A Few Home Truths


From outdoor maintenance to local specialists, JLife solves all your home style-related needs.


Nick Hibberd, Sales and Marketing Manager with Leeds-based building company, Excell (UK) Ltd, advises that early spring is the right time to plan your building maintenance for the summer.


Spring is in the air and your property has survived another winter. But before you set your sights on the garden, this transition period is the ideal time to give your building its annual check-up and set up a maintenance schedule if needed. By doing it now, any repairs can be carried out in the up and coming warm, dry weather and longer days and shorter nights.


The majority of your check-up can now be done from ground level, using just a good pair of binoculars or a quality, digital camera. And if there is any work needed, you can save time and money by putting it out as one job to a competent builder.


Start from the Top and Work Down

Chimney stacks are most prone to damage due to their position and while the fire is burning look for any smoke leakage through the brickwork. This could identify both a problem with an internal flue (possibly very serious) and any pointing issues. Also check that there has been no movement or cracking to the brickwork and that the pots or cappings are safe. As many TV aerials are fixed to the chimney, now is the time to check that they are still secure and not hanging loose.


There will be a lead flashing around the base of the chimney; check that this hasn’t lifted or come away. The leading should be secured into the brickwork so check that the cement is intact and not cracked or missing.


Check along the ridge tiles (highest line of tiles on the roof) looking firstly for missing tiles or for signs of movement, and then under the edge to check that the cement fixing is still in place. If water gets into the cement and freezes, this can cause it to break away, resulting in the ridge tile coming loose and possibly falling off. From there, visually work your way down the roof looking for any break in the uniformity of the tiles which would indicate slippage and a possible start of a leak. Excessive moss and leaves on the roof can also be a problem as this can absorb rainwater and if, followed by a heavy freeze, can lift or crack the tiles over the winter months.


As with the cement on the ridge tiles, the cement at the verge (where the tile meets the wall) is also prone to cracking and breaking out , leaving the end of the roof open to the water penetration, and in severe winds may even result in the roof lifting.


Roofline, Fascias and Soffits

The fascias and soffits are effectively the box section that runs beneath the edge of the roof and at the top of the brickwork. On many buildings these are still timber and prone to rotting which, if left untreated, can quickly result in damage to the eaves beams and the structural supports for the roof. It is important that they are routinely painted or coated. The modern alternative to timber is PVCu which requires less maintenance but still needs to be inspected, especially if it is the type that is over cladding the existing timber. Under current building regulations, recently constructed roofs also need to be vented so check that any vents are clear of debris.


April Showers

Take advantage of the April showers and check the gutters. Some gutters are described as seamless and will run the whole length of one aspect of the building whereas others come in fixed lengths and jointed. The seals in these joints can move or disintegrate over time, and again, if seen then these can be re-sealed during the warm, dry weather.


Next, check all the gutter brackets and downpipe joints are intact, that the pipes themselves are not broken or split and replace where necessary.


Finally, check that the drains are clear. Heavily sodden areas around soakaways or along drainage routes could indicate a deeper problem that will want investigating and resolving before the soil dries out in the summer weather.


Below the Roofline is the Brickwork

Modern bricks tend to be durable and hardwearing and so most of the problems that cause damage to brickwork (other than human error/ accidents) are due to water ingress, so it is important to check that the brick face is properly pointed and maintained. Problems mainly occur where water is allowed to saturate the brickwork and this is primarily down to poor maintenance in other areas, such as the down pipes, guttering and pointing as discussed.


Checking Bricks for Frost Damage

There are many natural places where water can enter into your brickwork; namely around windows and cills or any area where the brickwork extends beyond the normal line of the building. These areas need extra attention when inspecting.


A more preventable cause of damage is that caused by the high pressure hose, especially on older buildings. At this time of year when the garden is getting its first ‘spring clean’ there is a temptation to jet wash off dirt and moss but these bricks can quickly become saturated. All it takes is a series of late frosts and the brick face can become permanently damaged – referred to as spalling.


Spalling can also be caused in older brickwork which has been re-pointed using the wrong materials. The use of modern cement-based mortar can have a dramatic effect on a building that was originally pointed with a lime mortar as this is designed to let the fabric ‘breathe’.


Where spalling has already occurred, it is possible to use brick sealants to prevent further damage and by doing your inspections in the spring, allows plenty of time for the brick to dry before its applied. Be aware though that some bricks are not suitable for this type of treatment and you may cause further damage if you use the wrong treatment.


Next, inspect around your windows and doors and while the weather is blustery check for draughts. On timber windows, look for any decay or wood rot. Timber windows can be repaired rather than go to the expense of fitting a complete new window, provided the damage isn’t too severe. On older PVCu windows, weather seals are replaceable and can be bought online for most systems. With more modern extrusions, however, modern manufacturing techniques may mean that the PVCu and seal are coextruded and so cannot be replaced.


Check to see if any of the double glazed units are blown. This means that water (and air) are getting into the sealed unit and while they are not as bad as single glazed units for heat loss, much of the insulation benefit has gone. Replacing the units is straight forward – even with patterned or leaded designs – but ask for low emissivity glass. Improvements in glass technology can offer significant benefits simply by upgrading the glass. This would be at a fraction of the cost of replacing the whole window or door. Check the mastic around the outer edge of the windows for splitting or gaps; old mastic can also be removed and replaced for a better seal.


Finally, check that any vents are working (windows, bathrooms, kitchens and roof spaces) and haven’t been stuck in the open position. Check any outside lights, cameras and alarm boxes for water ingress and change any seals, as necessary.


Now you can look at your driveway, garden, fencing and out buildings – but that’s another feature for another day.


A Place Called Home 


JLife overviews a selection of the steadfast specialists who will fulfil all your home-related needs.


AGA Harrogate

AGA Harrogate showcases a comprehensive collection of AGA range cookers to suit different homes and lifestyles in addition to selected refrigeration products and AGA Cookshop – a collection of high performance cookware. Regular demonstrations are held throughout the year. A special charity demonstration in aid of MacMillan Cancer Support will be held at Goldsborough Hall on 12th May, with tickets costing £30 and including a cream tea.


Bathrooms by Excell

A new brand for the domestic market, Excell has been around for 20 years, supplying thousands of quality bathrooms to the public sector. It offers the complete design, supply and fit service, project managed throughout with all trades directly employed. The showroom is located on Low Mills Road, LS12 4UY.


Beds for Everyone

Beds for Everyone has been established at its Swinnow Lane site for over 35 years. The company offers a great range of sleep products ranging from inexpensive single beds to super luxury king size. It also specialises in separate mattresses all in stock ready for immediate delivery. With over 80 years’ experience, the staff can offer sound advice and help.


CAPD Complete Build Solutions

Comprising staff with over 25 years of experience, CAPD Complete Build Solutions has obtained reputable experience in the building and construction industry.


The family run business prides itself not only on providing high quality, efficient, environmentally-friendly buildings, but listening to customers and advising on all the available options. Understanding that no two clients are the same enables the team to supply bespoke and fully tailored designs, builds and finishes to meet specific lifestyle needs.


The company’s range of services incorporate both domestic and commercial projects, from new builds, extensions, renovations and loft conversions, to industrial developments and multi-unit properties.


Earth Renewables

Earth Renewables is an established company which provides renewable results to both domestic and commercial clients. The showroom is located conveniently in Ilkley town centre, just off from the main town car park, displaying a diverse selection stoves, and able to offer other forms of renewable technology including solar Pv and biomass boilers. The company also stocks many fireplace accessories, from log baskets to companion sets.


Harris Interiors

For all your dream interiors needs, Harris Interiors is a full design and installation solution. The family-run business offers a luxurious range of bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms to help create your ideal living space.


From the very outset, the skilled team are at hand to help; guiding and making your plans a reality. They have also recently welcomed a brand new showroom located in Rodley, Leeds in which visitors can browse the ranges and are guaranteed a personalised experience. Alternatively, the team are willing to work around your availability and schedule a visit to your home instead. Simply make your interests known and a no-obligation consultation will take place.


For those seeking a bathroom overhaul, Harris Interiors has the products to suit all styles and budgets. Meanwhile, featuring a host of colours and finishes – from sleek handless gloss to solid wood painted doors – the pre-built Yorkshire-produced kitchens and bedrooms will fulfil your requirements. As well as that, Harris Interiors offers small building projects to help create living spaces inside the home. Harris Interiors prides itself on its high quality customer care from first contact to after the project is finished.


Howarth Timber and Building Supplies

Leeds’ best kept secret for stunning kitchen showrooms can be found at Howarth Timber and Building Supplies’ branch, which is just two minutes away from junction 45 of the M1.


Reflecting Howarth Timber’s 175 years of experience, the Howarth at Home range of kitchens offers a traditional and trusted combination of renowned craftsmanship with the very highest level of service and advice.


With a well-deserved reputation for providing high quality kitchens to the trade, Howarth Timber has now brought its winning formula of quality, service and value to the public. Whether you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime kitchen, where no expense is spared, or a more modest solution to a particular budget, Howarth can guide you through the process from start to finish and ensure your new kitchen will stand the test of time.


Celebrating 175 years of trading in 2015, the Howarth Timber Group has grown to provide not only the widest range of products, but expertise, service and knowledge that can be relied on.


Now the UK’s largest privately-owned timber company, its origins can be traced back to 1840 when it commenced trading as Hudson & Co. Over the years the Howarth Timber Group has expanded from a one man company to an employer of more than 1,000 people specialists who know the industry inside out.


Neale Brewster, marketing and product development manager, has commented: “This year promises to be one of the most exciting in Howarth Timber’s history, as we say thank you to all of our loyal customers. The support of our customers has been an integral part of our success over the years and we’re looking forward to sharing many more years of success with them.”


The team looks forward to welcoming customers to the branch on Pontefract Lane in Cross Green where they can get hands-on with the stunning array of kitchens.


Jordan Upholstery

Brendan Jordan has lived in Leeds all his life. He worked at Bridgecraft for 18 years before starting up Jordan Upholstery.


Brendan said: “I’ve been manufacturing suites for the best part of 30 years. Although we’ve traditionally supplied to trade, recently we’ve opened our doors to the general public.


“With us you’re buying direct from the manufacturer so you can have the choice of style, size and fabric without paying astronomical prices.


“Anyone calling in will deal with me personally and I’ll oversee everything right through to delivery. You’ll never get lost in the system with us; we are small enough to give the personal touch but large enough to deliver.


“All our furniture is made in our on-site factory here in Leeds so we control the quality from start to finish and are able to offer you the highest standards of craftsmanship and, of course, exceptional value for money.”


Joseph James Ltd

Founded in 1996 by Joseph and Karen Patterson, Joseph James Ltd is dedicated to the production and manufacture of fine English furniture. The business specialises in all types of hard and exotic woods, with the materials being sourced from sustainable forests around the world. Particular requirements are catered for and created, whether it’s for a modern, traditional or contemporary design.


Leeds Tiles & Bathrooms

Spring is traditionally the time of year when many of us look to give our homes a new lease of life.


Have you got a tired-looking bathroom that has seen its better days? It’s time you created a beautiful space, where you can relax, unwind and pamper.


If you’re planning to give your bathroom a makeover, you’ll find plenty of help at Leeds Tiles & Bathrooms. The family business has more than 25 years of experience and its stunning 24,000 sq ft showroom has everything you need for your ideal room.


Friendly and knowledgeable staff will provide you with a free design service so you can create a space that completely matches your personality and your budget. Or you can easily refresh a bathroom without a total redesign by introducing stunning and classy accessories.


The Leeds showroom stocks a high quality collection of basins and baths, toilets, showers and bathroom furniture including taps and accessories. There’s also thousands of wall, floor and natural stone tiles.


From hexagonal tiles with bold designs and geometric patterns to elegant and high quality stone bowls and slate accessories, Leeds Tiles & Bathrooms can help you get the latest looks.


Visit Leeds Tiles & Bathroom today to find your perfect look. Monday to Friday: 8.30am-5.30pm, Saturday 9am-5pm.




What does Lumiere specialise in?

We are an audio-visual and lighting company specialising in smart home design and installation.


What makes Lumiere stand out?

Who better to answer this than our clients:


“The company’s advice was excellent, providing innovative solutions and explaining both the upfront cost and ongoing value. We are grateful for the work ethic and communication throughout.”


“Pete installed a system perfect for our family’s needs. What we love most is that when we have queries, he is still on hand to provide support.”


Are there any memorable projects?

We have recently completed a luxury spa project in the Alwoodley area. We installed a smart lighting system to create a spa ambience, and an LED projector to deliver a big screen cinema experience.


Margot & Miller

Since opening in 2010, Margot & Miller has gained a reputation for adding a personal touch, bringing a bespoke interior design service to customers’ homes. The offerings include made-to-measure curtains, blinds, upholstery and more. The friendly team will help you select the perfect colour palette and furnishings, and will make the design process stress-free and within budget.


Oakwood Flooring and Carpet Centre

Now also trading as Bespoke Beds of Oakwood, the company’s showroom displays a range of quality, locally-made beds and mattresses at 166 Easterly Road, a few doors from the carpet and hard flooring showrooms.


The range includes divan, leather, metal, round, bunk beds and ottoman storage beds, as well as a bespoke service if you have a design of your own to challenge the team with, and is complemented with a selection of headboards and mattresses in several fabrics and colours.


Creating honeymoon suite romance to high-tech glamour, your lovingly made and hand finished bed will be delivered direct from the manufacturing base.

The showroom is open Monday to Saturday, 8am to 5pm.


Permitted Developments

Permitted Developments is a family-run business, now specialising in creating extensions and loft conversions throughout the Leeds and Harrogate area. Whether your project is to build an open plan living area, luxury cinema room or swimming pool, or to simply reconfigure your internal space to maximise the layout, Permitted Developments can help.


Rob Hirst BSc (Hons), the director, is a qualified senior architectural technologist and has successfully completed and been responsible for many projects from £20k extensions, modern and traditional, to £260 million commercial shopping centres. Rob and the team can offer competent advice during the design process, large or small.


Permitted Developments will complete a fully measured survey, provide detailed architectural drawings and make your project as simple as possible by completing all the planning and building regulations applications and tracking their progress. The team can also present you with structural calculations and stunning 3D photo realistic visualisations and videos so you can see the transformation for yourself! Visit the website for examples.


Being a family business and understanding the difficulties of juggling work and business, Permitted Developments fully understands the need for flexibility and can offer consultations at reasonable times and places to suit you. Additionally, the team are fully insured so you will have complete peace of mind that you’re in safe hands.


Ready Steady Store

Self-storage offers a low cost solution for people who need more space. Think of storage as the ‘new loft’ – allowing you to create space without building an extension or moving to a bigger home.


You could be having building or decorating work done in your home, or you may just be fed up of all the clutter – renting a storage unit will keep your things safe and your home neat and tidy.


For those who want to make room for an office or study, Ready Steady Store’s units are perfect for storing files, stock or equipment, leaving you plenty of room to work at home without the need to rent or buy your own business premises. The units range the size of a locker to the size of a tennis court, with flexible stay for as long or as little as you like.


Storage doesn’t have to be expensive, starting from as little as £3.50 a week. Access is safe and secure, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with everything you need for packing, moving and storing your goods.


Ready Steady Store currently boasts two storage facilities in Leeds, offering expert advice provided by friendly staff. The Leeds Roseville Road and Kirkstall Road stores are purpose-built facilities with totally secure storage units of many different sizes. Van hire is also available for £19 per day.


Ready Steady Store will keep your storage worries at bay and ensure you receive first-class customer service.


Yorkshire Bathrooms

Yorkshire Bathrooms boasts a range of beautiful bathroom designs, from traditional classic styles to modern, contemporary products. The conveniently located showroom on the Leeds ring road showcases the leading brands in bathroom furniture, offering the latest designs in a range of styles and colours.


The company believes in making the most of your bathroom space no matter what size, turning the smallest of rooms into bijou spaces. Customers can choose from a range of respected European brands, such as Laufen, Vitra, Grohe and Ambiance Bain.


With a wealth of products, from small cloakrooms to fully fitted furniture or loft apartments, Yorkshire Bathrooms can offer services to suit all budgets. It will happily supply and fit all bathrooms to your individual tastes and requirements – and you can view a number of products as they would look in the home, including features like the wet room shower area. The family business is happy to undertake projects of all requirements and budgets, while its range of kitchen products is ideal for all homes.


Yorkshire Bathrooms is also currently marking 20 thriving years of business; and is celebrating the occasion with a new, revamped website, and more exciting announcements to come, enabling customers to get involved too.