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blog posts for February 2014

How to Add Value to Your Home with a New Bathroom

Bathrooms, like kitchens, are an expensive room to renovate. Although painting the walls and changing the floor won't cost too much cash, installing a new bathroom suite or power shower is likely to be expensive, even if you do the work yourself. So is such as major bathroom makeover really worth the expense and will it add sufficient value to your home to warrant the expense?

5 Signs Your Bathroom Needs Help

  • It leaks – Water dripping down the walls into the room below is not a good sign
  • Mould and mildew – Are your tiles, shower curtain and ceiling black with nasty fungal infections? If so, don't expect buyers to fall over themselves to put an offer in any time soon
  • Hideous colour schemes – Avocado or chocolate coloured three-piece bathroom suites may have been the height of fashion in 1970, but they are not terribly attractive these days
  • Cracked appliances – Sinks and baths are not immune to damage, so replacing cracked sinks and baths is always sensible if you are planning on selling your property
  • Poor layout – If it is a struggle to move between the sink and the toilet without falling headfirst into the bath, you can bet your life potential buyers will not be impressed

DIY vs. Professional Installation

DIY is obviously the cheaper option for a new bathroom installation, but do not go down this route unless you are certain you can do an exemplary job. Bathrooms are the last place you want to have problems in as water leaks can cause a huge amount of damage. A professional installation will be completed a lot faster and as long as you choose a reputable contractor, you will be protected. You may also be given a guarantee for the work, which is a useful selling point.

Bathroom Options

Bathrooms come in all shapes and sizes—large, small, modern and traditional. However, before you go too mad and opt for gold-plated taps and marble tiles, think very carefully about overall style of your property. After all, there is little point in spending a fortune on a lavish Victorian-style bathroom in a two-bed semi detached starter home as buyers are more likely to want a modern suite with clean lines and simple features. Be careful about installing anything too quirky. Just because you love it, it doesn't mean potential buyers will. And remember, if you opt for an off-the-wall design, it could put off the majority of people who come to view.

Bathrooms on the Cheap

It is perfectly possible to modernise an old, tired bathroom without spending an absolute fortune. New wall tiles, a smart new heated towel rail and a new floor will go a long way towards improving a bathroom when the time comes to sell. But if your suite is outdated or damaged, look around for a smart new modern suite. There are plenty of bargains to be had if you spend some time comparing prices. Even the labour costs don't have to be exorbitant. As long as you ask for quotes from a number of reputable bathroom installers before you make a final decision, you shouldn’t end up paying over the odds.

The Dos and Don’ts of Bleeding a Radiator

Radiators are extremely common and the majority of UK homes have a central heating system featuring radiators in every room. When radiators are working efficiently, as soon as the central heating comes on they begin to heat up until every part of the radiator is hot. Unfortunately, over time gas and air pockets can develop inside radiators, which reduce their efficiency. This also applies to heated towel rails as they also operate the same way as conventional radiators. So if your radiators are not performing properly, here is a simple guide to bleeding a radiator.

How to Tell if a Radiator Needs Bleeding

When a radiator is piping hot from top to bottom, it is working efficiently. If, however, your radiators are hot at the bottom and cooler at the top, they probably have air and gas trapped inside them. Thankfully you don’t need to call in a plumber as bleeding radiators is a simple DIY task anyone can do.

In order to bleed a radiator, you need to open up the bleed valve, but before you do this, make sure you know which radiators in the system are affected. Since air normally rises, it is more common for upstairs radiators to require bleeding. The simplest way to check is to turn the central heating on and leave it until every radiator in the house is hot. Next, check each radiator for cold spots, but be careful not to burn your fingers in the process.

How to Bleed a Radiator

  • Turn the central heating off and wait for the radiators to cool down
  • Check what type of valve your radiators have – older radiators need a radiator key whereas new ones can be bled using a flat-head screwdriver
  • Place a cloth under the valve to catch liquid
  • Turn the valve anti-clockwise – if you hear a hissing sound, air is escaping
  • As soon as liquid begins to leak out, close the valve up again
  • Check the water pressure in your boiler and if necessary, top it back up
  • Turn the central heating back on and check the affected radiators to ensure they are now working properly

How Often Should I Bleed My Radiators?

Radiators should be checked once a year. In most cases this will be sufficient to ensure they are working at their most efficient, but if you have had plumbing work done, it is a good idea to check them once work has been completed as air can get into the system, particularly when radiators have been removed from the central heating circuit.

If you notice that air is getting into the radiator system more frequently, have your central heating checked out by a qualified engineer because there is a problem that needs fixing.

What Not to Do

Always use a cloth to protect the area beneath the radiator valve—water inside a radiator is usually very dirty and will almost certainly stain your floor if it is allowed to squirt out everywhere.  Finally, don’t forget to tighten up the valve once you have let any air out. Leaking radiators can cause a lot of damage to flooring.

Bleeding a radiator

5 Simple Ways to give Your Bathroom a Makeover

The average family bathroom suffers an awful lot of wear and tear. Teenagers spend hours in front of the mirror primping and inspecting their complexion or taking a long shower, and dad probably locks himself in there daily with a newspaper in hand. Either way, it doesn't take long for a bathroom to start looking a bit tired and worn around the edges. But fear not because there are lots of ways to give a bathroom a makeover—and you don't even need to spend a fortune doing so!

1. New Shower Screen

Shower curtains are fine if you are shopping on a budget, but if you really want to make an impression, have a smart glass shower screen fitted. Shower screens can be bought for many different types of shower bath, including the p-shaped varieties. Glass screens look a lot nicer than a plastic or fabric curtain and are less susceptible to mould and mildew in poorly ventilated bathrooms. They are also easier to keep clean.

2. Replace the Tiles

Nothing dates a bathroom like old-fashioned tiles. Take a good look at yours and decide which era they are from. If they happen to be fairly neutral, you should be ok, but if your tiles are bold, brash and reminiscent of an Austin Power's movie, consider replacing them with some new ones. Plain white tiles are always a good buy, particularly if you are unfortunate enough to be blessed with a coloured suite. But if you want some extra zing, look at stone tiles or mosaic tiles instead.

3. Heated Towel Rail

Old-fashioned radiators serve a purpose, but they don't always look very stylish. One way to correct this is to replace your old, rusty radiator with a smart new chrome heated towel rail. They come in a multitude of different sizes, so no matter how small and compact your bathroom is, you should be able to find one to suit. You don't even need a plumber to do the job if you are reasonably skilled in DIY techniques—removing and replacing a radiator is well within the capabilities of a competent DIY enthusiast. 

4. Window Blind

Unless your bathroom is an internal one, it will have a window. One way of giving a bathroom a makeover is to replace the old window covering with something a bit more stylish. Blinds are a good choice for a bathroom because they are less fussy than curtains. Wooden Venetian blinds look great, especially if you are going for a minimalist look, but if you want to add an injection of colour, look at fabric roller blinds instead. Choose an accent colour and buy matching accessories. It won't cost a fortune and your bathroom will look vastly improved.

5. De-Clutter the Space

A cluttered bathroom looks messy and is difficult to clean. If this sounds like your bathroom, give it a makeover by adding some stylish storage solutions. A good way of adding extra storage is to install a shelving unit or build a cupboard around your sink unit. It's amazing what a difference it will make if you can place all your lotions and potions out of site.

Bathroom Renovation - Heated Towel Rails

What could be more irritating than walking into your bathroom to find a damp towel in a heap on the floor? It is an age old problem that many householders face, and while not a life threatening one by any means; it is simply one of the most annoying ones.

So what is the answer to this age old problem? Pack the offending towel user out of the door? I would suggest this is probably a little extreme; perhaps a better solution could be that of a heated towel rail.

Once a feature only found in the hotel industry, heated towel rails have become increasingly popular throughout the housing industry. They offer the room a feel of luxury while offering the user a great and practical way to heat the room and dry towels in use. It is a simple process for home owners to go through to have a towel rail fitted.

If you are planning on having a heated towel rail fitted there are a few points to consider first.

  • This size of your bathroom will dictate the size of rail you need to install
  • Finding a reputable installer is vital to ensuring you get a great finished product
  • You should consider the distance between the pipe centres for both radiators before purchasing
  • You can have a heated towel radiator fitted to your existing heating system or you can choose an electric wall mounted option

If you are renovating your bathroom, it is a great idea to choose a heated towel rail. They not only keep the room warm but also enable you to dry those pesky damp towels, if you have a large family it really can be a blessing.

There are a few options for you to consider when choosing your towel rail. If you have a central heating system you can opt for a radiator towel rail that is connected to the system, it uses hot water that heats the rails.

If you don’t have central heating you can go for the electric heater. This will be heated using a heating cartridge or heating cable. There is a third option for those of you who feel that you want to conserve energy throughout the year. Despite the fact you have central heating you may not want to have this on in the summer months, you can however opt for a rail that also runs from the electric supply. You simply switch between the functions to suit your needs.

At we recommend that you use a reputable plumber or electrician to fit your towel rail for you. We have a vast selection of rails for you to choose from on our website, with easy to use filter options and categories to help you find your perfect radiator rail. For expert advice from our dedicated team, call us on 02036435897. Our experts are friendly and more than happy to help you with any aspect of our service.