the manufacturer
  • It should resist most alkalis, acids, air pollution, seawater, insects and other contaminants.
  • It should resist UV degradation.
  • It should require very little in the way of maintenance.
  • It should perfectly complement your property.

Choose a roofline that comes with a guarantee

It is possible to get rooflines which come with a 10 or 15 year guarantee against environmental weathering: this means that they should retain their full functionality and appearance for the minimum duration stated in the guarantee: typically, however, you can expect any high quality roofline with a guarantee like this to last much, much longer.

What enhancements are available for the latest rooflines?

Aside from just being functional features of your property, modern rooflines come with a range of enhanced features that will give you improved functionality and help to improve the look and feel of your property;

Some of the most popular enhancements include:

  • Decorative fascias: these help to make for a more attractive appearance, with some options including compatibility with specialised lighting systems.
  • Guards: protection against unwanted debris or even specialist guards designed to prevent insects from entering your home via the roofline are available for modern installations.
  • Improved ventilation systems: Look for a roofline which comes with enhanced ventilation, to ensure that you can avoid problems associated with condensation.

Ideal Windows and Conservatories Offering You Ideal Home Improvements

Thursday, September 20th, 2012
Approved Craftsman

There’s nothing more satisfying to us at Ideal Windows and conservatories than a happy customer. We love receiving your letters and testimonials and it genuinely makes us feel good about our daily work.

Of course while we get a burst of pride every time we hear from a happy customer, we certainly don’t want to start resting on our laurels. That’s why we love your feedback so much. It helps us to make sure that we are always improving our service and keeping ahead of the curve in terms of quality craftsmanship.

That’s why in association with the Consumer Protection Association we’re pleased to publish the feedback we got from our clients between 1st April and 30th June this year.

Overall Performance

Pie Chart of Customer Satisfaction The pie chart opposite shows the scores that our surveyed customers awarded us in respect to our overall performance.

The scores were supplied by our customers who applied for their Insurance Backed Guarantee on completion of their home improvement.

It’s a great feeling to know that our customers are happy with the work we do but we don’t just want to be good, we want to excel.

So where do we go from here? Well we want to make sure that we manage to go that extra mile to turn Very Good Service into Excellent Service.

Customer Appraisals

At Ideal Windows and Conservatories we always want to be Courteous, Professional and get every job completed as efficiently as possible with minimal inconvenience to you. Our staff take great pride in their work and this always makes for better quality service throughout. That said, we wanted to let you decide with our employee service appraisals.

We’re proud to hear that our customers are happy with each area of our service and will certainly be striving to keep it that way.

We would like to thank all of our customers who took the time to give us their feedback as well as all of the letters you have sent us. While we’re at it we’d like to thank all of our customers for putting their faith in us and hope that whatever your home improvement, you’re ecstatic with the results.

If you are interested in a conservatory or home improvement service that will go the extra mile to make sure you get exactly what you want, then why not give us a quick call on 0131 440 4117. We’d be more than happy to hear from you.

Alternatively, email us at Ideal.w.c@btconnect.com or drop into our showroom 7 days a week.

What type of furniture is best for your conservatory?

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Your Conservatory is a fantastic investment which you will be able to enjoy for many years to come: but can the same be said for your choice of furniture?

conservatories are able to bring the feel of the outside world indoors in a unique way: they are a sheltered, comfy environment which sits between your home interior and your garden;

In such a sun-bathed space, it is a good idea to carefully consider the design and materials of any furniture which you are intending to add to your conservatory.

Before you go out and purchase that suite which caught your eye in a TV ad, or move your old living room armchair in, have a think about how suitable it will be as part of your conservatory’s décor, in terms of form and function;

To help determine how suitable an item is for use in your conservatory, here are a few recommendations to consider:

Avoid furniture which will fade easily

Articles which furnish your conservatory will be exposed to more sunlight than they would in other parts of the house: pick furniture with the wrong materials and you could end up with faded, sun-damaged items which will look out of place in your beautiful relaxation zone;

Prevent disaster by picking high grade cane, rattan or synthetic wicker furniture which is suitable for all-weather conditions;

Some of the conservatory furniture you can buy these days will be suitable for outdoor use – choosing articles with this property will give you a versatile addition which will do double-duty indoors and out for those lazy summer evenings that you never want to end.

Consider your comfort

Rattan is perfect for constructing conservatory furniture from, due to its flexibility, strength and it’s amazing ability to cope with anything that Mother Nature can chuck at it – what about your comfort though?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could combine the best features of your comfy living room furniture with the robustness of outdoor garden furniture?

To achieve the ‘best of both worlds’, we recommend picking furniture with a rattan frame and foam reflex cushions: look out for showerproof cushions for the ultimate in flexibility.

Think about how the furniture will fit in with its surroundings

How can you ensure that the furniture you pick will compliment your home? Consider what themes are present throughout your house and carry these into your conservatory…picking throws and cushion covers which complement the colour scheme of your other rooms is one easy way to transform the appearance of furniture to match the rest of your home, but you should also consider how the furniture appears in its default state, particularly if you are going for a more minimalistic look – after all, your conservatory is a place you go to enjoy some rest and relaxation…the last thing you want to do is make it feel cluttered.

Five Ways to Heat Your Conservatory

Monday, May 7th, 2012

We all know that a quality conservatory is a beautiful place to while away the hours in those long summer nights, but what happens when mother-nature turns the temperature down?

When winter falls (or if summer comes a little later than expected), you may wish to add to your comfort by investing in some heating for your conservatory – let’s take a look at what you can do to ensure that you can use this valuable home addition to its full potential all year round…

First things first – insulate

Make sure that any heat you add to your conservatory interior is not lost – we recommend that you opt for PVCU windows with Argon gas insulation and transparent metallic coatings for the best results: this winning combination will reduce your heating bills by keeping your conservatory gloriously insulated, with no reduction in the amount of light which gets in.

Heating Method 1: Fan Heater

These are cheap, portable units, which work by passing air through an electrical heating element – whilst it won’t cost you much to purchase one of these, the cost of running it is likely to be more expensive than if you were to opt for a fuel-based heater; overall, we would recommend using one of these only if you wish to add extra heating to your conservatory occasionally, or if you require a smaller, handier unit to target a specific area within the conservatory; one point to bear in mind is that these heaters normally emit a bit of a noise, due to the motorised fan spinning – if you are used to the tranquillity you normally experience in your conservatory, such a noise might be a bit unwelcome, so we recommend testing out such a heater before buying it to see what the noise levels will be like.

Heating Method 2: Oil Heater

These units are typically larger than a typical fan heater, however they offer some key advantages over fan-based systems:

  • Oil-filled radiators are much quieter than fan-heaters, so your peaceful conservatory setting will remain a haven of tranquillity.
  • This type of system is often considered to be much safer than fan-heaters, since they have lower surface operating temperatures.
  • They can be a little more versatile, as the positioning of the unit is not as important as it is with a fan-based system: you won’t have to worry about the direction of air-flow with an oil heater.

Heating Method 3: Central Heating

If you already have a central heating system at home, it may be possible to hook this up to your conservatory: all that you will need to do in this instance is install a radiator with thermostatic controls, ensuring that it can be controlled independently from the heating in the rest of the house (since your conservatory will often have a different temperature from your home interior) – the main advantage to this system is that the running costs will be much cheaper than if you were to use an electrical heating system, such as a fan or oil heater.

Heating Method 4: Under-floor Heating

These versatile systems are among the most convenient methods available for heating a conservatory: as the heat source is housed underfoot, they won’t take up extra floor space in your conservatory, meaning that it is essentially an ‘invisible’ method of heating the space – aside from being discreet, under-floor heating offers low running costs and is highly versatile: it is possible to hook it up to a number of sources, including your central heating system – the only downside is that it can be a little expensive to install, compared to other methods.

Heating Method 5: Air Con

This method brings a double-whammy of benefits: in the summer, you will be able to use an air-conditioning unit to keep your conservatory nice and cool, whilst in cooler months, you can use it to heat the space to a comfy temperature – the only disadvantages are that this method can be a little noisy when running at full pelt and can cost more to install than some of the other methods listed in this post.

If you have Lean to Conservatory or a Sunroom it is important that you choose the right heating method so that you can enjoy this additional space all year round.

6 Ultimate Conservatory Accessories

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Whether you have a large conservatory or a small conservatory in the north of Scotland or the very south coast of England, you will always be able to find a way to improve your conservatory with the right accessories.

Here are 6 of the best to help inspire you:

Cane Furniture

Cane furniture and conservatories go together like fish and chips. Their natural shapes, comfy cushions and style just work in the light filled space of conservatories and Sunrooms. You can choose sofas if you want to lounge, a dining set for conservatory dining rooms or even sets designed for breakfasting. They are light enough to move around the room as you like and indeed to take outside when the weather is particularly nice.

Here’s our range of Rattan cane conservatory furniture with pictures to prove it.

Plants

Because conservatories tend to get a lot of light (particularly if they’re south facing) it makes them perfect places to grow plants. My favourite ones at the moment are:

  • Mini fruit trees – they smell amazing
  • Herbs – also smell amazing and great for cooking
  • Yucca plant – doesn’t need a lot of watering

What’s more, if you are a keen gardener, you can move your more delicate outside plants into the house for the winter. (A great excuse to buy some gorgeous colourful pots too.)

Air Conditioning

Many conservatories are built without heating or air-conditioning as they were traditionally meant to be used during the fair weather months exclusively. To make yours comfortable all year round it may be worth you investing in through the wall air-conditioning that can keep the room cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Fans

In a similar vein, fans not only help the warmer air that naturally flows upwards to be blown back into the room to regulate the temperature, but they also look amazing. You can even now get ceiling fans that match your cane furniture.

Blinds

Blinds allow you to turn your conservatory into a private space at night, save you from having heavy curtains all around you and can even be installed inside your double glazing to save space and on cleaning. They create a shade when its particularly bright and can be tucked away when you want a light bath.

Tiles

While wooden floors look great in a conservatory, tiles when coupled with under-floor heating are perhaps the ultimate flooring option. Tiles conduct heat extremely well and allow you complete control over the colour, pattern and style of your floor. What would your dream floor look like?

Just one of these accessories can turn your conservatory from a nice room into your favourite room. Depending on the size of your conservatory and your budget you can easily find the right accessory for you.

Will New UK Planning Policy Affect Your Conservatory Options?

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

In what the government has described as being the biggest cutting down of red tape in history, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has it seems, effectively paved the way for new building projects that would have previously been restricted, to go ahead in England. The plan is in favour of sustainable developments that critics say will be at the expense of the environment and the crucial green belts around our towns and cities.

This all started back in 2011 when a draft was laid out that described how it planned to cut out hundreds of pages of planning paperwork in order to make everything simpler, basically to spur the building industry that wasn’t being helped by fairly archaic planning systems.

For and Against

Those ‘for’ the policy as it stands are obviously builders, developers and businesses with a foot in the building world, as it will make life a whole lot easier for them, while those ‘against’ are of course conservationists and groups like the National Trust who believe this will mark the ground breaking of a soon to be concrete country.

Ministers have said that green belt land will not be affected by this new policy but that hasn’t stopped campaigners pointing out some major issues:

“Ministers have relied heavily on making references to a vague notion of ‘sustainable development’ in order to convince critics that the NPPF will not weaken environmental protection. Yet the draft NPPF failed to make any reference to the five key principles of sustainable development[…]rather the draft only refers to the older […] definition which does not provide an adequate basis for planning decisions.”Campaign to Protect Rural England

The National Trust agrees that this term is inadequate and that there “must be a clear, robust and practical definition written into the NPPF and reflected throughout, and it must include environmental limits.”

The decentralisation and cities minister Greg Clark has of course defended the changes and has said that they will simplify the planning system, help provide the homes and jobs needed at the moment, and in response to the ‘sustainable development’ term he said:

“…what it means is there is a test of whether it is in the public interest to approve an application. If there are reasons, it destroys the environment, if it builds on greenbelt, if it builds outside a town centre when it’s a commercial premises when you want to keep a town centre thriving, that would not be sustainable, it would not be in the public interest and therefore it would not go ahead.”

So will it affect your conservatory options?

Well if you live in Scotland then no as this policy is just in England.

If you are in England, you will have to wait and see. The policy was laid out on Tuesday 27th March and will no doubt face a stern backlash from environmental campaigners, but I imagine it will arrive without too many edits.

You may find it easier to get planning permission, which is nice, but you’ll need to ask yourself if your development will be sustainable first of course.

How do you feel about the changes?

What’s the Difference Between Planning Permission and a Building Warrant?

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

If you are planning to get some building work done in or around your property then it is important that you get the right permissions from the right people. You can’t just throw up a new structure and carry on. Without them you could:

  • Be forced to pulled down any work completed
  • Be made to undo any changes made
  • Put yourself at legal or financial risk
  • Put people at risk of injury

This is because there are certain standards that the law dictates you need to complete your structure in adherence to. Otherwise, anyone could build anything without any control which would inevitably end in disaster with poorly constructed walls collapsing, badly designed roofs letting water in and night clubs springing up in quiet leafy conservation villages.

So I’ll assume you agree that standards are important.

What do you need?

A common misconception is that Planning Permission and a Building Warrant are the same thing. This is not true. They are different and you need both in order to legally carry out your building work.

Planning Permission – The regulations that you need to adhere to in order to be granted planning permission control the way towns and the countryside are developed. It scrutinises; the use of the land or the building; the appearance of the building or landscape; access to highways; and the extent to which the development will affect the local environment.

Building Warrant – This is granted only if your development meets building regulations. These outline the standards to which the design and construction of your project must adhere and include things like; the design and standard of your electrical installations; the energy efficiency and carbon levels associated with your project; fire safety and many other areas that generally ensure your construction will be safe for you, the public and the environment.

Is anything exempt?

Sometimes if you are just making structural alterations then you will only need Building Standards’ approval. Or in some situations you won’t need a Building Warrant, like when addressing some minor electrical or plumbing works.

The best thing to do though (and I can’t stress this strongly enough) is to always check with your local authority, relevant verifier or indeed your chosen construction company/builder/conservatory company to find out what you require. In many cases they will take care of all this for you but it should never be left to chance.

Do you know for sure what your project legally requires?