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Archive for March, 2016

Born in a Barn: Our Pick of the Top 10 Barn Conversions

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Barns aFlatford Mill Pond Farmre those utilitarian buildings that so many of us love to make the focus of our roof rebuilds and refurbishment projects – there’s just something about them that so often oozes charm. To inspire you with your own prospective barn conversion, here are 10 of our personal favourites.

 

 

 

 

  1. Flatford Mill, Suffolk

This Georgian former watermill near East Bergholt is far from your typical barn conversion, having appeared in a number of paintings by the celebrated British artist John Constable – indeed, it was also once owned by the Constable family.

Although no longer accessible inside by the public, Flatford Mill has since been lovingly restored and remains a working building, by virtue of the residential courses that take place there.

  1. Cosawes Barton, Cornwall

If you can’t exactly enjoy the interior at Flatford Mill as a mere visitor, it’s a very different story at the gorgeous historic estate of Cosawes Barton in the rural village of Ponsanooth, Cornwall.

That’s because the agricultural barns here have been converted into holiday lets that show exceptional attention to detail, elements of traditional rustic preservation being complemented by subtle contemporary touches.

  1. Addingham, West Yorkshire

Head up north, and you can find Overgate Croft Barn in more than two acres of sumptuously landscaped gardens, providing the perfect combination of strong transport links with Leeds and Bradford – courtesy of its closeness to Ilkley – and stunning views over the Wharfe Valley.

  1. Shenley, Hertfordshire

Showing that even the oldest of old barns can be the subject of stellar conversions, this 16th century property has been split into a four-bedroom house and two-bedroom cottage. It offers remarkable character in its large rooms, thanks to the likes of traditional oak panelling, a massive inglenook fireplace and exposed beams and brickwork.

  1. Underhill House, Gloucestershire

If you require any inspiration to save an old barn that you might have presumed to be beyond rescue, you only need to look to this astonishing eco home in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

This derelict 300-year old stone barn in open countryside featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs, and was an ingenious answer to the difficulties of obtaining planning permission in this delicate location. Indeed, it produces 90% fewer carbon emissions than the average home.

  1. Feering Bury Farm Barn, Essex

Even a very large barn can be given a jaw-dropping new lease of life – this timber-framed barn, with its 16th century central structure and 18th century aisles, now housing a family home and artist studios.

This particular barn is also a demonstration of how incredible modern barn roofing can look, the original roof materials – probably thatch – having been lost many years ago and replaced for the conversion by corrugated material with no visible rooflights, in line with the wishes of local authority conservation officers.

  1. Church Farm Barn, Suffolk

However, barn conversions don’t need to be colossal to turn heads, as shown by this more modest transformation of two Grade II listed barns in a Suffolk village into a charming five-bedroom home that also preserves much of the original buildings’ fabric.

The result is a delightful property that combines time-honoured materials like lime render and oak framing with modern comforts and conveniences such as super-efficient insulation, underfloor heating and an air source heat pump.

  1. Quaker Barns, Norfolk

Again, this complex of farm buildings has been converted into dwellings that you can rent at any time of the year, enabling you to see for yourself the intelligent use of local materials like brick and oak, alongside such recycled resources as fibreglass, car window seals and straw bale.

It’s not exactly the most conventional combination of materials that you will ever find in a barn conversion, but the results certainly wooed us!

  1. Denne Manor Barn, Kent

Surely, barn conversions can’t be state-of-the-art in appearance, even if they could be described that way ‘under the skin’ – after all, wouldn’t that miss the point?

Here’s one barn conversion that might challenge your existing thinking on just how modern-looking such an undertaking can be. Think the very latest computerised light, electrical and audio-visual technology and stunning custom-built glass spiral staircases, which still somehow fit in perfectly with the preserved 17th century structure.

  1. Tile Barn, Oxfordshire

We also love the look of this recently converted Banbury barn, with its huge rooms, pale oak flooring and plentiful natural light on the inside, and five-acre grounds – complete with an oak-fronted car port and workshop – on the outside.

This six-bedroom property is another that embraces the latest technology in just the right ways, incorporating the likes of ceiling-mounted speakers, mood lighting and remote control operated Smarthome wiring.

Has all of the above inspired you? If not, we suspect that nothing will! Get in touch with our experts in barn roofing right here at ELC Roofing Ltd today, and we can soon show you the considerable potential for your own barn conversion.

The Importance of Church Repairs

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

The image of churches seems to wax and wane with the times, with particular renewed focus being thrown on their supportive role within their communities during times of crisis, such as natural disasters or terrorist atrocities.abbey church

Contrary to popular perceptions of a decline in organised religion, the number of churches in the UK is thought to have increased in recent years, to more than 50,000. However, with so many of our churches also being older buildings, they can be vulnerable to deterioration without the right regular maintenance and repairs.

If you have responsibility for the upkeep of a church, you may be interested in the following reasons why the right repair work really is critically important.

 

  1. Churches are particularly vulnerable buildings

Did you know that as of 2007, 45% of all Grade I listed buildings were places of worship? Although not all listed buildings are especially old, their listed status is nonetheless a reflection of both their importance and – in many cases – their vulnerability.

Necessary repairs to listed places of worship are said to cost £185 million a year, according to research by English Heritage, and as many church buildings with especially complicated needs continue to age, that cost is only likely to escalate to even higher levels in the years ahead.

  1. Prevention is much better than cure

There are many problems that can easily develop with the fabric of a church. There may be structural issues, fungal or insect infestations can take root and even previous repairs may turn out to have been a mere ‘quick fix’ failing to slow down a church’s ongoing decay.

Whatever the exact problems that affect your own church, you can be sure that carrying out remedial work at an early stage is far preferable to leaving those issues to deteriorate further, thereby creating the need for much more fundamental rebuilding or even permanent demolition.

  1. Roofing can be a particular problem spot

With so much church roofing having had little attention paid to it since the construction of the building on which it sits, it can also be one of the first parts of a church to exhibit obvious problems.

Thankfully, here at ELC Roofing Ltd, we have a highly skilled, well-qualified and experienced team able to carry out the full range of work that your church’s roofing may require. Our renowned lead workers, tilers, slaters, flat roofers, carpenters and builders can oversee minor church repairs just as confidently as much more extensive roof rebuilds.

  1. Churches play a vital community role

Another reason why church repairs are so important is simply the great importance that the church often has to its community as a whole. In a time of ageing and increasing lonely populations, churches remain a vital source of spiritual refuge.

Even today, churches remain significant venues for all manner of social and community activities, being used by those of every religious allegiance and none.

Here at ELC Roofing Ltd, we possess considerable experience and knowhow in church repairs, with an appreciation of the often highly specialised requirements of places of worship. We have an excellent track record of undertaking repairs to church roofing in such areas as Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, and eagerly await your call.

Keeping Your House Cool For The Summer Months

Friday, March 18th, 2016

House with shuttersAs temperatures and daylight hours gradually edge up, so for many homeowners, the focus is turning from keeping warm to keeping cool. It’s easy to presume that the answer to spring sweltering is to simply crank up the air conditioning, but there is actually a wide range of ways to keep your house cool as we heat towards the height of summer.

Close the windows and draw the curtains

Your instinct on those balmy summer days may be to throw open the windows. But if you really care about keeping cool, the opposite approach is the way to go at the warmest time of day, as it’ll prevent the entrance of hot air into your home. Then, by night, open the windows again for some much-needed cool breeze.

Switch from warm to cold foods

The kitchen generates more heat than any other room in the house, so you might want to avoid using the oven too much. Instead, opt for cold foods like salad, and leave the dishwasher alone in favour of drying your plates in the warm air. If you absolutely insist on cooking, at least place lids on your pans.

Avoid long daytime showers

If there’s one room that can be almost as culpable as the kitchen when it comes to domestic heat generation, it has to be the bathroom – at least when you take those long, hot showers that can produce so much steam and humidity. If, then, there’s any time of year to take swift, cold showers, it is now!

Paint your roof white

It may sound like a slightly drastic method for cooling your home, but the general principle that white reflects heat has informed the colour choice for many a Mediterranean villa, and it could be similarly useful for your own home, too.

That said, as experts in roofing here at ELC Roofing Ltd, we would strongly advise against climbing onto your roof to paint it if you aren’t a professional roofer, for safety reasons above all else. This may make the fitting of white curtains or blinds a more sensible idea.

Invest in roof insulation…

Most of us associate roof insulation with the retention of more heat within a home during the winter, rather than keeping heat out during the summer. However, home insulation can actually be just as effective at keeping your home cool as it is at keeping it warm.

How so? Well, the way insulation works is by slowing the movement of heat between two spaces, so if it’s hot outside, that layer of Triso, Celotex or Rockwool could be just the thing for preventing such heat from getting into your home, meaning that you won’t need to pay so much for air conditioning.

Even better news is that according to the Energy Saving Trust, loft insulation is effective for at least 42 years and should pay for itself many times over – so it really is a great investment for many summers to come.

…or a whole new roof

With every passing year and decade, roofing design and technology are becoming more and more sophisticated, which equates to increasingly energy-efficient homes.

If you are looking into roof rebuilds anyway, you may therefore simply talk to our experts in zinc roofs and all manner of other roofing types here at ELC Roofing Ltd, about a brand new roof that could help to make your property almost as good at keeping out heat during the summer as a brand new home.

Follow the aforementioned tips to help keep your home as cool as possible this summer, and remember – if you think your roofing could be partly at fault for your overheating home, our seasoned professionals here at ELC Roofing Ltd are happy to investigate further and give you the benefit of our informed and impartial advice.

5 of London’s Most Unique Listed Buildings

Friday, March 18th, 2016

LondonYou shouldn’t need our experts in roof rebuilds here at ELC Roofing Ltd to tell you that the English capital is a rich focal point for architectural treasures. It should not exactly surprise you, then, to learn that there are 600 listed buildings in the City of London alone, to say nothing of the many thousands to be found across the wider capital.

But everyone knows about the likes of Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s Cathedral. What are the more unusual buildings in the capital that have also been bestowed with listed status?

  1. Victoria Coach Station

Given that most of us who travel in and around London don’t usually stay for long at the capital’s largest coach station, generally being much more interested in boarding our scheduled coach, it’s easy to forget to look up and admire this 1930s Buckingham Palace Road building’s distinctive Art Deco style.

Only in 2014, however, was it finally given listed status, culture minister Ed Vaizey then declaring that it “harks back to another – more stylish, perhaps – era in public transport.”

  1. Trellick Tower

Who could ever forget the sight of this 31-storey North Kensington tower block, designed in the Brutalist style by the man – Erno Goldfinger – whose name later inspired a James Bond villain?

Completed in 1972, the 120-metre (394 foot) tall complex with its unmistakable communications mast was not always popular, but its residences are now highly sought-after, while the wider building has become a cult design icon.

  1. Stockwell Garage

Observers at the time of this 1950s bus garage’s construction would have surely never imagined that it would once be preserved for posterity – but sure enough, in 1988, it was given Grade II* listed status, in acknowledgement of its importance in postwar architectural and engineering history.

When this otherwise unassuming garage was first opened, in fact, it was capable of housing 200 buses and was the largest unsupported roof span in Europe.

  1. No. 78 South Hill Park

We had to include another private residence on this list somewhere, and it’s certainly not one with the most conventional roofing – or the most conventional anything else, for that matter!

No. 78 South Hill Park in Camden was designed by architect Brian Housden as his own family’s home in 1958, and subsequently built between 1963 and 1965. It was an embodiment of his personal vision, incorporating every influence from the then-emerging European modernism to classical and ancient African traditions. It finally became a listed building in November 2014.

  1. Railings to churchyard of St Paul’s Cathedral

Everyone knows about the truly stunning St Paul’s Cathedral, Sir Christopher Wren’s domed masterpiece being nothing less than one of the most iconic buildings in the world – but did you know that the railings outside it have their own separate listed status?

Nor should that be any real shock, given that they are – after all – the original 1714 heavy cast iron railings, making them among the capital’s earliest cast iron railings. They were made at Lamberhurst, Kent and granted well-deserved listed status in 1972.

Perhaps you own one of the many listed buildings to be found in the area of South East England that ELC Roofing Ltd serves, covering the likes of Cambridge, Colchester and Chelmsford, or maybe you would simply like to contact us for guidance related to copper roofs and zinc roofs for your next big property renovation project? Whatever your exact needs in roofing, we can cater for them.