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Learn how to draught proof your home


Draught proofing your home is one of the simplest upgrades you can undertake to increase your comfort level while also reducing your energy bills and carbon emissions by up to 25%, according to the Australian Government’s Your Home website.

Air leaks are year-round issues. In winter, they allow valuable hot air to escape and unwanted external cold air to enter. In summer, the reverse occurs. Air leakage accounts for 15−25% of heat loss in buildings in winter, plus it can contribute to a significant loss of coolness in climates where air conditioners are used.

Most Australian houses will benefit from improved air sealing. The best time to air seal your home is during construction or renovation. If you are concerned about air leakage in your home there are some simple ways to check for leaks yourself.

Test Your Home for Air Leakage

To test your home for draughts, on a windy day carefully hold a lit incense stick or candle next to your windows, doors, ceiling fixtures, skylights and other places where air may leak. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you have located an air leak that may need addressing.

So How Do I Seal My Home Against Air Leakage?

Usually the most cost effective solution is to start sealing the largest and most obvious leaks, and then move to significant cracks and penetrations. When these are sealed, smaller leakages become more obvious using the above detection methods. Because large leaks in roof spaces may be difficult to locate and seal, professional advice may be required.

There are many different techniques to use to seal your home against air leakage including:

  • When the home is under construction seal gaps around windows and door frames before architraves are installed.
  • Install weather stripping to entrance doors.
  • Use caulking (no more gaps) to seal where plumbing, ducting or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings or over cabinets.
  • Large cavities may require a foam expansion joint spray sealant.
  • In older homes it may be necessary to block off old unused fireplaces.
  • If your home has timber floorboards and is built on bearers and joists consider installing underfloor insulation or use a sealant to fill in gaps where timber floorboards may have shrunk over time.

For more detailed information about sealing your home against air leakage, visit the Australian Government’s Your Home website, which has some great information about building environmentally sustainable homes.

If you are planning to build or renovate a home in Newcastle or the Hunter region, visit the builders section of our website to find a builder to assist you.

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June 16, 2020 |

Take a look at this 100 year old house renovation in Hamilton East.


We thought that you might like to take a look at this exciting renovation project that Smartview Building have had the pleasure of working on recently in Hamilton East.

This stylish renovation has completely transformed this home – you would never guess this home was built 100 years ago by looking at it now.

Find out how they transformed this 100 year old home

A common problem many home owners experience when renovating older style homes in built-up inner city areas is the ‘room upon room’ layout. Limited yard space in tight city blocks can also restrict you from extending a property outwards, but these clever owners opted to use the existing roof void to create more living space.  This versatile new living area constructed in the roof space could be used for many different purposes such as an office space, kids bedroom, extra living room or additional storage – a great addition for a growing family.

A new staircase was built to access the new roof space level and we just love the open stairs – they allow light to flow through the home from one level to another. Opening up the space by removing an internal wall to connect the dining space was a great idea.  No more, room upon room dark rooms for this old house!

staircase-renovation-hamiltonIn the bathroom the owners chose classic white subway tiles on the walls combined with modern fittings & fixtures which works beautifully. The timber benchtop adds a touch of natural warmth to the room.

new-bathroom-renovation-hamiltonThis renovation is a great example of what you can achieve when it comes to renovating an older inner city home.  Knocking out a wall, adding a new light filled set of stairs, utilising previously unused roof space and adding a set of french doors to allow light into the living areas has resulted in this gorgeous new home.


The success of this home renovation is the result of great teamwork between the home owners and Smartview Building. We hope that you have enjoyed the sneak preview of this beautifully renovated home.

If you would like to find out what’s involved in renovating and transforming an older home in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie or Central Coast region, contact Paul at Smartview Building on 0429 121383 or visit our Renovation Builders section to find a Hunter Region builder to help you.

August 23, 2017 |

Barn Doors feature in this new kitchen by BNB Cabinets Plus


This new kitchen installed by BNB Cabinets Plus owner Ben, looks fantastic! We love the clever use of black and white cabinets and those beautiful handles really complete the look. This kitchen not only looks great, but there is plenty of space to move around the large island work space.


The 2 pack polyurethane black cabinets are striking against the contrast of the chosen cabinetry handles. With the convenience of lots of draws for storage and a large fridge space, this new kitchen also features a black double oven. For the overhead cupboards, the owner chose white cabinetry which works beautifully against the splashback of cararra marble fan shaped tiles and the white works well with the lower black cabinets.



This large island bench is the hero in the room of this new kitchen and the light fitting that sits above it is just superb. For the benchtop, the owner chose 40mm laminate in a colour called Concrete. Complete with an inbuilt double stainless steel sink, it also has the convenience of the dishwasher underneath for easy cleanup and the extra cupboard space underneath is great for storage. The large benchtop prep area makes this a very spacious and functional kitchen.


How good do these barn doors look! Adding a unique touch to this new kitchen is this fantastic built-in pantry. The barn doors add a bold feature wall to the kitchen, while concealing an organised pantry and handy utility space. The shelving and draw combination maximise the use of the space, complete with power outlets to keep the appliances hidden away. The exposed track and wheel design of the doors work well with the overall style of this beautifully renovated home.

If you are ready to update your kitchen give Ben at BNB Cabinets Plus a call on 0412 323722. Ben has some great ideas and can tailor a design to suit your style and budget whilst managing and coordinating everything from start to finish.

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August 14, 2017 |

Hire an Excavator with Driver to Tidy Your Backyard the Easy Way


Is your backyard looking cluttered or messy – maybe you have a cracked concrete path to get rid of, or tonnes of earth you need moved to get that landscaping job done – hire an excavator and driver. Excavating is back-breaking manual labour that will take you days to complete. Getting an earthmoving company to help you is certainly worth it.

Jobs Where an Excavator Can Come in Handy

  • Digging up a concrete path
  • Levelling ground before building
  • Excavating to lay pipes
  • Creating gardens and other landscaping needs
  • Preparing your backyard for an extension, deck, new garage or driveway
  • Cleaning up large piles of debris
  • Preparing ground for a retaining wall
  • Digging a hole for a swimming pool

T&D Earthworks site excavation in Lake Macquarie

Get your backyard ready for summer now. If you plan on creating new gardens or retaining walls, or need your backyard levelled, considered getting the professionals in to save your time – and more importantly – your back!

T&D Earthworks can help you with all excavation jobs, no matter how big or small, in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley. They can even organise to have the excess soil or other material disposed of for you. If your new home is complete but you still have debris and piles of soil that need removing or your yard levelled they can get the job done for you. With an excavator and driver you can get building sites and backyards cleaned up in no time.

We have all the equipment you could possibly need from large scale excavators and tippers to smaller machines that are able to access your backyard through gates and doorways.

Contact Tim from T&D Earthworks on 0417 671 425 today to get a quote on your next excavating or earth moving job.

By Tim Braiding, Owner of T&D Earthworks. Servicing Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Hunter Valley & Port Stephens.

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If you are planning to build a new custom designed home or want to find a builder to renovate your existing home in Newcastle & the Hunter visit our website.

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December 14, 2016 |

Water Tank Repairs – Central Coast, Mid North Coast & Hunter Valley NSW.


When was the last time you checked your rainwater tank to ensure that it’s not leaking and is in good working order?

With the drought period that we are experiencing in Australia right now, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your water tank is not leaking and losing water. So lets go through the main things you should consider when it comes to leaking water tanks and water tank repairs.

A concrete water tank that needs repairs

Cleaning Your Rainwater Tank

You should clean your rainwater tank every few years or so to remove the build up of sediment that accumulates within the tank. If your tank needs a serious clean – more than simply removing leaves from the surface, you should get advice from a water tank repair professional. Harsh cleaning may cause damage to the tank, so it’s a good idea to speak to a professional first to consider your options. To overcome any minor cracks or residue build up issues, home owners often decide to install a water lank liner inside their tank.

Leaking Concrete Water Tanks

Undertake a thorough examination of your water tank and look for any cracks or leaks. Most cracks on concrete water tanks can be repaired, but you could also look at installing a water tank liner to refurbish your tank. To find out more about water tank liner suppliers and installers in NSW visit, Water Tank Liners.

Discoloured Drinking Water

Dirty coloured drinking water can be caused by a build-up of dirt and residue from a rusted roof. Or, it can be caused from damp leaves in gutters  – you should clean your gutters regularly to avoid leaf matter building up and also remove any debris from sitting on top of the water tank roof.

Water tanks for drinking water should have a filter installed to trap sediment, but if your tank is old there’s probably a good chance the filter may have deteriorated and needs to be replaced. If you are concerned about the quality of your drinking water, have your tank inspected by a professional to get the issue resolved.

Dampness around a Rainwater Tank

Persistent dampness around a rainwater tank might be a sign of a leak. Check to see if the ground around your tank is damp and investigate the cause.

Mosquito Control

Water tanks provide a great breeding ground for mosquitoes. To help prevent this, ensure any openings are covered by mozzie-proof mesh.

H2O Tanks & Liners repairing a concrete rainwater tank

If you have a leaking concrete water tank and live in NSW throughout the Hunter Valley, Mid North Coast, Central Coast or Upper Hunter regions, Ross Chapman from H2O Tanks & Liners will be able to offer advice. Ross can assist you with repairing cracks in tanks, installing new tank liners or fitting a new roof to your water tank.

To discuss your water tank repair or liner needs contact Ross direct on 0419 628 402.

For more detailed advice on water tanks, the Australian Government’s Department of Health has a detailed document called Guidance on use of Rainwater Tanks that points out why it is so important for your health to keep your rainwater tank healthy.

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Images: H20 Tanks & Liners, Hunter Valley.


August 22, 2016 |

Top 7 Electrical Renovation Tips by Pete Butcher


Get the most out of your renovating budget when it comes to updating the electrical wiring and fittings in your home.  We have put a few ideas together to highlight areas that should be considered in your home renovation budget.

Our Top 7 Electrical Wiring Tips To Consider When Renovating Your Home

1. Re-Wiring & Switchboard Upgrades

Electrical wiring and circuit boards don’t last forever – older homes should be inspected by a licensed electrician to ensure no dangerous wiring is present. If you intend to add extra power points to your electrical circuit or running new lighting circuits but still have the original switchboard, you will need to have a safety switch installed to meet current Australian Standards AS3000. Depending on the age of the home your electrician may recommend updating all existing electrical wiring and the circuit board at the same time.

2. Building Maintenance

Building Reports often pick up things like rotted timber on fascia boards where the mains electricity is connected to the exterior of the house. However, if you have owned the house for many years you may not be aware of these types of maintenance issues until it’s time to repaint the outside of your home. If you need to have the timber fascia replaced in this area, a level 2 electrician will need to disconnect and reconnect the mains power to the house temporarily to allow the repair work to take place.

3. Hard Wired Smoke Alarms

Hard wired smoke alarms with a battery back up are installed to alert your family that there is a fire in the home. Smoke alarms that are operated by battery alone do not meet today’s Building Code and Australian Standards. Batteries are often removed and not replaced which leads to possible dangerous scenarios. Hard wired smoke alarms only rely on a battery as a backup if there is a power outage. An electrician will know the best place to install the alarms in your home to keep you safe.

4. New Lights and Fans

A great way to update the look of the interior of your home is to replace all of the old lights and fans with new fittings. You will also be saving money on your bills with an energy efficient lighting system. There are loads of lighting options available in your local electrical wholesale lighting show rooms, or contact us at Hunter Electrics for more info and receive a trade discount. LED Downlights are a great option to consider as they help reduce your power consumption along with reducing fire hazards common with old Halogen Down Lights.

5. Kitchen Renovations

Remember to include installation costs for an electrician to install any new kitchen appliances such as ovens, cooktops and range hoods. If you are changing the layout of your kitchen you will likely need power outlets installed to accommodate your fridge, range hood, microwave and dishwasher. Don’t forget to include any new light fittings, such as pendant lights or down lights over an island bench for great bench lighting or additional power outlets required above your benchtop. Electric cooktops will require Isolation Switch’s within 1.5m from your cooktop which is for safety to isolate power quick and effectively when needed.

6. Additional Power points, switches and sensors

Whilst an electrician is carrying out work on your home it’s a great opportunity to consider installing any additional power or TV outlets. Have you ever wished you had 2-way switching for your hallway or kitchen? Now would be the time to install any future proof switches. What about a sensor in the garage to turn the garage light on when you get out of the car or some security sensor lights?

7. Wall Mounting TV’s

If you are carrying out internal layout changes to your home, you could consider asking your local carpenter or builder to create a niche so that your television can be recessed. For a more cost effective solution, we can wall mount your flat screen television to your wall using a bracket system to avoid any building work.

*Always use a licensed electrician to carry out any electrical renovation wiring work around the home. Don’t attempt to remove any rotted or damaged fascia boards where electricity is connected without consulting with your local electrician.

If you live in Maitland, Cessnock, Singleton and the surrounding Hunter Valley areas Hunter Electrics can provide you with a quotation to complete any electrical wiring renovation work around your home.

Call Pete on 0423 098 241

By Peter Butcher, Business Owner – Hunter Electrics.  Lic No. 195208C

August 9, 2016 |

Ways to use timber to transform a home


There are many ways to transform your home when renovating. Using timber features throughout your home is one way you can create a big impact.

Timber is a versatile building material that is available in many forms.  Some of the common products used in residential homes are traditional hardwood timber boards, engineered timber boards or timber veneer panels.

When building or renovating, most home owners choose practical colours that won’t date such as whites, greys and beige tones. Adding a touch of timber inside your home can be a great way to add some interest and introduce warmer tones to the interior of your home. Below are a few ideas to help inspire you.

Install Timber Flooring

Installing timber flooring can dramatically change the look of the room and add a sense of luxury.

If you are renovating a home you may be lucky enough to find timber floorboards underneath the existing layers of flooring that can be polished. Hardwood timber boards and engineered timber boards can be laid over an existing concrete slab to create a feeling of warmth in your home.

Engineered timber flooring, or floating flooring as it is commonly known is available in a huge range of finishes to suit any style.  Hardwood floating floor options include blackbutt & spotted gum. Oak engineered boards are very popular as they offer a broader range of finishes such as aged oak and lime wash. Oak boards are generally available in a more varied range of widths and lengths.

Use Timber as a Feature in Your Kitchen

Timber looks great when used as a feature on an island bench. You could also consider using timber veneer on walls or in cabinetry to add some visual interest in your kitchen. Take a look at one of our recent building projects below.

kitchen-renovation-builderUse Timber Outdoors

When it comes to using timber outside, the obvious place to use it is on decking. Merbau is the most popular option for outdoor decking, however there are a broad range of hardwood timbers you can use for decking. If you are working with a restricted budget, a more affordable option is to use treated pine.

If your home is located in a built up suburban area, timber screening can be a great way to create some privacy in your outdoor entertaining space. Another way to incorporate timber in your outdoor area is to construct a built-in BBQ area, or storage as you see in this featured outdoor space. You could also use timber to build practical bench seating.


Use Timber on Ceilings

Another way you can introduce timber into a space is to install cedar lining boards, or a similar product on the ceiling of your outdoor space to create a real wow factor. Lining boards can also look great inside your home on raked or vaulted ceilings.

Outdoor timber decking will require some ongoing maintenance. There are some great products available on the market to protect your timber deck.  Talk to your local hardware specialist and follow the product recommendations to keep your deck looking great for many years to come.

Amaze Building are experienced builders who can renovate, extend or build you a new home.  Our team can also create amazing outdoor spaces for you such as covered decks and outdoor entertaining areas.

To find out how Amaze Building can help transform your home, contact Michael on 0484 335 978.                                  .

Amaze Building – Licence No. 284931C.

July 29, 2016 |

5 Reasons to Upgrade Plumbing When Renovating


If you are planning an extension or renovation to your home, don’t forget to think about how you can upgrade your plumbing at the same time.  Updating your plumbing might not be top of your renovating checklist, but it can be more easily attended to at this time, and there are many ways it can improve your lifestyle. Plus if you are getting a plumber in to do work on your extension, it can be cost-effective to get them to complete other jobs as well.

Here are five (5) ways plumbing upgrades can benefit you.

1.       Install a Water Tank

A renovation or extension is a great time to consider installing a water tank if you don’t already have one. The benefits of this are obvious – clean, fresh rainwater, to make use of our incredible natural resource and, of course, the savings a water tank can offer if you connect the tank and use rainwater for flushing toilets, for outdoor taps and to laundry taps to wash your clothes.

2.       Installing Water Efficient Fittings

Water efficiency is becoming more and more important, both ethically and for cost-effective reasons. When you extend or renovate, be sure to consider the water efficiency of toilets, taps and shower heads. Your plumber will be able to advise you on your best options.

3.       Improved Water Pressure

Water pressure can be low due to leaky, cracked pipes. Upgrading the plumbing can help fix this problem. No more screaming when someone flushes the toilet while you are in the shower!

4.       Plumbing Issues can Affect the Layout of Your Renovation

Right back at the planning stage of a renovation it is particularly important to consider plumbing issues. For cost reasons it can be very effective to keep your plumbing changes in similar or even the same layout to avoid budget blowouts.

5.       Improve the Resale Value of Your Home

While it is true that the plumbing in your home is largely invisible, an upgrade to plumbing is certainly something worth mentioning to your real estate agent when you sell. Prospective buyers will be reassured to know the plumbing in your home is top notch and has been recently updated.

We hope you found this article helpful. Don’t forget to like Build Local’s Facebook page or click here to visit our website to find a local builder if you are planning to build or renovate in Newcastle and the Hunter Region.

July 22, 2016 |

When should you rewire a house?

when-should-you-rewire-a house

‘Out of mind, out of sight’ is an adage that can be easily applied to the electrical wiring of an older home, particularly when there are no obvious problems with the lighting or electricity. However, there are many reasons why it’s worth asking an electrician to take a look at wiring in older homes.

The Main Reason for Rewiring A House Is Safety

The danger of non-compliant, or degraded wiring in older homes is the most obvious reason to consider re-wiring a home. There is a very real danger of electric shock or injury from non-compliant or deteriorated electrical wiring. Residential fires are another concern, and many of these occur every year due to wiring faults. Some older homes may not have mains powered smoke alarms installed which are a mandatory clause within the Building Code, adding further to the risks associated with electrical fires. For this reason, DIY wiring – or undertaking any electrical work if you are not a qualified electrician is a recipe for disaster.

when-should-you-rewire-your-homeUpgrade to Meet Modern Electrical Needs

We use so many appliances in modern life, from computers to TVs, from home theatre systems to kitchen appliances. Older homes are often simply unable to cope with our changing electrical needs. The majority of older homes only have one circuit for power outlets and one for lighting with NO safety switch protection. Upgrading the wiring in older homes can enable you to set up different circuits as needed, along with complying with the latest safety standards, so your family can function more easily in their day-to-day technological life. Wouldn’t you love additional power points in some rooms, and to put them exactly where you need them? What about the option for dimmer switches on lights, or to change to energy efficient lighting, even home automation can now be considered. If your electrical switchboard looks like the image shown here, it’s probably time to consider upgrading.

Other Considerations

  • Smoke Detectors – required by law, smoke detectors are best if they are hard-wired in and have a battery for back-up
  • Safety Switches – safety switches are mandatory in all new homes and for any new power points and lighting circuits installed within existing homes. They can prevent fatal electrocution and they also provide protection for appliances in your home. Recent changes to law require all existing homes to have a safety switch installed when any additional lighting circuits, fans or power points are installed.
  • Value-adding – rewiring a home will be far more attractive when you come to sell your property, both for safety and practical reasons

When you should worry

Get an electrician in to check the wiring in your older home if:

  • Fuses blow often
  • Your lights flicker or dim regularly
  • You can smell a persistent burning smell from an appliance or area of your home
  • Your power points feel warm or look discoloured
  • You suspect dodgy wiring may have been carried out in your home by previous owners

What does it cost to rewire a house

It generally costs anywhere from $3500 – $5000+ to rewire the typical 1950’s style 3 bedroom home and this cost includes upgrading the switch box. Without inspecting the home it’s very difficult to put an exact figure on what it would cost you to rewire your home, but that seems to be the average cost. Be mindful that there are many factors to consider that could affect the final cost and don’t forget to allow for the cost of new light and fan fittings.


Hunter Electrics offer free quotes to home owners in Branxton, Cessnock, Kurri Kurri, Maitland, Singleton and the general Hunter Valley region who are interested in finding out what it would cost to rewire their home.

For a full inspection and report on any property’s electrical wiring including Service Mains, Consumer Mains, Switch Boards, Earthing and Final Sub Circuit wiring please feel free to give me a call on 0423 098 241, or visit our website to submit an online enquiry www.hunterelectrics.com

By Peter Butcher, Hunter Electrics

Lic No. 195208C

July 8, 2016 |

Keeping your home warm in Winter


Curtains not only style your window, they insulate better than any other type of window covering. Made to measure curtains that are lined and professionally fitted retain maximum warmth and minimize draughts in winter. In summer they will eliminate the hot summer heat from entering your home, thus keeping it cooler. You will be amazed how much you will save on your energy bills!

The hottest trend is a sheer with a thermal lining using double tracking.  This allows you to use the sheer during the day with the option to bring the lining across on a night for warmth and privacy.


The range of sheers on the market today is huge. A popular trend is textural linen look fabrics which come in a range of colours ranging from neutral whites, soft greys, dark charcoal greys through to black.

You only have to look at the renovation home shows on TV to see the extent of using layering window furnishings today and the reason that is because it adds softness and a sense of luxury to the homes they are renovating at a reasonable price.

Home renovators are always on a budget and with that in mind you will find that custom made curtaining is cheaper than putting shutters in your home.

If you already have blinds or shutters in your home another option for you to provide a thermally effect solution is to add another layer over your existing blinds or shutter.  This style solution softens the harshness of shutters and blinds and adds a thermal quality to your window furnishings as well as beautifying the room.  These drapes can be colour coordinated with your existing blinds and shutters with the result adding a warm and cosy feel to your home.

We layer our clothing in winter so why not layer our window furnishings!


Local company Newcastle Curtains & Blinds supply and install made to measure curtains, we also supply all types of blinds and plantation shutters and will work with you to find the right solution for your home.

So don’t hesitate, call Newcastle Curtains & Blinds for one of our qualified decorators to call to your home/business and show you the possibilities…

Servicing Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter Valley.

Written by Catherine Martin – Dip Colour Design & Interior Styling (ISCD).

June 12, 2016 |
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