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Bob77

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  1. For a 40 square metre single-storey extension in Hampshire, along with a couple of internal structural walls being taken down, I have had quotes between 72k and 120k. I went with the lower end so I'll let you know whether that was a mistake!
  2. Update on this - I managed to get through to someone via Virgin Media text help service, and they booked in an engineer within days, at a cost of £25. He dug up the cable and extended it so there is plenty of slack to move it out of the way of excavations.
  3. I will be starting an extension soon at the side of the house. The boradband cable (Virgin Media) crosses the garden at the side where the extension will be built, and the entry box is on the external wall which will become an internal wall. Some time ago I contacted Virgin Media to enquire about rerouting the cable. I didn't hear back and having chased them up they now say they require a £240 fee to create site plans, and that this will take up to 25 days (by which time work will have started). This seems a bit excessive for a cable crossing a 12ft strip of garden. Does anyone have any experience with having VM cables moved? A bit of online searching suggests that there should only be a £99 "non-fault callout" charge to alter the location of the entry point. As VM took weeks to respond to my original requests and I neglected to follow up, I now face having a digger on site potentially cutting off my TV/internet. I wonder if it would be better to just carefully unearth the cable and protect it while excavations are going on?
  4. I am on fairly level ground, there is a small slope but if the air brick/vent is meant to be 600mm above ground then no chance! With a vent or air brick low down to the ground I would be worried about it getting blocked with dirt or leaves etc being blown up against the wall. (Or snow, if we ever get that stuff again!) I will ask the fireplace supplier what they suggest. Want to get it straight in my head and on the plans before the floor goes down!
  5. This is an interesting thread. I'm planning to install an inset woodburner to replace the existing freestanding stove on what is currently an external wall. An extension will be added on the other side of that wall so there will be about 4 metres from the stove to the outside. The stove has a combustion air inlet on the underside which can either be supplied by vents inside or from external air. Although my house is nowhere near "passive" it seems like it would be wise to supply air from outside rather than having it sucking in cold air through all the gaps. So the obvious solution seems to be to put a supply pipe underneath the floor of the extension with a vent on the new external wall. However some of the comments above suggest that having what would effectively be a "U-shape" (with the inlet above ground level, then dipping down under the new floor and then rising up to the stove) could cause problems with condensation. Does this need to be taken into account?
  6. What type of composite decking are you going for? I am planning to use some once the extension is finished, but it will be more like 20 sq metre so not quite as eyewatering. I've got a couple of dozen samples sitting outside in the garden at the moment, and have tested them with a few likely substances (oil, red wine, ketchup!) for staining. Not going to be ready for it until September/October so I've got a while to think about it. Preliminary results are that cheap composite comes in two types: fake and plastic looking, or more realistic but with a porous surface that stains easily (and I suspect would fade more easily). Mid range stuff seems pretty bombproof, looks decent and has a nice waterproof coating (but may be a little more slippery?), whereas the high-end stuff from Millboard seems like a totally different animal - thicker planks but lightweight with an almost pumice-like texture to the core, and with a much more authentic wood grain finish. However at well over £100 a square metre so it ought to be. I'm erring towards the NewTechWood Ultrashield which comes in at about £84 a sq metre – pricey but it feels like decent quality stuff and the colours are nice.
  7. Yes, the current house has a concrete slab. I have been reading about insulation with UFH and have come up with conflicting opinions - some sites telling me that insulation should be under the slab so the UFH heats up the concrete and acts as a thermal store. Others saying don't do that, put insulation over the slab and then UFH on top of that in a thinner screed layer. Option 1 is going to be a lot more expensive but if that's the right way then I guess it's worth it. On the other hand I don't mind losing a bit of ceiling height with insulation over the top, and as the whole house is being done it shouldn't create a problem with differing levels.
  8. Yes the whole ground floor is being dug out and insulation being added. The exact details of this are still to be fixed - I am open to any recommendations as to the standard of insulation I should be going for so I can make sure it is done properly. As you say this is the one chance to do that so I am keen to get it right!
  9. I have a 1960s end of terrace house which currently has all-electric heating (storage heaters, with electric underfloor in kitchen and bathroom). We are about to start an extension and at the same time we are going tor an ASHP. The insulation is not bad (cavity walls are insulated and the loft has decent insulation) but let down at the moment by a 1980s sliding patio door with bad heat bridging issues and some draughty windows. Those will be replaced as part of the build and we are putting wet UFH throughout the ground floor. We wanted to upgrade from the electric heating to proper central heating and it just seemed like a backward step to be putting in a new gas system in 2022. Ideally I would be adding solar PV at the same time but I don't think the budget stretches to it on top of everything else. Maybe in a year or two.
  10. I can't help with your question but I have also been looking at "paper composite" worktops eg Richlite, which sounds like it is much the same thing. They look really nice and I like the eco credentials, but even the marketing material says they "acquire a patina" over time, which sounds like PR speak for "soon look a bit shabby", so it would be good to hear from anyone who has used them.
  11. Barkeeper's Friend also helps to fade those black stains - again it's the acid I think. Rub on with a gentle scourer, then leave it for a few minutes. Again though you do tend to then rub off the oil surface finish. The Danish oil leaves a sort of polymerised varnish-like surface, which ends up coming off if you rub too hard, leaving bare wood patches. Where I had a big black ring on the wood (caused by my mother-in-law leaving an empty tomato tin next to the sink 👹) I ended up sanding it back, but I could never quite get the oil finish to match the original part in that area. That was a few years ago though, and I gave up being too precious about the worktops. They are wood, they are going to get used and acquire dents and marks. Of course, if Mrs B would stop writing shopping lists with a biro on bits of paper on top of the worktop and leaving dents, it would help!
  12. Does aluminium do that too? I thought it was steel/iron that left black marks on oak. I have had a couple of black circles where people have left tin cans (steel) standing on a damp worktop. Anyway my experience with oak has been fairly good. I've got an 11 year old Ikea kitchen (put in myself) with Ikea oak "butcher block" worktop. I used the oil Ikea sell, which is called "Behandla" and is basically Danish oil I believe. I took the time to give it three or four good coats with 24-48 hours between each when it was new. It still looked as good as new after 5 years or so, when I was being good about reoiling every year. Then we had kids and it got neglected a bit more, but sill looks OK. The problem is when you do get an area of damage or staining (eg I found it can get a bit sticky, so you end up with print from bread bags etc transferring onto it). If you scrub it too hard to remove a stain, you end up lifting the oil off and getting an area that looks more like bare wood. I tried reoiling those bits but it never quite matches the original surface. We are extending in a few weeks and the kitchen is being enlarged and replaced. I won't go for wood in the new kitchen - I think it's fine if you are careful and treat it well but I couldn't see it standing up to family life in the new kitchen. Shame as I do really like the look and feel of it.
  13. What about installing ASHPs as a replacement for non-gas heating systems? I currently have electric storage heaters and am looking at installing central heating with UFH when building an extension next year.
  14. Unfortunately that's not really going to be possible, as I want to replace the heating system as part of a more significant remodelling including an extension, and I have only just starting getting drawings done for that, so it will probably be March or April before work begins.
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