South London Carpenters are very conscious when it comes to eco-friendly designs and building materials, as we feel that renewable or recyclable material should be the focus for all homes. If we can build homes or properties which are not only structurally sound, but also eco-friendly, then we are willing to go that extra mile, even when it costs extra. However, usually the renewable materials are actually cheaper and the homeowners recoup that money within a space of several years. It ends up being cheaper for both the homeowner and the construction company. In this blog we will be looking at some of the materials that can be used instead of commonly used materials within the trade.
The first renewable material that is popular among eco-friendly construction companies are recycled steel. There are some incredibly strong and cheap recycled steel which can be used as a replacement for wooden beams which are popular. It also makes the process easier, since it involves ordering customized steel beams and panels that fit the designs of your current project. The materials are durable enough to be subject to high winds and even earthquakes. However, in London this is not the biggest weather concern you have to worry about. What is even more interesting is that it is said that for a 2-000 square foot house, it would need the amount of 40 – 50 trees to build. With recycled steel, it would only need the metal of six recycled cars. This makes the option very beneficial to all. Since there is so much recycled steel, this would be the best option for all.
Insulated concrete is another eco-friendly material, although many do not know this already. This is simply placing concrete within two insulated materials in the walls and other parts of the structure. It will remain in place as a permanent structure of the property, and will not need regular inspection. Incredibly, there have been studies which have proved that structures which have been made using insulated concrete have saved up to 20 percent of the energy used by wooden framed buildings.
Another option that many people are unaware of is cool roofing. The idea behind cool roofing is very smart, since it reflects heat from the sun and actually stays cooler, allowing less heat to transfer within the building. Although it doesn’t allow the building to be colder during the winter months either. Darker coloured materials can still be used to make this work as well. The drawback to using cool roofs instead of ordinary roofing materials is that it can cost up to £40 per square foot more, but for those who are eco-friendly may still see this as the better option in the long term.
A rather unpopular material that has been (in our opinion) underused it structural insulated panels. This would involve setting the structure with wood or cement, and covering both sides with insulated panels. Many are not fans because they feel as if the material is ugly. However, most are unaware that this material exists in general. There are many different forms of finish that you can use on the insulated panels however, and there are many ways to make the panels look aesthetically pleasing. It is said that they can save 50 percent in energy costs from using conventional materials though, which makes it one of the more eco-friendly options available in this list. This is definitely one material we would recommend.
Another material is recycled plastic or wood. The recycled plastic could come from plastic bags from supermarkets to children’s toys, but mainly from products or items that will not be used again. Using both the plastics and wood will mean that it is more durable, and that there would be added strength. It would also be more resistant to mould and rot also, although the composite lumber would also be more rigid in weather conditions such as the cold and heat. Sadly, this recycled wood would also be more expensive.
One of the most common house hold structures in Wimbledon and London as a whole that is requested to be built is a shed. Whether it is for personal use or for work, many customers request this service. Since we have built many sheds, we have a small amount of advice that we can give for anyone who wishes to ask us to build their shed or do it alone.
The first tip is to ensure that every shed is started with a solid foundation. When building a shed, you should not expect yours to last long if it’s built on weak foundations. Sheds should be built on strong materials such as solid blocks of concrete or wood timbers that have been pressure treated and set directly onto the ground and spaced properly (spaced closely enough for the shed’s floor frame to be supported and levelled corrected). Another small piece of advice which I would find useful when considering the life expectancy of a shed is ensuring that you build on dry land. If the land is wet, it will help erosion over time. That said, if the area (such as Wimbledon or London) is prone to rainy conditions, ensuring that the foundation is built on gravel will also ensure that the foundation will be protected from erosion.
Larger sheds that are on average more than 200 sq. ft. in size should have permanent foundations that are set down onto the land and extended into the frost line, which are constructed of buried wooden posts or poured-concrete piers. The last piece of advice that could be given in this scenario is ensuring that when using timbers and buried wood posts that they are cut from pressure-treated lumber which are specifically useful for ground contact. This is to prolong the wood from rotting.
Allowing for air circulation is also important for sheds. Since moisture can easily and effectively get into sheds that are not correctly circulated, this moisture can rot the framing, floors and doors and even slowly corrode the hinges within the shed over a long enough period of time. This is easy to fix however, simply by ensuring that the mudsill (lowest laying wood member of the shed) is at least 6 inches above the ground to ensure space for air to circulate under the shed. Another step to helping the circulation of air in the shed is to allow enough space around the shed itself. Anything such as trees, fences or hedges can block out sunlight and wind, and not give the shed enough clearance space to allow the shed to stay dry. It will also help when needing to paint the shed or make repairs in the future.
Using low maintenance materials is also a tip to building a long lasting shed. Since the majority of people who contact us or build sheds have very little time to ensure that the shed is well maintained, using low-maintenance materials can help cut maintenance time. While it will mean that you will be paying more for those materials, the time and trouble that is saved make the price worth it. Materials such as plastic lumber, vinyl or aluminium windows, fiberglass or steel doors and even using faux-slate roof shingles all help take steps towards low maintenance. Fibre-cement siding and composite decking for the steps should also be taken in mind.
Building a floor frame that is weather resistant in the Wimbledon and London area is also very important. Ensuring that you are using the right materials and allowing for enough space, you can help your shed survive the weather. Ensuring you don’t spend cheap on your materials, and allow for such space, your shed will not be as exposed to rotting over time, and will allow a tightly locked foundation.
While not all of these options are cheap or quick to install, over time they do become cost and time effective. The lowered expenses on maintenance as well as the lowered amount of time it would take to maintain the shed will be payment itself. Try to keep these tips in mind if you are going to build a shed, or call us if you want a professional to do it instead.
Hi everyone, thanks for visiting our new blog! We're a family run business that's been in carpentry for many years, and we thought it was about time we joined the modern world and make a blog on our website, so here we are!
We'll attempt to keep this updated twice a week, we'll try and keep it interesting and light-hearted, we'll give you tips on how to care for any wood you have, DIY projects you can do yourself and some little life-hacks for wood furniture!
If you've been thinking about getting a new bespoke wardrobe, filling that empty space with a bookshelf or another way to improve your home, then get in touch!
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South London Carpenters
140 Effra Road
020 8050 1401