Monthly Archives: November 2014

Top Tips to Beat ‘Cowboy’ Builders

CowboyHere at FAB Systems, we frequently turn on the TV and see plenty of home improvement jobs that we’d rather forget. Shows like Rogue Traders provide lots of people with entertainment, but they mask a very real problem ; the fact that many traders are doing an incredibly shoddy job. Very often, you can tell such traders from a mile off though, so here are some top tips to help you avoid them:

  • Very often, unscrupulous builders are unwilling to commit anything to writing. Whether this is a quote or an estimate is unimportant; the fact is that you should distrust anyone with such a habit.
  • Suspicious traders will usually offer quotes or estimates that are hugely cheaper than all of the competition. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take advantage of a bargain when you see it, but you should ask yourself why they are so much more affordable. You may not like the answer.
  • Cowboy builders are often very keen to begin work straight away. If you’re dealing with a trader who seems to have a mysterious aversion to doing any work for you in the long-term, then we’d recommend that you give them a miss.
  • Rogue traders frequently make claims that they can’t back up. They’ll tell you that they belong to a company or to a trade association, but when you check you’ll soon discover otherwise. Always remember to check a trader’s history whenever you deal with them.
  • You can often spot suspicious traders by observing how they deal with money and financial matters. A common habit is to ask for money upfront, and quite simply you shouldn’t deal with anyone who does this. Even if a legitimate trader needs materials, they won’t ever ask for payment upfront.
  • Following on from this point, ‘cash only’ demands should usually be given a wide berth. Such practices are usually a ploy to avoid paying out for VAT.
  • CowboyYou should always refuse to deal with any builder who won’t give you details of any previous references or customer dealings. Anyone who is so secretive clearly has something to hide.
  • Finally, cowboy builders are regularly vague about how much a job will actually cost. At the best, this means that they’re very inexperienced, but at worst it could mean that they’re one to avoid.

Hopefully, this short list should give you a good idea of the sorts of things to avoid, but if it’s things like conservatories, fascias or double glazing in Telford that you’re look for, why not give the FAB Systems team a call? We’ll always be happy to discuss a project like this, so if you’d like to find out more, please contact us now by calling 0800 066 5644.

Through the Looking Glass – a History of the Conservatory

Here at FAB Systems, providing conservatories in Cheshire is one of our particular specialities, and we’ve been doing so for a number of years now. But have you ever thought just how these unusual glass ‘outhouses’ first became popular? Just where did they come from? Read on to find out more…

Conservatory_of_Flowers_May20_1906

The Origins

The word ‘conservatory’ probably comes from the Italian word ‘conservato’ and the Latin phrase ‘ory’ (a combination that literally means a ‘place for storage or preservation’, and indeed early conservatories were more akin to greenhouses or glasshouses. As you might expect from the root words we’re dealing with, the Romans had a lot to do with the development of the conservatory

The Early Days

The earliest ‘real’ conservatories date back to the 17th century, but they were predominantly stone or wood structures with little emphasis on glass (glass was, after all, very rare in antiquity). Predominantly intended to store or cultivate certain types of tropical fruit (like an orangery), conservatories were originally a province of the upper classes, becoming more widely available only with the popularisation of glass over the last couple of centuries or so.

Royal_Greenhouse_of_Laken

Design and Use

At this early time, there was a great desire to experience the attractive foods that had been discovered through trading with the Far East and the like, so conservatories were the obvious answer to this problem, allowing exotic fruits to be cultivated on home shores. Columns and solid roofs were popular design choices, but somewhere along the line, the meaning of conservatory began to move away from this early incarnation and develop its more modern connotations.

Traditional Forms

The traditional styles that we’re so familiar with today – Edwardian, Georgian and Victorian – are in fact fair approximations of the prevailing styles in these historical periods, although the lack of frame structures and effective heating in these dated eras has allowed modern conservatories to evolve substantially over the years.

Edwardian_conservatory

Modern Times

The industrial revolution was perhaps the real turning point for conservatories, as the advent of cast iron and rolled glass allowed increasingly elaborate forms to be made, but the post-war years have really returned the conservatory to its glory days.  Nowadays, we are in possession of conservatories that are genuinely ‘practical’. Gone are the days where aristocrats would recline in draughty outbuildings, as now conservatories can be well-insulated, convenient and useful all year round.

As you can see, conservatories have been on the go for quite some time, but here at FAB Systems you’ll get only the very best and most modern conservatory designs that there are. If you’d like to join the long-standing ranks of conservatory owners, or want to upgrade your existing facility, please be sure to contact us now by calling 0800 066 5644. We’ll be happy to help.

4 Garage Conversion Ideas

Many people use their garage for just plain old fashioned storage, when really this space could be used for so much more! As suppliers of garages doors in Stoke on Trent, we know that garages have a lot of potential, there are many things that they can be used for, so we’ve compiled a handy list for you, so that you can transform your home and have the property that you have always dreamed of.

Gym

gym1

Gym memberships can be expensive so why not convert your garage into a home gym? You won’t have to pay a membership and better than that…you don’t have to share with strangers; therefore, you can work out in peace.

Office

office

Working from home can be difficult, but not when you have your own office space. The garage is the perfect place to create your own office – just make sure it’s well heated so that you’re comfortable. There are many huge businesses that began in the garage such as Amazon, Apple, Disney and even Google!

Playroom

playroom

Transform your garage into a soft-play heaven for your kids! – of course, you will have to do a few renovations to ensure that the environment is safe for your child. It’s important that you keep the garage clean, but it is a great way to save your house from too many toys – conservatories also make fantastic playrooms!

 Private Bar

pub

Who doesn’t dream of having their own bar complete with pool table? Well that dream isn’t too far away. Many people these days are transforming their garages into their very own bachelor room – complete with a private bar! Alternatively you could used your garage to brew your own beer and wine, if you so desire!

Of course, when you transform your garage you need to make sure that it is secure! As suppliers of garage doors in Stoke on Trent, we provide an exceptional range of security enhancing products that also look incredibly stylish. If you would like further information in regards to our products and services here at please do not hesitate to get in contact with our exceptional team who will be more than happy to help. Call now on 0800 066 5644.

How to keep your conservatory warm this winter

It is a common myth that if you have a conservatory it will be too warm in summer and too cold in winter. While this is true for older conservatories, this is not the case with newer conservatories. Even if you do have an older conservatory, changes can be made to ensure that you can use your extension all year round. A conservatory that is unusable for several months in a year is a waste of money, so this is something you want to be avoiding! This article will give you a few ideas to keep your conservatory cosy and warm this winter.

Properly insulate

If your conservatory is not properly insulated then heating it will be a waste of money. Any heat you put into it will quickly escape, leaving you with a cold room and a high energy bill. One of the best ways you can insulate your conservatory is with special glass like the ClimaControl™ Aqua. Whereas standard glass is both a poor insulator and reflector of heat, glass like the ClimaControl™ Aqua reflects over three times as much heat back into the room to ensure as little heat escapes as possible. As most of a conservatory is built from glass, a quality glass type is essential for a warm conservatory. Because they reflect heat, these types of glass will also ensure that your conservatory is cool during the summer, and will even reduce the amount of noise that gets in.

conservatory

Installing a good type of glass is only one part of properly insulating your conservatory. Another is flooring. The floor of a conservatory is a source of heat-loss and cold draughts, so this is another important area where insulation needs to be good. Both tiles and carpet can help to insulate your conservatory, so you have plenty of options to choose from. Make sure that you choose tiles with a high PEI rating or carpet with a thick underlay to keep in as much heat as possible.

Heat

Of course, there needs to be a source of heat in your conservatory to make sure it is warm, and this can come in many forms. Radiators may have once seemed dull and unappealing, but modern radiators come in plenty of designs so you should be able to find something worth being a feature in your room. Alternatively, radiators could also be small and discreet. Under floor heating is also a brilliant way to warm your room, and this can be used with either tiles or carpet. If you don’t want a permanent heater in your conservatory, a standalone or electric heater is a great option and will quickly warm up your room.

 

heater

If you are thinking of making your conservatory great to use all year round then we at FAB Systems could help. We have expert high-quality window and door fitters who are experienced in working on conservatories in Stoke-On-Trent. For more information about our great range of products and services, don’t hesitate to contact us or click here to get a free quote.

What is Glazing?

The term window glazing refers to the glass part of your windows, and today there are a number of different options available when it comes to glazing. So here we take a quick look at the different types of glazing available and the advantages of these.

Historically most windows were single glazed, meaning that they contain a single glass pane. However today there are a number of other more energy-efficient options available when it comes to glazing.

For example double glazing is now commonplace; this type of glazing contains two panes of glass, making it much more energy-efficient than single glazed windows. This extra layer of glass is what makes double glazing so special. The two panels of glass in a double glazing window unit have a small air gap between them, and the trapped air in this gap acts as an insulator. This is because air is a poor conductor of heat, and thereby helps to slow down the conduction of heat from the inner window pane to the outer window pane.

Interestingly double glazing also has a number of additional benefits over more traditional single glazing. For example double glazing can also help reduce the transmission of sound, helping to reduce any unwanted noise.

glazing1

 These days a further type of glazing known as triple glazing is also available; this type of glazing is commonly used in countries such as Sweden and Norway and is also growing increasingly popular here in the UK. As the name suggests triple glazing contains 3 panes of glass and can help increase efficiency and reduce noise further. Indeed triple glazing can offer up to 40% greater thermal efficiency than double glazed windows.

 glazing2

If you’re thinking of replacing your windows then here at FAB Systems we are experts when it comes to supplying and installing high quality windows and doors. For example we are able to offer a great range of double glazing in Stoke on Trent to meet your requirements. For more information about our great range of products and services please do not hesitate to contact us and a member of our expert team will be happy to help you with your enquiries.