Five Steps to Stopping Damp and Mould

damp on wall

Damp Can Lead to Property Damage and Health Problems

damp on wallEvery house, new or old, can suffer from moisture problems. What can you do to keep your home dry and comfortable?

Moisture is a fact of life. The air is full of water particles in the form of humidity, the ground contains water that can rise up from the subsoil and rain will affect every house in the country, wherever you live.

If your house suffers from damp problems, there are a variety of possible causes, but at heart, it will either be because excess moisture is finding its way in, for example via a leaky roof or blocked drains, or moisture cannot escape, perhaps due to inadequate ventilation.

Left unchecked, dampness can result in the production of mould, which can have a variety of health effects, including respiratory problems, throat irritation, nasal stuffiness and skin complaints. The World Health Organisation issued these guidelines regarding the potential impact of damp and mould in 2009.

Here, we take a look at five measures you can take to combat the problems of damp and mould in your home.

1) Check for a simple problem

Builders and contractors will suck the air in through their teeth and tell you damp is a tough thing to solve, but sometimes there is an obvious cause. Is the water coming from an evident source? It could be as simple as a missing roof tile, damaged flashing or a blocked drain that is causing the problem.

2) Ventilate

In many cases, the reason for dampness is that there is insufficient opportunity for the moisture in the air to escape, meaning condensation forms on any available surface. Keep a good airflow throughout the house, particularly in areas where there will be more moisture around, such as the kitchen, bathroom and utility room.

Each of these rooms should have vents and / or extractor fans. Check they are working and are not blocked by either debris or badly positioned furniture.

More broadly, it is also good practice to open the windows every day, even if it is just for a few minutes. Not only will that help ventilate, it will also make your home feel and smell much fresher.

3) Wipe it down

If the mould covers a small area, you can often get rid of it by wiping down with water and sugar soap or vinegar. The latter is effective, but the smell will hang around for a few hours. Think carefully before going crazy with the bleach. Sure, you will get rid of the mould, but bleach is highly irritating to the lungs and eyes, so you might cause more problems than you solve.

4) Dehumidify

A dehumidifier essentially sucks the moisture out of the room and collects it in a bucket, which you can then pour down the drain. It will definitely be effective, and can be a great solution in an older house that does not have effecting damp proofing. You can buy one for as little as £35.

5) Get professional help

If the above tips don’t solve the problem, it is time to call in the experts. If your mould problem keeps coming back, you could be putting your family’s heath at risk, as well as allowing serious and even structural problems to develop. The sooner you get it fixed, the better, so don’t delay.

Keep Your Food Business Pest Free

Keep Your Food Business Pest Free

The presence of pests in the workplace can cause economic loss to the owner, staff and suppliers.

Retail businesses, particularly restaurants and fast food chains, can be vulnerable to having a pest infestation. It can be a daunting task to keep a food business pest free, especially when there are so many consumables and tasty ingredients in one place.

 

Call professional pest control experts

To keep the property well sanitised, you will need to use exterminators and pest control experts in every few months. Essex Pest Control, the leading pest control services essex service, have extensive knowledge and a qualified team to get the job done. They have the necessary state of the art equipment in order to take care of any pests that have found their way into your business, from rodents and cockroaches to ants and insects.

Routine inspections

Simple, regular inspections can make a big different to a business. An infestation of pests will rarely occur overnight, it usually takes days and sometimes even weeks to fully manifest. Routine inspections are extremely important for food businesses so that any problems related to pests can be dealt with immediately. Finding the problem before it becomes uncontrollable is the best way to tackle pest control. Therefore, as a precaution, routine inspections should be held in the workplace from time to time or have professionals brought in to do it.

Seal any cracks, holes and crevices

Carrying out thorough inspections of the business will highlight any cracks, holes and hidden crevices where pests may be nesting to expand their colony. Business owners should be mindful of this, and have the exterior inspected regularly to make sure there are no cracks in walls where pests can access the property through. If you happen to find any cracks in your search, make sure to seal them as soon as possible. Leaving the cracks and not doing anything about them can increase the possibility of infestation.

Have a clean workspace

Most important of all – keep clean! It is the easiest and most effect way to avoid pest issues. Pest infestations can only occur when routine cleaning is not being done and waste is not being disposed of correctly. Establish a cleaning routine to keep pests away and clear any mess as promptly as possible.

3 Classic Wedding Breakfast Ideas

wedding breakfast

Planning a wedding breakfast can be a challenging task; your friends and family may have a range of dietary requirements and preferences, and some may be meat eaters and others vegan, but these helpful tips will point you in the right direction for choosing a delicious breakfast for everyone to enjoy.

Sharing platters

If you want to get everyone talking at your wedding reception tables, why not go for a sharing platter of delicious food? It will serve as a great icebreaker between guests and get family and friends interacting on your wedding day.

It’s the perfect alternative to more formal wedding receptions, and you can enjoy delicious hearty bowls of steamed vegetables, fresh salads and an array of kebabs and meat dishes. Follow this up with larger bowls of suckling pig or Moroccan tagine, to spice things up a little!

Food bars

Why not let your guests’ graze on whatever food takes their fancy? Gourmet grazing stations are all the craze at weddings as it allows people to try a bit of what they fancy.

A champagne and oyster bar would look stunning at a wedding breakfast and would be a treat for the eyes as much as the palette! Doughnut walls are also an increasingly popular choice of breakfast at weddings, as people can pop to the sugary wall of joy to get their sugar fix throughout the day – or even the night!

Afternoon tea

How about serving up a traditional afternoon tea for your guests? Sandwiches, scones and cakes are all very filling foods, and is often a more affordable option than a full wedding breakfast. It’s also an ideal choice for couples who want to give their wedding a classic British feel.

It’s a substantial alternative to a traditional wedding breakfast and works perfectly with an evening BBQ or hog roast to indulge in later on in the day!

Project Managing a Major Building Development

Project Managing a Major Building Development

A project manager is a specialist advisor that represents the client and is responsible for the day-to-day management of a project. They rarely participate directly in activities, but instead help to maintain the progress and interaction between the team to help reduce risk of failure, maximise benefits and control costs.

Preparation process

Before a project can take place, the initial preparation tasks must be completed, which includes carrying out a topographic survey of the site.

Surveys determine where existing facilities are, such as drainage, power supply and cabling, along with establishing the best area to install a new infrastructure. These surveys are conducted in rural landscapes, urban areas and brownfield sites, producing accurate and detailed surveys from any natural or artificial area.

Planning the project

Once the initial preparation has taken place, it’s time for the project team to produce a plan for everyone to follow. During this phase, the project manager creates a project management plan – a formal, approved document to guide and advise.

The plan outlines the scope, cost, schedule baselines, communication rules and goals and objectives. Other documents included in the planning phase include scope statement, work breakdown, communication plan and risk management plan.

Carrying out the works

Once the planning stages have begun – it’s time for the work to begin! After a team with all of the consultants and contractors, the project team begins to assign resources, execute project management plans, update the schedule and modify the project plan.

End of the major building development

The last phase is project completion; some project managers will hold a meeting to evaluate the success and failure in the project. A list will be drawn up by the team on any tasks that weren’t accomplished, so they put together a final budget and create a project report.

Three Uses for Temporary Car Park Matting

Euro Mats

Car park matting is the solution to protecting the ground from damage in a variety of situations, including heavy traffic, outdoor events and on access routes.

You might not think it, but temporary ground matting can be used in a variety of situations, such as providing stable parking for vehicles or as a safety element for people to walk on. Here are three uses for temporary ground matting, and why they’re so important.

Temporary car parks

Having available space for vehicles to park is important, and if as a company you aren’t able to offer permanent parking for people, temporary car park matting may be just the solution. Ranging from plastic grids to permeable paving, ground mats are engineered to help stabilise and protected the ground beneath from any wear and tear.

Car park matting is also designed to help improve water drainage and prevent erosion, providing an environmentally sustainable alternative to asphalt or concrete paving!

Events

Euro MatsYou may have seen matting and ground protection boards at outdoor events. They’re designed to help guests have a safe ground to walk on, as well as providing protection to the ground beneath. Large outdoor events require flooring to prevent ground erosion from extra footfall or traffic. The matts provide protection and reinforcement to the ground, and reducing the risk of ground saturation, slippage and erosion.

Matting protection boards are quick and easy to install and take up, making the process smooth and simple!

Access routes

Providing ground protection around access routes, for both pedestrians and vehicles, is important if you want to keep the ground beneath healthy and undamaged. Access routes are needed in a variety of scenarios, including providing protection for golf courses, emergency vehicle access to events and pedestrian access routes to car parks.

If ground surfaces were unstable, emergency vehicles, such as ambulances and fire engines, would have trouble accessing restricted or hard to access areas, which is why ground matts are so important.

Accommodation For Your Business Trip To Essex

business meeting

business meetingA Range Of Corporate-Friendly Stays To Meet Your Every Need

Whether you’re looking to commute or conduct business in Essex, there are plenty of suitable accommodation options to help you prepare for a meeting and unwind afterwards.

Essex boasts an enviable position on the outskirts of the capital, yet is within easy reach of the East of England and the A1, M1 and M11 roads. As such, there have been an increase in start-up businesses and organisations who have relocated to the region.

For those who are travelling either to Essex or into London for business purposes and want to arrange some comfortable yet corporate-friendly accommodation in the area, then here are some suggestions.

Stansted Airport

Whether you’ve just flown in, or are due to be heading off shortly on a flight, Stansted Airport offers a wide variety of appropriate business hotels for your needs. You can choose from a selection of reliable 4 star hotels such as the Novotel or Radisson Blu which offer amenities such as gym access, upscale dining and a shuttle to the terminal.

Corporate Rural Retreat

If you’re looking for a place to unwind after a long business meeting, yet with all the facilities you need to catch up on your correspondence, then Panfield House is a fantastic example of corporate accommodation in Essex. This self-catering hotel on the outskirts of Braintree is fully serviced and naturally has free WiFi which makes it ideal for business travellers.

City Pad

If you prefer to base yourself within easy reach of London, then Chelmsford is an ideal place to stay as it has frequent and fast services into the capital, leaving every 7 minutes during peak times and taking as a little as half an hour before arriving in Liverpool Street in the City of London. Chelmsford is a cosmopolitan and upmarket town and there are a wide range of hotels including the likes of Premier Inn, Travelodge or the Best Western Atlantic.

Whatever your business accommodation needs are, you can be certain that Essex has you covered – enjoy your stay!

How To Make Effective Minor Paint Repairs To Your Car

Shiny car in London Nottinghill

Shiny car in London NottinghillRepair those minor scratches and stone chips effectively with some DIY

It’s an unfortunate aspect of car ownership that sooner or later the odd scratch, ding, scrape or mark can appear – stone chips especially are commonplace. Depending on the severity of a scratch or scrape, it may be possible to repair it yourself to a good standard.

Assessing the damage

When deciding whether to tackle the job yourself, assess first whether it’s possible or may be better undertaken by a professional such as in the case of a scratch or chip that’s down to the bare metal. It’s not always your lack of skill that may be the issue – more the lack of access to the right equipment and materials.

That said some advanced polishes and car touch up paint can be obtained easily enough and at reasonable prices to make DIY repair viable.

Light scratches

It may be that a scratch removing fluid such as T-Cut or a cutting compound would do the job. These effectively remove a very thin layer of paint to literally polish out the scratch.

If paint is required

Obviously, you’ll require the correct matching paint, so providing your main dealer or a third party paint supplier with your car’s paint code (check your manual to see where this is) will ensure you use the right shade.

Despite this, you may not get an exact colour match as different batches of even the same colour can be slightly different to one another. That said, if it’s small stone chips perhaps low down on the car this may not show much from a distance.

Overall

Don’t try and tackle repairs beyond your scope, but if you do take your time and don’t cut corners. Ensure the area to be repaired is clean, rust free, you can work in a non-dusty environment and follow the instructions on paints and polish containers carefully.

Upcycle Oak Beams For A Stylish Dining Room

Oak beam dining table

Oak beam dining tableHomemade furniture and accessories add a personalised touch to the home. Learn how to upcycle oak beams to make your dining room stylish!

The terms recycling, repurposing, reclaiming and upcycling are batted about in the DIY industry. These terms are used often and whilst they all have their own specific meaning, they ultimately come down to the same thing – the reusing of materials, and furniture to create something brand new.

Much loved oak beam furniture can become unloved and dowdy if it has been sat around gathering dust for a while. It’s time to breathe new life into the furniture by giving it a little TLC.

Shabby chic furniture can give a room a stunning, contemporary feel. Shabby chic is where furniture and furnishings are chosen for their old appearance and signs of wear and tear, or where new items are distressed to achieve the appearance of an old antique piece.

There are several ways you can upcycle oak furniture, such as distressing, reupholstering and painting.

Distressing oak furniture is a great way to add some character and style to the home. Distressing gives a weathered look to furniture to produce an appearance of age and wear. Use various tools to make natural marks and grooves in the wood and gently sand the surface. Paint the base colour and allow to dry. Sand the parts you would like to be weathered, and use a wire brush to put light scratches in the furniture. Lastly, add a top coat to seal it all off!

Upholstering furniture, such as wooden chairs, can give it a new lease of life. Simply add a new padded seat cover on the chair and a shabby chic paint finish – and voila!

There are many ways to upcycle furniture to help update a room without the added expenditure. Think of it as a little DIY project, something to tackle at the weekend that will feel rewarding once it’s complete!

Why Suffolk Gardeners Are Choosing Artificial Grass

lawns

lawnsLow maintenance and cost benefits make fake grass surfaces a winner

Artificial grass has come a long way in recent years as the techniques and technology involved in its manufacture become more advanced. More gardeners in Suffolk and other parts of the UK are appreciating the benefits of installing an artificial surface to replace traditional grass and enjoying a combination of year round use, durability, low maintenance and longer term cost savings.

Some artificial grass specialist suppliers are seeing increases of business as high as 50% since 2010. Some of the reasons why:

Easier maintenance

While a lawn will require mowing on a regular basis during the spring and summer, not to mention possible fertilising and other treating such as weed and moss removal, an artificial surface requires next to no maintenance.

At most fake grass requires the occasional sweep if leaves and other debris falls on it but otherwise, once its laid, an artificial surface makes no more demands on the gardener’s time.

Lower cost in the longer term

While an artificial surface will cost more to install than laying natural turf or seeding, over the longer term it should work out cheaper than the costs of maintaining grass.

It’s possible to install artificial grass oneself or to engage the help of professional installers if looking for artificial grass in Bury St Edmunds and surrounding parts of Suffolk.

The costs of a lawn mower and fuel or power to run it is one expense. There’s also the cost of fertilisers, weed killers and other treatments along with a possible increase in the gardener’s water bill if on a meter due to possible watering. The use of a sprinkler will see water use shoot up especially in dry conditions – they can use as much water in one hour as a family of four might use in a day.

Wider use

Artificial surfaces can be used most of the year round while there are times when it’s best to keep off natural grass. Excessively wet grass can become damaged if subject to heavy footfall as can grass in the grip of even a light frost.

This can be a particular issue when letting pets out to get some air and exercise as they can easily damage grass when wet or frosty.

Cleaner home interior

A sometimes overlooked benefit of an artificial surface is a likely cleaner inside to the property as dirt and other debris isn’t trailed into the house by footwear from damp grass outside.

An artificial surface can also help people who suffer with allergies; natural grass can harbour pollens that may set off allergic reactions in sufferers.

Environmental advantages

Most artificial grass is made from recycled materials such as plastics, and a good installation can last around 25 years.

While grass is a wholly natural substance, there are environmental implications in tending it:

  • Water

    – large amounts water can be used in keeping it nourished; it’s a precious resource under increasing demand from an ever-increasing number of households

  • Mowing

    – fossil fuels such as petrol or electricity are used to power lawn mowers and over several years of grass cutting this mounts up. There’s also noise pollution from the use of the mower itself

  • Chemicals

    – using weedkillers and fertilisers effectively puts chemicals in the garden and on the grass that can cause dangers to wildlife and are potentially hazardous for family pets and young children. They also tend to be flushed into the drains when it rains

The overwhelming case for artificial grass

There’s no doubt artificial grass has a lot to offer in terms of cost savings, environmental benefits and saving valuable time on maintenance. Even a basic activity such as mowing can easily swallow up one or two hours a week, and then you may not be able to use the carefully tended grass if conditions are either too wet or too dry.

Artificial grass, on the other hand, once laid is ready for use pretty much all the time and requires next to no care.

Double Your Off-Street Parking Without Losing Your Lawn

Suregreen grass reinforcement

Suregreen grass reinforcementCreating extra parking space using special surfaces on your grass

Car parking can be a particular problem for some; although the number of cars in many households is ever-increasing, generally newer house building features smaller gardens and surrounding land areas and a reduction in the number of garages being built. There’s also the issue of where to park if work is being done where owners might usually leave their cars – for example, if parking on the street and roadworks are in progress.

Parking on your lawn is an option, but usually a less than satisfactory one as grass can soon become damaged from tyres; a problem exacerbated after rainfall and during frosty conditions. Help is at hand though.

Grass reinforcement solutions

Specialist surfaces are available designed to protect grass when heavy loads such as cars are placed on it. A Witham based company offer various options with their Suregreen grass reinforcement range of mesh and matting.

Mesh

Available in various types depending on what levels of ‘traffic’ the grass is likely to experience ranging from occasional and heavier pedestrian use up to the parking and manoeuvring of cars and other vehicles.

As its name suggests, it’s an interwoven mesh made of plastic and is designed to reinforce the grass as it grows. The roots and sward of the grass intertwine with the mesh to create a stronger, reinforced surface. This, coupled with its ability to spread the weight of vehicles, helps preserve the grass.

The mesh is available in various specifications and grades; some versions are capable of bearing loads of over 7 tons and vary in design depending on how quick drainage is on the specific area of grass. Some mesh types are more suitable for sandy based grass with quicker drainage whereas others are designed for clay type surfaces where drainage is much slower.

The mesh is available in various sized rolls and is easily laid and fixed in place usually using U pins at specific intervals. For example, if laying a 2 by 20 metre roll of mesh then something like 200 pins would be required.

Ground protection mats

Made from HDPE (High Density Polyethylene), these mats – typically just over 12mm thick – are simply put in place on the grass to provide a sturdy, non-slip surface. They protect the grass by spreading the weight of the vehicle and preventing its tyres from pressing into the surface and eventually causing ruts.

However, many mats are necessary to provide the required area of parking and grass protection can be laid and interlocked with simple connectors to give a single, solid surface. They’re a more durable solution than fibreglass or plywood, and can offer good levels of grip on more uneven grass surfaces and – due to their composition – can handle expansion and contraction as weather conditions and temperatures change.

Light and portable

Each mat weighs about 40 kg so they’re convenient to move around being only the weight of two suitcases filled to most airlines’ luggage allowances.

Due to their portability, these mats make for an ideal temporary surface. For example, if you need some ad hoc extra parking for an event at your home such as a party, or to provide parking while work is going on in the street where you normally park such as pipe laying or similar, then ground protection mats offer a flexible solution.

Saving your lawn

As the above illustrates, there are ways of creating extra parking and hard standing for cars and vehicles without ruining your lawn.