Build Your Own Timber Garden Office Yourself

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Run a Business From Your Very Own Home Office

Learning how to optimise space in your yard and building a garden office you can work from is an excellent idea that can help you to completely eliminate the rat-race of day to day working. If you are deciding on building a garden office from scratch this article will help you by showing you the essentials you will have to put into consideration before you attempt the project of building your ultimate garden office.

The very first thing you will need is solid foundations. Most people will just lay out a concrete slab as the most popular option. A new method is using plinth foundations that provide adjustable surfaces and very easy installation. Choose a foundation that uses little preparation and utilises a strong foundation for your building.

Prepare to have your lawn dug up if you want water and plumbing services in your garden office. Image credit: Garden Affairs

The next thing you will need is a professional electric system rigged up. You will need to hire an electrical contractor that has a solid reputation as you cannot do this part of the job on your own.

Garden offices are like mini living areas and with that comes the need for a good plumbing system. You can get more return on your investment by including such things as a toilet and sink. Just like the electrical aspect of your office, you will need to hire a professional plumbing contractor to set everything up correctly for you.

The interior of your garden office will be the very next task on your building agenda. You can let your creativity and imagination flow when you are choosing the layout and design. You can use low-priced MDF boards or solid wood for the interior fit out or you can always use a fully plastered design. You can really build the interior out of any material you choose. For flooring, you always have many options as well including hardwood, carpeted, vinyl, tile and other methods.

There are 6 separate phases that you will go through while you are building your garden office from scratch. We will outline the phases below that you can do on your own below.

The first phase of building your garden office is choosing the actual piece of land where you will build your office. You can dig holes in the ground as markers to put in footings for your foundation.

The next thing you can do is create the foundation and build the frame that shows the overall size of your garden office. You can lay down 4 concrete blocks that can be a support for the frame of the office. You can always add more blocks to create a stronger frame. You will want to set your building a few inches above the ground to provide air flow and you can also fill in the joists of the frame if wanted.

To build a garden office from scratch you will need to finish the foundation. All the connecting and supporting points including concrete blocks and joists of the frame are covered. You can build a central part that goes the entire length of the foundation that will allow you to hang the joists from. The central part creates strength for the base of your office and also provides good insulation.

A Solid Concrete Base is Your Best Option for Any Timber Outbuilding. Image credit: Ultimate Handyman

It is recommended that you create the walls of your office from reclaimed wood. There are plenty of choices available and softwood is typically the cheapest of options for those on a budget. You can also head to hardware stores to find out what type of wood will work for your home office. Above all else, you will want to choose a dry wood that guarantees quality insulation. You can measure the height of the office and build wooden frames for the walls. You can screw in cross beams and other pieces to create a stable and secure wall.

After you build the walls you can create the base of your office by laying down foundation then building a floor. After you have insulated your floor area you should also insulate your walls. Once you have completed this install the windows. Lastly, you will need to install the roof before you put the doors on.

The last phase of building is installing the door to your garden office. You can do it simply by building the frame of the wall to allow for you to screw the door into the frame. You can also choose other options such as a dual door that will lift into place. You then simply screw the hinges into the frame of your office. You will now have a door that will protect your office from the elements.

This concludes the possible options you have on building garden office buildngs from scratch. There are a lot of things you can do on your own and these are the main elements. You can maximise your budget and get the most from your office with these ideas.

Special Mentions

The author would like to personally thank the following amazing websites for their inspiration, knowledge and imagery in the creation of this article:

 

How to transform an old kitchen with new doors, worktops & appliances

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Kitchen looking tired? Here’s how to improve it

Being one of the most important rooms in your house, the kitchen deserves to be well decorated and maintained. The problem is that the cupboards and cabinets tend to end up looking a bit old, or worse for wear, and you cannot go changing your kitchen often. Besides the high cost involved there is also a great deal of hassle and work, and a big mess to clean up afterwards too!

However what many people fail to notice is that in reality there is no need to replace a kitchen from scratch in order to benefit from a newer and more modern looking one. There are relatively small and affordable renovation projects you could undertake to make your kitchen look fresh and new! You can transform an old kitchen by installing new doors instead of the old ones. You could also order new worktops so as to get rid of the stained and discoloured countertop that has been annoying you. You could also invest in new and more modern appliances. By doing this you will be able to attain more than you ever hoped for and at a fraction of the cost.

A Typical Kitchen Door Factory Floor. Image credit: Crooked Oak

In many cases the kitchen carcass is still in an acceptable condition. Therefore the main problems tend to lie on the outer parts of the kitchen, that is, the doors and the countertop. If you come to think of it then, replacing these parts could do the trick.

Ordering new doors to be fitted instead of the current ones is simple as there is a kitchen company in Maidstone who specialise in this service. They will come to your house to measure the current doors, and offer you several options with regards to style and material, and of course the colour. The new doors will then be made to measure. In many cases new handles and knobs will be chosen so as to be fixed to the new doors and drawers, and voila, your kitchen is already looking like new once they install them for you!

The countertop is most probably suffering with stains here and there and a couple of scratches from knives and other sharp objects that you use to prepare your food. So installing a new countertop can rid you of these defects. Quartz countertop overlays are an ideal low cost option in many cases as these will be made to measure and installed right on top of the current worktop. So it is a mess free process. There are specialised companies who offer the cutting of the worktop overlays and the subsequent installation too. You can choose from different materials, but quartz is the most popular option since it is resistant to stains, very modern and sleek, and easy to clean and maintain.

Quartz Overlays Look Amazing & Cost a Fraction of a Granite Countertop. Image credit: Freeindex

Finally, ordering new appliances that will complement the new style of your renovated kitchen could further improve its fresh look! Nowadays there are countless styles and brands to choose from, so as to complement a vintage, contemporary, or modern kitchen.

You will be amazed at how affordable and hassle free these changes will be, and yet how effective in terms of the new look it will prove to be!

How to choose the best running shoes for flat feet

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Finding suitable running footwear for people with plantar fasciitis

Having a flat foot or plantar fasciitis means that one doesn’t have a distinct curve on the inside of the foot and the foot is likely to over-pronate hence causing injuries. The arch of a foot is formed by the metatarsal and tarsal bones and strengthened by ligaments and tendons and it is meant to act as a shock absorber when you put your weight on the feet. The shock is absorbed and alleviates the impact that will hit the ankles, knees and hips hence causing pain. The arch in a flat foot completely on the ground, i.e. it overpronates and this causes the ankle to twist inward and knees to overcompensate. The sole of their feet is much more on the inner edge and this increases the likelihood of getting injuries and long term foot problems.

For runners who have flat feet, they have problems with the running gait because the arch has to support them 3 times more than an average runner. That is why people with this kind of feet should be cautious when getting running shoes.

Diagnosing Plantar Fasciitis. Image credit: Feet Remedies

Running shoes for people with flat feet are designed to specifically offer good support, stability and motion control and there are two types of shoes created for this:

Stability running shoes

They are best for this kind of feet because they have a hard coupon of foam right below the medial side of the arch and at times all the way to the heel. It also helps correct overpronation by restricting the excessive motion of the foot.

Motion controlling running shoes

They have the same technology as the stability shoes, but they have been added an upper construction so as to lock the runner’s feet while providing support. They have a bump that is made from hard material and it is placed where the arch is supposed to be which in turn counters overpronation.

When choosing the best running shoes for flat feet you should consider the following:

  • A shoe that offers good and high stability that will make you comfortable as you run. There are different high stability running shoes from different brands so make sure to get one that suits you best.
  • The shoes should be made from a hard material offer more stability and motion to shoes and support the arch and keep in proper position as well as good shock absorbing properties.
  • They should have a good grip that will not tend to slip all over the place as you run by having a good tread that will depend on the type of climate and terrain one is running.
  • Flat feet mean that they don’t have space to breathe hence the shoes should have a mesh that allows airflow and there is no retaining of moisture from sweat which may lead to bacterial problems.
  • The shoes should be flexible enough to allow the natural motion of the feet while at the same time providing stability. They should however not bend or twist in the middle rather at the toe because this will cause pain in the midfoot area and foot which in turn lead to discomfort as your run.
  • Flat feet people require more support at the center, adequate shock absorption and protection from impact as they run, hence get a shoe that has a lot of cushioning and the fallen arch of the for it well supported. There should be additional cushioning in the heel and forefront to act as shock absorbers hence preventing painful shin splints.
  • They should be durable by having a good construction and material. The outer sole and upper design should have a high abrasion rubber compound and the supportive overlays should be put together so that the shoe doesn’t wear out prematurely

The best running shoes for flat feet are the one that corrects the condition, are comfortable with an added arch and prevent further injuries when running. A great example brand in New Balance running shoes who have built a reputation as one of the world’s leading sports shoe manufacturers.

New Balance 860 V7 are a great running shoe for flat feet. Image credit: New Balance

If you have difficulty getting running shoes for flat feet, you can choose to add orthotic inserts or insoles as they help distribute weight and pressure by offering a natural arch while providing support and comfort at the same time.

Before buying a running shoe you may visit a podiatrist who will check on the severity of the condition and get to recommend the best-running shoe for your feet. You may also read flat shoe reviews that have been written by actual users and get to know which is the best but make a comparison between them before buying. People with flat feet may also help and guide you in buying the best type of running shoe.

How to make a custom fitted wardrobe with MDF boards

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Build your dream closet easily with MDF sheets

It seems that we never have enough space to store all the clothes we buy. This is even more of a problem in the case of women, who also need to store countless handbags and accessories. It is also a common problem for families with kids who need to buy clothes on a regular basis as kids outgrow their clothes. So it may come a time when you feel that your wardrobe is simply too small and you might want a bigger and more spacious one so as to avoid these problems. Have you ever thought that you could build your own custom wardrobe? This is the best possible option as you can make it just as big as you want, and design it with as many doors and drawers as you like. Actually, building a custom wardrobe is fairly simple, and you can get it done with MDF boards, which are very affordable.

Start by measuring the space you have available. Consider how high you want to make it. Obviously the higher it is, the more storage space you have. The depth is an important consideration. Many readymade wardrobes tend to be rather lacking when it comes to the width. When you try to hang a coat or jacket, the doors may not be able to close properly, simply because of the size of these large clothes. So, keep this in mind and decide on a proper width for your new wardrobe. Having said that, make sure you take into account the other furniture in the room. You do not want to end up not being able to fully open the wardrobe’s doors because they are too wide and strike nearby furniture. Ideally doors should not be wider than 50cm.

Basic MDF Wardrobe Shell. Image credit: Lancaster Carpentry

Basic MDF Wardrobe Shell. Image credit: Lancaster Carpentry

A wardrobe is probably the biggest piece of furniture you’ll ever build. So naturally you will need to divide it up into separate sections. So, to facilitate the design and the building, make sure to consider each cabinet separately.

Once you buy all the sheets you need, it is recommended that you cut MDF with a circular saw with a very fine toothed blade. You could use a jigsaw, but it might be too rough and so the cutting process may take more time and require much more attention. Make sure to position the MDF panel very accurately and see to it that it is well supported so as to cut as accurately as possible.

Another important tip when using MDF is that if you intend to paint them, make sure to seal the board edges, as otherwise they will look rather rough. You could either cover the edges with shellac, or else keep painting and sanding for at least three or four times until you achieve a smooth finish.

MDF boards come in different sizes and thicknesses. Generally you will find that most are between 12mm and 15mm thick. Ideally purchase at least 18mm thick boards.

While cutting it will be helpful to mark each part so that you will know which part it is, and with which other parts it shall be connected. This is very helpful considering that there are going to be dozens of parts in the case of a wardrobe. Once all the panels have been cut you can start assembling each part bit by bit. Start with the top panel, and connect the two sides to it by screwing and gluing them. Then you should have cut the borders which will need to be attached to the lower part of the cabinet. This will create a lower frame upon which the base will be attached. Place the upper border onto the front and back connections and screw them securely to the base foundation. The back of the cabinet will need to be reinforced, since there is a considerable height involved for a wardrobe. So attach bordered reinforcements at the top, and in the middle, or at a third of the height.

Finished MDF Wardrobe. Image credit: VisualGram

Finished MDF Wardrobe. Image credit: VisualGram

This process will need to be repeated for each part of the wardrobe. If there are going to be shelves of drawers you will need to see to the rails that will need to be fastened in the proper part of the cabinet. Once each part has been individually completed, all that remains is attaching each part to another until the whole wardrobe has been assembled. For the doors you will need to install the hinges. Make sure they are well adjusted so as to prevent wonky looking doors. A wide opening is generally preferred and so take this into account when choosing and installing the hinges. A 120 degree opening is standard, but you can go for a wider opening, such as 170 degrees with some hinges. You may also wish to consider if you prefer them to be slow closing, or the push to open variety.

Watching Sky Television in France is Now Simple

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Access the TV content you want from abroad

In recent years, consumer viewing habits have changed dramatically. Since internet access has become mega-fast with the inception of fiberoptic and cable broadband connectivity, the choice on offer to consumers has grown at a frantic pace.

Up until recently, it was common to watch programming at the behest of the television stations schedules on both terrestrial and satellite networks. Now that outlook looks completely different. With the onset of on-demand apps widely available on on smart devices such as tablets and phones, plus the wide range of set-top boxes on the market, people now access TV shows however they like, on whatever device they choose.

Gone are the days of set times to dedicate time to watch the same soap, drama or action programme each and every week. The end users now officially determines how they want to watch TV, at what time and on which device. The pendulum has swung completely the other way.

Roku Interface. Image credit: Know Your Mobile

Roku Interface. Image credit: Know Your Mobile

There’s a world of choice out there!

Believe it or not but only a few years back, on-demand was just coming to the fore yet, it feels like it has been with us for decades. Online services such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4, Demand5 and Sky Go are internet-based versions of their respective networks. And up until only recently, there weren’t any cross network solutions that offered a complete package of entertainment from all these networks under one umbrella.

But now with the incredible growth of online service providers like Netflix, Amazon TV and Now TV; on-demand TV has taken off and answered those demands. These impressive new services offer the consumer the widest possible range of entertainment from a range of terrestrial and satellite networks, via live and on-demand systems. Now, you can switch on and access sports, movies and pay-per-view events at the touch of a button.

What’s more impressive, is many new programmes are now created by and exclusively shown on these providers platforms. Netflix has invested millions of dollars in new and original programming and boasts some of the highest rated shows to come out in recent years, like House of Cards, Bloodline, Marco Polo and fan favourite Orange is the New Black.

Amazon is no different. New TV series The Grand Tour, starring ex-Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, is set to be released very soon. This high production value show is set to be aired only to Amazon subscribers yet audience numbers are expected to be in the millions. So if you’re still relying on just terrestrial TV, you’ll never get to see it, proving that consumer viewing habits have well and truly changed and mainstream programming is considered old fashioned and a failing platform.

IPTV Devices. Image credit: iPhone Hacks

IPTV Devices. Image credit: iPhone Hacks

Watch amazing UK TV content in France

Now well into the new century, its commonplace in developed countries for most homes to be connected to the world wide web, not to mention phones and other mobile devices via 4G and WiFi. So it’s no wonder that accessing services from these groundbreaking providers is a breeze when all it takes is to install an app or to purchase a set-top box and hook it up to your TV.

As the world is so connected, accessing localised content specific to UK audiences is in actual fact so simple even if you live abroad in countries like France. By using a VPN provider or a smart DNS service, you can easily change the public IP address of any device you choose and bypass common IP filtration that blocks you from viewing content outside the UK.

So if you’re a Brit abroad living in France, the news just gets better because accessing British content such as Sky TV in France is a piece of cake. No need to install old fashioned satellite dishes or aerials. A clever bit of wizardry using a software (or hardware) VPN or smart DNS will unlock a world of entertainment meaning you can buy a Now TV box, Apple TV, an Amazon Fire Stick or even a Roku or MAG set-top box with complete confidence, knowing you can access whatever content you desire.

Plus popular apps such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer or Android TV will work just as long as your TV connects to the internet via the VPN or smart DNS. Watching non-localised content is achievable simply by changing your public IP – that’s it! A simple IP switch to another country effectively allows you to access content from that country, whether it be the UK, USA or elsewhere.

So if you’re living the high life across the channel in France, life just got sweeter with the advances in connectivity that allow live and on-demand streaming of practically any content you like, how you like it.

How to find a great office cleaning business in London

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Sourcing a suitable commercial cleaning contractor in the capital

Most businesses need some form of cleaning regime, even the small sole trader one-man-band businesses. We spend a great deal of our time at work, and every business, whether your team consists of a handful of people or several dozen needs a clean environment in which to work safely – it’s no different who you are.

Dirt, dust, debris and particles build up incredibly quickly and a poor cleaning regime can affect the health, wellbeing and productivity of your team. Good quality office cleanliness is not something to be ignored and every business owner must ensure a suitable solution is put in place to take care of these needs.

If you own a business and are considering a cleaning company, you’ve no doubt reached a point where you have no idea who to choose. Finding a suitable cleaning contractor in a city like London is a massive job – there’s literally hundreds of suppliers all claiming to be the best in the business. It’s a real headache finding the right one!

Janitor at Work. Image credit: Free Images

Janitor at Work. Image credit: Free Images

So what do you do? You can read our list of points to consider below which will hopefully clear some of the fog and give you a better understanding of how to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Know How

Solid, reputable cleaning businesses will have a long track record of experience and know how to call upon. The only way they’ll get this is from having been in business for many years and learned from the pitfalls of this ever-changing industry.

Office cleaning may seem like a pretty innocuous profession to be in but in fact, it is littered with government legislation that cleaning businesses adhere to. These sorts of companies have to deal with various harsh and sometimes dangerous chemicals, not to mention, put their staff is some very precarious positions – try being a window cleaner suspended several hundred meters up on a skyscraper!

Only the best companies will offer cleaning that have a fully qualified and trained team of staff and that comes only from a reputable and knowledge cleaning supplier.

Punctuality

There’s nothing worse than having a supplier that lets you down regularly. A cleaning business should be able to operate around your time schedules and go practically unnoticed as they go about there business.

Ideally, a good cleaning business should be able to take care of all interior cleaning and maintenance issues before trading begins for the day. That way, your team of staff have a nice and pristine office to come to work to which will only improve staff morale and productivity.

If they can’t accommodate, find an alternative supplier.

Adaptability

Much related to the point above, your ideal cleaning partner should show a certain level of flexibility in working to your specific needs. If they have been tasked to take care of various aspects for your office hygiene such a cleaning surfaces, vacuuming, janitorial issues, kitchen cleaning and certain maintenance responsibilities, then they need to fully understand how your business operates and at which times certain aspects of the premises will be in high or low demand.

It’s not good if the cleaners or office maintenance team get in the way. They need to be anonymous and remain that way. So if you find your supplier is trying to dictate to you as and when they will clean your office, its apparent they only care about fitting you in to suit their regime and are not considering your needs as their first priority.

If this is a situation you find yourself in, you’d be advised to look elsewhere.

Standards

Every cleaning business should pride themselves on setting only the highest of standards – nothing else will do.

Sadly however, many cleaning businesses tend to rush or cut corners and this is totally unacceptable. It happens because they believe you as the business owner are not paying attention so they can quickly skip over essential jobs or literally, do the least amount of cleaning possible and charge you for it to maximise their profits. This is unfortunately very common in the cleaning industry, so you need to ensure you keep a watchful eye on standards and ensure they are kept to. Any slippages will lead to a gradual decay of quality control and that is inevitably when the relationship starts to sour.

Female Cleaner. Image credit: Pixabay

Female Cleaner. Image credit: Pixabay

Reputation

A business lives and dies by its reputation so the key to all of the above is to discover an office cleaning London contractor that has glowing references and reviews.

if you are unsure of how to find the good from the bad, speak to other business owners, friends, colleagues or client of cleaning business and see what they have to say. No doubt, it will be extremely revealing and you’ll quickly discover who you do and do not want to work with.

How the Litigation Process of Separation Works

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The Family Law courts explained

These days, finding a couple who are happy to negotiate the separation process between themselves is a rarity. More often than not, both parties will try to withhold a sizeable portion of sensitive information that would enable discussions to reach an agreeable severance, in fear of losing too much financial security.

When this happens, both parties tend to seek assistance from the legal system and court proceedings inevitably ensue. When this happens, the assistance of the courts is sought via an application to resolve the dispute for financial remedy.

What most parties do not realise however, is under the framework of the the law, they are both required to attend a family mediation information and assessment meeting before an application to the Court is granted. This stage is purely designed for two reasons – firstly to effectively learn more about the disputes they have with each other and secondly, to try to get them to resolve their differences before it goes to court and becomes and emotionally and financially draining experience.

If however no agreement is reached, the Court is left with no choice other than to get involved and seek a legal application.

Judges Hammer. Image credit: PIxabay

Judges Hammer. Image credit: Pixabay

On receiving the application, the Court issues an automatic directive, that requires both parties to file and serve to the other party, full financial disclosure. This is done by completing what is called “Form E”, which must be submitted along with documented evidence to support any statements given.

Once processed, the court then sets a date known as the First Appointment. This initial hearing allows both parties to seek rulings from the opposite party – ensuring they supply all outstanding information associated with the dispute, and secure all valuations and important information that will help the court to reach a suitable judgement.

Once full financial disclosure has been established, the Court will then set an FDR date – a Financial Dispute Resolution appointment designed to help the judge in court at the time, assist the disputing couple to understand what the Court is most likely to order based on the evidence presented.

As with most divorce and separation cases, this tends to get people talking once more and breaks the silence in proceedings, ultimately in the hope that a suitable settlement may be reached before a full trial ensues.

If the talks fail however, the court may rule that the dispute is ongoing and they are left with no choice other than to set a future trial date in court.

Once the trial commences, both parties are given the opportunity to present their arguments and supporting evidence to the judge. It is then down to the judge in place to make a ruling based on the findings at hand and points of view presented, and outline their views on how any assets should be divided and any maintenance requirement, by either party.

Trials like this are rarely ever fought by the individuals in the case alone and are handled by a fully qualified Family Law solicitor who will take the reins and guide their client to the best possible outcome. They have a tough job because cases such as this involve a great deal of stress, emotion and pressure for their client. So at times, the Family Law practitioner has to be compassionate, understanding and highly experienced.

It’s their job to present their client’s point of view to the judge in a professional and sensible way, and use their vast experience to try to influence them into a judgement that suits their clients needs.

A lawyer with little experience is less likely to have a successful resolution and therefore, in cases where the dispute has been ongoing for a considerable length of time and involves a large amount of assets and dependents, the Family Law solicitor needs to have a strong head on their shoulders. The perfect example of an experienced Family law solicitor in such cases is Worthingtons Solicitors Kent.

A practice like this would usually insist on regular conversations with the judge to gauge their thinking and to get a better indication of how the evidence presented may be influencing their final decision when getting closer to the end of the trial date.

As with any profession, having a great relationship with the judge is critical to ensuring their clients anxieties, points of view and evidence is fully considered. Only this will enable the judge to make a balanced judgement at the case’s conclusion.

Key Aspects of Property Renovation Projects

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Case study of a typical property refurbishment

Before you take the plunge and press ahead with any home refurbishment undertaking, it would be wise to plan ahead and segment each stage of the project renovation into simple, logical steps first. As the experts will remind you, fail to prepare and prepare to fail!

By setting out a list of tasks, you reduce the risk of blunders and common mistakes, giving yourself the opportunity to achieve a hassle free home renovation that you will have the opportunity to fully enjoy when its completed. Poor judgment and a lack of planning only leads to the costs racking up which will only delay the completion date and empty your pockets.

As with most property refurbishment projects, gutting the internal walls and removing all internal fixtures, fittings and decor is must be your first and only priority. No contractor will come in and start until you have a blank canvas to work from that is clean and clear of clutter, thus allowing your creative team of project managers to do their stuff.

So if you’re in the midst of starting a grand interior design makeover for your home, here’s a breakdown of the key areas to consider before you start:

Carpentry

If your designs involve dramatic changes to room layouts, then the likelihood is you’ll need to construct new stud walls and partitions may be as suspended ceilings along the joists. If that’s the case, make sure your newly built frameworks are left open and unplastered for easy electrical installation later on.

Your new rooms will likely require door frames installed with doors mounted. There could also be windows, window sills and the all hardware requiring fitting too.

Carpenters at Work. Image credit: Wikipedia

Carpenters at Work. Image credit: Wikipedia

Plumbing

If your room changes involve alterations to plumbing, then its likely there’ll be a tap or pipework that needs moving no matter which room you’re working on, especially in kitchens, bathrooms and utility rooms

The most common requirements isn’t alway necessarily new fixtures but the repositioning of existing fixtures that may need to be relocated on a completely new wall. If this sounds like your project, be prepared to carry out work that may involve moving of pipework, waste outlet, taps and plumbing.

If you’re planning an extension on your home, you’ll probably need to install heating in the new spaces, so radiators and plumbing work are on the menu.

Electrics

Some older homes suffer from poor or outdated electrical wiring so a complete electrical rewiring could be on the cards. If this is the case, you may find that you also need to upgrade your circuit board to a newer modern trip system. As well as new electrics, some home owners nowadays opt to install security systems, as well as ethernet network cabling, additional phone sockets, electrical sockets and switches.

Electrical Panel. Image credit: FreeImages.com

Electrical Panel. Image credit: FreeImages.com

Plaster Work

Drywall and plasterboard fitting should only take place by a trained professional. Depending on the type of structure, you might opt for a simple tape and mud finish in the gaps, meaning the drywall is ready to paint straight away. Alternatively, you may prefer a fresh skim of plaster right across the entire surface of the walls to leave a smooth finish ready for painting.

And don’t forget the ceilings! They will need a fresh coat of plaster too to match the rest of the space, and if walls in the existing parts of the home have suffered from cracks or splitting plaster, they’ll need a good patch no doubt.

Tiles

There’s a huge range of ceramic, porcelain and cement tiles on the market these days and with prices coming down, its no surprise why home owners opt to use them instead of other traditional materials.

They offer a low cost, hard wearing, durable finish that gives any room a high end look that will be the envy of your friends!

Floors

As with any new room, you’ll need a suitable flooring installed. With a wide choice of surfaces available from carpets, to hardwood, tile, vinyls and laminates, what you choose can make or break the end finish.

The choice is a very subjective one but always go for a flooring the is easy to clean, is hardwearing and if moisture is present, water resistant. Once you know your needs, the type of flooring choice is the easy part!

Finishing Touches

The little touches at the end of any renovation is what makes or breaks the finished product. Whether you want a contemporary or classic finish, the same rules apply.

Finishes such as skirting boards and coving can give a room definition, whilst other essentials like door architraves, dado and pictures rails, accessories and drapes will give the room its pop of colour and class.

Clean Up

No matter how tidy you try to be, every renovation project creates masses of dirt, dust and debris everywhere. If you’re project is large scale, be prepared for a huge clean up task. Our advice is to wrap all perishables and high value items in plastic and where possible, take fragile items off site until its safe to return them where there’s no risk of breakage.

As the particles are so small, cement and brick dust always finds a way to get into everything and when it does, it can ruin anything. So if you value your items, take them off site or make sure they are sealed and wrapped tightly.

Once the project is completed, use an industrial grade vacuum cleaner to remove all standing dirt or dust before moving back into your newly renovated home.

Skywatcher Explorer 200P telescope review

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We test drive Skywatcher’s popular “big league” telescope

First off, this has to be one of the prettiest telescopes on the market right now, with it’s sleek and attractive metallic cobalt blue finish, highly rated EQ5 mount and super sturdy tubular stainless steel legged tripod.

Surprisingly, the mount doesn’t have a polar scope however you can use the hollow tube as the polar scope for basic alignment if desired. As with most Skywatcher Explorer models, items such as the polar scope, motor drives and GoTo system can be bought separately allowing you to upgrade your scope to a more convenient point and find viewer.

What you do get with this model is a 9×50 straight-through finder, two eyepieces at 10mm and 25mm plus a 2x Barlow lens which has a camera attachment included.

First set up was straightforward however, we did find the overall height of the telescope to sit quite tall – not great for the kids or smaller folk. To compensate, the eyepiece can be placed in a more comfortable position is desired by rotating the tube in the rings.

Once in place, the mount was a very stable base to work from with minimal flexible noticeable. The slow motion axis controls were smooth as silk, with minimal play when put to good use.

Field of View Report

Using the supplied 25mm eyepiece, we firstly set our sights on the star of Arcutus and the resulting image was incredibly sharp across 75% of the view, with only minimal trailing occurring towards the edges.

Arcturus

Arcturus. Image credit: Astro Pixels

At low magnification, Epsilon Lyrae looked superb, showing two main stars. When switching to the 10mm eyepiece and Barlow lens, we enjoyed a superb view of its four stars and dark skies between. Using the same setup, Saturn also looked fabulous displaying its belt and sharp rings in all its glory along with five of its moons.

Closer to Earth, our Moon was a breeze to enjoy a mass of craters and maria in superb crisp detail.

Deep Sky Observations

Further afield, more distant celestial objects were mighty impressive through the Explorer 200P. With the 25mm eyepiece in place, the Whirlpool Galaxy was very simple to find and we enjoyed views of a large mysterious disc on that particular evening. Switching to the 10mm eyepiece revealed some subtle mottling on its surface, with some hints of edge detailing.

Looking out to Ursa Major, M82 was very strong through this scope, as was the M13 cluster. We even managed to catch a glimpse of the faint but distant NGC6207 galaxy with both the 25mm and 10mm eyepieces in place.

Ring Nebula. Image credit: NASA

Ring Nebula. Image credit: NASA

Nebulae also looked good, with the Ring Nebula showing its hollow ring at low powers. We also managed to find the Beehive Cluster and M39 during our tests using the 25mm eyepiece, with the stars in sparkling sharp quality through the viewer.

Review Roundup

As expected, this telescope passed with flying colours and delivered on all its promises. Both optically and practically, this telescope is a winner with our test team even without any mod cons such as motor drives and GoTo systems installed.

As a base unit, it delivers for what most demanding amateur astronomer would demand and with the additions such as the polar scope,motor drives and auto finder system in place, this is a set-up that would satisfy even the most pickiest of telescope enthusiasts.

At around the £400 mark, its a fairly sizeable investment yet it delivers on its promises as most Skywatcher Telescopes do. Set up is simple, the tripod is study and the images achieved are a joy to behold.