Checkatrade named Online Trade Directory of the Year 2018

We’ve been named the best in the industry at the On the Tools Awards.

We scooped the Online Trade Directory of the Year title at the fourth annual On the Tools Awards evening, assuming the top spot above shortlisted companies Rated People and Plentific. The awards celebrate the best in employees, sub-contractors, tool manufacturers, and companies from across the UK construction industry.

25 Awards were announced throughout the night, including the Checkatrade sponsored Roofer of the Year category which was collected by Chris Norfolk of CJ Norfolk Roofing. And the winner of the Landscaper of the Year Award Jake Morrison of Built (building and landscape specialists) even collected his award clasping a Checkatrade cup!

The panel of judges – which included the BBC’s carpenter of the year, Tabby Singh – shortlisted entries for each category, with the top spot for some categories being opened to a public vote.

Mike Fairman, CEO of Checkatrade said: “This is very much a reflection on the hard work of everyone involved in Checkatrade and we collected the award with pride – both for our people, our members and our company.

“The result has come from a combination of judging and public support, so we’d like to thank anyone who cast their vote for us. It feels fitting we should win this award in the year which marks our 20th anniversary.”

The Checkatrade entry demonstrated our commitment to eliminating rogue traders, a value the company was founded on and continues to emphasise 20 years later. The entry also detailed its customer feedback model, trade member benefits and Member Satisfaction Guarantee.

As well as dinner, drinks and dancing for 300 guests, the evening featured a top speech from comedian Justin Moorhouse, usually seen on Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights or 8 Out of 10 Cats.

4 Tips to Help You Decide Your Kitchen’s Aesthetic

Image: Unsplash

There’s a galaxy of options out there when it comes to kitchen aesthetics, so don’t feel too disheartened if you’re a homeowner unsure about your next step in the kitchen overhaul process. This post will aim to shed some light on the tricky journey to kitchen nirvana by providing tips to help you decide what design route is best for you and your family.

Think about functionality 

For all the wild designs that might be floating around in your imagination, there’s a chance that you might have forgotten the basic functionality of your space. The kitchen is the heart of the home, where all meals are prepared and consumed and family often congregate on a daily basis, so it needs to be efficient.

You need to keep the ‘kitchen triangle’ in mind throughout the process: that’s the convenient orientation of three essential parts – the sink, the hob and the fridge. Before you make any concrete decisions be sure to draw this triangle and ascertain whether your aesthetic choices will get in the way of functionality or not.

Think about atmosphere

If yours is a playful kitchen brimming with ideas and creativity at all hours, then why not reflect this in the decor? Eye-catching, primary-colour-filled wallpaper on a feature wall is a fun way of injecting a little exuberance into the space, while you could spruce up your kitchen tile offering by adding some feature tiles in a Moroccan pattern or in zesty citrus hues.

If your kitchen is more luxurious than riotous, then you should probably think of investing in some premium granite worktop surfaces to create a luxe stage for bespoke culinary creations – or even just reheating yesterday’s leftovers!

Consider some expert advice 

Minimalism is very on-trend at the moment, thanks to the likes of Marie Kondo and her KonMari method of organisation. At the heart of Kondo’s methodology is a simple maxim – get rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy in your heart.

Applying this to a functional space like the kitchen can be tricky, but if you find that you’re retaining too many items that provoke a joyful reaction, then maybe minimalism isn’t for you. Besides, a kitchen bursting with important personal items and beautiful decorative additions is in many ways more appealing than the stark contrasts and clean lines of a minimalist culinary space.

Be informed by your surroundings

Ultimately, your kitchen’s aesthetic depends on what kind of space you’re working with. A farmhouse vibe is much harder to pull off in a galley-style kitchen in a flat, for example. Making sure whatever style you’re going for is a seamless fit with its surroundings is essential, as it’ll help you achieve a harmonious balance, which utlimately makes the space more liveable.

Whether it’s a garden-facing kitchen punctuated with house plants or an industrial chic kichen in a converted factory apartment, the possibilities are limitless if you allow this to be a part of your decision-making process.

Image: Unsplash

Of course, these tips shouldn’t be adhered to by the letter, as you should add a dash of your own personal creativity into the mix – and if that means contravening one of the rules laid out above, then so be it!

Author bio:

Sophie Armstrong is a content creator for granite and quartz worktop specialists Burlington Granite, who provide a full bespoke worktop solution by offering templating, cutting, polishing and fitting, all driven by 25 years of industry experience.

When should you use an Inline Extractor Fan?

The short answer is whenever possible! An inline fan has several distinct advantages over a standard wall mounted axial fan. These include:

Much higher extraction rates: the most powerful wall mounted 4-inch axial fan (the Silent Tornado from Vents) offers 97m3/hr in lab test conditions. Whilst this is pretty good, most standard 4-inch inline fans are considerably more powerful. The extraction rates of three of the UK’s most popular inline fans are:

  • Airflow Aventa – 187m3/hr
  • Vent Axia ACM100 – 220m3/hr
  • Vents Turbo Tube Pro – 245m3/hr

Even the least powerful of these models is nearly twice as powerful as the best axial fan, meaning moisture and odour are removed more quickly, reducing the likelihood of damp and mould formation.

Longer duct runs

The impeller arrangement in an inline fan is commonly known as ‘mixed flow’ (Manrose’s inline fans form the ‘MF’ range to reflect this) – and refers to the fact it combines the airflow characteristics of both centrifugal and axial impellers.

This combination of impeller types results in greater exhaust pressures and can push the extracted air down longer lengths of ducting and round any necessary bends in the ducting without significantly affecting performance.

The standard wall mounted axial fan is designed to be ducted straight through the wall and most will be struggling on duct runs over 4 metres – and any duct run of that length usually has bends in it too. Inline fans by contrast can comfortably sit on duct runs of up to 10m – and remember, the extraction rate is far higher to start with.

No electrics or ‘making good’ in the bathroom

Inline fans sit in the ceiling void or loft above the bathroom. Ducting is attached to the exhaust spigot and run to the external grille which is usually situated under the eaves. Meanwhile, ducting is attached to the extract spigot and run to the discreet grille in the bathroom ceiling.

The fan is then simply wired into the lighting circuit, so that it comes on when the user turns on the bathroom light, the cables for which invariably are already in the loft above the bathroom anyway.

The beauty of this installation is that the work – particularly if carried out in the loft – is relatively very quick and easy for the electrician, there are no electrics in the bathroom and probably best of all – no re-plastering, painting or tiling needs to be done after installation, which can be both costly and difficult when installing a wall mounted axial fan.

Duct from right above the shower or bath

When fitting a wall mounted fan, it must really be installed on the bathroom’s external wall. But this may be the opposite side of the bathroom to the shower or bath where the steam is generated. This presents the obvious problem that it is travelling across the bathroom, vastly increasing the opportunity for moisture and condensation to form on cold walls. By contrast, regardless of where the inline fan is installed in the loft, the duct point can be directly above the shower or bath, meaning that steam is extracted at source. In this case, very little ambient moisture pervades the rest of the bathroom so even after a long shower, the mirror is still clear!

In summary, if you are investigating a ventilation solution and you have space above the bathroom, an inline fan should be your first consideration.

Find out more here: https://www.extractorfanworld.co.uk/choosing-a-bathroom-extractor-fan-123-c.asp

Blog written and provided by The Extractor Fan World Team

Want to love your garden all year round?

If you love your garden but don’t know what to do with it in the winter, we have some ideas to keep you enjoying your outside space all season long.

If you have the room, why not start by growing a vegetable patch? There are all sorts of vegetables that can be planted in the winter months including:

  • Onions and shallots – these guys are so low maintenance, they pretty much look after themselves throughout the winter months.
  • Perpetual spinach – plant early enough and you should be able to harvest this throughout winter.
  • Broad beans – one of the best autumn sowings and very easy to plant.
  • Peas – there are so many varieties and they are quite hardy. Planting at the right time could mean you can enjoy your harvest three to four weeks earlier than most.

If you prefer boarder plants and hanging baskets, and want to find ways to brighten up the dark autumn and winter days, then why not consider these:

  • Pansies – available in a wide variety of colours and although they prefer sunlight, they will be happy in a semi shaded location.
  • Viola – this is a hardy little plant which will offer you a subtle but colourful display.
  • Primrose – another flower with a wide range of colour variations. Plant these on frost free days for the best results.

Of course, there are many more varieties of vegetables and flowers to choose from. Your local garden centre should be able to offer advice as to what will work best with your garden and the season.

Autumn and winter can also take its toll on your decking, fencing and trees, but did you know that there’s plenty you can do to help to keep them all looking their best whilst protecting them from the elements?

Decking

Firstly, give your decking and fencing a good clean, ensuring to clear all leaves and debris. This will help prevent mould and mildew forming. Then you can use a wood friendly, bleach-free cleaner.

If you chose to power-wash your decking or fencing be mindful of your settings as the wrong setting could damage the wood.

Once the wood is nice and clean, apply a water-repellent sealer. Moisture can penetrate unprotected wood, causing warping and splitting, so this is an essential step. Your local DIY store will have a variety of different products that can help you here. If the wood is stained or painted, consider stripping it back prior to applying a water-repellent sealer.

If there is snowfall, you should aim to clear the snow off decking and fencing as soon as you can – using a broom if possible, as a shovel will leave marks on the wood. If you do have to use a shovel, make sure you go for a plastic one and work lengthwise with the deck boards as to reduce the amount of damage. It is also best to avoid using any salt or ice removers, as these can cause the wood surface to deteriorate.

If you have any planters or pots on the decking surface, this could lead to staining where water has been draining away. Moving them around the deck on a regular basis should help avoid localised staining.

Fencing

Remove weeds, overgrown plants and any rubbish from the base of your fence. This will help with drainage and allow the ground to dry out quicker, which is good news for your fence posts.

Any loose fence posts and panels should be repaired so they are strong enough to survive the winter winds. In bad weather, even the smallest damage to a fence panel can quickly lead to a bigger problem to repair, so it’s important to keep on top of them.

If you have metal fences, these will also need through cleaning to remove any rust patches. Usually, using a wire brush and some good old-fashioned elbow grease will do the trick. Once the surface is clean and rust free, apply some rust resistant paint to help slow down further rusting. If there is a large amount of rust you should consider sanding the entire area, applying a primer and then a few coats of rust resistant paint.

Trees

It’s important to prune your trees ready for winter, so they can withstand the colder months ahead.

You should focus on any branches that are over or near your house, car or power lines. It is best to remove them if you think the branches are already dead or damaged.

You may already be aware of the benefits of fertilizing, mulching and hydrating your trees and it’s important that you do this ahead of winter too. This will make sure they have all the nutrients they need to see them through.

If you have young plants or trees you should also protect the roots by applying some mulch on top of the soil covering them. This acts as insulation, protecting the vulnerable roots against the dropping temperatures.

If you need help from a tree surgeon or gardener, why not check out our approved members in your local area now.

Look after your boiler and it will look after you

Our boilers are an important part of our home but sometimes we don’t give them the attention they deserve. Here are some tips on how you can try to prevent the dreaded boiler breakdown.

Condensate Pipes

This is the small white or grey plastic pipe that sticks out of your property behind the boiler. This pipe removes water from the boiler. If this pipe freezes, you might find your boiler stops working too. Fear not, insulating this pipe or keeping the heating on constantly (even at low temperatures) can help prevent this pipe freezing. If this pipe does freeze, you might not need to call a heating engineer straight away. You could slowly pour warm water over the pipe, but do not use water that is too hot or boiling – if you do you could cause the pipe to crack.

Bleed your radiators

If your radiators feel cooler than normal, then it might be time to bleed them. Bleeding your radiator will release air from the system as trapped air will cause cold spots and ultimately make the radiator less efficient. Bleeding a radiator is relatively simple but you will need a key which can slot into the radiators bleed valve. If you still have a problem after doing this, you may need to call in the professionals. If you need a Checkatrade heating engineer, you can find one here.

Service your boiler

Servicing your boiler annually and maintaining it in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations can all help to prolong not only the life of your boiler, but it can also help reduce how much energy you use and help prevent breakdowns. Make sure you monitor your boiler regularly for any subtle warning signs such as noises or leaks so that you can get ahead of potential problems. This can mean it is easier to fix and, in some cases, cheaper. If you need help from a heating engineer, you can check out our approved members in your local area now.

20 years of protecting consumers against rogue traders

Checkatrade.com began in 1998, after a tornado devastated the coastal town of Selsey, West Sussex.

The tornado caused over £10M worth of storm damage and saw some residents become victims of rogue traders. We have become the consumer choice for finding a reputable tradesperson by staying true to our core business belief which is ‘Checkatrade.com does the checks so you don’t have to.’

Checkatrade.com has 16 considerations, of which 13 are actual checks. Our vetting process has proven to be the most significant way of protecting our consumers and achieving the Checkatrade.com mission of stamping out rogue traders. Here are some of the vetting checks our members have to pass before they can join Checkatrade.com:

Interviews – every trader is interviewed by our professionals.

ID checks – we carry out identification checks.

Accreditations and qualifications – not all trades require accreditations by law, so you may not see this on every member’s profile. However, any accreditations or qualifications you do see advertised on one of our trader’s profiles have been checked and verified by us.

References – all members are continually monitored via their customer’s feedback. We recommend that all new members supply at least five of their previous customers. We then personally telephone them to find out about their experience. This aids us to establish the quality of the trade.

County Court Judgements (CCJs) – we check all our new members for CCJs.

Trading History – we check the trading history of all our members.

Insurance – our members are proud to have public liability insurance to protect their customers for the unexpected.

All our members are continuously monitored by a team of passionate and dedicated individuals. We are immensely proud of the quality of our members and the reputations we have grown together.

Why Checkatrade?

Checkatrade.com gives customers a free platform to search for vetted and approved local tradespeople. We’re now in our 20th year with over 30,000 members and have over three million customer reviews. These reviews, along with our vetting process, form the foundation of everything we do and helps customers, like you, find the right person for the job.

So, the next time you are looking for a tradesperson in your local area, simply visit Checkatrade.com and enter the trade you are looking for and your postcode. You will then see a list of relevant approved members in your area. You can then view their profiles, pictures of work they have done and read reviews and ratings from their customers. All this information will help you make an informed decision of who to contact and who to hire.

 

How to build yourself a better website with minimal time, effort and money

The internet is now central to life and especially commerce. But did you know that building a website for your business is quick and very cost effective – in fact you could do it yourself. It doesn’t have to be a costly exercise. To get you started, we’ve rounded up the best, easiest and most cost-effective website builders in this handy review.

  1. The best all-rounder: Wix.com

Wix.com offers the complete package with a simple to use website builder. You can choose from over 500 designer-made templates already in the library and you are guaranteed to create a professional looking website. If you fancy designing your own site from scratch, the drag and drop website builder in wix.com is intuitive and easy to use. And the best bit is you don’t need to worry about code – you can add animation, videos, pictures, take bookings or even sell products and take payments online.

Wix.com offer a totally free version of their website building product, which is great if you want to launch your site with no financial commitment. However, for this privilege, wix.com will display advertising on your website. But you can upgrade from the free version from as little as £3 per month. Most people tend to opt for the still very reasonable £8.50 a month option which bundles in everything you could want for your site. Full details of the different payment plans and what is included in each can be found here.

Many small businesses choose to use a website builder like wix.com as it puts them firmly in control. No technical knowhow whatsoever is required as everything is included in the package. There is even an app store within the platform allowing you to bolt on search engine optimisation, email database creation, email sends and even an online store.  If you are looking for inspiration, a nice example of a website built using wix.com is skiing-deals.co.uk.

  1. The most professional looking: WordPress.com

WordPress.com is a world-renowned website builder and content management system. It offers a drag and drop website builder to create your site, it’s really good and can deliver a stunning result, but many argue for the website building novice, wix.com has the edge in terms of ease and usability.

There are four packages to choose from, ranging from free to the business package for £20 per month. As with wix.com, the free package has some limitations such as having to use a wordpress.com subdomain rather than your own domain and having wordpress.com advertising displayed on your site.

One thing to watch out for with wordpress.com is that only the top package at £20 a month will allow Google Analytics integration. So, if you are keen on monitoring how many visitors come to your website, and which pages they visit, you’ll need to opt for the top package or use wix.com.

  1. The easiest to use: about.me

About.me is probably the easiest website builder there is. You only get a single page, but you can be published and live online in minutes. Signing up is straightforward and simple an as with many sites nowadays, you can sign up with your Facebook or Google account. The free version is basic but a good place to start. One compromise is the domain will be about.me/yourname. From just £6.58 a month you can unlock lots of features, such as connecting your own domain and the ability to capture leads, add testimonials and much more – here is what is included in the premium version. About.me is certainly very straight forward to set up but doesn’t have the extensive range of features that wix.com or wordpress.com offer.

  1. The Google one: Google Sites

Google have their fingers in just about every pie, so it’s no surprise to see they have a website builder. Google Sites sits in between the very simple about.me and the top of the range wix.com. it’s a basic drag and drop website builder but you can be sure that as it is from Google there will be a lot of updates and additional features being added of the next few months and years.

The final word on website building

Every business should have its own website and given the range of site builders on offer, there should be one that is perfect for you and your business. Our recommendation, as the best all-rounder for you and your business would be wix.com. Happy publishing!

Content produced by Tiger Consult Ltd

The ultimate guide to stain removal

Different stains require alternative methods of cleaning and it is always important to keep the surface in consideration too.

Stubborn stains can ruin the look of an otherwise pristine house and carpets are among the worst offenders. Whether something has been spilt during a party, dirt has built up over time from shoes or boots or you’ve made the mess yourself, you will want to remove it as quickly as possible.

FastKlean offers professional stain removal services for everything including red wine and blood, so that you do not need to replace your carpet or other soiled surface.

If you’d like to have a go at stain removal yourself, perhaps because you’re expecting visitors, then follow a few handy hints and tips from the professionals. You’ll have your home looking spick and span in no time.

Removing stains

Different methods of stain removal will be effective for a variety of scenarios. It’s important to take the type of stain and the surface it has marked into account. After all, you will not want to use a stain removal technique that damages the carpet or flooring underneath, or even bleaches it so there is a big white mark.

Follow these simple steps to tackle any stain

  1. Prepare the area – deal with the most immediate problem first and this means getting rid of as much of the substance that is causing the issue as possible.
  • If it is a liquid that has been spilt, blot the carpet to remove the excess and prevent more of it seeping into the pile.
  • For more viscous substances, you may need to wait until they’ve dried and chip away with a knife, being careful not to damage the surface underneath

2. Identify what type of carpet or surface you are dealing with. For example, polypropylene carpets that are solution-dyed can cope with chlorine bleach, making it an easy way to clear up a stain. Wool and wool blend carpets will be ruined if you use bleach on them and therefore require an alternative method.

3. Choose the right cleaning agent for the job. There are so many types of stain and treatments, it can be confusing, but they generally fall into one of the following categories:

  • Water-soluble stains – these include things like drinks, washable paint and mud. They can be tackled with a solution of either detergent or vinegar and water.
  • Special water-soluble stains – tend to be trickier and include substances like red wine, coffee and blood. For red wine, use white wine; to remove coffee stains, add both the detergent and the white vinegar to the solution with water; and blood is best removed with a carpet or upholstery spray. Look for one that includes oxi action for the best results.
  • Oily, fatty or waxy stains – greasy finger marks on upholstery or a spilt candle can be unsightly, but placing a paper towel on top and applying a little pressure from a medium heat iron will transfer the substances onto the towel and away from your carpet.
  • Glue and nail polish – use nail polish remover.
  1. Pour the agent onto the stain, allow it to soak in and then press on it with a clean cloth. This will help to absorb the agent and bring the stain with it. Do not be tempted to scrub at delicate materials, as this will damage them and be just as unsightly as the original mark.
  2. Survey your work. It can be really difficult to decide whether or not a stain has gone completely when you have just treated it. Allow the patch to dry once more and see whether you can still see the mark, otherwise it could just be the damp that is visible. Look at it in different lights to ascertain whether the job is done.

Other surfaces

It’s not just carpets and upholstery where stains can be stubborn, but other places too.

Worktops

Even though worktops are designed for cooking on, sometimes they come into contact with something quite powerful, such as curry sauce. While normal cleaning will see this fade over time, it’s good to deal with it straight away.

Make up a paste with bicarbonate of soda and apply it to the worktop with a spoon. Place a wet paper towel over the top. Leave for an hour and come back to wipe the paste away.

Wood

Wooden furniture is easily marked and, even for the most diligent of coaster users, rings, splashes and spots can end up leaving stains. Toothpaste is the best option for those tell-tale rings left by glasses and cups, while dark stains can be removed using white vinegar on a clean cloth.

Pet owners with hardwood floors may be aware of the issues produced by dog saliva. They can be rectified with a spray bottle of window cleaner.

Unlike with carpets, rubbing the agent into the wood is a good idea. Just be sure to have another cloth to hand to buff it up again once you’ve finished.

Have you encountered any other tough stains in your home and found innovative ways to remove them? Let us know in the comments.

Author – Antoaneta Tsocheva CEO – FastKlean

4 Costly Home Improvement Projects & the Value They Add to Your Home

Whether you’re looking to invest in a home renovation plan that will add immediate resale value on to your property or you’re in the market for a project which will set you and your family up for the future, larger home improvement projects are a secure way to ensure the value of your property increases – regardless of when you choose to sell.

While large-scale home improvements can be costly, the return value on the lump sum of money you put into a luxury loft conversion or the kitchen redesign of dreams will be well worth it. This can not only add economic value to your property, but has the instant ability to turn your house into a home you’re proud of – so, check out these tips from the finance experts at Jolly Good Loans.

Image: Pexels

1 Plan a loft conversion

Arguably the most effective and largest on-scale technique is to plan a loft conversion in your home. A lot of the time, this dark and dormant space in your home is filled with untouched trinkets and dusty hand-me-downs that are unlikely to be missed if replaced with a double bedroom or living space, alongside a smaller bathroom area.

Typically costing anywhere between £20,000 and £60,000, a well furnished and nicely laid out loft space will add an average of 20% onto the value of your property – giving your £200,000 family home an increased worth of around £40,000 and a whole new floor of room for your family to grow into.

Opt for glass

Blurring the boundaries between your outdoor space and your cosy inside living area is an effective way to create the illusion of a larger and brighter indoor home. When properly planned and executed, an extended glass conservatory gives you both more room to enjoy time with your friends and family in a light, comfortable space while also increasing the value of your property by an average of 7%.

With the typical glass conservatory costing an estimated £15,000, this pricey upgrade not only gives your home the desirable touch most prospective homeowners are looking for, but this modern update will make your Victorian house feel like new in no time.

3 Extend your home

A single storey house extension is perhaps the most obvious way to guarantee an increase in property value while also future-proofing your growing family’s home. This can be expensive with the average price of an extension per square metre costing the UK homeowner up to £1,500 outside of London, and an additional £1000 for those living within the country’s capital.

In spite of its associated price tag, a single-storey house extension will fetch your home an additional 10% when put on the market. This can make the initial investment in your extension worthwhile, particularly in densely populated areas such as city centres – where space is at a premium and the returns can, therefore, be more lucrative.

4 Rethink your rooms

When it comes to potential buyers looking around your property, a crucial component – which in many cases translates to an immediate deciding factor of whether your house sells or not – is the amount of storage space there is in your home. As the busiest and arguably most practical rooms in your house, your kitchen and bathroom are the first places you should look to redesign and develop – so consider adding storage units in neutral tones when looking to add value to your property.

A new kitchen will, on average, cost you £8,000 and will increase the value of your property by around 5.8%. A complete bathroom redevelopment on the other hand, will cost you a little less of up to £6,000 and is expected to add an additional 6.1% onto the worth of your home. Fill them both with modern amenities, natural lighting and scented candles in the bathroom and freshly baked produce in the kitchen and expect to see the interest in your property increase.

Whether you’re inviting guests into your home for the first time, looking to impress prospective buyers or you’re coming home after a long day at work, being able to take pride in the property you’ve bought and added your stamp to is important – and with a little TLC, you can guarantee your home won’t go unnoticed.

Author bio :Keith Harrison is a content creator and writer for Jolly Good Loans – your online personal loans encyclopedia.

What Tradesmen are needed for an office fit out?

Professional tradespeople used within an office fit out project include partitioners, ceiling fixers, decorators, carpenters, and other specialist trades

Partitioners

Partition walls can be offered in a range of finishes from solid demountable to full height glazed partitioning. Skilled installers use good quality materials to achieve acoustic insulation. Most partitioning is demountable meaning it doesn’t impact the structure of the building. Partitioning is considered a ‘dry’ trade for minimal mess from mortar and little or no time for drying, and no shrinkage and cracking which are two of the traditional ‘wet’ trade disadvantages often seen in housebuilding.

Partition walls typically use vertical studs, or upright supports, fixed to head and base tracks. For glass partitions the head and base track can be sufficient when used with toughened glass. Aluminium is the default material for visible tracks, which can be finished in a variety of colours. Fashions for office partitions have moved over time. Dark brown was popular in the 70s and then grey was the colour for the 80s. Silver was the standard partitioning finish post millennium and white the most common in the last 10 years, but black metalwork is likely to be as common over the next few years.

Ceiling Fixers

Ceilings are mostly types of suspended ceilings used in offices. These conceal the ductwork, fan coil units, and electrical installations often located in a ceiling void. A suspended ceiling has a metal grid to support ceiling tiles that can be mineral, metal or plasterboard composition. Often a ceiling will have acoustic properties to absorb noise energy rather than bouncing it back into the office. Suspended ceilings often create plenum chambers allowing air to be extracted for cooling and new fresh air delivered. The choice of ceiling material relates to the intended quality of the building. Metal panel ceilings are higher in cost, with a more ‘linear’ appearance. In use a metal ceiling tile will better withstand the wear and tear of office life. Mineral tiles can be better for acoustic properties absorbing more sound energy, and access to the ceiling void is often easier with a mineral tile ceiling. Standard mineral tile ceilings typically save money compared to metal tiles.

The third common ceiling type is called ‘MF’ (referring to the type of supporting grid, metal furled) or sometimes known as a plasterboard ceiling. Plasterboard ceilings often appear ‘solid’ as they don’t have visible joints or seems. Great for appearance, MF ceilings are the least accessible should mechanical and electrical services require maintenance or relocation.

Decorators

Office decorating is one of the few ‘wet’ trades used in office fit-out. Painted surfaces are often very large surface areas and speed of application is essential. Good trade decorators use very large application devices to cover the areas quickly and effectively. Wallcoverings are often used in offices. Commercial wallpaper is often twice as wide as domestic rolls, and is applied using ready-mixed paste for speed. Without the development of commercial decorating processes it would be extremely time consuming to carry out weekend or evening office redecorations without interrupting the daytime use of the office.

Carpenters

Carpentry works within office interiors usually include kitchen fitting and hanging office doors. Office kitchens, usually referred to as ‘teapoints’ generally make use of commercial cabinetry but in most respects are similar to domestic kitchens, albeit designed for 10 times as much use. Hanging office doors can be particularly challenging when doors can be full height and solid construction, meaning large doors weigh more than the carpenter installing them. Hinges with bearings are often used to support the weight and provide good service for the life of the office.

In many office interior fit out schemes the ceiling installers will be the first trade to start, followed by partition walls being installed. Decorators are usually one of the last.

Written by Fusion Office Design.

http://www.fusionofficedesign.co.uk/