Author: The Checkatrade Team

Paving Installers Recognised at National Awards

Uncategorized

brett

This year’s National Brett Approved Installer Awards recognised 25 installers at the top of their game, in a celebration of the hard work of Brett installers across the country.

Throughout February, the South West, South East and Midlands/North regions each took their turns to vote for the best projects of the year. Each winner, as well as two runners-up and two highly commended projects progressed through to the National Awards held at The Belfry.

Both the Regional and National events represented a fantastic opportunity to commend those scheme members working at the cutting edge of landscaping design and innovation, as well as providing a chance for installers to give their feedback on current and future Brett products.

Below is a full list of winners:

  • Best Large Driveway
    • Winner: Paramount Paving
    • Runner up: Mannmade Drives & Designs
    • Runner up: Essex Block Paving Ltd
  • Best Small Driveway
    • Winner: M&S Paving
    • Runner up: Mannmade Drives & Designs
    • Runner up: T.S. McLaughlin & Son
  • Best Large Patio
    • Winner: Carew Drivesways & Patios
    • Runner up: Mannmade Drives & Designs
    • Runner up: Jake Brown Landscapes & Groundwork
  • Best Small Patio
    • Winner: David Greaves Landscape Design & Construction
    • Runner up: KT Lake Paving & Landscaping
    • Runner up: Stokes Baldock Ltd.
  • Portfolio of the Year
    • Winner: Mannmade Drives & Designs
    • Runner up: Carew Driveways & Patios
    • Runner up: Paramount Paving
  • Project of the Year judged by T. McCormack of Paving Expert
    • Winner: David Greaves Landscapes Design & Construction
    • Runner up: The Secret Garden Landscapes & Design
    • Runner up: Mannmade Drives & Designs
  • Customer Excellence of the Year
    • Winner: R&J Mole Ltd
    • Runner up: Firmpave
    • Runner up: M.H. Paving
  • Resiblock Brett Approved Installer of the Year
    • Winner: Style Home Improvements
  • National Installer of the Year
    • Winner: M&S Paving
    • Runner up: Jake Brown Landscapes & Groundworks
    • Runner up: Mannmade Drives & Designs

As well as providing a professional service of the very highest standards, using a Brett Approved Installer provides the peace of mind of 5-year Installer Guarantee and our 10-year Brett Product Guarantee.

Visit www.brettpaving.co.uk  for more information.

 

Dive Into Spring with Checkatrade!

Advice

Dive into Spring with Checkatrade!

Garden 3

Winter can see our houses and gardens suffer, often becoming neglected. Now we are moving into a season of warmer weather, there is more opportunity to spend time outdoors so with this in mind I have put together a blog to help you get into the swing of things this spring.

From minor maintenance to larger projects, giving our houses some TLC is essential.
Here are a few of my recommended DIY jobs to get your house and garden ready for the spring/summer season…

Give garden furniture a new lease of life

Garden furniture such as benches, tables and play equipment will likely have been stored away during the winter months. So, before summer officially arrives, check it over for any natural or deterioration and repair where necessary. With wooden furniture, once general repairs have been made, it is always worth re-staining/oiling to protect it from all weather conditions.

Ensure your lawn mower is up to scratch

As we are now entering a period of better weather, it is time to make sure your mower makes the cut. Give the machine a thorough clean, replace oil/petrol where necessary, inspect the electrics, lubricate all moving parts and if needed, sharpen the cutting blade. Take extra care when handling the blade.

Spruce up outdoor living spaces

Conservatories or converted outbuildings get used much more in the spring/summer months as they become a relaxing place to enjoy the sun. Give these spaces a re-vamp before the summer season begins, by introducing pastel colours to the furnishings, lighten the walls with a lick of white paint, and bring the outdoors, in, by welcoming some plants into the space. This is an easy and effective way of transforming a space this spring/summer.

If you are turning your attention to bigger projects this season, then here are a few jobs that can make a big impact but that may require the helping hand of a professional…

Repair exterior damage

Roof tiles, gutters, foundations, windows and doors are all exposed to the weather. Throughout the winter harsh winds and torrential downpours can cause damage. Check all exteriors, seals and brickwork and if you spot something that needs mending and cannot be fixed by your own hands, then call a tradesperson to come and make any required repairs.

Paint the exterior of the house

A job that makes even the keenest DIY lover sigh. Painting the exterior of a house is no mean feat. It requires time, care and the right equipment so in my books it is one for a professional. An expert will be able to provide the scaffolding needed to reach each level of the house, and ensure the job is done safely and to a high standard. It is a job that needs to be done every few years so it is well worth looking and seeing if that time is now!

Re-landscape the garden

There is nothing better than spending scorching summer days in the garden, cooking up a storm on the BBQ and soaking up the sun, but if your garden isn’t attractive on the eye, it can take the excitement out of summer. Although not the cheapest project to undertake, getting a professional landscaper in will help you create the garden of your dreams, no matter the size of your outdoor space.

Whatever kind of tradesperson you require, make Checkatrade, a free to access directory of trades local to you, your first port of call.

Get your tickets for a night of glitz and glamour at Checkatrade’s Spring Ball! – Craig Phillips

Checkatrade foundation, Members, News

Spring ball header

I’m delighted to be hosting this year’s Checkatrade’s charity Spring Ball in May, with a glamorous evening in store for the guests lucky enough to attend.

The fun will be taking place at Brighton’s Hilton Metropole Hotel on Saturday 20 May, with the event open to everyone. The night’s Hollywood theme will provide the glitz and glamour of the silver screen, complete with a black tie and dress code, an elegant red-carpet reception and a glass of bubbly upon arrival for guests.

Jack Pack Photo

There’ll also be cracking contemporary swing-pop on the night from 2014 ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ finalists Jack Pack. The four-piece are renowned for their belting performances that harken back to the days of Sinatra and the Rat Pack – and I for one can’t wait to see them perform live! As well as the top-class entertainment, there’s a quality three-course dinner with wine, a chance to show off your moves on the dancefloor with a disco, alongside a complimentary photo booth and an amazing magician.

Tickets are priced at just £100 per head, and incredibly all monies raised are going towards the Checkatrade Foundation. Proceeds go towards backing an amazing children’s project in Nepal, as well as Dementia UK supporting sufferers up-and-down the country.

We kick-off proceedings at 6.30pm in the Oxford Suite with the drinks reception, and final carriages are at 1am, with car parking available on-site. At the end of the night, there will be discounted B&B rates available at the Hilton Metropole, or there are plenty of alternative options nearby to the venue. Book before 31 March for a discounted rate, a table of 10 for just £900.

It’s going to be a great night in Brighton, I’m looking forward to seeing lots of our members joining us, see you then!

For more information on the event and to purchase your tickets for a special night, visit: springball.checkatrade.com.

Written by Craig Phillips – Checkatrade Ambassador

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Do You Want a Great Looking and Clean Carpet?

Advice

rolls

Carpet is a type of textile flooring made of wool or polypropylene fibres and can vary in colour, production method and type.

Carpeting enables the creation of a functional, modern and cozy atmosphere with a wide range of models and colours and that is why they are so popular in London. Also carpeting is one of the most luxurious and comfortable flooring for office.
It’s disadvantage is that it requires maintenance more frequently . Depending on the intensity of use, it must be hoovered daily and washed periodically. This is because the carpet absorbs dust and quickly gets contaminated.
The easiest daily cleaning is done with a vacuum cleaner, but it can not remove all dirt and deposits, so the carpet needs a good wash regularly. The frequency of washing depends on how bright the surface is and how many people use it.

There is already a new generation of carpets – polymer with 100% polyamide thread and coloured core of fibres. The textile fibres are dyed by dipping them into a solution, which means the colour can not easily be removed and in the event of stubborn stains appearing, you can use a significantly more aggressive method of cleaning.

If you normally wait for spring to come round before you clean the carpets, there’s no need.
We offer professional cleaning service that does not depend on the season.
Worried that the carpet won’t be dry quick enough?
No need – with proper technique, it is washed and dried quickly and efficiently.

Go For Cleaning LTD offers heavy duty carpet cleaning service – http://www.goforcleaning.co.uk/steam-carpet-cleaning/

clean
The preparations we use are different, divided into several groups: shampoos with active oxygen, hot water and powder extraction system with disinfectants and detergents to remove stains.
The technology can be used with different options depending on the degree of soiling on the carpet. The procedure includes cleaning of the contaminated surface by a carpet extraction machine. This is a method by which the product is injected under pressure and immediately thereafter sucked back to the machine.

Go For Cleaning cleans the carpets with five main stages.

  1. In the first stage, we pre-spray the product with active oxygen and appropiate pH and gently brush it into the fabric.
  2. Our second step threatens the congested areas, i.e. those who are undergoing the most intense utilization and pollution are treated with a concentrated detergent.
  3. The third stage is to rinse the carpet with a special detergent that crosses extracted solution and rinse again.
  4. A fourth step includes drying the carpet with a powerful three-motor water vacuums.
  5. Finally, the last fifth stage is to inspect for stains and to be removed with professional preparation, the type of which is determined according to the type of stain.
    We will also apply deodorizes for better aroma.

In the end your carpet will be clean, healthy and almost dry with bright and fresh colours.

This article is produced by the Carpet Cleaning Team at Go For Cleaning LTD.

Website: http://www.goforcleaning.co.uk

Tel. 020 8460 8928

Don’t Miss Out on your £10 Checkatrade Trophy Final Ticket!

News

In this day and age, £1 0 only goes so far, but this season it could get you into Wembley to watch the Checkatrade Trophy Final.

Ticket sales for this season’s final have been selling fast, with excitement building as Coventry City and Oxford United prepare to go head-to-head on Sunday 2 April for the first time under the famous arch.
Current ticket sales, more than two weeks out from the big day, indicate that the attendance for the final will be one of the highest in the competition’s history with over 60,000 tickets already sold.

Coventry's Jordan Willis and Jordan Turnbull promote £10 junior ticketsOxford United's Chris Maguire and Simon Eastwood promote £10 junior tickets

The £10 ticket price applies for supporters aged 16 and under.
The final has captured the imagination of young supporters from both clubs, with more than 10,000 junior tickets having been purchased to date.

It will be the Sky Blues’ first trip to Wembley for 30 years, but for Oxford, the national stadium is familiar territory, having played in the final of this competition last season, losing out to now Championship side Barnsley.

EFL Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey said: “It has been very encouraging to see how ticket sales have progressed and it is great that so many young fans are coming to watch what promises to be an exciting and competitive final.
“The £10 offer is fantastic opportunity to experience a special occasion at Wembley Stadium, the home of football in this country, and I urge as many of our finalists’ young fans and families to take advantage.”

The two teams have met twice this season in the league, both claiming home victories with Coventry winning 2-1 in October, and Oxford claiming a 4-1 victory the following month at the Kassam Stadium.

Kevin Byrne, Founder and CEO of Checkatrade, said: “We’re delighted that the EFL are offering this fantastic deal to young supporters for what should be a great game of football. As a proud community-driven business, we’re thrilled that youngsters from across the country can experience Wembley at a competitive price.
This is a great opportunity to attend the home of football and we look forward to seeing lots of young supporters at the Checkatrade Trophy Final on Sunday 2nd April.”

Tickets can be purchased via the Coventy City ticket office. For Oxford United tickets, further information is available by visiting www.oufc.co.uk.
For further details regarding the Checkatrade Trophy, please visit www.efl.com/checkatrade-trophy.EFL_CHECKATRADE_TR_P_REG_4CWith 72 member clubs across three divisions, the EFL (English Football League) is the world’s original league football competition. It is the largest single body of professional clubs in European football and is responsible for administering and regulating the Sky Bet EFL, EFL Cup and Checkatrade Trophy, as well as reserve and youth football. The EFL, EFL Trust and our member clubs are at the heart of communities across the country, providing shared experiences for all and using the power of sport to improve lives.

Natural VS Synthetic Carpets and How to Check PH Levels – by Premium Carpet Clean Ltd

Advice

Carpets are a huge part of the decor in your property and can have a massive influence on the first impressions that you will give off when people visit.
Choosing the right carpet can take a long time and can also be quite costly so when you are choosing, it’s always good to understand what they are made from and how durable they are.
For example, you wouldn’t want to pick a delicate carpet for high foot traffic areas.

Choosing the correct carpets first time can increase the length of time that the carpet will last and will prevent you needing to buy another new carpet a few months down the line.
There are so many different types of carpets that you can choose from, all varying in design, texture, colours, patterns and pile length/thickness. However, this doesn’t necessarily matter when it comes to cleaning, the main thing to consider is whether you are buying a natural fibre carpet or a synthetic fibre carpet.

So Premium Carpet Clean Ltd have laid out what the differences between the two are to help you get a better understanding of what one will best suit your needs.

natural

Natural Carpets
Natural carpets are made from natural sources such as wool which means they tend to look and feel a lot nicer than most synthetic carpets. The fibres in a wool carpet are usually a lot thicker which means that they have a way of bouncing back into shape whereas synthetic fibres fold and flatten considerably quicker.
The natural carpets will stay bouncy and thicker for a lot longer however they are prone to staining and can need a more delicate approach when cleaning. The fibres in Wool carpets if cleaned incorrectly can shrink, change colour and be damaged by the using the wrong cleaning products. The safest option is to ensure that natural carpets are cleaned by professionals so that no damage is caused.

syn

Synthetic Carpets
Synthetic carpets as the name suggests means that this carpet has been made from artificially produced materials which means that they are usually considerably cheaper than natural fibre carpets.
The most commonly used materials found in synthetic carpets are acrylic and nylon. There are various reasons why these materials are used.
Acrylic is less likely to become stained and doesn’t absorb a lot of moisture which means it is one of the easiest fibres to clean and keep clean. It can also be placed in direct sunlight because it doesn’t fade in the light.
Nylon is known best for its incredible strength and it is very resistant to staining and matting. Seeing as synthetic carpet materials are so easy to acquire and make, the cost of production is a lot lower than the cost of making a natural fibre carpet.

ph 2

A professional carpet cleaning company will understand what cleaning chemicals will need to be used on the different types of carpet and they will all test all of your P.H levels before and after cleaning your carpets.

You’re wondering what a P.H level is?
Well we are going to explain this for you too so you know what is safe and what isn’t!

P.H stands for ‘Potential of Hydrogen’. To check your P.H levels, the cleaner will come to your property with equipment including a testing kit.
They will test a strand of your carpet on the strips provided in the kit and determine the readings by the colour against the colour chart.

It’s a measure of the Acidity and Alkalinity of cleaning solutions and is measured on a scale of 0-14.
The levels that they will expect to find after a clean has been completed is a 7.0.  This is the midway reading and confirms that your carpets have been left with a neutral result so nothing has been left behind.
A P.H reading will not identify the capacity of the product but the intensity of the product. For example, using temperature will tell us how hot a item is but not how much heat its emitting.
Any reading below 7.0 tells us that the product contains a lot of acid whereas anything above will tell us that it is high in alkaline.

The reason you are left with your carpets at a level 7.0 (Neutral) because you don’t want to be left with a buildup of chemicals in your carpet. Leaving a higher or lower reading can cause corrosion and damage to the carpets over a period of time.

Written by
Kiril Natov (Premium Carpet Cleaning Ltd. Director)
http://carpetcleaningslondon.co.uk
Checkatrade Customer Feedback
Tel: 07427 306730

A Boiler Guide – Vol.3 – By WPJ Heating

Advice

We are WPJ Heating , a boiler installation company based in London and proud members of Checkatrade.
In our previous two articles, we covered boiler prices and boiler types. Part 3 is a list of ‘Dos and Don’ts’ to help you avoid common pitfalls and ensure you’re getting the job done correctly when having a new boiler installed.

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Do
● Always use a Gas Safe accredited installer or company.
● Get 2-3 boiler quotes from local boiler installer companies. Price, guarantee and quality of workmanship can vary drastically.
● Make sure you have a magnetic filter included in the installation, or at least have a good reason to omit it.
● Make sure the system is suitably flushed to remove sludge and debris at the time of the installation.
● Make sure corrosion inhibitor chemicals are added at the time of completion to protect the new boiler.
● Ensure the installer will cover the surrounding area in protective sheets.
● Make sure the manufacturer’s guarantee and Gas Safe Register paperwork are completed, sent off and logged online.
● Enquire about follow-up care and annual servicing.
● Ask about the relevance of new programmers, pumps, thermostats and other components on the system.
● Expect the old boiler to be properly disposed of.

Don’t
● Use an installer with a conspicuous lack of previous customer reviews. Reviews don’t lie and it’s the one tool you as a customer have to asses if the company is reliable.
● Forget to do your research on the make of boiler being recommended by the installer to make sure it is appropriate.
● Be afraid to ask any questions at all so that you are clear on what to expect.
● Feel you have to hang around all day during the installation. Good firms are tidy and responsible and can be left to it.
● Expect to clean up afterwards or be left with piles of rubbish – This should all be taken care of.
● Pay the balance until you are satisfied.
● Be bamboozled by jargon in the quotes. Get at least three and seek clarity when comparing them.

For more information on boiler prices, read our article for Checkatrade here or visit our website to get a quote for a new boiler installation .

 

A Guide To Home Improvements by Sainsburys Bank

Advice

DIY low-res

Whenever you look at making some changes to your home, there is almost always some confusion about where you should start and how to go about it.

Thankfully, the team at Sainsburys Bank have put together a very helpful Guide to Home Improvements.

This handy little document has hints and tips on everything from improving your existing areas to creating brand new spaces.
There’s also some information on how to make your home more energy efficient.

We hope you find this guide useful but if you discover a job that might be a bit too big to tackle yourself, why not find a reliable trader on Checkatrade.com?
With over 24,000 recommended, vetted and monitored trades…we’re bound to have the right one for you!

sainsburys_bank_logo

 

A Boiler Guide – Vol.2 – by WPJ Heating

Advice

We are WPJ Heating , a boiler installation company based in London and proud members of Checkatrade. In this article, we will cover different types of boilers to give you a better understanding of what boiler type suits your property.
Nowadays, all boilers are condensing boilers regardless of the categories listed below. Condensing boilers are more energy efficient and have been made mandatory by the Government since 2005. Gas boilers can be separated into 3 main types. These suit different-sized properties and differing heating and hot water requirements.

Types of Boilers

Combination boilers are perhaps the most prevalent type of boiler in London. These are just “one solitary white box” on the wall. Combination boilers heat up hot water for your taps and showers on demand (i.e. the burner kicks in whenever a hot tap is opened) and they also produce the hot water that circulates around your radiators. Because they don’t take up much space and are perfectly suited to smaller properties and flats, they are often the right choice for London homes.

System boilers can look the same as a combination boiler but must be paired up with a separate hot water cylinder (often in an airing cupboard or tucked away somewhere). This type of set-up takes up more space and may be better suited to multiple bathroom properties or busy family households where there is a larger demand for hot water with baths, showers, washing machines etc. System boilers will also have more independent controls – zone valves to separate different radiator and hot water cylinder circuits, programmers to set timings for these circuits and thermostats to control desired temperatures.

Regular boilers (or sometimes called heat only boilers) also need to be paired up with a hot water cylinder. In addition to the extra zone valves, thermostat and programmer, they also require a circulating pump and sometimes an expansion vessel depending on the circumstances. Regular boilers are often best suited to larger properties also and may be paired up to create larger heat loads.

WPJ Heating have spent 15 years fitting these boiler types into properties of all shapes and sizes.
Get in touch with us for more information and we can offer advice on what is the best solution for your needs.

Central Heating (low)

 

Three top tips when getting a new boiler

1. Get 2-3 boiler quotes from local boiler installer companies. Price, diagnosis and quality of workmanship can vary drastically.

2. Check the guarantee on your new boiler. Guarantee on a boiler often depends on the installer, not only on the boiler manufacturer or type of boiler. Compare installers in your area and their accreditations to get the longest guarantee.

3. Check the company’s reviews. Reviews don’t lie and it’s the one tool you as a customer have to assess if the company is reliable. Companies with bad or no reviews are more likely to give a disappointing service than companies with good reviews. We all operate in different ways and have different standards.

For more information on boiler prices, read our article for Checkatrade here or get a quote for a new boiler installation.

You can find reviews for WPJ Heating by visiting their Checkatrade page.

Seven Questions You Must Ask When Choosing A Tradesperson by Craig Phillips

Advice

When you are planning on undertaking a project within your home, the excitement about seeing the end result can soon become overshadowed by the task of choosing the right tradesperson. Worrying about shoddy work, being ripped off or hidden costs can easily lead to anxiety and for some of us, this can even put us off getting the project started!

 

To help you choose the right person for your next project, check out my top seven questions to ask any prospective tradesperson…

  1. Can I get a written quote?
    Always get the price in writing from your prospective tradesperson, the price should be fairly accurate, though do bear in mind that it is just a quote and should the job escalate, the price will too. Have a chat with the tradesperson and agree that should costs start to change from the agreed price, you will be notified before work continues.
  2. Can you supply customer recommendations?
    Word of mouth is the best advertising there is and if your prospective tradesperson can’t supply customers that are happy to recommend their work, then think twice about using them.
  3. What recent projects have you worked on?
    Try to get a feel for the size and scale of projects the tradesperson has worked on previously. If your project is large or complex, ask how they would manage it and try to find out the approach they would take to tackling the job. The majority of tradesmen also have smart phones and take photos of examples ask to see them.
  4. What will I need to do before work begins?
    At the very least you will most likely need to clear the area of your stuff but check if there is anything else they are expecting you to do before work begins.
  5. Will this be your only project?
    Tradespeople often balance several projects at once, moving from one to the other while waiting for materials or other trades to their bit. If this is the case with your project, chat it through with your prospective tradesperson. If managed properly the process should not interfere with your work, but do find out whether there will be periods where your project will be inactive.
  6. How long will the job take?
    While you will need a level of flexibility (even the best planned projects can throw up surprises), try to ascertain a rough timeline for your project. This is especially important if you need to take time off work.
  7. What if I am not happy with the work?
    Any tradesperson worth their salt will only ever want their customers to be happy with the work they do. If, however, the work done isn’t up to scratch or doesn’t match your brief, you need to know that your tradesperson will remedy the works to both your satisfaction.

Whether it is a new bathroom or a two-storey extension, if you are inviting a tradesperson into your property, you want to be sure they can be trusted, that their work is of the highest standard and that the price quoted is accurate.

An easy way to find a trusted and vetted tradesperson is to find them using Checkatrade’s free and easy to use search facility. Simply type in the trade you are looking for, i.e. plumber or the company name if you know it, along with your postcode and hit search.  A comprehensive range of reputable tradespeople local to your search will appear – helping you to easily find the right tradesperson for your project!

 

This blog was written by Checkatrade Ambassador, Craig Phillips.

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