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Which Trusted Trader of the Month, January 2017

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Easy ways to update your home

We all enjoy improving and updating our homes, but no one likes breaking the bank to do it. Whether you’re looking to upgrade certain rooms to make it more appealing to buyers, or simply improve the look and feel of your house to make you feel more at home, these inexpensive and easy DIY methods will help you succeed.


Wall decoration

There’s no need to fork out for an expensive decorator or brand new wallpaper, when you can easily update the walls in your home with simple peel and stick wall panels and paper. These can add texture and subtle designs to your walls and give the appearance of a interior face lift, with a wide range of colours and designs to suit everyone.


easy ways to update your home


Wall decals are another great way off adding something a little extra to your walls, especially if you’re not looking to completely redecorate. Add inspirational quotes or small designs, then remove it and replace with something new when you get bored. Perfect for those who like to keep up with new styles and tastes.



Kitchen appliances, especially white goods, can sometimes be a bit bland. With metallic and stainless-steel paints now available to buy, it’s easy to upgrade your kitchen without the effort and the cost of replacing. Simply paint your appliances, leave them to dry, and enjoy your handy work.



Lighting can add some serious character to any room and if standard light bulbs aren’t cutting it for you, there are plenty of quirky and unique bulbs on the market.


easy ways to update your home


You could also experiment with different lampshades, which can completely change how your room is lit, setting the mood in your home. If you’re feeling particularly fancy, consider upgrading your regular light fittings to chandelier style models instead.



Buying and installing new taps on your sinks and bathtubs can completely change their appearance, and fitting a new head and pipe on your shower will make it look brand new. Modern fixtures can make your bathroom look attractive, without the cost of installing a new one.


easy ways to update your home



When it comes to home improvement, it’s the little things that matter. These additional details can add some serious character, set the tone of the room, and provide colour to your everyday life. Use throws and cushions to brighten up your living room and area rugs to liven up faded carpet or floorboards.


easy ways to update your home


Plants add life and decoration to any room, as do table and floor lamps. Installing shelves and hooks add storage space and can make rooms look less empty, whilst mirrors can give a room the appearance of being larger than it is.



Your windows are the eyes to your home, so it’s important to look after them. Use bright curtains and hanging crystals to frame them and check for any signs of failed double glazing.


repair failed double glazing


If you have a build-up of condensation within your double glazing, or if they are visibly cloudy or misted over, these are all signs of failed double glazing. This can have a negative impact on the aesthetic of your home, as well as reducing its appeal to potential buyers.

Cloudy2Clear replaces the glass within your double-glazed unit, instead of the entire frame, saving you both time and money. For more information, contact your local branch today.

Garden ideas for the summer

We know many of our customers take considerable care of their gardens and enjoy spending time in them, as well as appreciating the view from their homes, so we’ve created some handy garden ideas for the summer, as well as hints and tips on how to keep everything looking beautiful.

Temperature changes

Warmer weather and rising temperatures can affect your garden in many different ways, from lack of hydration for your plants and drying out your lawn.

There are some things you just can’t avoid, such as yellowing or brown grass, but to prevent complete deterioration, you can follow these steps:

  • Don’t cut your grass as short as you normally would. More coverage allows the moisture to hold on for longer
  • If you have a large garden, consider an irrigation system in the summer months to save on water
  • Keep your greenhouse windows and doors open for ventilation. This keeps your plants and vegetables from overheating
  • Look after wildlife by keeping your bird bath filled up and, if you have one, keep an eye on your pond in case of drought


greenhouse summer garden tips


Vegetables & fruits

June is the best month to collect any produce you may be growing, such as asparagus, tomatoes, broad beans, spinach, aubergines, strawberries, gooseberries, and peppers. To ensure you keep growing and gain another harvest, sow more after this is complete. Produce such as salads are perfect to pop into the ground, ready for the next season.


strawberries summer garden tips


Garden furniture

With such unpredictable summer weather in the UK, our patio furniture and equipment can take a beating, especially if it hasn’t been treated properly. Make sure you choose the right furniture for your needs, whether that’s easy-clean and wipeable plastic chairs or wooden steamers for relaxing on the lawn. If you’re looking for somewhere to place your seating area, why not check out our decking guide for beginners?

Investing in good quality furniture is a great idea, but remember that you’ll need to maintain and look after this properly, so it will last year after year. Ensure you have a large enough storage area for your garden furniture, such as a shed or garage.


summer garden furniture


Outdoor lighting

Summer gives us the chance to enjoy the outdoors for much longer, so why not invest in some pretty outdoor lighting, for those long, lazy evenings? Whether you’re looking to create a romantic hideaway or give yourself a guiding light back down the garden path, there’s a plethora of choice.

If you’re looking to save energy, try solar powered lights and take advantage of the longer daytime hours.


outdoor lights summer garden tips


Outdoor lighting looks beautiful when you look out of your windows too and offers an element of security. Make sure your windows are looking their best by fixing any failed double glazing, so you have the perfect view of your garden.

Preparing for next season

Your garden is a constant work in progress, and it takes a lot of effort to keep everything looking great and growing properly. That’s why preparation is key, so whilst you’re enjoying the summer months, make sure you get some jobs out of the way, to make that transition period a little easier:

  • Remove some spring bulbs, such as tulips, as they can be damaged if overwatered in the summer
  • Start planting bedding plants such as pansies and primroses, as this will give you bursts of colour throughout the months
pansies summer garden tips


If you want to enjoy your garden from both the inside and outside this summer, ensure that you repair any failed double glazing or broken locks or hinges. Don’t put up with cloudy windows ruining your perfect view for any longer! Contact your local branch today.


Images courtesy of Images are free for any personal and commercial purpose. Photos can be edited, modified and distributed. Attribution is not required.

Ask Kirk: Top decking tips for beginners

decking tips for beginners


What tools do you need to start decking?

The most important thing to remember when setting up before you begin decking is that safety comes first. Before you gather all your tools and equipment, having the right gloves, knee pads, dust mask, and eye protection will ensure you prevent any unnecessary injuries. It’s also a good idea to have a friend help you out (and hopefully get the job done quicker!). Below are some of the basic tools you will need:

• Tape measure
• Spade
• Trowel
• String and pins (for the layout of your decking)
• Hammer
• Joists
• Saw – this could be a panel saw, jigsaw, circular saw, or a mitre saw (if you are laying larger decking)
• Sandpaper or, if you have one, a sander
• Pencil
• Edger (for cutting lawns, if required)
• Decking boards




How do you prepare the area for decking?

In order to be as prepared as possible and follow a template, setting out the layout of your decking is the best starting point. Use your tape measure, string and pins to create a visualisation of the area and then you can begin.

Dependent on the surface you’re building on, will change what tools you need and how you need to prepare it. If you’re building on a lawn or grassy area, ensure the surface is clear of any shrubbery, leaves, or mulch. You can then cut the grass quite easily with an edger, removing the pieces of lawn with your spade.

If you wish to build straight onto the ground, ensure you cover the proposed area with weed protection fabric, as well as a layer of gravel. This way of creating the foundations for your decking is much simpler, and would be perfect for a beginner or smaller project.

Alternatively, you can build on concrete pads, which have the benefit of added stability, as well as increasing the lifespan of your decking.




How should you cut the boards for the best fit?

Again, preparation is key, so ensure you measure your decking boards accurately for the best fit. Marking with a pencil will give you the best indication of where to saw, without damaging or permanently marking the wood.

Always ensure you use the right saw for the job, as this makes the whole process smoother and easier. A mitre saw will enable you to make as many cuts as you need, so this is particularly useful for a tricky layout, and if you have some difficult cuts to make, take advantage of a jigsaw too.

However, if you are just starting out and don’t want to make things too complicated, use a panel saw. Ensure you clamp the wood securely onto a workbench when using a panel saw; this limits the possibility for error, as well as preventing any injury.


decking tips


What is the best technique for laying decking?

Create a framework or sub-frame for your decking to sit on. A great tip to build this is to lay it out first, so you can see exactly which pieces of wood go where – and whether or not they’re long enough. For a more in-depth guide on how to create a sub-frame, check out B&Q’s website for more information.

Once your frame is assembled, you can then start to lay the actual decking boards. Mark where the drill holes should go, so you don’t make any unnecessary mistakes and so that the holes are a suitable distance from the edge of the decking. You should also ensure that you mark where each board should sit, with a gap of around 3mm in between each one.

After all your preparation, this should be a simple process of placing each board down and drilling appropriately.


Getting the best view of your decking

To ensure that you can enjoy all of your hard work from your home for the perfect view, make sure the positioning of your decking is in the right place to make it an extension of your home. Don’t let blown or cloudy double glazing ruin your view of your new decking area either. Our expert engineers can repair your double glazed units so that your perfect view remains and you can enjoy your decking to the fullest. Contact them today for a free, no obligation quotation from our friendly, local experts.

How to add value to your home

Whether you’re thinking about selling your home or just looking to make improvements for the future, there are a number of quick wins, from updating your kitchen to adding an extension. Whatever your budget and whatever you reasons, we’ve outlined some great tips and advice on how to add value to your home.


piggy bank


1. Begin with the boring stuff

Although transforming rooms and considering attic conversions is exciting, the best investment you can make in your home is ensuring that everything is structurally sound and works as it should do.

Damp problems, whether rising or penetrating, need your immediate attention. These kinds of issues can potentially cause structural damage to your home, as well as being unpleasant. Damp can spread to any timber structures you may have, which can cause them to become rotten. Fixing the damp issue before any further damage is caused can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Check your central heating and electrical wiring too. These items can be pricey to replace; however, if you are thinking of selling, you’re much more likely to gain a sale, if its running efficiently. Often potential buyers can be put off buying a property if they know it’s their responsibility to replace them.

Even if you’re not selling, replacing and repairing your central heating and wiring will ensure that your home runs smoothly in the future, potentially saving you money on your energy bills.


wires and electrics


2. Repair windows and doors

Failed double glazing and broken hinges or locks can instantly make your home appear shoddy and unloved; this isn’t great to live in, but can impact the value of your home too. Often, people see this as an expensive task. However, simply replacing the glass, rather than the whole frame, and repairing any locks, hinges, seals, or handles, whilst regularly maintaining them, is an easy and affordable way to instantly give your home a facelift. Cloudy2Clear offers this unique service, saving customers money and time.


pink lock rustic


3. Add more space to your home

The more space you have, the more options buyers have for potential rooms and storage – and if you’re not selling, you’ll always have enough space for a growing family, entertaining, or for new furniture.

You can add new space in a number of ways:

– Convert the garage space into a playroom or dining room; this is perfect for those who don’t have a car or rarely use the garage for its intended purpose
– Transform your attic into a new bedroom or hideaway area; installing a sky-light will instantly brighten up this space
– Add a conservatory; a true extension of your home and your garden, a conservatory is the perfect way to create an extra room, without adjusting the structure of your home
– Create a desk or storage area underneath your stairs


macbook on top of desk


– If possible, install a downstairs toilet
– It’s a pricey option, but basements are being converted in homes across the UK, from kitchens to games rooms, expanding downwards is a new home improvement trend


4. Ensure all cosmetic issues have been taken care of

The internet is full of helpful ideas to make subtle changes to enhance to look of your home before putting it on the market, but there are several cosmetic issues you should address first:

– Fresh coat of neutral paint throughout (cream or magnolia work well)
– Clean window frames on the outside, as well as soffit and facia
– Update front door furniture, such as letterboxes, handles, doorknobs, and hinges
– New kitchen cupboard doors – this saves money on a complete refurbishment, but creates a fresh new look


old kitchen cupboards


– Dripping taps and doorbell fixes
– Neat gardens – mow the lawn, trim bushes, and add colour


If you’re looking to update the look of your home, without blowing the budget, contact Cloudy2Clear today for a free, no obligation quotation. We have over 40 branches across the country, making sure you have easy access to our local engineers.



Images courtesy of Images are free for any personal and commercial purpose. Photos can be edited, modified and distributed. Attribution is not required.

Ask Kirk: How to keep your conservatory looking its best

Enjoy blissful mornings, parties and summer evenings in your conservatory with our expert tips on how to keep it in perfect condition.


ask kirk conservatory maintainence


How many times should you clean the outside of your conservatory throughout the year?

One deep clean once a year should be sufficient but if your conservatory is situated near trees, then it may be appropriate to remove any debris from the guttering more than once.


How do I remove debris from gutters?

Remove all moss, leaves, and twigs from the gutters using a good reliable ladder or a suitable platform in which to reach the guttering. Dependent on your height, a step ladder will probably suffice. We would recommend having someone else supporting you whilst you clean, so they can keep the ladder steady and pass any equipment up to you.

Wear suitable gloves to remove all dirt, leaves, and debris, preferably heavy duty gloves, which will prevent any potentially sharp objects injuring you. Once all this has been removed, place a hosepipe in the gutter to flush out with water.


hosepipe for cleaning gutters


Can you get conservatory double glazing repaired if it fails?

Often windows can become misty or blown and in need of replacement.  At Cloudy2Clear we specialise in replacing only the glass, not the entire frame saving customers money, time and energy. When it comes to keeping your conservatory looking its best, there’s no need to spend thousands.


How do I clean the roof of my conservatory?

Cleaning the roof of a conservatory should be a straight forward and safe process. Never stand on the roof of your conservatory and ensure you have the right equipment to enable you to reach the highest point, without straining yourself.

An extendable handle with a soft-headed brush or sponge, alongside clean, soapy water, is the safest and most efficient way of cleaning the roof. Gently rinse off an excess soap or debris with a light sprinkling from the hose.


Should I use a pressure washer?

Pressure washers can cause undue damage to the seals of your conservatory, potentially causing leaks. Conservatories are designed to withstand rainfall, not extreme blasts of water.


rain conservatory


How do I maintain my locks and hinges?

All locks and hinges should be oiled at least once a year, so it’s another task to remember when completing clean of the conservatory. Use WD40 or another oil based lubricant on all moving parts and mechanisms.


Points to remember on the inside

To ensure your conservatory lasts for many years, ensure that it is well ventilated in the summer, to avoid overheating, and keep it well heated in the winter. Avoiding problems such as condensation, damp, and mould will keep your conservatory feeling warm and cosy, smelling pleasant, and being an enjoyable area of your home for you and your family to appreciate.


summer garden


For more information on replacing your failed conservatory windows, contact your local branch of Cloudy2Clear today to book a free, no obligation quotation.



Images courtesy of Images are free for any personal and commercial purpose. Photos can be edited, modified and distributed. Attribution is not required.

Cloudy2Clear UK Ltd
Unit 802 Merlin Park, Ringtail Road, Ormskirk, L40 8JY.
(Registered in England No. 06105864)
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