A new approach to the home improvement market can help builders extend their options in more ways than one.
It comes with the territory: snow, wind, rain and plummeting temperatures means that traditional extension contractors must juggle teams between sites to avoid the looming spectre of down days. It decimates project margins and frustrates customers who are forced to tolerate months of onsite disruption.
However, a new breed of high quality, versatile, affordable home extension is being hailed as a game changer. According to its creators, Guardian, “It’s slashing build and planning approval times; protecting installer margins and giving customers a stylish robust extension in a fraction of the time it takes to complete a traditional build.”
Each Guardian Extension is constructed with insulated roof and walls, double-glazed windows and strong, steel-reinforced structures. Available in a variety of styles and finishes, and individually tailored, the system provides an ideal home improvement product that quickly expands each customer’s living space.
All the elements are pre-assembled, encompassing factory-engineered modular construction with high-performance insulation to offer energy savings with zero on-site waste. The versatile system boasts a wide range of colours and finishes too.
Paul Bird of Climate Roofs in Weston Super Mare has installed Guardian Extensions and witnessed the benefits at first hand. Paul enthuses: “It’s a simple matter of maths. Most installers will be one or two-man bands with a handful of subcontractors.
“And an average traditional single storey extension will take 8 – 10 weeks. With a Guardian Extension – using the same workforce, vans, and overheads – we have discovered that you can double or even triple your capacity. And that is massive for any business. I believe in 10 years, all extensions will be built this way.”
The secret to the success of the system is the exclusive partnership with Kingspan, whose Tek Panels take pride of place in the pre-assembled, factory-engineered modular construction.
And they are a major factor in the published energy-efficiency U-value of 1.0 W/m²K, which, according to the company, establishes its system as the most energy-saving home extension available. A typical build can be completed in under a week. The extension begins once the base has been laid to the correct specification.
A waterproof seal added to the perimeter. Sole plates are installed using anchor bolt and washer. The upper sole is then secured using galvanised nails. The wall plate is fixed to the house forming a water tight seal. Sealant is applied for super adhesion.
At this stage Tek panels are introduced and fixed. Expanding urethane sealant is used between the panels for superior air tightness. Each panel is secured to the previous one with galvanised nails. And the 1.2 m Tek panels are pre-cut to suit the exact dimensions of the extension. Corner joints are nailed together to ensure structural strength.
As each wall is completed, window frames and doors are secured in place. All lintels are structurally calculated to allow for maximum openings
A structural ring beam is secured to the top of the panels. Angled steel brackets are positioned along the roofline. This is where the lightweight aluminium frame will sit. The aluminium rafters, ridges and ball plates are fitted and the spider arms are secured. Structural weatherproof ply board is added and fixed at 200mm centres.
A breathable waterproof membrane is laid over the ply board and secured in place using a staple gun. Roof tiles are added to ensure total weathertightness. Now the internal fit out can begin. Roof window frames will also be fitted at this stage.
Inside, timber battens are fixed to the roof at the ridge and hip joints. Caps ends and crowns are then attached to the pre-fixed batons.
40 mm of insulation is installed between the rafters leaving an air gap for ventilation. Timber battens are secured ready to receive another layer of 25mm insulation. And aluminium foil tape is applied to all the joints to ensure air tightness. 72mm insulated plasterboard is installed ready for internal taping and plaster. The breathable waterproof membrane is applied before timber battens are then secured to the outer surface.
The chosen external finish is then applied, and internal electrics and plumbing are added before the walls are plastered to the homeowner’s exact specification. The final stage is to apply matching brick, render or stone walls as well as the roof tiles, so the completed room matches the rest of the home.
Andrew Kerr from North East Conservatory Solutions in Blaydon near Newcastle believes the Kingspan Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) – are the crucial factor in the process. Andrew explains: “The big difference is that walls are built with SIP panels. These can be manufactured off site.
“Then we deliver for assembly. The whole build can be as quick as three weeks. Crucially, we are watertight in two weeks – but we’ve even been weatherproof on some sites inside six days. This means you can work inside and outside at the same time.
“We’ve installed 16 Guardian Extensions so far. The feedback has been amazing. And we’ve just launched a new internet marketing campaign specifically for the new extension. We are amongst the first to offer it. If we act quickly we can become established as the experts in the region. This year we’ll complete at least 30, maybe more.”
Guardian also offers a bespoke design service to recommend and design the best solution for every project. It’s all part of the training and technical support partnership from start to finish.