Last edited 23 Mar 2018

Improving a buildings appearance

The exterior finish of a building is an important feature. Here are Snug Solutions' top five tips on how to achieve the best results.

The finish on the exterior of a building is extremely important. For many clients, beauty is only skin deep, and will judge whether their builder has done a good job on the finish. A building’s exterior also has to be finished properly to comply with the building regulations as poor workmanship could lead to a reduction in energy efficiency and water ingress.

Tip 1: Check planning and advise the client

This is imperative as, while many small cosmetic changes will fall under permitted development, in some areas, planning laws will mean the exterior of a building will have to match other buildings around it. Whatever the outcome, advising and consulting with your client is important. Offer advice on products and features that will add value, increase comfort and look great on their house. This could include replacing concrete tiles with slate tiles, upgrading windows or adding Velux​-style loft windows.

Tip 2: Get the pipework sorted

Repainting, repointing and rendering unsightly areas can really spruce up a property. The same goes for pipework – it can be ugly if not finished properly, especially where it comes out of the wall, and that is part of the reason we invented PipeSnug​. We wanted a product that took away all that messy mortar or silicone and instead provides a neat finish to the exterior pipework. It can be installed in all weathers on any plumbing or construction project, including new builds, extensions, loft conversions and kitchen, bathroom and boiler installations.

The product’s snug fit also means that it helps to maintain the energy efficiency of the property, by tightly filling in any gaps where heat would otherwise escape. This helps installers to comply with Part L of the Building Regulations and keeps the risk of heat escaping from a building to a minimum. It will also hold your pipework in place and in the position you want, freeing up both your hands to safely fix the clips.

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Tip 3: Choose your roof tiles, bricks or cladding carefully

Roof tiling​ can make a vast difference to the look of a property. Concrete tiles have a clean and smooth finish and are the choice for the majority of buildings, but clay tiles, for instance, can really enhance a property with their different hues and colour variations. In conservation areas you can expect to see clay tiles specified. Either way, if you’re replacing tiles, neither concrete nor clay tiles will truly match the ones lost from an old original roof. If a client won’t stretch to new tiles, then removing any moss or lichen from the tiles can transform the overall look of the property.

For those homes with mismatched bricks or dated cladding (like stone cladding) the surface can be renovated in a variety of ways. Updating the colour of a brick can work wonders for kerb appeal and bricks can be either painted or stained. The main difference is that painting requires maintenance while a stain is completely absorbed by a brick and is a permanent solution. If the condition of the bricks is too rundown, render or cladding can improve the appearance and include many options. PVCu or laminate cladding is easy to maintain and clean, stone tiles are lightweight and can offer a traditional look while brick slips look like solid brick but are tiles made from clay to create a brick effect. If the overall look of the building is being changed, planning consent may be required.

Tip 4: Windows

Windows are crucial to the appearance of a property, both in terms of size and aesthetics. Check planning rules and look at the type of brick before specifying the colour of the windows. They definitely don’t have to be the traditional white these days. They can look fantastic in a wide range of colours from dark green to grey or even black. Does your client want a specific window to be a key feature eg a porthole style which illuminates an upper extension gallery, or bifolds which open onto a garden? The options are numerous but important. Extension lantern rooflight windows have seen a huge rise in popularity and look great too.

Tip 5: Light it!

Lighting the exterior of a building, and the garden, used to be the domain of large, expensive houses, but that’s not the case any more. Exterior lighting can add security and enhance the look of a building quite cost effectively. Lighting placed either side of the front door gives a great feeling of symmetry. If the house has a front garden, subtle lighting hidden in undergrowth can look fantastic. Up/down lighting has been a recent trend and motion sensors can be utilised around the property to help the owner on dark nights, while still augmenting the overall image of a building job well done!

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