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Rise in female manual trade workers

Created: 09/11/2015

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that women made up just 20 per cent of the workforce in 2014, although this is predicted to change in the near future.

By 2020, it is predicted that a quarter of manual trade workers such as a handyperson in London will be women, which will be significant progress for the construction industry as it has been predominantly male in the past. The manual trades have seen an increase in the past year, with women now accounting for six per cent of the total workforce, which is a very encouraging figure for those who may have considered a similar role. Certain colleges such as Bournemouth and Poole have also reported a 30 per cent increase in women signing up for painting and decorating courses.

Many more talented women are entering the construction industry

Experts have suggested that this is a great time for women to get on board with manual trade careers, with the number of construction and house-building companies on the up following the cash-strapped times of the recession. This means that the demand for painters and decorators is also likely to rise, meaning more job opportunities for female skilled workers. This evolution of working demographics has been extremely positive and has demonstrated the benefits of opening up male-dominated fields of work for women.

Sandie Webster, a recently qualified level three painter and decorator, told professional painting tools supplier Purdy: “It is important for any women who are training to be decorators to believe in themselves and their ability. It is vital to persevere with people, always be determined and treat every job as if it is your first. There will be times where you will receive negative comments, but just laugh off the banter and prove that you are equal, if not better. Confidence is key.”



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Keep the cold out of your house this winter

Created: 29/10/2015

It’s that time of year again. We’ve got some ideas to protect your home during the winter months, and maybe save a few quid at the same time.

There are a number of easy tricks to spruce up your home for the winter. Some easy things include a new coat of paint to seal your walls, insulation wrap for your windows, or portable, hand-crafted draught excluders for your door frames.

But if you are feeling a bit more ambitious this year, there are a number of projects that can yield a major difference in how your home reacts to the colder temperatures. Some of these tactics can be completed with some focused weekend DIY. If you aren’t comfortable, however, call a licensed and experienced London handyman to get the job done for you.

winter in London

Filling cavity walls with insulation

If built between the early 1930s and 1982, most likely you have cavity walls. By filling these cavities with insulation, you can help stop the inside heat from being lost. According to estimates from British Gas, filling the gaps can save up to as much as £160 each year on your energy bills. As much as 35 percent of your home’s heat can be lost through un-insulated walls.

In the process, insulation is blown into the wall cavity from the outside of your property. Holes are drilled holes from outside, allowing a variety of materials to be pumped into the cavity. The most common types of insulation are mineral wool, polystyrene beads or foam. When the cavities are filled, the holes are then repaired with materials that match your house’s exterior facade.

There are a number of companies that will hire equipment to complete the process. Additionally, there are a number of available grants to help pay for insulation. 

cavity wall insulation

Extensive draught-proofing

The long hand-sewn tube of sand at the bottom of the door is a good start, but there are a number of products that can help you greatly reduce draughts in your homes. Done properly, you can see a great deal of savings on your energy bills.

For practical purposes, draught-proofing should include the sealing of windows, doors, loft hatches and any pipework that leads outside. Letterboxes and any entrance furniture that allow air in should also be addressed. There are self-adhering products that attach to windows and sills. There are also permanent products that can be installed to the lower thresholds of your doors.

For exterior pipes, special crack filling products can be used. Often they are expanding foam that you spray in and around the pipe to create a draught-free seal. For very little effort and expense, reducing draughts can greatly improve your comfort this winter.

holes around pipes

Upgrade your heating system

If you have a boiler that does its job, and your radiators warm the house, then you are more than halfway there. If you have sealed the drafts, installed a bit more insulation, you are doing even better. The last key to making sure your home is winter ready is to ensure your thermostat is up to the task of maintaining the system.

If you have an outdated thermostat – one that's not used to accurately regulating the internal temperature – your heating system may turn on every five to 10 minutes because it cannot keep an accurate temperature.

Additionally, with so many technological advances and the coming of the “smart home”, installation of new hi-tech heating controls could be the right choice for you. Recently, Tech Advisor took a look at the most popular and forward-thinking heating systems on the market today. With automation, you may find savings through more efficient scheduling of when your boiler is running, and not running.

thermostat

Image Credit: Damian CugleyMetro CentricMok9[a.d.]Antonio Silveira



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Survey reveals Britons would rather hire a handyman than do DIY

Created: 29/10/2015

A recent survey commissioned by Swinton Insurance has discovered that more than half of Britons don’t feel brave enough to carry out minor repairs in their homes.

Just 49 per cent felt confident enough to put up a shelf, with the average person spending £300 on jobs that they could have done themselves. One in six would be happy to unblock a drain, while only 35 per cent of the 2,000 people surveyed would have a go at fixing a leaking tap.

Tradesmen such as plumbers in Beckenham have agreed with the view that people are shying away from DIY, with eight in ten suggesting that Britons are too quick to ask for help fixing something that they could complete themselves.

 

Basic property repair skills appear to be diminishing

Mark Hallam, head of products at Swinton Insurance, told This Is Money: “The findings make it clear that much more needs to be done to educate Britons on basic DIY. It's absurd that we spend hundreds of pounds on odd jobs we could do ourselves, particularly when family budgets continue to be stretched.”

While DIY can offer a cheap solution, it is not always the best option, as a botched job can cause much damage and end up being more expensive in the long run. Tradesmen believe that they spend at least two hours a day repairing DIY jobs that have gone wrong, with the most common call outs regarding changing a fuse.

Hallam agreed with this statement, and said: “Of course, the need for professionals is always going to exist, and there are some tasks only experts should handle, especially complicated electrical and plumbing jobs.”

Britons also admitted that they will leave issues such as squeaky floorboards and flushing radiators until they become a problem and require the help of a professional.

Image Credit: Mark Hunter (flickr.com)



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Scientists develop chameleon-like house paint

Created: 16/10/2015

Chinese scientists have developed a new paint that is able to change colour in a variety of ways. The paint uses nano-sized cells, which can be controlled to inflate or deflate in order to detect visible light at different wavelengths. This generates different colours, causing the chameleon-like effect.

The invention may be the solution to arguments caused about colour schemes within the home, and can also help to alter the moods of those in the room. It is hoped that the colour of the paint will be able to be changed by using a smart phone in the future, which is a feature sure to be welcomed by many.

Chameleon paint has generated enormous interest

There are currently three different ways to change the colouring of the paint, using electricity, water and temperature. The first works by applying a small current to the metal core of the nano cells, which gives the metal a positive charge and pulls the cell’s crystalline shell inward. Then, when natural light hits the nano cells, the human eye sees different colours depending on the wavelength.

Spraying water on the painted walls will also cause a chemical reaction, with the most natural being a simple change in the warmth of the room. This may be a preferable method, as the paint will be able to alter according to the seasons, which many decorating fanatics already aspire to achieve.

Disappointingly, the scientists suggested that the biggest challenge would be manufacturing the tiny cells, which are only several hundredths the diameter of a typical human hair. Currently, the scientists are able to produce approximately 30 litres of paint per day, with estimates that the paint will hit shelves within three years.

However, in the meantime, why not call on painters and decorators in Dulwich to revamp your home with warm hues to match the autumn season?

Image Credit: Umberto Salvagnin (flickr.com)



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Royal Princes pitch in to renovate homes for soldiers

Created: 30/09/2015

Princes William and Harry rolled up their shirtsleeves to help reclaim and rebuild the homes of military families in Manchester. As part of the television program DIY SOS they donned hard hats and work boots to help those in need.

The brothers were joined by Nick Knowles and the BBC's DIY SOS team of builders for the project. There are also hundreds of volunteers trying to make a difference in the big construction project. Called the team's "most ambitious" project so far, they will renovate eight buildings. They will also refurbish the facades of 62 additional houses in an effort to help create a new mixed community.

Resident John Wilkinson, 58, told the BBC he thought the visit from the royal brothers was "brilliant". But, he was a little concerned his wife might be smitten with the two.

"They were gentlemen,” he said. “They were flirting with Margaret more than anyone else. She was well chuffed with Harry. I think she is going to leave me."

Wilkinson has lived on Canada Street in Newton Heath for 28 years. The project will keep his house from being demolished.

"Hopefully this is the catalyst across the country to do something for all our soldiers and families,” he said. “There is no reason for our soldiers to be living on the streets, they can come and form a nice community here."

 

The plan is for the entire street to be rejuvenated for ex-service personnel. William and Harry said they are hoping to draw attention to the difficulty former military personnel face to make the transition back to civilian life. When leaving the military, some former soldiers are dealing with injuries, mental or physical challenges.

The redevelopment in Manchester will see a support centre built on the street. The centre will be operated jointly by Walking With The Wounded and the Royal British Legion. Both organisations try to assist ex-servicemen and women with retraining and on-site support. 

For all homeowners, a successful DIY project can help restore their pride of ownership. But, for many of us, DIY may seem daunting or intimidating. For advice on assistance with any home construction job, there are a number of handyman services in London that can help give your project a boost.

Image Credit: WHALEN JACK (flickr.com)



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When to leave DIY to the experts

Created: 30/09/2015

For many of us, DIY is one of the best ways to show pride in our home. Building improvements, one-of-a-kind installations, and the chance to work with amazing power tools all lure us in during the weekend and our inner builders itch to get out.

While DIY can be a fruitful and great experience, there are some projects that should be left to experienced professionals. There is nothing sourer than the failed attempt – and wasted expense – of projects gone wrong. More importantly, there are several projects that require specialised safety equipment, local planning permission, or both.

If you are not sure when you need to call on professional handyman services, here is our list of projects where it may be best to leave them to the experts:

Tree removal

It may seem simple enough, but if the tree is large, or too tall, failure in the act of cutting it down may have dire consequences. Cutting down trees, even removing unruly or dead branches, requires an element of climbing and working with specialist tools. There are dangers in working from high heights without the proper safety gear. Additionally, experienced tree removal experts can help you avoid damage to you house, underground or overhead utilities, and in some cases, your neighbours’ homes. 

tree cutting

Electrical Work

For legal and safety reasons, most electrical work should be left to a licensed professional. Beyond just blown fuses, the power balance in your home should be maintained at all times. It's one thing to flip a fuse switch to the power in your home on or off, but it is another thing to attempt to repair faulty wiring or any other electrical issues without professional help. Moreover, it can cause more damage than help. Live electrical wires can have lethal consequences if not properly worked on by a professional.

electrical work

Home additions or major structural changes

A bit of demolition is always fine. A couple of swings with a sledge and all of a sudden two small rooms are transformed into one big room. But there are a number reasons why this should be handed over to a professional. Inside your walls, there could be electrics, gas pipes or plumbing. There are also structural concerns like load-bearing walls and potentially breaking the local building code.

structural changes

Your driveway

Many of us have been tempted to re-vamp or improve our driveways. From concrete pours, new tarmac or complicated paving stones – driveway projects may seem simple. But they often are not. Installation, drainage and surface requirements can all lead to your new driveway becoming a disaster. Trained professionals will definitely lower project time and cost of this project.

driveway repairs

Plumbing Repair

Clogged toilets and drains and maybe replacing an odd gasket or two are fine – but plumbing is a skill best left to trained professionals. Improper or faulty work could cause hidden problems that won’t necessarily make themselves known until the wrong and more expensive time in the future. Additionally, there are building codes to adhere to when working with plumbing systems. From replacing burst pipes to changing hardware, a lack of plumbing experience can be a recipe for disaster. Pay the professional now so you don’t have to pay even more later.

plumbing

Installing Cladding

If done properly, vinyl cladding or other materials can greatly increase the aesthetic of any home, and it can last for years. But, if moisture or improper installation occurs, eventually your choice of DIY will have expensive consequences. It could lead to structural damages to your house’s frame, or be detrimental to the foundation. Rather than taking the chance of severely damaging your home, it is safer to have a professional install your new cladding properly.

installing cladding

Creating an Outdoor Kitchen

With a fantastic gas-supplied cooking area, maybe a fire pit, and some lovely stone work, a well-designed back garden cooking area can become a showpiece for your home. But with needed plumbing, gas line installation and possibly planning permission, your dream set-up could quickly turn into a nightmare. So, if you have your heart set on a back garden kitchen, make sure to call a pro.

back garden kitchen

Responsible and skilled professionals are always available to help you with your home improvement needs. For exceptional handyman services in South London and the surrounding areas, contact us today.

Image Credit: Paul SteinhauserCoCreatrBengt NymanJocelyn KinghornEli DukeSludge GGreen Impressions (flickr.com)



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Product Review: Purdy Marathon™ Roller and Revolution Frame

Created: 14/09/2015

For a recent painting and decorating project we used some specialist painting tools by Purdy for the first time. We give you our verdict on how we got on with some of their most popular tools and whether or not we would use them again.

The task

Our painters and decorators in Dulwich recently transformed a spare room from a “dumping ground” to an attractive spare bedroom that guests would love to stay in. The room had a “dark and characterless” feel to it, with the magnolia walls and dark furniture making the space feel uninviting. The existing walls were smooth and simply needed to be painted.

The products

The decorating tools used were the Purdy Revolution Frame together with the Marathon™ Roller. At the customer’s request, Wilko Silk Emulsion in Stardust and Moonlight White were used.

Purdy Marathon roller and frame

Getting the job done

Once the area had been cleared and the walls prepped for painting – a clean with sugar soap and the edges lined with painter’s tape – we first set to work on the three white walls. After cutting in about 3 inches, the Marathon™ roller was attached to the frame and the paint poured into a suitable container. The first impression of the frame was that the handle was exceptionally comfortable, but did not compromise on grip. The roller itself looked to be of good quality in comparison to previous standard quality rollers used.

After loading up the paint, it provided excellent coverage and no dripping when a large amount of paint was applied. The finish was smooth and colour was spread evenly. There was very little wastage, with two coats on all three walls achieved with only one pot of paint.

The feature wall in Stardust needed three coats to achieve an even look across the whole wall, but again the roller and frame worked very well. The roller was as good as ever on its second day of use, and the comfortable grip of the frame’s handle meant that there were no sore hands at the end of the job, unlike with previous wooden handles we have used. No blisters here!

Clean up was very easy. The roller came off the frame without too much trouble. Cleaning ready for the next day was very straightforward – the paint came off the frame easily and the roller just needed a good dousing of warm running water.

The result

Without changing the furniture at all, the room has an airy and welcoming feel to it. The furniture even complements the room despite being a bit of a mishmash of styles, as the colour of the room provides the perfect background for it to work.

Spare room before and after

Spare room - before and after 2

Verdict: we will certainly use Purdy’s products again. As well as delivering an excellent finish that impressed, they were comfortable and easy to use. ‘Professional’ is very much a word we would use to describe these painting tools.



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A handyman’s guide to moving home

Created: 28/08/2015

Just before you complete the purchase of your new home and move in, it can often be one of the most stressful periods of the whole moving experience.

Packing boxes, sorting bills out and organising your stuff to be moved are just some of the jobs you need to consider, but to save you a few grey hairs we have compiled a number of points that you should follow for a slightly less stressful move before and just after buying your new home.

Before the purchase is complete

Find out where the meters are

electric meter

If you were to employ a handyman services company to check your home they will ask you where your meters are, so before you move in you should ask the estate agents or previous owners where the gas and electricity meters are, as well as asking them about where the main stopcocks are so you can shut off the water should you need to in an emergency.

When is your rubbish collected?

A simple question that often gets forgotten about, but asking what days your bins are collected is a sensible question, especially when you are chucking out stuff you no longer need in your new home.

Declutter

Life with munchers

Pamela, who is a blogger at Life with Munchers, says, “My tip would be to declutter before you move so that you don't take anything unnecessary to your new home.”

Who supplies your energy?

Another really important question to ask is: “which companies supplies the energy, broadband and home phone”. Once you find out, you can then compare the cost of staying with the existing suppliers, or the cost of moving to another supplier.

After buying your new home

Redirect post

With all the things that are going on it is very easy to forget to redirect your post. You can redirect post indefinitely, for three, six or 12 months if you are renting a property.

If you don’t, then you could be receiving bills, and not paying for them on time could affect your credit record etc.

Painting

Painting

Another point to include on your moving home checklist is painting.

If you are moving home it is quite understandable that you will want to put your own stamp on your new home and the best way to do that is to paint your rooms to your satisfaction.

If you are living around London and don’t feel confident about painting then you can hire painters and decorators in Dulwich and other locally based decorators.

A little tip is to try and do as much painting, or to get your painters and decorators to start the job before you move everything in. This will save you having to move heavy objects around and will make painting rooms a much easier job.

Boxing stuff up

After the purchase has been complete you need to box up all your stuff, but whilst doing this you should label all your boxes with which room they need to go in.

Put the labels on the top and on the side of the boxes so you and others helping you unpack know what is inside the box.

This might take a bit of time, but trust us it will save you a lot of time after you move in as you won’t be searching around for things.

Look at removal costs or ask family or friends

Removal vans

There are plenty of removal firms that you can pay to move all your furniture and other heavy objects, but if you ask your family or friends nicely they may be able to help.

Clothes and other smaller items can certainly be moved via car and if you have any friends or family members that have trailers or large vehicles then they might be able to take your furniture as well, thus saving you a fair amount of money.

Do you have any other tips that you would like us to add? If you contact us via the Handywork Solutions Facebook page.

Image Credit: Michael Beck (flickr.com), Life with Munchers, Joe Monin, Sunset Removals.



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Article calls for DIY to appeal to young market

Created: 11/08/2015

An online article has claimed that DIY must increase its appeal to a younger market, as the youthful consumer continues to struggle with common work around the home.

Hammer with Dowel Pins

With more people than ever moving into private housing, it’s important for DIY companies to appeal to an entirely different target market. While home improvements can be taken care of by handyman services in South London, smaller jobs around the home can easily be completed by those who understand basic skills.

The article, which was published in Retail Week and can be read by clicking here, explains that the age group with the highest level of DIY shoppers is 45-64 year olds. In contrast, the lowest level of interest was shown by consumers between 16-24 years old.

DIY remains strong interest of older, male consumer

Also supporting these findings is the most recent edition of the How Britain Shops Survey by Verdict Retail. With 12,000 shoppers included in the survey, it found that DIY remains strongly in the interest of the older male consumer – something that writer Duygu Hardman feels should change in the near future.

It’s thought that the reluctance of DIY tasks among the young consumer is down to the fact that so many are struggling to get onto the property ladder. With the amount of 25-34 year olds living in the private rental market increasing from 21 per cent in 2003/2004 to 48 per cent in 2013/2014, it suggests that the limits imposed by landlords could be a reason behind the lack of youngsters performing hands-on jobs in the home.

If you are good at DIY but have that one job that’s a little too big for you to handle, contact the trade professionals at Handywork Solutions today. As well as offering expert plumbing, carpentry and electrical work in Beckenham and other London boroughs, they’re also able to apply their skills to all manner of jobs around the home.



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Wickes announce healthy profit for first half of 2015

Created: 04/08/2015

DIY retailer Wickes has announced a sizeable growth in operating profit for the first half of the year, news which confirms that both the home improvement and construction markets are enjoying further growth once again.

Handsaw

The consumer arm of Travis Perkins, it’s been confirmed that like-for-like sales during the first six months (1 January – 30 June) rose by six per cent in comparison to last year. Overall, the profit for the period sat at £41m and the revenue rose to £693, with Travis Perkins hailing the 8.6 per cent rise in the latter as a ‘strong outperformance of the market’.

Confidence returning in DIY market

It shows that people are beginning to put more money into the improvement of their homes, fantastic news for those who offer handyman services in South London and other areas in the UK.  

When speaking about the developments, John Carter, Travis Perkins Chief Executive, said: “We continue to anticipate a full-year result in line with expectations and delivering against our targets including low double-digit profit growth and sales outperformance of our markets.”

One of the reasons why Wickes enjoyed such prosperity in the first six months of 2015 is thanks to the upgrading of the click and collect service, one which now accounts for eight per cent of all sales. Mr Carter also added that sound growth in Tile Giant and Toolstation also helped towards the fortunes for the company.

If you are in need of some home improvement work of your own but lack the skills and know-how to do it yourself, why not call on the services of Handywork Solutions for that professional result you’ve been looking for? As well as offering plumbing, carpentry and electrical services in Bromley and other London boroughs, their team of experts are also able to provide all manner of jobs around the home.



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