Kitchen Renovation Ideas For 2016

Kitchen Refurb

No matter how much you love your kitchen, there comes a time when renovation is needed. Whether it is simply refreshing the cupboard doors and drawer fronts, changing a few key elements or a complete overhaul of the space, the kitchen is a hardworking room and this work always pays off. So here are a few kitchen renovation ideas to get you started.


The kitchen is as much about storage as it is about cooking and cleaning. Food, pots and pans, cutlery and a host of other items all need somewhere to live and getting the balance between useful storage and clutter can be difficult.

While kitchen cabinets are great for hiding everything away, sometimes it can be good to open everything up. Kitchen shelves rather than cupboards is a popular choice at the moment, using wood that coordinates with door colours and making use of a few accessories alongside the practical elements. Another idea for kitchen shelves are those that come in a laminate look that mimics the countertops. This creates a harmonious look from bench to ceiling.

If you have too much clutter on shelves in your kitchen, then why not look at pantry storage? Use a cupboard to keep all of those bottles and jars and grab some of the nifty storage solutions available to organise them. Keeping things like herbs and spices out of the daylight can also prolong their lifespan and maintain freshness.

Little changes

Renovating the kitchen doesn’t mean scrapping everything and starting again in all cases. For example, if your doors and drawers look good but you hate the handles, then simply replace them. You can change the feel of a room just by altering the hardware on the units and use the theme or colour in other elements of the room.

Tiles are another little change that can be made that can have an amazing effect on the room. Going for a splash of colour or pattern or even just styled white tiles can add something new to the room without having to change a single cupboard.

A new light fixture is another great little touch to change the room. You can follow the style you want or go for something practical such as a rail with directional spotlights on it, allowing you to shine light in all corners of the room. For an extra practical touch, add under cabinet lighting too – LEDs are great for this and very cost efficient to run.

The big stuff

Gone are the days where kitchen cupboards had to be a wood effect and painting them in colour is a great way to overhaul the look of the room. There are now ranges of special paint designed for the purpose with a full range of bright and subtle shades to suit any taste.

A new kitchen sink is a great way to change the look and feel of a room and many now drop into the bench so replacing them with a new style may simply be a case of measuring the gap and picking from the candidates available. Add new taps to complete the change of look, tying them in with new cupboard hardware.

Why Choose Glulam & Posi Joists?

When looking at the construction of a building, one of the most crucial areas is the flooring. The design of the structure and the flooring used on this foundation is critical to the long term strength of the property as well as making for a well-designed and visually pleasing end result. Two of the newer ideas on the market are Glulam and Posi Joists. But what are they and why would you use them?


Glulam Example

Glued laminated timber, known as glulam, is a structural timber product that uses a number of layers of timber that are bonded together with a highly durable and moisture resistant adhesive made specially for structural jobs. Because of this design system, glulam is very flexible in its size with variations ranging from 45mm x 45mm right up to250mm x 1800mm x 30 metres long. It is an environmentally sustainable material that needs no mining or high energy processing in the way that steel or cement does and creates a warm and comfortable feel to any building in which it is installed.

Glulam is also lightweight, relieving stress on the underlying elements of the house and is one-sixth the weight of a reinforced concrete beam and two-thirds the weight of steel. Because it is lightweight it is also very easy to work with and is also fire resistant. It confirms to the Approved British Standards 4169:1988 and BS EN 386:1995.

With glulam being made as it is, it can also be created into various specifications depending on the needs of the property. It is very durable and can even work in very corrosive environments such as in a swimming pool where the humidity and chlorine levels can cause serious problems to other types of materials.

Posi joists

Reduced Posi Joists

Due to the ever changing demands for sustainable homes that also have a range of ventilation and heat recovery systems, more and more architects and builders are looking for open web flooring systems to meet these needs. One of the most popular of these are the posi joists and strut system. The combination of the lightness of the timber and the special steel web structures means that the system can cover greater distances than other forms. It also allows for a greater variety of internal layouts and a larger range of design freedom in domestic, commercial and industrial properties.

Another major advantage of the system is that there are far few components to put into place than in a traditional softwood floor. This means it is both cheaper and quicker to install. Carpenters don’t spend large amounts of time drilling holes and accommodating the electrics and plumbing facilities that are required. The system also requires less bracing material than other systems and there are no herringbone strutting required.

Finally, once the property is complete, the posi joist system allows easier access for maintenance and alterations than most other systems. So once ventilation and heating systems are installed, they can be easily reached for servicing and alterations. This can continue to save money in time and effort needed to do the work.

Specifying Materials For Your Self Build

Self Build Northern Ireland

Being hands-on with your self build project has many advantages but it can also be overwhelming when you realise the sheer scale of choices that you are faced with when deciding on building materials. Every aspect of the build will require a huge number of decisions and to add to the confusion you may find that your requirements change as the build progresses.  To make your life easier and ensure the build goes according to your schedule and budget you will need to decide on your materials and eliminate those that don’t fit with your budget or style early on in the process. 

Sometimes Alternatives Are Better

You may be tempted to go for authentic materials such as wood and stone but there are lots of modern alternatives which are a lot cheaper and in some cases they actually perform and look better. A good example of this is using slate and stone cladding instead of natural stone. Often alternative materials are easier to install than their natural counterparts so they require less skill to install. This will lower the cost of installation or make it easier for you to do yourself.

Which Wood To Choose

When building your own home it’s likely that you will be needing lots of wood for a variety of uses. Wood is a great building material as it’s strong and durable while being flexible and renewable and it looks great as well. The type of timber you choose depends on what you are using it for.

Wood is strong, durable, long lasting, restorable, recyclable, renewable and of course, attractive. With so many different types of wood available you should consider what you need it for and allocate a form of wood best suited to each job. For example engineered timber is perfect for flooring, pressure-treated timber is great for decking and western red cedar is ideal for fencing so the wood you choose depends on its purpose. Your budget also plays a big role in which wood you choose as you may want solid oak floors but may find that your budget only allows for laminate. Once again specifying the best materials to suit your decor and budget is important.

Know Where To Look

So where can you find the best range of materials to choose from for your self build? Thankfully there are some useful online tools available for specifiers to search a huge range of building products, materials and fixtures and they also act as a comparison tool which is ideal when you are faced with lots of choice.

Knowing where to source your materials and building products is essential for saving you both time and money when undergoing a self build as you can be assured that you have chosen the best materials that your budget allows and are able to eliminate others early in the process. As with any build good planning is vital and this includes specifying materials at an early stage.

Your Guide To Building A Garden Fence

Fencing Northern Ireland

Having a fence around your garden is a must if you’re in need of privacy, security or to keep pets enclosed safely. Putting up a new fence can feel like a daunting task if you’re new to it but fear not, our how to guide will walk you through the entire process to turn you from novice to a fencing pro in no time.

Planning Permission

Planning permission is not required for your fence as long as it’s no taller than 2 metres. When the fence meets a road or footpath the height restriction is 1 metre high. This usually works out that your back garden fence will be up to 2 metres high and your front garden fence will be up to 1 metre high.

If you live in an open plan or shared development then you will also need to seek planning permission as the fence will be impacting on others who are entitled to use that space. If you are in any doubt about whether you need planning permission or not then you can find more guidance here.

Choosing Your Fencing

Now that you know you’re in the clear to start building your fence you need to choose which type to go for. Consider the purpose, size and design of fence that best suits your needs to help you choose the right one for you. The most common types of fencing to choose from are:

  • Palisade – One of the most popular types of fencing, palisade allows you to have both privacy and some visibility in between the panels allowing light to get in while giving you the traditional look of a garden fence.
  • Closeboard – Closeboard fencing is made up of vertical timber panels, which overlap each other. This creates a whole panel with no spaces in it so it is the ideal choice for those looking for extra privacy and it’s cheaper than other options.
  • Trelis – Trelis fencing looks great either on it’s own or alongside palisade or closeboard fencing. When used as a decorative piece it allows more light into your garden and it can also act as extra security when added to the top of your existing fence.


It’s important that you measure out the boundaries for your fence carefully as any mistakes at this stage can cause major problems further down the line. Ensure that you include widths of the fence panels and the gate within your measurements to keep it as accurate and in proportion as possible.

Setting The Posts

Once you have made your measurements and worked out how many posts and panels you will need then it’s time to set your posts.

Install your corner posts first and then establish a straight line to the middle posts by tying a piece of string from one to another. Once you have set your posts then you need to add horizontal support beams that will allow you to attach your panels, you will ideally want 3 support rails.

Once you have your panel lined up then it’s simply a case of hammering 2/3 nails into each of the support beams to ensure that it is securely fixed. A good tip at this point is to use the depth of the beam to create an even space between each one, the last thing you want is to have different sized spaces between your panels.

Building Your Gate

You will want to use sturdy posts to support your gate as this is the area of the fence that will be doing the most work. Measure the distance between your posts and then make the width of the gate 1 inch smaller on each side and remember to make the height of the gate a few inches smaller than the overall height of the rest of the fence to allow it to swing open with ease. You will also need to add hinges to one of the posts to allow it to open and close. Once your gate is complete then you have a fully functioning fence around your property.

For more information on our timber fencing options visit our dedicated fencing page.