Budgeting for a House Extension

An Extension can vary quite wildly in price depending on who it’s done, who it’s done by and the size and scope of the project. Properly budgeting for building a house extension can be the difference between enjoying a new element to your home, or a stressful nightmare that lasts for months and beyond. Here’s some things to keep in mind when budgeting for your home extension.

Be Realistic

The first step to achieving budgeting zen is to set a realistic goal. Keep your overall budgeting in mind when planning for the kind of extension you can afford. If your pot of money will only cover the addition of an extra room don’t set lofty goals of a sweeping three storey extension with several grandiose rooms. Also make sure that you’re planning for a project you can manage, if you don’t feel comfortable presiding over a project to see many rooms added to your home stick with just one or two.

Keep Within your finances

It’s obvious but it needs stating. Count every pound and penny you have and check it twice. Don’t include fund you don’t yet have. If you’re looking to take out a loan or remortgaging your property then find out what your limit here is before setting off on your project

Set aside an emergency fund

There will be unforeseen expenses. Set aside at least 10% of your budget as emergency funds. That way your not left in a tight spot should your funds run dry, project run over time or an unaccounted cost cops up. And if you don’t end up needing it then it’s extra to spend on decorating or to be set aside for other projects.

Do it yourself

One way to save costs can be to do it yourself. Just be aware of your skills, while you can save money in carrying out work yourself you’re unlikely to get the same quality and finish a professional builder would provide to the project.

Planning Permission Fees

Application for planning permission and building regulation applications come with a cost. It won’t be a huge part of your budget but it’s worth keeping in mind anyway. Especially if you have to re-submit plans.

Decorating & finishing touches

Once your extension is built it’s highly likely you’re going to want it decorated. Set aside some budget here to get up a lick of paint and furniture brought in to bring it all to life. As long as you have all the plans drafted up you should know dimensions ahead of time to be able to buy in paint, wallpaper and furniture before your extensions finished.

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How to avoid mould in your bathroom

Mould can range from a minor cosmetic issue to a structural and life-threatening one. mould build-up can be a symptom of other problems in the home and should be tackled where possible. Especially in the bathroom it is easy for mould to settle down. That’s why it is important to care your bathroom well. NE Build and Design have some tips to avoid mould.

Heating the bathroom is very important. Don’t save your money on the wrong things. The temperature in the bathroom should ideally be a steady 24 or 25 degrees so that the walls don’t get too cold. The difference between the warm water and the cold walls should not be too big because that causes a lot water vapour which settles down between the bath tiles and might turn into mould.

After taking a shower or having a bath you should open your window or turn on a vent for at least 5 minutes so that the clamminess can flee out of the room. The best way would be having the window a bit open during the shower time. If your bathroom lacks an openable window then an air dehumidifier would be a good purchase, which helps you to keep the air moisture in balance.

Drying and Cleaning
It’s good to clean the shower or bath tub right after using it so that hair and scum has no chance to stick on the tiles or in the joints. Also wipe all of the wet spots immediately dry to obviate mould.

But if once mould has spread in your bath, heating and ventilation is in vain. It is really hard to get rid of it and if there are a lot of black spots on your walls, it is better to contact a specialist and find out the reason why the mould spread so fast.

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Identifying Structural Problems

A well maintained home can last a century and beyond, but you’ll need to identify these problems before they become a major issue for your home and your safety. So we’ve written up a guide for identifying some early signs of home wear and tear that should be looked into before it gets to big.

Wet & Dry Rot

Rot is a major structural issue, affecting the timber frame of a home and severely affecting a roof. Dry rot is caused by the fungus serpula lacrymans and can spread throughout much of the home, it’s not common but can be a very serious problem. You can usually see dry rot in the form of the fungus spores growing across the woods surface. Wet rot is caused by the beams becoming wet, weakening and decaying the wood. This tends to remain localised to the area of the damp, and the source of the wetness should be located and treat alongside the wet rot itself to avoid it happening again. Both should be treat by a specialist builder.


Cracks are usually harmless and merely a cosmetic sign of the house “breathing”, expanding and shifting as the seasons pass. These cracks can be plastered or cemented over with little to worry about. However if these cracks get noticeable larger, or continue to re-appear, then it could be the sign of a much wider structural problem such as rotting masonry or timbers, and should be inspected by a specialist. Even if it turns out to just be a result of changing temperatures it’s better to have the peace of mind.

Damp is a frequent for home owners in the UK, with a large amount of rain to deal with an improperly sealed home can suffer quite heavily with damp. Damp itself is not a major problem, but the moist environment provides excellent breeding grounds for moulds and spores that can cause health issues for you and your family. Damp can also lead to rotting timber and framework, which can be serious concerns for the safety of the home. Damp can be caused by bad ventilation of a home, a leaky pipe or gutter, or rising damp through bad seal. Once the root cause is identified and repaired the damp must be dealt with too, be it a replacement of just wallpaper, or the underlying plaster and timber.

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Adding Value Through Home Improvement

When looking to sell a home it can help to carry out some work beforehand to improve the value of the property while also making your home more appealing to prospective buyers.

When looking to increase the value of your home it’s a good idea to know what improvements you can make will have the biggest impact on the value of your home. Handily HSBC carry out an annual “Home Improvement Survey” which can give us a look at which improvements will have the biggest impact on the value of your home. It’s even broken down regionally so we can see which improvements have the best value added effects within the North East.

Within the north-east the two biggest are loft conversion and room extension, both adding on average £10,000 to the value of your home. This makes sense given both these projects add considerable space, extra rooms depending on the level of work done, which makes a home considerably more appealing to new buyers. Following this is the addition of a conservatory, adding just over £5,000 to the property value. A conservatory is technically an additional room, though of less use given they’re mainly useful during nice sunny days, something we tend to lack in Britain. New kitchens and bathrooms add £4,300 and £2,100 respectively. These are probably the more possible works to be carried out on a property and not everyone has the space to add a conservatory or new rooms to a building. The least valuable improvement to a home is re-carpeting, adding just £1,550 extra to a property. The low weight given to new carpets in valuing a home is understandable as carpets can be cheap to replace, and in some cases a new buyer might be interested in having wood flooring.

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Reviving your tired old decking – A summer project

Remember the day you finished building your new decking or having it built for you? The smell of fresh-cut timber, the even colour of the new decking boards, that summer afternoon you spent admiring your hard work that made yours the best looking decking in the neighbourhood (well maybe).

Now years later, you hardly notice it as you walk across it to take out the trash. The colour has faded, the wood is grey and there may even be some moss growing on it. Don’t despair, its easily restored back to its former glory and the team here at NE Build & Design are going to tell you how to do just that.

Within a few days and the luck of some dry cool weather, cleaning and stripping solution and a few tools you can get your decking right back to where it was.

Before you start work on your decking you need to give a good once over to check that all the wood surfaces are sound. If the wood is past its sell by date and rotten you will find that a screwdriver will push easily into the timber and surface fibres will pull off easily. Its simple you have damaged wood, it will need replaced with new.

Decking cleaners are formulated to clean the deck surface of stain or sealer. However, if you leave remains of an old finish that is worn out, the cleaner will do a patchy job. What will happen is it will clean the worn spots differently from the spots that still have old finish left on them. If you detect any sort of film, use a stripper on that area to get rid of it before you apply the cleaner. A careful examination is needed to identify these areas.

Decking stripper is designed to lift off the old finish of stain or sealer and prepare the surface ready for the deck cleaner to do its work. You can save time by first scraping away most of the old finish using a paint scraper. This may sound a daunting task on such a large area, but you don’t need to get down to the bare wood! Just scrape the surface enough to remove any loose, flaky finish that still exists. This shouldn’t take more than two hours on an average size (10 x 16-ft.) decking.

We’ve broken the process down into 9 easy steps as follows:

Step 1: Scrape off the stain

Scrape the old finish off your railings and decking. The finish should flake off easily. Don’t get yourself bogged down with being to meticulous, the decking stripper will get the remaining finish.

Step 2: Remember to protect your plants

Cover your plants with protective sheeting but remember to soak them with water first. Most decking strippers and deck cleaners won’t kill your plants but may damage them and cause them unnecessary stress.

Step 3: Strip your railings before the decking

Apply the decking stripper with a paint applicator or a brush working in 6-ft. sections at a time so the stripper doesn’t evaporate before you can scrub and scrape it off.

Step 4: Scrub the railing

Scrub the loosened finish off the surface of your railings and decking with a stiff-bristle brush.

Step 5: Jet Wash off the residue

Rinse off the old finish with a strong stream of water from your garden hose or jet wash if you have one. Its worth giving it a once over to check for any left overs. If there is you may have to reapply some stripper if there is some finish left on the wood. Be careful when using a pressure washer as you can damage the wood.

Step 6: Clean the decking

Spray the decking surface with the decking cleaner the day after you’ve finished the railing. It is best to apply the deck cleaner to the railing with a sprayer of some description, because the stripper may have darkened the wood slightly. Decking cleaner will bring the already stripped surfaces back to a fresh, bright wood look.

Step 7: Scrub the deck

Scrub away any loose wood fibres and residue 15 minutes after you’ve applied the decking cleaner. Work in the direction of the grain at all times. As soon as you’re finished, rinse the deck thoroughly with a firm spray from your garden hose or jet wash and let the surface area dry for a minimum of two days.

Step 8: Staining

Apply the stain to your railings with a brush. For a professional finish cover your decking boards with tape and plastic to catch any drips. We recommend a semi transparent oil stain.

Step 9: Sealing the decking

Apply your decking sealer with a roller. If your decking boards are tightly spaced, use a brush to get between them as you roll, doing a couple of boards at a time.

Remember throughout the whole process to allow ample drying time of the deck and rails etc between steps.

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Need extra storage? A loft conversion may be the answer

The majority of people know exactly what a loft conversion is, if not in person, then on one of the numerous home improvement programs that are on our television channels every other day. But are there any benefits to a Loft Conversion?

Are there any alternatives?

Extending your property is a great way of gaining that extra space that everyone wants and is far easier road to go down than the very stressful and costly process of moving home. A lot of people gain this extra space by either adding a conservatory or a ground floor extension to their property. One of the downsides to a ground floor extension though is the amount of garden space you may lose, where as the beauty of a loft conversion being it simply makes the most of unused space that you already have.

Adding veloux windows to a loft conversion will gives you lots of natural light and depending on your location can give you stunning views of your area . The advantage of a loft conversion over adding a conservatory to your property is it offers a lot more versatility in terms of the type of room it can turned into. With a conservatory you don’t have the option of turning it into a bedroom or a bathroom, its just not a viable option, whereas a lof conversion gives you the option of transforming it into both of these.

Does it add value to your property?

Most loft conversions are never really done to simply add value to your property, but the fact that the value of your property will increase as a result of your loft conversion is a massive bonus.

If you are thinking about moving home just for extra space, think about your loft first. It is more than likely it has all the extra space you need. So when thinking ‘loft conversion Newcastle’ think NE Build & Design.

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Spring is here!

Each year when the winter snow has melted and the days start to get longer it is well worth inspecting your property for any damage the harsh winter months may have done to it. Its nailed on that there will be some unexpected repair work that needs done.

Pick a pleasant day to walk around your home and garden to look for any repairs that may need doing, or ways you feel you can make your home look more attractive. Maybe you’ve been planning an extension or some other building work, spring is the ideal time to start planning for this kind of work to be done. If you need any advice please do not hesitate to call us 01670 712 847.

Cracks & Pointing

Inspect the outside of your home first, looking for any cracks in the brick work or pointing that may need done. Although this may seem minor, if not taken care of correctly it can lead to much bigger problems, prevention is better than cure. Small cracks can be easily repaired but if the crack is too large or pointing needs done, its best get an expert in.


You may have inspected your windows and doors before winter, but it is worth doing again in the spring as the winter weather we’ve been getting in the UK lately can have a serious detrimental effect on your window frames and doors, especially if you have the traditional wooden style. If its needed, paint the doors and window frames, or at bare minimum give them a good cleaning to remove any mould or dirt that have built up.

Guttering and Roofs

Clean the inside of your guttering of any old leaves and debris that may have accumulated over the winter. This is a job well worth doing and can prevent lots of problems occurring in the future. Use a power washer to clean the outside of the gutters. Inspect any outside piping, outside taps you may have and also your guttering down pipes for cracks and replace them if needed.

Garden and Yards

Once you are satisfied with the inspection of your property move on to your garden or yard. Check your fencing and decking for any loose boards or panels that may need replacing, fixed or staining.

If you need any advice on any of the subjects we’ve mentioned the team at NE Build & Design are always here to help so don’t be afraid to contact us.


The Team at NE Build & Design

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Reasons to get a loft conversion?

Maybe your running out of space to store valuables or your family is growing and expanding? You love the location you’re at and just don’t want the hassle to move? There are plenty of circumstances of why people need to get a loft conversion. Here are a few reasons why a loft conversion maybe an alternative instead of moving house.

It will add value to your property straight away, so investing in a loft conversion in a way pays for itself. The reason being if you had two houses on the same street and one had an extra room which one do you think the potential buyer would choose?

Another great thing about loft conversion is unlike extensions most don’t need planning permission and as long it’s within building regulations you can legally class it as an extra room, therefore getting an increase in property price straight away. Another great thing about loft conversions is that it doesn’t eat into garden space, which can be the downside to a house extension.

Nearly all lofts can be converted although like every project their can be challenges, but with planning permission not needed for most loft conversions, work can commence within the week with the average loft conversion taking anywhere between 4 – 6 weeks to complete. The best way to think of a loft conversion is that you’re turning wasted space into a living area or storage space.

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NE Build & Design on Twitter – @NEBuildDesign

Hi all,

Just to let everyone know we’ve now been on twitter for a while and will be checking the account daily, so any queries or questions you may have with regards to the services we offer please do not hesitate to send us a tweet and we’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

We’ll try to make our tweets as interesting as possible so won’t all just be building talk.

Please follow us and we’ll follow back.


The team at NE Build & Design

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A Healthy home is a happy home

The team at NE Build & design would like to wish all our readers a Happy New Year!

No doubt a few of you have either decorated prior to Christmas or are planning on updating your home and having a spring clean within the coming months. We’ve pulled some tips together below which can go along way to making your home a healthier place to live by looking beyond the surface.

Always ensure your bathroom and kitchen is well vented and that all extractor fans are in proper state of repair and vented outside. Wipe down and clear your fan of any stagnant dirt and dust regularly, an easy way to do this is using an attachment on your vacuum cleaner.

Always try to eliminate as much moisture as possible in these rooms as they can become breeding grounds for mold and moisture. Wipe down any excess condensation as much as you can after showers or if you’ve been cooking to prevent mould and mildew build up. These can be removed using mild, non-toxic cleaning products available from any supermarket or hardware store.

A good way of preventing excessive steam build up is to keep windows open just a touch and for some time after to allow for the release of the excess steam, but always remember to close them again if you’ll be leaving your property unattended.

If you have elderly or children living in your home it may be worth installing grab bars in bathrooms and toilets to prevent any falls.

For how little they cost these days it is imperative you install smoke detectors throughout the house and outside of every bedroom. As a rule there should be at least one on every level of your home and should be tested regularly, as often as once a month with batteries tested and changed if necessary twice a year. Its a two minute job and could save you and your families life….remember this.

It is also wise to install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home and also near each bedroom, these should also be regularly checked. Carbon monoxide poisoning occurrences peak during the winter/cooler months when fires etc are being used more.

Its a silent killer as there is no odor so these are well worth installing. Its common knowledge that both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors will save your life, yet there are still thousands of homes without them.

Keeping your home safe for you and your family is basically commons sense and with very little investment at all it can be done so act before its too late.

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