How do you go about insulating your home?

When it comes to home insulation, we’ve got over 30 years of expertise. Here’s a guide to cover all the bases.

So you might be feeling extra cold this winter, or noticing drafts in your home. Even if you aren’t, if your home isn’t insulated then you are wasting energy and money heating your property. That’s why insulating your home is essential. Some fixes are very cheap and easy to do, but others are a bit more time consuming and expensive. However, it’s worth it in the long run for staying nice and toasty and keeping those energy bills down. We’ll go through some ways you can cut the cost of these essential improvements in this article.

Contact our project management team ‘HERE’

It’s important to insulate your home’s walls

Many people don’t realise that the most heat in a property is lost through the walls – around 35% to be precise. However, wall insulation is a big and expensive job. Most new build houses will have insulation built-in, but older properties will most likely not have any at all.

Luckily, cavity walls can be filled with insulation materials quite easily. Solid walls can be dry-lined with thermal plasterboard, but this does add a little thickness to the walls, decreasing floor space. Radiators, sockets and the like might need to be moved to accommodate for the dry lining too.

Our surveyors are well versed in all manner of techniques for insulating your walls. They’ll visit your home and carry out a full assessment to let you know in honesty what needs to be done.

Doors and windows – quick and not-so-quick fixes

The next highest amount of heat lost is roughly 25% through doors and windows. An easy way to keep the warm air in and the cold air out is by installing draught excludes. You can buy self-adhesive draught excluding strips from most DIY retailers, or our handyperson team can install some permanent ones for you, made to measure. Internal and external doors should have draught excluders to keep the heat in the room you need it in.

Most of us are aware of the benefits of double and triple glazed windows. These types of windows are manufactured with two or three panes of glass sealed in to a frame before it even reaches your house. A professional fitter will need to install these, and you can expect to get on average about 20 years out of your new windows.

You can also opt to have secondary glazing fitted over your existing windows, which is cost effective and can be a DIY job for someone with the right skills. However, they are a little more effort to clean and maintain compared to double or triple glazing.

The loft. Don’t mind the spiders, just think of the money you’ll save on your heating bill!

Up to another quarter of your home’s heat is lost through the roof, so you’d be wise not to neglect the loft when it comes to energy-saving improvements. Many homes already have insulation up there, which can last a good 40 years after being laid. But over time it may have degraded, been compressed by floorboards, or need extra laid down. New layers can be added on top of existing insulation, so it might not be as expensive a job as you’re expecting.

home loft insulation being laid
Loft insulation being laid

Floors lose a surprising amount of heat

Up to 15% of the heat in a house is lost through the floor. Modern houses generally have floor insulation in-built, but in older houses they are often uninsulated. If you’ve got a good carpet and decent underlay, this is often enough to stop the heat escaping.

Much like walls, floorboards can be lifted and a suspended floor can be filled with insulation material. A solid floor can have an insulated suspended floor built on top of it, but this is a fair amount of work.

Lagging pipes and tanks – key in insulating your home

Lagging is placing a jacket or sleeve of insulating material over tanks, pipes and cylinders. Cold and hot water pipes should have lagging to stop heat escaping or pipes freezing. This is particularly important in places like the loft or anywhere where there is minimal heating. Our handyperson and technical team can help you with this and identify the crucial pipes and cisterns that need it the most.

Worried about the cost? You don’t need to

Our handyperson service might be able to offer you a subsidised rate for the services we provide. If you’re living in Bristol and on pension credit, or you have a low household income and savings, ask us about how we can help.

There are some grants available to cover the cost of making your home more energy-efficient. Our partners at the Centre for Sustainable Energy are experts on the Green Homes Grant, so why not contact them on 0800 082 2234 to discuss your options. Alternatively, you can email our Information and Advice team who can look into things on your behalf.

Financial support is available for larger home improvements like insulating your home through our partners at Lendology CIC. You can find more information about their low-cost Home Improvement Loan Scheme by clicking here. Our Project Management team can support you through the entire process of updating your insulation, with your own personal Project Manager and our award-winning service.

Why not give us a call or drop us an email. We can have an obligation-free chat about insulating your home and your financial situation. For more about how we’re staying Covid Safe and protecting you during the pandemic click here. Don’t stay in the cold! We’re here to help you stay warm, healthy and independent in your own home.






    How to unblock a toilet or sink

    There’s nothing worse than having a blockage in the bathroom. It’s inconvenient at best, and a nightmare at worst. Especially if your only toilet is blocked! If you’ve ever wondered how to unblock a toilet or sink easily, this guide is for you.

    This advice will help you unblock a toilet or a sink, but sometimes the issue calls for the expertise of a plumber. Our handypeople are experts in all manner of plumbing problems around the home. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you’re struggling to clear the blockage on your own.

    Cleaning a blocked toilet with bleach and rubber gloves
    Before you break out the bleach, read our brief guide to unblocking a toilet simply and safely.

    Unblock a toilet in three simple steps

    It’s easy to tell if you have a blockage in the toilet pan. At one point or other in our lives, we’ve watched with dread as the flush water rises up to the toilet rim. Even if the water does drain away slowly but surely, there is still some obstruction that needs attending to before it gets worse. Usually, a blockage will sit in the pan’s outlet. Any further down in the drainage system might be more difficult to take care of. So, grab your rubber gloves and apron, and let’s get the water flowing free again!

    Step 1 – first try a warm bucket of water

    Take a full bucket of warm water and pour the water into the toilet pan from a height. This will usually clear a very simple blockage with the warm water dislodging anything that is stuck and a bit of force from the poured water. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to use a bit more elbow grease.

    Toilet flushing with water and a blue and orange block freshener
    Amazingly, sometimes all it takes is a bucket of warm water to dislodge whatever is blocking your loo.

    Step 2 – use a good old-fashioned toilet plunger

    You’ll need a large toilet plunger rather than the smaller ones designed for sinks. How do you know which type is for toilets? Toilet plungers have a flange that folds up into the plunger cup when not in use. The flange creates a tight seal by completely covering the hole. You can get long handle ones that make it a lot easier to work on your blockage.

    A toilet plunger should also be completely submerged in water to work, so if the toilet isn’t full of water, take your bucket and fill it up with warm water again. You also need to make sure the water won’t overflow. There’s usually a cut-off valve on the pipe behind the toilet that you can turn off. However, some older toilets won’t have this so you’ll have to go into the toilet tank and prop the float up so the tank doesn’t refill when it’s flushed.

    Put the plunger under the water and completely cover the pan outlet. Pump the plunger handle up and down, which creates an air vacuum that dislodges the blockage. Have an old towel or kitchen roll on hand to soak up any water that does spill as you pump the plunger. Expect to have to keep pumping for a while – 10 to 15 minutes should do it. If it doesn’t something more heavy-duty might help.

    blocked toilet long handled plunger
    A long-handled plunger is easier to use and helps you get enough plunging force.

    Step 3 – use a drain auger

    Not everyone has a drain auger, but it’s a good idea to have one for emergencies. You’ll need one that’s designed specifically for toilets. An auger is a wire coil that either has a turn handle or an automatic winder handle with a trigger. Its probe goes around the toilet’s U-bend, rotating as you turn the handle, pushing through the blockage to dislodge it. Make sure you wear protective gloves, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and clean the auger thoroughly with bleach after use.

    Unblock a sink in three steps

    If your sink becomes slow to drain water away, or stops draining it completely, there’s probably a blockage in the waste pipe. Most of the time this is caused by accumulated grease, waste or fibres caught below the plughole. If the water doesn’t drain away at all then there’s usually some obstruction caught in the waste pipe. Before tackling a blocked sink you’ll need to put on some rubber gloves, an apron or an old top, and if you’re using any chemicals it’s wise to wear safety goggles too.  

    kitchen sink with easy use mixer tap handle and overflow
    Don’t forget to block the overflow (under the tap in this image) before you start plunging!

    Step 1 – use a sink plunger

    Firstly, remove any debris that is in the sink. Scoop out as much as you can. Take out the plug if it is in. Next, fill the sink up with water. Just like with the toilet plunger, we need a little water in the sink to help with suction. Ideally, you would also put a damp cloth into the sink’s overflow (the small air vent that is usually below the taps). This helps to stop the loss of pressure when you’re plunging. If it’s a dual sink you’ll need to block the other sinkholes in the same way.

    This will give enough pressure for you to plunge. Take your sink plunger and create a seal around the hole. You’ll need to pump the plunger up and down vigorously for up to 30 seconds. Remove the plunger and see if the water is draining away. You will likely need to repeat this step several times.

    Step 2 – use a chemical cleaning product

    If step 1 didn’t do the job, you should try using a chemical cleaner instead. Before you start, the experts recommend that you smear some petroleum jelly around the plughole to protect it from chemical damage. You’ll definitely need gloves and goggles for this step, and don’t forget to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when using the cleaning product. Chemicals are highly toxic, so be careful when handling them. Make sure you do not use these types of products where you might have used bleach or other chemicals as this can cause a reaction that produces harmful gasses.

    unscrewing a sink waste trap to unblock a sink
    This is what a sink waste trap looks like. Unscrew the turn caps to loosen and remove it.

    Step 3 – remove the waste trap and use an auger

    If that hasn’t worked, it’s time to remove the waste trap. Grab a bucket to place beneath the trap, which is situated under the sink. This will catch any water that comes out of the pipes. You’ll need to put your gloves back on and unscrew the trap. Be prepared for a sudden gush of water! Empty the trap out into the bucket.

    If this has not unblocked the sink then you’ll need to use a drain auger to probe into the pipes, which will hopefully reach and unblock the obstruction. Once this has been completed, screw the trap back on. Make sure you also put the washers and o-rings back on too. Be careful to not overtighten the trap when you put it back on, in case you need to repeat this step in the future.

    using a drain auger plumber's snake to unblock a sink
    A drain auger, also known as a plumber’s snake, should help to get rid of that pesky blockage once and for all!

    It can be difficult to unblock a toilet or sink – so if you are struggling don’t hesitate to call in a professional plumber or handyperson!






      What to do in a plumbing emergency

      Burst pipes. Leaks. Flooding. We all dread these things happening in our homes. Here’s how to handle a plumbing emergency if it happens to you.

      Water damage can ruin your home, so you’ll need to act quickly in any case of a plumbing emergency like leaks or flooding. The best thing to do is not to panic, but to know about the basic steps you can take in the first instance. You’ll need a few basic tools and a little knowledge before you call in the pros to make any fixes permanent.

      handyperson we care home improvements plumbing emergency leak tap pipe
      Before you call in a handyperson or plumber, there are a few things you can do yourself with a little knowhow

      The very first thing to do in a plumbing emergency

      If you do get a leak or burst pipe, make your home safe by immediately turning off the electricity at the fuse box. If water gets into sockets or electrical appliances the situation can quickly turn from an inconvenience into something more deadly. You’ll need to make sure that no water got into these places after the leak has been taken care of. If it did, make sure that everything has dried out before you turn the power back on.

      Next you should turn off the water

      You should also turn off the water supply in the property. Learning how to turn off the water can save a lot of time and effort if you have a burst pipe. To turn the water supply off for the whole house you’ll need to find the internal stop tap. This is usually in one of the following places:

      • Under the kitchen sink
      • In an airing cupboard
      • In a downstairs bathroom
      • Under the floorboards by your front door
      • Under the stairs
      • In the basement or cellar

      Turn the tap clockwise to stop the water. You will then need to run the hot and cold water taps in your home to completely drain the system. This should stop any leaks in their tracks and allow any repairs to be done safely.

      If you have a leak under the sink you might be better off isolating the taps rather than turning off all the water in the house. You’ll likely see red and blue isolation valves under the sink, for the hot and cold taps respectively. Turn them clockwise and do the same as you would for the main water valve. There are ways to isolate the water to places like the toilet and the washing machine too. If you aren’t confident to do these just turn off the main water supply.

      Look after your valves

      It’s important to know where your water valves are and to keep them well maintained. You should check them every 6 months. Try opening and closing them. If they can’t be turned easily you can apply some oil or lubricant to them. Just make sure that they aren’t completely open as this makes them more likely to seize up. Close them by up to a half turn once you’ve checked them. That should mean that they are easy to close if there is a plumbing emergency. Once the water is off you can either call in a pro or try to tackle the problem yourself with our helpful advice.

      plumbing emergency handyperson
      Don’t be intimidated by your pipes! You only need to know the basics to save yourself a lot of time and hassle

      Fixing a burst pipe

      It’s possible for you to make a temporary repair to a burst pipe before calling in a plumber or handyperson. However, you’ll need to have a couple of supplies and basic tools to do so.

      The quickest way to stop a leak from a burst pipe is to apply a pipe repair clamp. These can be bought from some DIY or hardware stores. Some literally clamp onto the pipe with no tools needed whilst others have to be screwed on with a screwdriver. Check the instructions before buying so you’ll know what you need and what to expect.

      Self fusing tape – handy in a plumbing emergency

      The other way to make a quick fix to a pipe is by using self-fusing or self-amalgamating tape. This is a special type of tape that creates a watertight seal around pipes and hoses. Here’s how to use it:

      1. Wipe the pipe clean on either side of the hole so that the tape can bond easily.
      2. Cut about 20cm of tape off with a pair of scissors and remove the backing from the tape. Once the backing tape is removed you’ll need to work quickly otherwise it loses it’s stickiness.
      3. Stretch the cut bit of tape out to roughly twice its length. Start wrapping the tape tightly around the pipe, starting slightly away from the hole. Keep the tape tightly stretched as you’re wrapping it around the pipe, overlapping half of the tape so that it bonds to itself.
      4. When you reach the hole in the pipe, leave a gap where the hole is and wrap the tape over to the side of the hole. Keep on wrapping until you reach the other side of the hole. Then go back the other way with another layer of tape, this time covering the hole.
      5. Do this until the hole is completely sealed. Press down firmly when you reach the end so that the end of the tape bonds with itself.
      we care handyperson plumber plumbing sink pipe emergency repair
      Our handypeople team includes expert plumbers who can tackle a variety of plumbing problems in your home

      Fixing leaking pipe joints

      It takes pipework and soldering knowledge to completely fix a leaking pipe joint. However, plumber’s repair putty can do a remarkable job of completely sealing leaking joints.

      1. Dry the pipe with a cloth and then key the area that needs sealing with a wire brush.
      2. Put on some rubber gloves to protect your skin and fingers, then take enough putty to cover the repair. You’ll then need to roll and work the putty with your hands until it is a consistent colour all over.
      3. At this point, you’ll then need to quickly put the putty over the damaged area of pipe joint. Work it into the gap between the pipe and the joint to seal it up, smoothing it down as much as possible.
      4. Leave it for 24 hours to completely harden before turning the water back on.

      What to do about leaks from water storage and tanks

      If you spot water leaking from your ceiling below the loft there may be a leak in your water storage cistern or tank. If you don’t have water storage in the loft then there may be a roof problem that needs to be attended to. In either case, you’ll need to act quickly by going up to assess the situation before water damage causes a ceiling collapse.

      If the water storage tank is indeed leaking you should put buckets, bowls or containers underneath the leaking areas to catch any water. It’s important to go and turn on all the taps in the house and flush the toilets. This will empty the pipes and the cistern (as long as the main stop valve is off).

      The leak could be caused by a burst pipe, but it might also be the cistern itself leaking or overflowing. If the leak is coming from a hot water cylinder you’ll need to turn off the boiler. There is usually a draincock around the base of the cylinder that will allow you to drain it using a hose, but if this proves to be difficult or intimidating to do you should just call in a plumber.

      Investigating any leaks helps you and the plumber

      Being able to take these initial steps in the event of a plumbing emergency will save damage to your home and your possessions, and maybe even save your life in extreme cases. It also helps the plumber or handyperson when you initially describe the problem to them, as well as later when they can crack on with the repairs.

      we care home improvements handyperson handyman plumber sink trap leak repair
      Call in a skilled trustworthy handyperson to permanently fix any leaky pipes and taps

      Nobody wants to get a plumbing leak – it’s an inconvenience at best and a nightmare at worst! With the help of this guide, you can tackle it head-on with confidence. Once you have, contact our handyperson team. We’ll send one of our skilled plumbers who can fix the problem for good.






        How to create an accessible garden

        Just because your needs have changed, it doesn’t mean that you have to stop enjoying your garden. Make it more accessible with some smart changes and adaptations!

        Gardens and gardening. A great British passion and pastime. Your garden might be your haven in a hectic city and a busy life. A place where you entertain guests on summer evenings. A place where you grow plants, flowers and vegetables. Or maybe it’s just the place you hang the laundry when the sun is out!

        In any case, we all love this special part of our home that lives and breathes outside of the four walls we spend most of our time in. Many people would love to spend more time in their gardens, if they weren’t harder to get around now that their health has changed. Some people find it daunting to downsize to a patio or terrace, or tackling a garden that’s now overgrown.

        There are laws in place now that advise on how accessible new build homes must be, but there are no rules around gardens. It’s well known that gardens can help with mental health and wellbeing, so why not transform your garden into a place that is accessible to you and anyone that enters it.

        Accessible garden paths enable access for all

        The first thing that you might think of when making your garden more accessible is paths. The path certainly needs to be wide enough for two people to walk side by side. It may need to be slightly wider if one of them is a wheelchair user. The path doesn’t necessarily have to be brick or tarmac. Concrete doesn’t quite scream garden does it! However, laying gravel is a cost-effective way of making a pathway that is also safe, even for wheelchair users. As long as it is laid properly with a secure base and a top layer pounded down to compact it, it will be absolutely fine for wheels.

        Anyone using a wheelchair or with a visual impairment will greatly appreciate decent edging. Edging means clear borders showing where the path ends. You might consider raised brick, stones, coloured timber, short knee-height hedges, and LED lighting running along the path when it’s dark.

        Your needs will determine how to make the garden accessible

        Some things will be dependent on your specific needs. For example, low hedges might be hard for you to trim yourself if you can’t reach down or kneel. However, for a wheelchair user, they can be at the perfect height. It’s also important to think about who will be joining you in your garden. It’s a good idea to have a variety of seats and benches at different heights if you’ll have tall or short guests, young children, or those who might find it difficult getting on and off low chairs. You might also have benches or seats with and without armrests – wheelchair users will find it easier to transfer to a chair without an armrest.

        It’s worth considering lightweight folding tables and chairs too. That way you could host a party but still make your garden accessible at other times when you’ll need the space. Remember that a garden by its nature might not always be accessible for everyone, but you can do as much as you can to make it as simple and as easy for yourself and the main group of people who will join you in your garden.

        Handrails can make your garden easily accessible again

        Handrails will make sure that anyone who needs some support whilst walking can access parts of the garden that they otherwise wouldn’t reach. Kee Klamp rails are very strong and secure galvanised tubular rails that won’t rust. You can have them painted or buy powder coated ones that will complement the garden or stand out so that they are easy to spot for those with visual impairments. You may also be interested in some bespoke rails; there are many steel and iron railings that might add some style to steps or raised platforms for a fancy finish as well as extra safety.

        we care home improvements accessible garden rails older disabled person
        We Care’s Handyperson service can help by installing rails

        Raised beds are a great idea

        If you’re looking to keep working in your garden then making sure that your garden is at a manageable height is key. Raised beds are great for those who can’t kneel or are wheelchair users. Raised beds are good for plants and flowers like perennials, shrubs, vegetables and soft fruits. They are easier to manage and water, with a bigger soil volume than containers. Just make sure that they aren’t too wide and are definitely at the right height for you.

        They also need to be in a place where you can easily access them, but also where the plants contained inside them are going to get the amount of sun or shade that they need. Clever planning here is key, which means that the layout of the garden will need to be considered before any raised beds are put in. Alternatives would be smaller tabletop style beds or containers, preferably ones with locking wheels if you need to move them about to give them more sun or make space at any point.

        raised bed accessible garden wheelchair user
        An example of a raised bed

        Vertical gardens are quirky and easy to reach

        Another alternative to a raised bed is a vertical garden. This means vertically suspended panels either free-standing or attached to a wall, that contain plants, flowers or vegetables. Some even come with the ability to store pots inside so you can easily swap out the plants that are growing in them. They are great if you are short on space or can’t bend over or twist your body to access a raised bed. They can also liven up drab walls!

        It’s a good idea to think about where plants and branches might be hanging. You don’t want to be brushed or hit in the face with something sharp or that obscures your vision. If you want plants that are low maintenance then grasses and perennials are the best, as you won’t need to do much pruning or cutting.

        Garden maintenance is important

        It’s easy for gardens to get overgrown during the autumn and winter, especially if you find it harder getting around than you used to. Making a garden accessible is only possible once it’s cleared and tidied. It’s worth getting a home maintenance technician or handyperson to tackle the lawn, bushes and weeds. That way the rest of the improvements can be made with ease. An experienced gardener might need a few hours to take care of everything efficiently, saving you time and money. Tell them what you want them to do and what you’re planning to do to the garden afterwards. They’ll be able to give you some great advice about what is possible with the space you have.

        If you need advice about accessible homes and gardens, you know what to do

        Contact us to discuss your needs. We’re always happy to help, even if it’s just mowing the grass or giving some practical advice. We’ve got experience in garden maintenance as well as home independence. We’ll do what it takes to improve your home around you. After all, you should be able to enjoy your garden, now and always.






          How to save water in your bathroom

          With so many of us struggling with our household bills, one of the easiest to keep under control is your water bill. If you’re on a water meter, saving water and being aware of your water consumption is very important.

          Saving water isn’t only good for your wallet though – it’s great for the environment and our local community. It’s up to us all to play our part and save water where we can, just using the amount we actually need. Over half of the average water use comes in the bathroom, with around a third coming from taking showers and baths. Here’s a brief guide on how to save water in your bathroom.

          Save whilst you shower

          We all know that showers use less water than baths. However, the average shower still uses around 10 to 11 litres per minute. If the average family cut shower time by a minute, they could save £45 on their water bills, not to mention £52 on energy bills and over 11,500 litres of water per year in total. Why not try putting a time limit on your shower? You can do this by simply setting a timer on your phone, or by fitting a new smart shower with time limit functionality built into it.

          Leaking money

          Drips and leaks can also cost you money and waste massive amounts of water in the long run, if you don’t get them fixed. A leaking toilet or constantly filling cistern can waste 400 litres of water every day. Not only is it a terrible waste, it could also cost someone on a water meter over £300 a year.

          Don’t put your money down the drain with a leaky tap!

          A single dripping tap can waste over 60 litres per day – that’s the same as 39 bathtubs full of water. It’s never too late to get it sorted, and our handyperson team is equipped to take care of replacing washers, broken seals and even whole taps.

          Gadgets that help you save

          Nowadays there are many products available which actively help you save water, from dual flush toilets to showers and taps with flow limiters A dual flush allows you to choose a short flush or a longer flush depending on what is needed to clear the waste away.

          We often don’t realise how much water is being used at a higher pressure, so switching to a lower pressure can help a lot. Innovative water-saving aerated shower heads mix air with the water flow. This uses up to 30% less water without losing any of the power of your shower. Built-in flow limiters reduce the amount of water you use by automatically limiting flow or by giving the option to switch to eco mode.

          Get Smart about your shower

          Smart shower systems allow you to customise your showering experience, setting your shower to run for a specified length of time. Then there’s new cutting-edge underfloor heating. You can control when and how you use your heating, which is much more efficient than central heating. Smart digital thermostats even learn the best times and temperatures for your heating, making the whole thing effortless.

          We hope this quick guide is helpful in giving you some ideas on how to save water in your bathroom. Contact our friendly team today to discuss how we can create a modern eco-friendly shower room that’s built around you – but won’t cost the earth.






            Garden Fencing – We Care about your security

            Does your garden fencing need some TLC?

            It’s official – summer is here! It’s felt like a very long year up until now. We’re finally able to enjoy our gardens a lot more now that lockdown is easing and the sun is shining. And the one thing that we at We Care are always thinking about when we get outside is our garden fencing. So now you’re outside, take a look at yours. How is it looking? Starting to slump slowly? A bit of wood rot here and there? Do you even have a fence anymore?!

            Now that you’ve had a good gander, you might be looking to replace some of those broken fence panels or to improve the security of your garden. You may even be thinking of changing the look of your garden, or perhaps you just want some privacy back. In any case, we can help you by installing fences that look great as well as protect the security of your home’s boundary.

            Let’s talk wood

            Fences are generally a lot cheaper to install than having brick walls built up. They are a more attractive option than brickwork too, and a permanent fixture compared to hoarding or woven bamboo. Garden fencing can come in different styles – such as slat style, which is contemporary but offers less privacy, or the more traditional overlap style. If you want to change the look and feel of your garden, there are many options. Wooden panels can be treated then stained or painted to suit you and the vibe you’re going for.

            Your garden, your security

            If you are looking to keep pets, children or other loved ones safe, it is important to have secure fencing in place, ideally installed by an experienced garden maintenance technician. They’ll be able to give you the best advice on the best type of fence panels for the job as well as complete the installation to the highest standard.

            A garden maintenance technician can advise you on the height and thickness you require for the optimal security and how you can section off or partition your garden with panels or metal railings and balustrades if necessary. Let them know what you would like to achieve by having the fence installed. Do you want to be able to see over it? Do you want plants to climb up it? If so, there are options for heights and trellis attachments to meet your needs.

            We repair, we replace

            If you already have fences in place that just need replacing, then you might be able to use the existing posts for that fencing. However, we can replace them if they are rotten or broken, as part of the set prices that we offer for replacements. Our garden maintenance technicians like to carry out a free site survey in the first instance so that they can have a chat with you, take a look at your garden and current boundary fences, then give you a quote from there.

            Have the fence you fancy

            The most popular type of fencing is the classic simple overlap wooden fencing, also known as lap panel fencing. If you prefer we can offer you other styles such as panel boards or specialist designs to make your garden stand out – if that’s your thing! The panels will be installed pre-treated, meaning that a protective coat of wood treatment is applied to them before we even arrive at your home. There are a couple of different ways to treat wood, so do ask your maintenance technician about this and any tips they have for maintaining your fence so that it lasts for years to come.

            Fence posts can be either made from timber or concrete. Concrete is, of course, a stronger option requiring no further maintenance like treatment. However, it is a more costly option and arguably less attractive. We aim to install wooden posts or work with the current posts you might have installed to keep the cost down and for them to mirror the wooden panels to be installed. Your garden maintenance technician will happily discuss the pros and cons with you during the initial garden survey.

            We’re here to help – even after installation

            Should your new fences need to be treated annually or biannually or if you’re considering getting them painted too, don’t forget that we can give you all the advice that you need or even do it for you. Our garden technicians have deep knowledge in all aspects of garden maintenance. There’s nothing they like better than having a chat about ways to improve your garden. With decades of combined experience between them, they are ready for you to test their knowledge and skill.

            If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you get the most out of your whole garden as well as the garden fencing, don’t hesitate to drop us a message on Facebook or Twitter. You can send us an email at info@wecr.org.uk to enquire about our gardening team or fill out our contact form here on the website. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

            Spring Cleaning – it’s not just about dusting!

            Spring cleaning brush

             

            Spring has now most definitely sprung, and we want to talk about some things that we all forget when we’re about our Spring cleaning routine.

             

            You may be looking at the bookshelf and wondering, as you dust, if some of those Stephen King novels might be better off at the local St Peter’s Hospice shop. You may be thinking of tackling some more gruesome tasks that you’ve been putting off, like cleaning behind the fridge (gulp!).

             

            However, there are some other essential maintenance and repairs around and outside of your home that need some more serious attention. We’re all guilty of delaying things and putting them out of our minds when they seem a chore. You don’t want to end up with a worse mess later though, when now is the perfect time to get a handyman or handywoman out to nip it in the bud…

             

            Sorry about the pun!

             

            I know what you’re thinking – it’s all well and good us saying this. After all, we’ve got a team of handypeople right here to impart advice to us about home maintenance every day. Well, we want to share their expertise with you and help make you and your loved ones’ lives a little easier. Here are some important things to look out for that our squad of experts can take care of for you.

             

            Now we need to preface this by saying that we aren’t a “cleaning” service per se, but we can help a little bit in that area, as you’ll see below. So don’t sack Julie the cleaner just yet! I’m sure she’s a much better choice for swabbing the decks and scrubbing the surfaces than we would be.

             

            So without further ado, here’s our guide to the top jobs we can do for you in the Spring.

             

            Around the homeSpring Cleaning

             

            There are lots of little general tasks about the house that you might have been delaying whilst hunkering down for the cold winter. Maybe you’ve had some nice Bristol Blue Glass for Christmas that you’d like to display. We can help with putting up shelving, either out of the box or made-to-measure by us. Not to forget assembling the Ikea flat-pack furniture that’s been sat in the box waiting for you to get fed up of piles on the floor. Our carpenters can take on anything you like, and there’s no such thing as a job too small. We do two-man jobs for the larger furniture – safety first!

             

            We’re often finding that we are asked to move furniture around the home. We don’t do removals, but we can help to move a bed or a sofa or any other larger items of furniture to accommodate your needs. We have much experience in adapting homes for patients returning home from the hospital where a hospital bed is to be delivered. Like a real-life game of Tetris, we can configure your living spaces to the way you would like them to be or offer some advice on practical solutions.

             

            Are you finding that you have to put your shoulder into getting into the living room because of that sticky door? Our carpenters are dab-hands at internal doors. We can hang them, trim them, even replace handles and knobs on existing doors. We’ll source the right shapes and styles for you and give you a quote for the work if it’s something non-standard. It’s no trouble at all. Doors should be easily opened and closed for ease of access and safety. We’re very keen on helping sort them out for you.

             

            Windows are another often forgotten set of fixtures. Sure, Jim the window cleaner comes around once a month to give them a wash and a squeegee, but how is the sealing looking? If the sealant is coming away we might be able to help you replace it, as well as repair or replace sticky handles and dodgy locks. If we can’t, we know some great local contractors who don’t cost the earth that can repair and replace windows and frames.

             

            We should also mention that it’s a good idea to look at your blinds and curtains as well. Are they starting to look lop-sided or the blinds won’t open properly? Repairing and replacing blinds and curtains is important for privacy and security – if curtains and blinds remain open or drawn for long stretches of time it could look like a property is vacant and an easy target… So, it’s a good idea to gave them taken care of. It’s a quick fix for privacy and peace.

             

            It’s also a good time to think about replacing any light bulbs that have blown. We often source light bulbs for our customers so they don’t have to – everything from simple ES27 Edison screw bulbs up to fluorescent tube and coil-shaped bulbs. It’s also wise to have any switches and cords that might be broken repaired or replaced. They should also be inspected to make sure that they are safe and functioning correctly. Whilst we’re up there, we can clear out any dead flies or dust from the fixtures that might be causing an issue or blocking light out where it’s needed the most. Same goes for air vents and ceiling fans because you want them working well and not blocked up or scattering dust about your home!

             

            In the bathroom

            Cleaning bathroom tap

             

            How are your drains and plug holes looking? Hair and fluff can block them up steadily over time. Perhaps the plug is also perishing after many years of use, causing the opposite issue. Time to inspect those now if the water is draining away slowly or draining when you don’t want it to.

             

            Leaking taps are a nuisance with their constant “drip-drip-drip”. That’s money down the drain quite literally if you’re on a water meter. Replacing tap washers is a simple but effective first step. We are well versed in this as you’d expect, as well as replacing whole tap fixtures. Are you finding turning those old-style taps difficult nowadays? You might consider replacing them with lever taps or a mixer style tap for ease of use. This can be done in the shower as well – if you don’t have an electric power-shower that is.

             

            In either case, the showerhead can also get clogged over time as hard water leads to limescale. This can be cleaned, or replaced if it’s broken or leaky. Shower doors and screens may have similar problems if the seals are worn, cracked or broken. Again, these can simply be replaced. Better to have them swapped out than for the leaking to go onto the bathroom floor where water is definitely not wanted.

             

            Tiling and grouting repairs can be a chore. Panelling is all the rage these days because it cuts down on cleaning and maintenance. Of course, if you have an over-bath shower this might not be suitable for you. You might consider having a wet-room or level access shower room for ease of bathing as well as ease of cleaning. This is an area that we have a lot of expertise in, so don’t hesitate to ask us about what it entails, or see our helpful web page on the subject.

             

            In the garden and outside your home Gardening

             

            Ah the garden. We all want to enjoy it as much as possible, especially in the current lockdown. We’re performing limited garden works at the moment, with a focus on safety first rather than aesthetic. However, do check back with us in the coming months as the coronavirus situation changes, because we would definitely like to resume our full garden maintenance service as soon as possible.

             

            Some things that aren’t commonly done but can make your garden safer and more pleasing to the eye include having the lawn mowed, bushes trimmed back, paving stones and paths jet washed, sheds being repaired or built, and decking stained.

             

            We continue to offer a full gutter cleaning service, using a very nice piece of kit called a Skyvac that thoroughly cleans the entire guttering around the perimeter of the house without us even having to get on a ladder! It’s got a camera that lets our handyperson see all the action ensuring we don’t miss a single leaf. Though for more tricky blockages we will certainly get up the ladder and give it some elbow grease.

             

            It’s also always wise to have your roof inspected by someone qualified. Our technical officers can take a look for you and offer some advice. It can be hard to see if there is a slipped tile or problems with the shingles until it’s too late and you’ve got a leak, so it’s worth enquiring about how we can help.

             

            Phew! I know – that’s a lot of things to look out for.

            You may not want to have all these things taken care of at once, or cannot afford to. Don’t forget that we can offer a subsidised rate on some of the works that we do. You may be eligible for a grant or a low-cost loan to help with some larger repairs or maintenance – please call us on 0300 323 0700 or email info@wecareandrepair.org.uk if you’d like some more information about this. It’s our passion and our pleasure to help you with all aspects of home improvements and maintenance, throughout the year.

            Keeping your gutters clear – an essential part of home maintenance

            Keeping your gutters clear

            The importance of keeping your gutters clear

            Gutters aren’t something we spend a great deal of time thinking about. However, they are a very important part of the house as they exist to protect your home from rainwater. During a storm, the rain runs off the roof into the gutters and down the drainpipes into the drains below. By doing this your windows, doors and foundations are all being protected from water damage.

            So gutters play such a crucial role in protecting your home. You need to keep them clear of any debris that will prevent them from working effectively. Experts recommend clearing your gutters twice a year, in both spring and autumn. You should consider doing it more frequently if your roof is directly beneath trees or you live in an area prone to storms.

            It is important to do this piece of home maintenance because not clearing your gutters regularly can lead to serious problems.

            Slippery walkways

            Excess water can end up sitting on walkways and driveways if it’s not being channelled into the drains by your gutters. This has the potential to create a dangerous slip hazard. Algae that forms from moisture can make paths slippery, and in winter, water turning to ice can also make surfaces difficult to walk on.

            Roof damage

            Gutters that are blocked can actually cause roof damage too. That’s because the water sits against the edge of your roof and can damage both the surface and underlying materials. Many instances of roofs rotting are due to blocked gutters. You should avoid it getting this far at all costs because roof repairs can be expensive and a major inconvenience.

            Walls, windows and doors damage

            Your gutters protect your walls, windows and doors from the rainfall. If they are not protected they are susceptible to damage. They are not designed to sustain prolonged and direct rainfall. You can tell there is a problem if you see any warping or rotting.

            Getting your gutters cleared professionally

            Gutter clearing handyman
            We Care handy person service

            You can avoid all of these problems by hiring someone to clean your gutters twice a year. Someone regularly maintaining your gutters means that they should be straightforward to clear.

            If it is raining and water is running down the side of your house then your gutters are blocked and you need a professional to clear them quickly. Equally, if you notice leaking or sagging gutters, be sure to get them looked at as soon as possible.

            How We Care Home Improvements can help

            Our handyperson service is set up to help with exactly this kind of home maintenance, and we have been helping people with their homes for over 30 years. You can completely trust our handypeople. They are all Trading Standards Approved, as well as Trusted Assessors.

            If you have any concerns please call us to talk to one of our friendly experts. You can book our handyperson service to clear your gutters, or you can arrange for a free survey for any major repairs.

             

            Get in touch

             

            • Call us on 0300 323 0700 for a no-obligation chat with our team. We are open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.
            • Alternatively, you can send us a message and we will get in touch with you.

             

             

             

            About We Care Home Improvements

            We’re a not-for-profit organisation on a mission to improve the homes of older people and those with disabilities. Our aim is for people to live comfortably and independently at home for as long as they choose. We specialise in accessible bathroomshome adaptationshandyperson servicesoccupational therapy and home independence products.

            Our handyperson service is Trading Standards Approved. We are an approved supplier to Bristol, Bath & NE Somerset and Gloucestershire councils, so you can be sure that our work is of a very high standard. With over 30 years of experience, you can trust us to keep your home in tip-top shape.