top tip – Insulate rather than heat.

Insulation your roof or attic might seem as a quite straightforward job but as most DIY projects, a first-timer is best to follow a guide that will help them avoid any pitfalls.

roof insulationFirst of all, it is crucial that you take into account your own personal safety. You should never sacrifice or compromise your personal protection equipment (PPE). This includes a dust mask, a pair of gloves, a boiler suit and knee pads. Experts advise on also using crawl boards instead of standing on the loft joists or ceiling floors.

The first step involves choosing your insulation. This depends mainly on your preference for a warm or cold roof space. For a cold roof, best stick with insulation at joist level to stop the heat from escaping. If you’d prefer a warm roof, you’ll need to insulate between and under the rafters of the roof itself. One of the most popular forms of roof-insulation is the blanket insulation – which is easy to work with.

The recommended depth of blanket style insulation (this can be glass or miner wool) for a loft is around 250 to 270 mm. If you have previously insulated your roof, you should check the depth, because the standards for recommended insulation depth have changes in recent years.

As far as cost is concerned, the cheapest option, as always, is DIY. There are a lot of guides on how to insulate your roof or attic yourself online. However, some type of roof insulation require additional help by professional, as they can be achieved only with a specialist equipment. Generally, the warm-roof insulation option is the most expensive but can provide a greater level of heat retention in the long-turn. Also, this means that you can store temperature-sensitive items (cold roof tend to get very hot in the summer).

Some things worth remembering:

Always cover the pipes with pipe insulation, otherwise the low temperatures might make your pipes burst during the winter.

Insulation should go up the side and over any tanks. You can also a special tank insulation – just don’t insulate under the tanks!

Electric cables need to be left exposed in order to not overheat. They can be raised above the insulation. Pay most attention to shower cables, even though the risk of fire is quite low.

Don’t forget to insulate the loft hatch by attaching a polystyrene block insulation to its upper side. Ensure any gaps around it are sealed!

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Ever thought about making your own fire wood storage rack?

Ever thought about making your own fire wood storage rack? Creating a device that’s it the singular best way to store your logs ready for when they are needed? Get them off the ground and away from places they are just going to soak up moisture, in turn making them less likely to burn well and give off that amazing natural heat. Well, you are in luck because here I will be telling you the best way to accomplish this task in a step by step and easy to follow way.

If you need firewood in Belfast, call the guys at woodcall for a good deal.

I created my own one due to the fact they are very expensive to buy outright. I found even trying to source a second hand one was very time consuming (not as much as making it though!). So I set myself the task of building my own. I should mention that in order to undertake this job you’ll need a bit of DIY know-how and be able to operate a welding machine safely. We don’t want anyone getting hurt!

 

Firstly we’ll use steel as our material of choice as its properties lend itself well to the structure we want to create. It doesn’t rust and is incredibly strong through its core, it won’t rot and will stand the test of time in even the harshest conditions. We want to design to be simple but effective at the same time, so you won’t be having to remake or re-weld after we’ve finished.

 

logs storage rack imageSo here’s how I did it. I’m not saying this is the only way, just the way I did it.

 

  1. So first we want to get the 3 long pieces of steel, I’d go for around 6ft lengths for the bottom “raft”
  2. Weld the 3 pieces together at the ends with a shorter steel, remembering to leave a 10cm gap between each long length. (this lets air through even to the bottom logs.
  3. Now you have the raft, we’ll weld a further 4 5ft steel lengths to the ends of the raft, 2 at each end. This forms the sides of the rack and keeps all the kiln dried logs from falling off the sides.
  4. When welding on the end posts, you need to leave about a 5-10 cm gap beneath the bottom “raft”, this acts as feet and ensures the raft does not sit on the ground directly. This way no moisture can seep up from the ground in an attempt to soak your precious logs.
  5. The end is simply to cover the top of the rack, you can do this with a simple piece of tarpaulin and a few bungee cords, or go for a more elaborate solution. It’s entirely up to you how far you want to go with that one.

 

So that’s us! That’s you made your very first firewood rack! This should be able to hold about 200 of standard cut logs. The amount is totally dependent on yourself and the dimensions above can be altered if you need to build a larger or smaller rack. The world is your oyster!

If you need firewood and logs, woodcall.com in Belfast is a great place to get them. They deliver direct to your door also. Can’t say fairer than that.

If you need more information on how to build a rack (less practical guide but still worthwhile) you can check out the wiki page here

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In the market for a wood burning stove?

If you’re in the market for a new way to heat your home (or living room at least) one option that more and more home owners are turning to is the wood burning stove, or simply stove. These items have been undergoing somewhat of a resurgence in popularity over the last few years. This could be down to the new and exciting range of super slick designs being available on the market these days. But I’d also offer that simply the fact these new burners are incredibly efficient and cost effective as a heat source. It’s important that you use properly seasoned or kiln dried logs in your burner should you decide that this is the option for your family.

Wood burner and log collageWhen selecting the stove that’s right for you there are some pointers I’ll highlight that should make your choice easier (from a guy who’s been there and done that).

Quality is key!

This goes without saying but worth saying just in case. There is no point in selecting your wood burning stove simply on cost. The old adage “you get what you pay for” might not totally apply with this type of item, being that there are no fancy electronics to break. If it’s a stove it’s a stove! But one thing I would say is that this is an investment that will last a life –time. And more importantly its likely to last a life-time in the middle of your living room, so its important (in my humble opinion) that you should get one that is aesthetically pleasing. The beauty of a natural flame is the warming feeling it gives. Incredibly relaxing, so relaxing you spend a long time simply looking at it, so it might as well be inside a good looking stove!

Shop around!

There are a multitude of online stores that specialize in wood burning stoves these days. So by no means are you limited to the fire shop in your local town. Get online and get surfing to see what you can find. Many of the popular overseas manufacturers have local distributors on every country so you don’t have to worry about how a stove is delivered across the Atlantic (postage sound expensive, as these are not light!).

It is also worth noting that if you do buy from an overseas manufacturer, you should spend a little extra time researching their specifications and see if there are any issues likely to develop with installation or local government regulations.

Good luck in your selection, how this was helpful.

Contact me via contact form with any questions.

If your in the UK, its important to know the fire regulations in relation to smoke free zones, check out the defra website for more information. gov.uk

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The main selling point of firewood as a heat source

The main selling point of firewood as a heat source

Lots of great reasons why you should be considering firewood as your main heat source in a home situation. Firewood is cheap (compared to other forms of fuel) and can even be free if you happen to live in an area which is rich in trees that need Logs and Fire wood for an open fireto be felled to make way for regrowth. It is considered a renewable resource when grown properly and harvested at the right times. A lot of people seem to view burning wood as a dirty form of fuel whereas in fact modern wood burning stoves are around 80% efficient, making them extremely cost effective and efficient. They are one of the few things in the house that does not rely on electricity which is nice. If there is a powercut, you and your family can still be huddled up in front of a cosy fire. There is nothing better than huddling up in front of a real fire in fact.

Where to source good logs for your fire.

Like most people, firewood will not be just lying around your property ready to burn. Even if you are lucky enough to have a good source of logs, they need to be treated (processed) to make them the most efficient and effective at giving of that great heat.

The process is called Kiln Drying

When you do not have such resources at your disposal ( a readily available supply of processed and dried logs) then it can be something of a challenge to find the best place to source your firewood. Your options are limited. Although a quick call to the guys down at woodcall could sort out your firewood log needs quick as a flash.
Another option would be to scour the local newspaper classified section. Sometimes people with large gardens need to dispose of trees and will advertise firewood for sale in these pages. Although you’d have to check the quality of the wood and be prepared to find logs that are not filly dried out and extremely unlikely to be kiln dried.
Around where is live you also sometime see piles of firewood at the side of the road, with an “honesty box” where you put the money for whatever you take. Obviously, this is not a reliable method but can prove somewhat cost-effective. With both of the previous 2 methods I detail here, it important to remember that logs which are not dry kilned should still be left to dry out in a shed or barn for at least one year, from time of cutting.

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