Thinking of doing some DIY plumbing?

Have you ever had a leaking tap with a constant drip that drives you to distraction? If you have, there’s a good chance you will have called a local plumber to arrange a quick and easy repair. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same level of common sense. Whether it’s pride, curiosity or just a tight wallet, plenty of people view a leaking tap as a solvable problem that requires little expertise, except that’s where they are wrong and why it ends up costing them more in the long run.

Typical jobs DIY plumber’s attempt

A survey in 2019 by Which! showed that the most attempted plumbing repairs by non-specialists in the UK and Oxford were tap replacements, fixing blocked drains, pipes or toilets and fixing a leak. Whatever the justification, there is never a good reason to try and solve these plumbing issues yourself. A blocked pipe could be a symptom of a more severe problem, and we dread to think about the mess that could result from unsuccessfully unblocking a toilet. The survey even mentions some people trying to plumb in their bathroom suites and kitchen sinks! Whatever the plumbing requirement, always call a professional plumber in Oxford to undertake the work.

How to avoid damaging flooding or injury

The first and only rule to this is to get the experts in. At Brian Watts Partners, we operate a dedicated plumbing service in Oxford that encompasses the whole spectrum from leaky taps to boiler installation. Our team is highly trained, experienced and qualified, and always work with courtesy and professionalism. Should you feel the temptation to tackle a simple plumbing job, think of the damage and expense it could cause should it go awry.

Four fantastic ways to accessorise bathrooms in Oxford

When you are in the process of putting together ideas for your ideal bathroom in your Oxford home, you tend to agonise over which tiles to use, the design of shower head you want most and how to configure it all for maximum functionality. One aspect of bathroom design that we sometimes overlook is how to accessorise bathrooms. Even the most luxuriant bathroom suites in Oxford can struggle to highlight their best features if poorly accessorised. Below we will outline the four steps you can take to make the most of your bathroom.

Use towels wisely

Towels are essential to bathrooms, but using colours that complement the existing design will help bring add to the room’s vibrancy – having a couple of towelling sets and bath mats to switch the shade now and then creates versatility.

Mood lighting

Bathrooms are an area for unwinding, so what better way to create a relaxing ambience than with dimmer switches to find the perfect mood. LED lights installed on mirrors or in the flooring also help shape a calm atmosphere.


No bathroom is complete without a mirror, but the mirrors on offer now and more than just a functional device for preening yourself. Modern smart mirrors can provide music streaming, radios, USB charging and LED lighting, giving you a wealth of accessory options to customise your bathroom.


Narrow caddies and storage units are practical yet allow you to maintain a tody and decorative bathroom. You can use them to keep toilet rolls and other cosmetics out of sight but within easy reach.

If you would like to lean on an experienced bathroom and plumbing team that is thoroughly trained and highly skilled, contact Brian Watts Partners. We deliver all aspects of bathroom design for customers in Oxford and beyond.

Why Upgrade Your Home With High-tech Plumbing?

Most of us don’t think about the plumbing system until a pipe bursts or a toilet backs up. However, modern high-tech plumbing upgrades are amongst the hottest remodelling trends to boost your homes value and provide cost-saving benefits.

You can save more!
Eco-friendly heating options will help you do your bit for the environment but can also help you save money – 2 good reasons! High-tech appliances / plumbing fixtures function more efficiently and use less water than older ones.

Make your home more healthy
Hands-free fixtures can help you have a more comfortable life. Automatic taps are a great example of this. They are engineered with a proximity sensor, which opens up the tap’s valve when it senses hand motion. These hands-free taps are popular with children and parents alike, the latter because of cost savings the former because it makes a chore exciting. You can find touch less toilets in residential and commercial properties, these enable the user to wave his/her hand above the toilet tank to flush it. Not only are they more convenient, they are more likely to be used too, thus creating a healthier home or office.

Low-flow high efficiency toilets are one of the more convenient ways to cut down on water consumption. Installing higher efficiency taps and showerheads not only reduce water use, but save energy by reducing water heater demand.

If you would like to know more about upgrading your plumbing / heating systems just give us a call!

How can you Prevent Boiler Corrosion?

Corrosion is basically the reverting of a metal to its ore form. Corrosion at some point in time is probable with all products that are made from steel or iron.

Boiler corrosion generally occurs when the boilers water alkalinity is low during routine operations. If left untreated, it can affect the boiler and result in complete equipment failure. These tips will help you keep your boiler running smoothly for years without corrosion.

What Causes it?

Although boilers are common equipment for a homeowner, people are unaware of preventative methods used to keep boiler corrosion to a minimum. The oxygen in water creates holes that can leak water and create oxidisation.

There are two types of boiler corrosion – Caustic corrosion & Acidic corrosion. Caustic corrosion is caused by steam blanketing, Acidic corrosion can be caused by mishandling of chemicals during cleaning operations. So no matter what type of corrosion your boiler has, it is important to take preventative steps.

How to minimise it?

You can’t stop it completely, but you can minimise some effects and by doing so extend the life of your boiler. Treating the water that goes into the boiler is the most effective, preventative method. Additives ensure oxygen makes its way to the water and is rapidly absorbed before it forms corrosive cells and blisters.

Never attempt boiler work as it is extremely dangerous. Always contact a professionally qualified engineer, they will be able to recommend the best course of action needed to prevent the corrosion – before your boiler stops working altogether.

Brian Watt Partners – Our guide to loft conversion

Rising prices are making it difficult for homeowners to relocate, so converting a loft into a liveable space is a great idea. If sustainable materials are used, they will also reduce the energy costs. There is no other form of home improvement that costs so comparatively little yet adds so much to the value of a home, and pays back on your investment.

In addition to an extra room – a well-planned loft conversion can provide additional storage and decrease the strain on your home life as well. If you are considering a loft conversion the following few steps are recommend during the planning stages of a loft conversion.

Planning Permission
Velux or Dormer conversions don’t interfere with the building structure, so you may not need planning permission. If you are going for a Mansard loft, you may have to ask for planning permission as the construction work is more sizeable. Our experienced team we would recommend to check with your planning department to be on the safe side.

Not requiring an application for planning permission is subject to some limits and conditions. You can check these limits and conditions by clicking here .

You will need good insulation
If your loft isn’t adequately insulated, you will lose most of your heat / energy which is very expensive, this can also lead to condensation problems. There are three major insulation options – rigid, flexible and thermal lining board insulations. Your builder can explain these options and can help choosing the best insulation method for your loft.

Types of windows can also be a substantial source of heat loss. This can be reduced by double or triple glazing, which helps reduce cots and cancels out noise pollution.

Your budget
As with most home renovation projects, your budget dictates the type of loft conversion available and the options within the project – the size, the roof structure, the age of your home and type of conversion you’re planning to build will all be influenced by the budget.

Why my boiler is leaking?

Most of us are not heating engineers and therefore do not have an understanding of the basic causes of boiler leaks. If your boiler is leaking, you should NEVER try DIY repairs. As soon as you notice a boiler leak you should shut off the gas and water supplies to your boiler. Then you call a professional boiler repair expert because the safety of your family and home is paramount.

Pressure leakage and bad boiler seals

  • A boiler is exposed to high internal pressure which may cause boiler leakages. This internal boiler pressure needs regular maintenance to avoid issues occurring.
  • Rubber rings help form a watertight seal on connection points. Being subjected to pressure and high temperature, these have a tendency to leak. In these cases professionals can cure this by replacing the boiler seals.

Corrosion and pipe fittings
Another common cause of boiler leaks. Corroded pipes allow water to escape resulting in inefficient running. If limited to single valve it is easy for the professional to replace the part, but if not you may need to replace the entire boiler. If the leak is coming from pipe fittings then it could be the sign of an incorrectly fitted boiler.

Get an engineer
Determining the exact cause of a boiler leak can be a challenge and requires finding out exactly where the leak originates. These faults are to blame for the majority of boiler leaks, but all situations are different. Our boiler repair experts are trained to identify the cause of the problem and repair it quickly. So if there is anything wrong with your boiler call our expert engineers, its always better to be safe than sorry…

Cut down on energy bills, with energy efficient extensions

When you need extra space for home, office or for anything else, moving is an option but for most homeowners this doesn’t make sense as they may be settled or unwilling to make such a large financial sacrifice. A home extension can be the perfect solution for this situation. It enhances your home, adds value and allows you to stay at the same location. Being the leading builder in Oxford for home extensions, we work according to the client requirements and try where possible to think of an energy efficient solution for your new extension. Adding energy efficient measures doesn’t have to be difficult and this blog will help clarify a few points.

Quality Insulation

Homeowners can sometimes ignore insulation, but it does affect your energy bills. Your extension size and materials will dictate what insulation options are available to you. External wall insulation is the most critical as this is where most heat loss occurs. Good insulation increases thermal efficiency in winter, reduces heat gain in the summer thus creating a better environment whilst saving you money, a true win win!

IR Heating panels & energy efficient lighting

Heating panels work through radiations instead of convection, and by emitting infra-red waves they warm up objects in their path. Once the walls, floor and other objects in the room are heated with these IR waves, they start heating up the room. These panels come in an array of materials and are easy to hardwire/plug into the wall. They use less energy than convection and save energy. Always complement these saving with highly rated energy efficient LED lighting. Not only do they look brighter / better, they save incredible amounts of electricity.

Energy efficient windows

Double glazing is more effective than single glazed windows but also keeping noise out more effectively. When we talk about energy efficiency, there are several factors which can affect savings like, type of glass, materials used in panels etc. There are energy ratings for windows and doors known as BFRC rating which indicate the efficiency of a window / door. Always consult an expert to guide you through the maze.

Looking to add an energy efficient extension to your Oxford property? Then contact Brian Watts Partners Ltd for a free site survey today.

Basement conversion – Why move when you can improve?

Most of the homeowners in UK want more space in their home and there are various methods to get that extra space. A Basement conversion is one of those methods. Depending upon the location and style of basement conversion, one can also increase the value of their home. So why move to a new home if you can improve your existing one? Basement conversions are a cost effective approach to provide more room for business or pleasure. A Basement conversion can make use of wasted space in your home and has many benefits mentioned below:

Utilise your space:
As families grow and people need more space to live in, most of the people think to move to a new home. However the cost of moving into the UK has been rising steadily so creating a gym, office, bedroom, bathroom etc, in your existing home will be far more economical so improve don’t move!

You may not require planning permission
Planning permission can be a stressful task because one has to go through lots of daunting paperwork. Unlike some other development projects basement conversions don’t always require planning permission, allowing a speedy resolution.

Resale value and extra income
The basement conversion will almost always increase the resale value of your house but there are other benefits too. Oxford has a great property rental market so why not use the space as a bedroom and rent it out for additional income??

We’ve been serving customers across Oxford and surrounding areas for many years and have proven record of success in the building industry. If you’re from Oxford or surrounding areas and need builder for your property, please get in touch with us.

Ideas/considerations when extending a narrow kitchen

If you’re a homeowner and want to make the most of your narrow kitchen, extensions offer a potentially neat solution. Extending a kitchen is a great way to improve your home and in addition to cooking, an extension can provide an area for dining and relaxing. As a kitchen extension takes time and financial investment, one should invest wisely. Working with professionals (and their ideas / suggestions) can get you through the remodelling process smoothly in order to make a smart investment. Like most home improvement projects, there are many factors that need to be considered for a kitchen extension. This blog gives some valuable ideas.

Most common types?
There are three main options – rear, side return and wrapped. Rear is the easiest way to accommodate from a planning and spatial point of view as it goes across the full width of the property. Wrapped extensions can be single or double storey and run across side elevation / back of the property. A house built in the Edwardian or Victorian era features a side return and is a beautiful exercise in terms of simplicity.

Design, Style & Planning
As there are many designs and styles possible with kitchen extensions, you shold take help from professionals. Once the design matches the look and feel of the property, you can proceed! For matching, it is a good idea to consider the most prominent features like roof, doors and windows. Many design items will depend on your budget, so only you can decide how much / how little you want to do.

Planning permission
Once you’ve a clear idea on what you’ll be doing for your kitchen extension (and if your property doesn’t fall under permitted development), a successful application for planning permission will be needed before work commences. Always consult a professional as they will probably have ideas / advice that you may not have thought of.

Interesting Home Ideas For Autumn

In addition to those pre-winter heating and insulation checks, Brian Watts in Oxford have come up with a number of maintenance and renovation projects which are perfect for this time of year.

From a simple gutter clean, lagging pipes and resealing draughty doors and windows, you may also be ready for an efficient new energy system, an exciting bathroom upgrade, loft conversion or even a complete new extension.

From Basics To Beautiful Spaces

If you are looking for a Plumber in Oxford, a Boiler Service in Oxford or a Builder in Oxford, why not contact a reliable multi-skilled company that will not only do a basic service and repair job, but also offer free professional advice on other cost effective solutions which could actually save you money in the longer term.

As heating systems get older they become less efficient and more costly to maintain while advances in heating and insulation technology combine with new design and building techniques to offer meaningful energy savings and new ways to add beautiful living spaces where previously it was thought impossible.

Upgrading Your Bathroom In Oxford

No matter how big or small, every bathroom should be a beautiful use of space with an energy efficient supply of hot water.

Autumn is the perfect time for a thorough bathroom and hot water check by a company which also offers free upgrade design ideas and estimates. A light and airy, modern bathroom with an efficient hot water supply and controlled ventilation, will offer meaningful energy saving while adding significant value to the property.

Home Extensions in Oxford

Kitchen extensions and living area extensions, or the two combined, are ideal choices for an Autumn project, with enough time for completion (subject to scale) before winter sets in.

Oxford, with its beautiful surroundings, lends itself in particular to the amazing indoor-outdoor fusion found in modern extension designs which combine steel beams over glass with the age old warmth of wood cladding and many other innovative ideas.

Loft Conversions in Oxford

There have been many successful conversions adding space and value to homes in Oxford. Experience shows that this type of conversion does not take long to complete, making it a great contender for Autumn.