Eight Home Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

Eight Home Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

Embarking on a home renovation project can be an exciting journey – with endless opportunities to reimagine your living space or reconfigure the layout of your existing structure.

Whether you have bought a run-down building as renovation project, or want to refresh your existing building, the first step is to have detailed plans of what you’d like to achieve, and what the finished result will look like. Property renovation is one of those things where playing it by ear never works. You must have a clearly phased project to ensure you don’t skip steps or forget something that means moving back to carry out retrospective repairs, or incur additional costs.

It’s also wise to consider the interior design, the period features of your home, and how you will use spaces and rooms practically rather than focusing only on the aesthetics – because your property needs to work with you!

We’ve listed our eight top home renovation mistakes to help you form a detailed plan and avoid typical errors that can be extremely costly, before you begin working.

1. Buying Furniture and Furnishings Too Soon

Once you get stuck into renovation work, all those soft furnishings, elegant furniture, and wall coverings you see jump out as perfect for the dream home you’re creating.

However, buying décor too early is often problematic because while the project is ongoing, it’s difficult to take accurate measurements or find clarity about how and where furnishings or appliances need to go.

Think about:

  • Buying beautiful antique pieces or contemporary furniture – only to find it doesn’t fit in the allotted space or would need to be taken apart to get through the door.
  • Purchasing curtains, blinds or shutters that look great on paper but don’t match the glazing or the windows.
  • Picking appliances or electronics without realising that there are no plug sockets close by.
  • Investing in carpets or rugs that look beautiful but jar with the style or theme once the work is complete.

Our advice is never to guess at measurements or buy anything on a whim unless you are 100% certain it will be right for your home! Even smaller accessories such as light fittings, door handles or taps can be a wasted expense if they don’t fit into the sink you have chosen or are too large or small for your renovated doors.

Provided you have technical drawings or plans with the correct dimensions, you can schedule purchases of bigger ticket items strategically, taking advantage of seasonal sale periods to keep your home renovation budget under control.

2. Forgetting to Check the Natural Light

We talk a lot about natural light in a home renovation context, because the aspect of your home, the size of your windows and the position of each room dictates how the space feels and works. If you’ve ever wall-mounted a TV that is unwatchable at midday, you’ll understand the importance!

Sunlight also changes throughout the day and the seasons, so it’s worth spending time in each area at different times to gauge the light’s quality, strength and softness to help plan your room layout. This process ensures you’ll choose the right colour schemes and décor to maximise natural light without making darker or smaller rooms feel claustrophobic or gloomy.

Larger-scale glazing such as patio doors, picture windows or bi-fold doors can all benefit rooms that don’t have ample sunlight and make a space more comfortable and attractive.

3. Not Checking for Planning Permission Rules

Many aspects of home renovation do not require formal planning permission, but if you need building regulations approval and fail to apply, you could find yourself in hot water.

Adding an extension, sunroom or loft conversion to your home renovation project is a fantastic way to create more space and the saleable value of your property – but the larger the scale of the work, the more likely planning application and permission rules will apply.

In most cases, you can apply retrospectively. Still, if the local planning department rejects your plans, it could be a case of restructuring the extension or even removing the work altogether.

Homeowners with listed properties or those in a conservation area should be particularly cautious and verify whether planning applications apply before undertaking any home renovation work.

4. Taking on Too Much, Too Soon

Renovating an old property is more involved than a simple redecorating project, and those plans we have mentioned are crucial to keeping track of progress and seeing how much you have spent.

It is very common to want to jump into a home renovation project with both feet first, but this is invariably a mistake:

  • Trying to renovate multiple rooms simultaneously causes disruption and makes it impossible to focus fully on any one task or decision.
  • Monitoring a renovation budget is tricky, and if you spread yourself too thin, it is very easy to lose track and overspend on building materials and other costs.
  • Quality is crucial, so working on one space at a time gives you more capacity to concentrate on achieving the best possible finish before you move forward.

We would suggest you work first on the rooms you’ll need to live comfortably – think bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms.Once those areas are complete, you can get going with other spaces, such as hallways and living rooms.

5. Picking a Contractor Without Due Diligence

As an established renovation expert, our teams are always happy to provide quotes or pricing estimates and fully expect our clients to compare those rates, ask questions, or request advice and guidance throughout the planning process.

Picking a contractor without researching their skills, knowledge and previous projects can be a serious downfall if the building work fails to meet your expectations or you have to hire countless additional professionals for second fix jobs or to deal with structural issues.

House renovation is a big project, and you should take as much time as you need to explore budgets, construction methods, materials, layouts, techniques and finishes.

We suggest looking at previous work to verify that your contractor has an excellent track record and can back this up with customer testimonials!

6. Renovating Your Home Based on the Lowest Costs

Of course, costs are a necessary consideration, and however small or large your renovation project is, it must be affordable and well-planned. However, some perceived efficiencies will cost significantly more in the long run, and cutting corners is rarely advisable.

In some cases, the most qualified professionals can offer the most competitive pricing since they have existing material sourcing networks, knowledge about the right approaches to achieve your desired result, and efficient working methods to complete each phase faster.

We would suggest that any decisions are based on quality and expertise, not solely on the cheaper price.

7. Removing Structural Walls

You can remove load-bearing walls – but they need to have sufficient structural support verified by an accredited structural engineer to ensure that knocking through a wall doesn’t compromise the integrity of the building.

Removing walls to create open-plan living spaces has become hugely popular over the last two decades. Still, it isn’t a decorative job and requires specific calculations and an appropriate supporting beam or RSJ to bear the weight of the structure above. A structural survey may be required.

Knocking down structural and internal walls yourself can multiply the renovation project budget since the repair work required can be extensive.

8. Designing Spaces Outside of the Property’s Style

Any episode of Grand Designs is likely to mention ‘sympathetic architecture’ and décor ‘in keeping with the property’ – and for a good reason. When you start designing a house renovation, it is important to consider the original home’s age, appearance and functionality.

Disjointed architecture, clashing styles and haphazard shapes can be eclectic and interesting but invariably damage the potential to sell the property.

As an experienced renovation contractor, Pinnacle Works can steer you through the design phase and recommend materials, finishes and styles that will complement the original property aesthetic to create a harmonious, comfortable result. If you would like more advice about your home renovation project, creating a work schedule, or avoiding these common renovation mistakes, please get in touch! You can also browse the Pinnacle Works Blog for more informative guides and view our gallery for ideas and inspiration.

Renewable Home Heating with a Bioethanol Fireplace

Renewable Home Heating with a Bioethanol Fireplace

While we may be amid a scorching hot summer, it won’t be long before the autumn chills start setting in.

Energy prices have soared as high as the mercury, and now is an excellent time to start planning for efficient home improvements to make the winter months more comfortable (and affordable).

Bioethanol fireplaces are becoming increasingly popular, as a low-cost, eco-friendly and stylish alternative to conventionally fuelled heating systems, without an artificial flame.

Bioethanol Fireplaces Explained

If you’ve not heard of bioethanol before, this fuel source works just like logs or gas, creating real heat powered by an ethanol-based liquid. The fuel is entirely natural and is made from sugar cane and maize plants as a greener option to heat your home without relying on fossil fuels.

One of the big plus points is that a bioethanol fireplace is a sustainable home feature but is also straightforward to use.Simply pour the fuel onto the burner. Once lit, the fuel will keep burning for around four to five hours, or you can close the lid on the burner to extinguish the flame.

Homeowners can keep a toasty warm fire burning all day long, without excessive expense, by topping up the fuel periodically and waiting for the burner to cool each time.

The Benefits of a Bioethanol Fire

There are several compelling advantages to replacing an old gas or electric fire with a sleek bioethanol unit, not least that the ethical fuel source is plant-based and releases no harmful substances or gases into the air. Millions of people are striving for carbon-neutral living, and trying to offset the planetary damage caused by fossil fuels, so a bioethanol fire is a perfect place to start.

The benefits aren’t limited to green credentials, either:

  • Cost-effective: the bioethanol fuel is considerably more affordable than gas or electricity, which provides a cost-saving, ensuring that a new fireplace pays for itself in very little time.
  • Quick installation: the installation is efficient and fast because your new fireplace does not need to be linked to mains gas or electricity supplies. This clean fuel does not even require a flue since there is no smoke or fumes.
  • Versatility: Pinnacle Works fits bioethanol fireplaces in a huge range of properties, including modern, minimalistic apartments and period homes. There are countless placement options since you can fit a fireplace in any room, rather than solely where you have access to a chimney or flue.
  • Stylish: modern, ethical fireplaces come in countless designs, with contemporary finishes for a stunning interior aesthetic.
  • Minimal Space: a new fire can slot underneath a media centre or be positioned in any discreet or focal point, with low-profile fireplace options for smaller living spaces.
  • Low Maintenance: bioethanol fireplaces can heat small or large spaces quickly, with an adjustable output. There is very little in the way of maintenance since the unit operates independently.

Comparable Costs of Heating a Home With a Bioethanol Fireplace

Many clients contact our design team with queries about affordability and ongoing costs, but bioethanol fires are very economical, from initial installation to upkeep. Running costs can vary because various fuel types are available, and you might opt to have a fire burning all day during very cold weather or just for a few hours in the evening.

The average fuel cost is around £2.50 a litre, which allows the fire to burn for approximately 3.5 hours at full heat output.If you choose an adjustable fireplace, you can partially close the box slider to reduce the heat and make the same quantity of fuel last for several hours more.

Good quality bioethanol fuels are available in bulk and can cost a fraction of the average residential utility charges to operate a gas or electric fireplace.

It’s worth playing around with the settings to experiment with your fuel, as you can adapt your bioethanol fireplace to your requirements. Larger spaces may require more heat, but putting the fire on the lowest setting will extend the use of just one litre of fuel for up to eight hours.

The beauty is that you don’t lose fuel if you turn off the fire without depleting the liquid. Rather, the fireplace stores the fuel source safely and will begin to use it the next time you ignite the fire.

Bioethanol Fireplace Safety

Indoor fuels for bioethanol fireplaces are safe even in enclosed spaces and are much better suited to families with young children and homeowners who require good air quality.

One of the issues with traditional log fires is that the smoke and ash can be abrasive and even cause breathing difficulties if any proportion of the smoke isn’t removed through a flue or chimney. Bioethanol fuels are specifically designed for internal use, and the carbon dioxide produced is minimal. There are no carcinogens to worry about, so a bioethanol fire is an outstanding choice for homes without great ventilation.

Of course, we always recommend taking a few basic precautions when handling any flammable substance, and even the safest bioethanol fuel should be stored away from children and pets.

Provided you follow the instructions on the fuel and fill the fire correctly (without overspill), a bioethanol fire is one of the safest modern ways to heat a home.

Switching to a Bioethanol Fireplace

Bioethanol fires have a range of benefits and produce a real burning flame for authentic heat, without artificial flames, emissions or smoke.

Please contact the team at Pinnacle Works if you would like any further information, or wish to explore the opportunities to replace your old fireplace with a sleek bioethanol alternative. Our skilled tradespeople will be delighted to work on your design project and create a unique fireplace that matches your required aesthetic.

With unbeatable air quality and economic and environmental features, this advanced fire system is a fantastic way to upgrade your heating.


Period Property Maintenance and Renovation: Dos & Don’ts

Period Property Maintenance and Renovation: Dos & Don’ts

If you need to update a period property or fully refurbish a listed building, the process may be more involved than for a modern home with a less sensitive structure.

There are many ways to renovate a unique older residence with sympathy towards the traditional materials used and achieve a striking result that blends heritage with convenience.

Here we draw on our years of expertise in listed and period property maintenance and renovation to share some of our tips to help you get started.

The Challenges of Period Property Maintenance

The charm of an older building is undeniable – but many require a great deal of maintenance, if not a wider renovation, to deal with the dampness and draughts common in period homes.

With some skill and knowledge, this doesn’t have to drain your resources. By enhancing the existing character, you can preserve and refurbish rather than trying to replace each element, one brick at a time. Some of the biggest issues can be that older homes are simply bigger than the buildings we construct today.

Therefore, rather than spending your budget on outbuildings, landscaping or parts of the property that aren’t crucial, we’d suggest you begin with key spaces, such as the kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms. A systematic approach will ensure you prioritise those more important projects first. You will often find it far easier to finance ongoing works if you have already made improvements to the fundamental rooms within the property.

Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle

First – don’t discard any materials or flooring that don’t appear to be in immaculate condition. Heritage homes and listed buildings can be full of valuable materials and quality hardwoods that, even if they require maintenance or replacement, can easily be used elsewhere without buying anything new.

It can be tempting to start tearing down walls or ripping off old paper, but it is better to explore the available resources and live in the home for a short while to assess how you will use the space. Refurbishing what you already have might take longer than replacing each fitting, but original features add significant value and interest to the character of a period home. Think renovated floorboards, reconditioned balustrades, ceiling roses, light switches, stairways, glazing – all of these fixtures that you simply cannot replace like-for-like.

For example, you might need to rewire old electrics, but if you can retain those lighting points, switches and handles, your finished renovation will be all the better.

Explore Traditional Materials and Techniques

Older homes were built slowly, carefully, and with selected materials chosen for their performance properties and longevity. You’ll find many period properties still with horsehair plaster and oak beams that would be prohibitively expensive today.

Traditional materials such as lime mortar may be harder to come by at your local DIY store. Still, an experienced local professional often has years of knowledge to share. If you can replicate these crafts, you can often restore or improve existing walls and installations rather than trying to tear back elements of the property that have stood for generations.

Once you learn about the history of your building, you might also consider how it was built and maintained and look into using contractors who understand those approaches, often passed down as a family trade. Although a set of power tools might seem more efficient for some tasks, they could be detrimental and too harsh or powerful for the delicacy of an older building.

Choose a Contractor With Period Property Expertise

Looking after an older home isn’t a job that all modern contractors can undertake because the materials, applications, techniques and considerations are very different from a newer property.

Renovation is about much more than aesthetics and involves:

  • Specialist knowledge about working with certain materials.
  • Sourcing unusual fixtures or traditional building components.
  • Applying the correct techniques to augment the property’s character.
  • Protecting the structural integrity of the building.

Plastering, for example, would traditionally have been done with lime plaster and roofing with stone slate.

If you commission a local expert who has worked on similar period properties, they will be able to source those materials and apply them to prolong the building’s life and avoid replacing entire walls or ceilings unnecessarily.

Apply for the Correct Planning Permission

Generally, any property built before 1914 is considered a period home. Although planning permission rules vary between areas, you are more likely to need consent to alter or adapt a residence of this age.

If you have a listed building, you will certainly need formal permission to make changes to the structure and may be bound by rules about which materials you can use.

Some of the other factors to think about are:

  • Permitted development vs planning permission – even if your maintenance project appears to fall within the scope of permitted development, you should always confirm this with the local authority before work begins.
  • Conservation areas – homes that are not listed but are within protected conservation areas, or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, will require additional permission, normally following a site visit and presentation of detailed drawings.
  • Listed buildings – Listed Building Consent is additional to planning permission. Unless your list entry says otherwise, the protection applies to the whole property, inside and out, fixtures and other nearby structures.

Ensuring you have permission and the support of the local authority is essential to avoid fines, legal challenges or even criminal charges if you have failed to apply for mandatory consent.

The Highs and Lows of Period Property Maintenance and Renovation

Listed or period homes command care and attention from their present-day custodians. Although they sometimes feel like a labour of love, it is well worth the experience of living in a distinctive older property with a wealth of history.

Pinnacle Works are a full-service West Sussex building firm and are privileged to have worked on some very special local properties – if you need any support with your renovation or maintenance, please get in touch at your convenience. Our skilled contractors can support you at each stage, whether you are planning a full-scale renovation of a newly acquired period home or need professional advice to prepare for ongoing maintenance requirements.


Contemporary Design Options for Balconies with Glass Balustrades

Contemporary Design Options for Balconies with Glass Balustrades

Pinnacle Works loves to combine craftsmanship with exceptional finishes, and here we want to talk about the seamless beauty of balconies with glass balustrades.

Traditional balconies, porches, decks and roof gardens often feature blocky wooden fencing and brick walls, obstructing the view and taking up valuable floor space. Toughened glass makes for an excellent focal point and, blended with stainless steel, can transform how your home looks and feels.

Our focus, as always, is on first-class service, from designing a unique balustrade to match your aesthetic through to finishing off your installation with impeccable attention to detail.

The Benefits of Glass Balustrade Balconies and Decks

Precision-engineered glass, handrails, frames and bases enable us to construct a vast array of glass balustrade designs, with laminated glass that is strong and durable yet with lightweight framing suitable for most roof spaces. As a sophisticated feature, a glass balustrade is also practical, rust-resistant and low maintenance offering multiple benefits that don’t stop with increasing light filtration.

Turning a Flat Roof Into a Focal Point

For many homeowners, a flat roof is wasted space and often a nuisance where felting requires regular repairs or maintenance – but it could be an exciting opportunity to customise your home.

Dreaming of sipping your coffee on a summer morning and watching the world go by or entertaining in the evenings on a beautifully constructed balcony space? The lightweight aluminium or stainless steel frame profile is perfectly suited to even small roof spaces, turning a patch of property that doesn’t serve a purpose into a versatile area.

Adding Value and Appeal to Your Property

Adding a balcony to your home can boost its value by around 12% – and potentially much more if you have a streamlined, modern glass balustrade to amplify the view and surrounding scenery!

The appeal of a balcony space is in its varied uses:

  • Sunbathing and relaxing
  • Entertaining and dining
  • Safe kid’s play space
  • Extra outdoor area
  • Yoga or workout deck
  • Balcony or kitchen gardens
  • Private reading nooks
  • Outdoor office in pleasant weather

Tailoring your balcony to your intended use is part of the fun; perhaps rattan furniture for a classic dining space, suspended hooks for hanging baskets, or waterproof storage units to keep your outdoor cushions dry.

Maximising Panoramic Views

We often work with clients with a balcony that tends to be overlooked, with brick walls, thick fencing or unsightly barriers incorporated as a safety feature. Glass overcomes those limitations by replacing solid walls with an equally robust and secure material that will not block the light. Natural light flows freely into your home, making your rooms feel more open and airy.

Expanding Your Usable Spaces

The simplicity of crystal clear glass conceals a considerable amount of technology that goes into manufacturing incredibly safe, strong glazing. Glass balustrades are as tough and durable as any other balcony material. It would require significant structural pressure to cause the glass to crack or break (it’s a similar strength to steel!).

For families, the extension into a balcony is a chance to create new outdoor spaces with plenty of fresh air and sunlight without any safety risks – even if the glass were exposed to huge amounts of weight, tempered glass does not break into sharp shards.

Featuring Ultra-Modern Frameless Glass

Frameless glass is the most modern design possible and means that your balustrade appears to be floating, creating an ethereal and striking statement. The natural illusion is one of greater space, like an infinity pool where there are no harsh lines to break up your lines of sight.

Stainless Steel Handrails for Safety and Style

The sharp contrast between sheer glass and stainless steel is a great way to maximise the impact of your glass balustrade. Stainless steel won’t crumble, chip, bend, fade or warp and has a few added environmental benefits.

Using bright stainless steel ensures your balustrade is better visible to birds and wildlife, making it safe for local ecosystems. It is also 100% recyclable, ideal for eco-friendly homes and conscious living spaces.

Incorporating Statement Architectural Steel

High-quality architectural steels are an excellent choice for outdoor balconies, walkways and platforms, providing stability and a polished appearance with a wealth of fabrication options to suit your desired appearance. Custom architectural steel can create a clean, modern design or a more ornate styling, with railheads and embellishments to reflect the period of your home.

Choosing a Balustrade Design for Your Balcony

There are countless options when designing a glass balustrade – if you need any support, the Pinnacle Works team is here to help.

As a summary of some of the most popular finishes and construction methods, we have run through a few of the alternative designs you might select below.

  • Handrails, risers or bannisters made from wood, metal or stone.
  • Clear, opaque or patterned glass, with numerous texture, framing, and colour choices.
  • Juliet balcony spaces, opening windows and doors, post and rail (vertical bars with a fixed handrail), or frameless glass balustrades.
  • Subtle spigot glass systems with steel clamps to secure the glass panels.

The right glass balustrade balcony will normally depend on the age of your property, the size of the balcony space, and the overall effect you’d like to achieve – whether a flawless finish to avoid detracting from heritage stonework or a highly modernised glass and steel extension.

It’s also possible to use glass balustrades in inventive ways, to segregate seating areas in your garden, add a safety element beside swimming pools, or create optimal lighting within a stairwell. One of the key advantages to glass balcony balustrades is that the bulk of the work is completed off-site, with panels engineered to fit your specific sizing and then installed in minimal time to avoid unnecessary disruption.

For more inspiration about the diverse ways to incorporate a glass balustrade within your balcony design or property, please contact the Pinnacle Works team for guidance and advice from the home improvement professionals.



Design Ideas for Bespoke Media Units

Design Ideas for Bespoke Media Units

As a central part of our homes, living rooms and kitchens are places where we gather, spend time and connect with our friends and families – sometimes around a movie, or warming our feet on a beautifully cosy fire.

One of the in-demand projects for the Pinnacle Works team this season has been designing bespoke media units, incorporating quality carpentry and exceptional finishes to bring a unique design feature to your most-used spaces.

Let us present some of the popular designs we’ve worked on and explore the advantages of making the most of your space with an attractive centrepiece that is highly functional.

The Benefits of Commissioning a Bespoke Media Unit

TV screens are slimmer, bigger and more technologically advanced than ever – but many of our clients don’t find their appliances the most aesthetic of units to hang on the wall.

A tailored media unit is a fantastic way to:

  • Construct a sophisticated system that incorporates shelving, storage, your TV unit, gaming consoles, routers, and streaming boxes.
  • Hide unsightly cables with in-built plug ports and invisible wiring.
  • Create the perfect ambience with niche lighting embedded into nooks and recesses in your media unit.

Whether you’re keen on a realistic electric fireplace or wish to reconfigure a dated mantelpiece, a range of modern materials, stunning hardwood timbers, and skilled carpentry can achieve any style aspiration.

Design Inspiration for Media Centres and Built-in Fires

There are countless options from sleek, Scandinavian pale wood, gloss finishes, textured shelving or ultra-modern lighting systems. Pinnacle projects have involved creating statement entertainment walls as a home cinema system or building slimline cabinets to free up extra floor space.

Some of our favourite media centre concepts include:

  • Scandi designs using bright finishes, minimalistic white and cream shades for simplicity and functionality.
  • Repurposing false chimney breasts to create dedicated entertainment units with built-in electric fires using a previously empty part of the wall.
  • Refined fireplaces, with a faux or electrical fire encased in traditional timbers, in a period style to replicate the heritage appeal of an older property.

Many contemporary TV units are wall-mounted, but the trailing wires, bulky edges and contrasting plastic can look out of place in an otherwise elegantly decorated room.

With a vast range of colours, designs and styles, your media centre can incorporate sharp edges and clean lines, sweeping curves and classic wood, or be a style statement in crisp metallics and subtle LED lighting.

Selecting Materials and Finishes for Your Home Entertainment Centre

As a team of capable carpenters and joiners, we delight in creating fitted furniture with only the finest quality materials, always finished and installed by our professional craftspeople. The materials we use follow a consultation, where you can select from any aesthetic you would like, be that solid varnished wood or a painted pop of colour.

Finishes are just as important as the durability of the underlying material, with options to hand paint your units with outstanding interior paint, spray coat, or apply hard lacquer to ensure your bespoke furniture is suitable for a lifetime of use. Bespoke units are made to your precise specifications, in tune with your decor and architecture, utilising an existing chimney or building a media centre against a blank canvas.

Incorporating a Fireplace Into a Media Unit

Why combine a fireplace and TV within a media wall unit? The key is to ensure you have a combined focal point, adding dimension and character to an otherwise plain living space.

Both fireplaces and TVs tend to form central areas around which we position our furniture and furnishings, so combining both into one bespoke unit makes a living room feel organised and decluttered. Stud wall frameworks or false chimney frontages can conceal all of your cables and wiring while making a display piece from a contemporary electric fire, all within one streamlined unit.

If you’re unsure where you would like your media wall or how to integrate your fire, consider:

  • The size of your TV screen and where you’d like it positioned. This factor is important, so it’s best to test different angles where the screen is visible from every seating area without craning your neck.
  • Whether you’d like your unit built into a recessed wall – often with the TV fitted flush with the outside of your furniture and a pull-out bracket to move the screen outwards into a comfortable viewing position.
  • Additional devices include games consoles, speaker systems, and set-top boxes. These can be incorporated into hidden shelving, behind soft-touch doors or built into drawer systems for easy access, but without being on display.

Finally, we can showcase a range of gorgeous electrical fires with incredible warmth and ambience, yet as a safe heating appliance that you can incorporate into your media unit without a fire hazard.

Popular options include creating a smooth, white chimney breast with the TV screen and fire frontage flush with the wall as an individual unit that looks highly cultivated.

Create Your Bespoke Media Unit and Fireplace With Expert Craftsmanship From Pinnacle Works

Every unit we construct is built to your exact requirements, with our in-house team of talented craftspeople, installers and carpenters. We love the challenge of bringing a concept to life and working on a wide array of media centres, from classic hardwoods for heritage homes to contemporary finishes for updated renovations.

Many of our clients prefer to conceal media equipment and fireplaces to improve the feel of their living spaces, bring the family together, and keep wiring out of sight – and out of the reach of curious fingers and pets, as an added way to childproof your property. The benefit of built-in furniture is that it’s made specifically to fit your home, with exacting attention to detail. Every angle, join, curve and handle fit perfectly, combining the best style and functionality.

Please get in touch for any further information about the possibilities for your bespoke media centre or to access our gallery of past projects for some valuable design inspiration.



Silicone-Based Exterior Render Systems: Functional and Attractive

Silicone-Based Exterior Render Systems: Functional and Attractive

Rendering involves applying a coat to your external walls, creating a smooth or textured finish that provides a seamless appearance. This process protects your brickwork from the weather and damage, and you can opt to render every aspect of your home or use a mixture of brickwork and render, depending on the aesthetic you would like.

One of the most advanced exterior render systems is made with a silicone base as an alternative to conventional sand and cement.

We’ll explain the benefits shortly, but silicone may be the ideal option if you would like a durable, flawless finish and a high-performance render.

What is Exterior Rendering?

There are two key reasons to add render to the outside of your property:

  • To prevent moisture and dampness from penetrating your walls.
  • Providing an attractive, uniform finish.

Traditional render is made from a sand and cement mixture, which can be the cheapest solution since the materials are widely available. It can also be patched if the render breaks down or cracks over time. You’ll likely be familiar with some of the finishes applied, such as pebbledash.

The issue with cement render is that it isn’t the most durable material. You’ll often need to regularly paint the outside of your property since exposed render isn’t appealing to most homeowners.

How Do Silicone-Based Exterior Render Systems Work?

Pinnacle Works offers an alternative exterior render system, using silicone render, which is water-resistant and can be coloured as you wish – removing the time and cost of painting.

Silicone-based render systems have superior performance qualities compared even with other newer systems, including acrylic, providing greater breathability and lasting longer. While it may be slightly more expensive to apply, silicone render lasts an average of 25 to 30 years, so it is an investment that pays dividends over the long term. This top of the range render is easy to apply and is inherently hydrophobic, with excellent water repellent qualities that avoid dirt and moisture from accumulating on your property.

We can render most properties with a spray machine and the application process takes very little time if the external walls are carefully prepared.

Rendering requires just one coat of a thin application, although we’ll usually advise using a basecoat to create a stable, level and strong surface. Once the basecoat is dry, the silicone is applied, usually across each elevation in one go, to avoid any lines or patches between adjoining render.

The Advantages of Exterior Render Systems

Silicone-based external render systems have a range of compelling benefits!

Some of the most important include:

  • Waterproofing your property from the outside in – mitigating any potential issues around leaks, staining, damp and mould.
  • Improving the thermal value of your property. Incorporating insulation boards can make your home significantly more energy-efficient.
  • Silicone render can be applied directly onto an existing finish, provided it is in reasonable condition, reducing the application timescale and costs.
  • The uniform render looks stunning once dried, without any need to paint your external walls or touch up paintwork over the years.
  • This render is self-cleaning and gives a contemporary, fresh appearance to properties of any age.

Once your rendering is complete, it is highly unlikely that the silicone-based finish will crack, extending its useful life, and remaining in perfect condition for up to around 30 years.

Can I Choose a Coloured Silicone-Based Render?

Render can be tailored to your style and design aspiration in any colour you wish. A pigment can be blended with the render before application or we can offer a range of pre-coloured renders, creating a far more durable, coloured finish than any external paintwork.

Coloured render lasts considerably longer than paint and provides a beautiful, smooth finish.

Are There Any Disadvantages to Using a Silicone Render System?

The only real downside to silicone render is that it is more costly than acrylic or sand and cement render. Still, it is more durable, water repellent, maintenance-free and self-cleaning, easily offsetting the usual maintenance expenses involved with property upkeep.

Choosing Between Traditional and Modern Rendering

There are pros and cons to both traditional and modern rendering, and the systems operate very differently.

Silicone render is self-coloured, which is one of the popular advantages, and excels above and beyond conventional render, incorporating silicone to make the render more flexible and thus less prone to cracking or damage. Breathability is also important; balancing the trade-off between water resistance ensures the brickwork remains in good condition underneath.

Listed buildings and period homes may have a lime render system used on most properties built before the 1930s. Lime mortar was generally used in construction and matched with a lime render. Issues commonly arise because these older render systems are:

  • Not particularly water-resistant, which can cause untold damage to external walls, and problems with dampness, water damage and rot.
  • Of a basic finish. Silicone render can be applied to properly prepared walls with a base coat to ensure adequate adhesion. A bad quality render may need to be removed if there is any risk of falling away from the wall.
  • Old render usually needs to be painted once every four years (on average) since the colour will fade and stain, and paintwork will chip and crack over time.
  • Lime render cracks as the property moves and settles, which is natural. Cracks must then be patched over or the property re-rendered.

Much depends on your home, budget, and the finish you wish to achieve.

Expert Advice Choosing a Render System for Your Home

If you’re unsure which type of rendering would suit your property and provide the right finish, please contact the Pinnacle Works team.

Properties with underlying challenges such as damp or cracked render may require remedial work beforehand to ensure your external walls are ready for the new render application and provide a perfectly smooth appearance. It’s advisable to seek guidance before investing in a render system that may not last as long as you expect.

Our experienced professionals can discuss the various types of render and suggest the right solutions to fit your requirements.