Choosing Concrete Blocks for Architectural Projects

concrete textured blocksConcrete Blocks are a durable, reliable and strong material for the construction of any home or commercial structure especially when developed by specialist manufacturers.

Concrete building blocks are cheaper than natural stone and do not suffer from the same erosion weaknesses that natural stone would suffer which can shorten the life of a structure but when it comes to architectural projects we often want to attractive aesthetic effect of natural stone.

Natural stone offers a lot of variety and can really creative a statement for a structure. Whether it’s rustic, contemporary or aiming to resemble the natural stone of the surrounding landscape, natural stone is highly visually desirable.

Nowadays there does not have to be a choice between a natural stone effect and the reliability of concrete blocks. There are now many techniques utilised to produce attractive concrete building blocks that have the visual effect of natural stone. In fact there are entire ranges of concrete blocks manufactured to look like different kinds of natural stone.

Monaprecast are expert concrete building block manufacturers. They specialise is precast concrete blocks and have an extensive range of special concrete blocks that resemble natural stone. When working with Monaprecast you have access to the best materials for your architectural project and the company has its very own transport fleet so it can deliver your concrete building block supply directly to the construction site or builder’s merchants across the UK.

Monaprecast produce a stunning range of fair finish concrete blocks, which has a smooth texture and come in a selection of natural toned colours including buff, terracotta and natural. They also have a highly popular range of textured concrete blocks and split faced blocks. These come in a wide variety of sizes. Their textured landscaped appearance adds architectural interest to buildings, walls, landscaping projects and other structures.

Textured concrete blocks, or rock faced blocks as they are also as they resemble natural rocks, are made using natural aggregates to produce that beautiful appearance of natural rock and stone formations. They are highly versatile and popular for use in a wide spectrum of architectural projects.

All About Roofs and Roof Trusses

All About Roofs!!

Roofs are one of the most important constructions know to human beings. They protect us (and our possessions) from wind, rain, snow and hail, and keep heat in our houses when it’s cold outside. They have been used and built for millennia by humans (and indeed some animals) all over the world.



A roof is a structure found on the upper of buildings. Its shape can vary, from a steep V shaped gable, to flat, to semi-spherical to abstract. The most common roofs found worldwide, however, are gabled, as they are the cheapest to build and most effective at repelling rain.

Roofs often have three layers: the innermost layer is the frame, commonly constructed from wood or metal. This provides support for the surface of the roof. Next is an insulation layer, commonly of waterproof material, to act as a seal between the inner and outer layers of a roof (although some older building may not have this layer). Finally, the outer layer is the layer to which the elements are exposed, common materials for this include slate, tiles, sheet metal (commonly lead, corrugated iron or copper) or, in older buildings, thatch.

Styles of roof.

Roofs can be found worldwide in many different styles, some of which are listed here.

Gabled Roofs: The classic upside-down V shaped roof, found on many buildings worldwide. In more complicated forms, gabled roofs can have more gables protruding out of the main gable, commonly with a window on them. The Dutch gable is also a famous piece of architecture, where a protruding gable has an ornate shape around it. A crow-stepped gable featues the “stairs” up the side of each gable found commonly in northern Europe. Gabled roofs are cheap and easy to build, structurally reliable, and are great for shedding rain and weather. Gabled roofs also use the simplest roof trusses

Outshot and Lean-to Roofs: A lean to roof is the roof of an “extension” style roof sloping down from the main building on to a protruding sub room. If the roof slopes directly from the roof of a main building onto the lean-to roof, it can be described as having a “catslide”.

Hip Roofs: Hip roofs are commonly found on bungalows or other small structure, and are extremely common in America as part of the classic “4-square” style.. They are similar to simple gabled roofs except that the two would-be vertical sides of the building are tilted inwards. On square buildings, they are tilted inwards so far that the roofs represents a four-sided pyramid, sometimes referred to as a pyramidal roof. Hip roofs have great advantage over gabled roofs as they require much less bracing against the wind, they are in fact self bracing. The fact that they are far more streamlined only enhances this effect. A downside of a hip roof is the restricted attic space.

Mansard Roofs: Of French origin, a Mansard roof has two gradients on it: an initial shallow gradient, and then an immediate change to a steeper gradient towards the end of the roof. However, a Mansard roof may sometimes have a flat top as the first gradient, then a steep gradient around the edges, resulting in an upside-down tray shape to the roof. The mansard style was popularised in franch in the 1600s, and then gained extreme popularity in America, with many iconic houses and buildings boasting a mansard roof. Also, is you plan travelling back in time, any windows you install in your mansard roof will infact be excemt of window tax.

Gambrel Roofs: As a gabled roof, but with the two longest sides in a mansard style.

Flat Roofs: The distinctive flat roofs found in warmer, dryer areas of the world, where the need to shed rain is at a minimum. Classic flat roofed cities include Jerusalem. Flat roofed homes can, however, become extremely hot in sunny weather, some methods to induce cooling of the house include covering with thin sheets of asbestos, and pouring water over the roof. Special sun-reflective paints are also available, roofs coated with such are known as ‘cool roofs’.

Roof Truss Design

The shape of the roof is most houses all depends on the shape and style of the Roof Truss Design. A roof truss provides support and stability to the roof and evenly distributes the weight of the roof away from the exterior walls.

A Roof Truss is generally made of wood for residential use and steel in commercial use. They are generally triangular in shape because this provides the best stability and support. There is no other shape that can withstand the same amount of tension or compression load.

If you are building your home from scratch and are in the process of deciding what style of roof to have, you should take careful consideration in your decision. A Roof Truss should definitely not be chosen on looks alone as there are more important factors that need to be considered such as; the stresses that the building may encounter, the size of the open plan and weather conditions.

The majority of home builders order roof trusses from Roof Truss Manufacturers because is very labour intensive, so it is generally a lot cheaper and more time consuming to order prefabricated roof trusses. Sometimes the roof truss may have to be built on site if delivery is a problem or the design is a specific type or size that is not readily available.

Creating a Roof Truss Design

The start of a Roof Truss Design starts with a sketch which in normally done by an architect. The sketch of the ceiling is drafted first then the roof truss is drawn in showing how the truss will support the walls and roof of the structure that is to be supported.

Feature Roof Trusses

Feature trusses also referred to as Oak Trusses or Bolted Trusses can add a beautiful feature to any room. They are generally hand crafted and add an outstanding centrepiece to new or existing homes. They are extremely aesthetically pleasing and can create open and spacious feeling to any room and they can be designed to suit architectural character of the property.

Building and maintaining a house

Looking after and caring for your home

Living in a house is one thing that many people have in common. Although there are many different styles of houses available, such as terraced, semi-detached, detached and apartments it has to be said that most people given the option would like to have a nice house to live in. A house, which becomes a home is a place to relax, unwind, sleep, eat and socialise. It is a place of security and familiarity. A place to share, enjoy, cook, and clean, the list goes on and on. My point being if you are going to be doing all these things inside a house then you want it to be nice.

Most people move into a house that has already been built. This is the easiest and most stress free way of moving. I am not saying that purchasing a house is stress free, in fact far from it. A house in fact will probably be one of your biggest life time purchases and probably one of the most stressful purchases. But once everything is signed, sealed and delivered that is when the celebrations of owning your own house can begin.iStock_000003104829XSmall

Building a house is not an easy task and definitely a project that should be left to the professionals. If you do decide to have your home built from scratch then it is advisable to employ a reputable builder. Always get references and make sure you have a look at some of their previous work. If you require a builder for North Wales construction projects then follow the link where you will find a dedicated and well experienced builder who covers North Wales and the North West.

Older houses tend to have lots of character and detail compared to newer build houses. To add that extra bit of style to your home, the finishes touches could include some lovely architectural masonry such as stylish balustrades and

Architectural Masonry

Older houses tend to have lots of character and detail compared to newer build houses. To add that extra bit of style to your home, the finishes touches could include some lovely architectural masonry such as stylish balustrades and pillars.

Architectural Balustrades and pillars around the edge of a garden will give the garden a sophisticated, unique and elegant finish.

The Design of the House

If you wish to have a house built from scratch you will need to employ an architect to manage the planning and design. An architect will also need to oversee the project from start to finish. You will need to be able to communicate well with your architect and be able to get your vision of how you foresee your dream home looking upon completion.


An architect will offer a variety of services that include pre-design, planning, providing detailed drawings, designs and specifications. Architects will communication with others working on the project such as the engineers and technical designers.

An architect will need to provide feasibility reports, building audits and will most important need to develop what the client wants in the building.

Before employing an architect to oversee your project it is advisable to meet with them to make sure you can communicate with them on a professional level, it is also a good idea to have a look at some of their previous work so that you can see for yourself the quality of their projects.

There are many architects available in the UK but it is probably best to make sure that you choose a company that is registered with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Matthew Jones Architects is a well-established North Wales architect firm that provides top quality service in and around North Wales and the North West.

The Roof of a House

The actual Roof of the house is one of the most important parts of the house along with the foundations, walls and ceilings. Without the roof the house will no doubt will be ruined in no time. The Roof of the house is normally constructed using by a roof truss.

Roof trusses are a timber construction made up of triangular units joined by straight members, the ends are connected by joints also referred to as nodes. Roof trusses are extremely strong, and are less expensive than other roof construction alternatives like a thatch roof for example. Roof trusses are quite quick to assemble and can span a large distance and they transmit all the weight to the external walls so that none of the internal walls are load bearing.

The Garden

Although probably not the first thing that gets done when moving into a house but the Garden is a very important area of the home that needs to be maintained and looked after. It is what people see straight away when they arrive at your house, so it is nice to keep it looking neat and tidy.


For those that don’t like gardening there is no need to have a large garden full of grass and flowers. You can opt to have your garden paved for ease of maintenance. Paved gardens are very popular with the elderly and also non gardeners. You can dress the garden up with architectural balustrades and pillars to add that finishing touch, and add a few flower pots with just a few plants to add a bit of colour if you so wish.

Decorating the Garden

To make your garden more welcoming and comfortable, it is idea to add some wooden garden furniture. There are some great ranges of garden furniture available to make your garden complete, and they come in a range of different timbers such as oak, pine and teak. Some of these timbers are more durable than others, so it is matter of cost and personal preference as to which type of timber would best suit your garden. You can even dress your garden furniture up quality cushions and parasols to add that finishing touch.

The Kitchen

The Kitchen is one of the most popular rooms inside the house, so more the reason to make sure that it has that beautiful finish to really make it stand out.

When you are hosting a dinner party, or a social gathering a lot of time is spent in the kitchen either cooking or socializing especially if your home is open plan, so why not add a dazzling finish to a kitchen by investing in a granite worktop.


A top quality granite worktop can really make your kitchen gleam. Not only is a granite worktop durable and sustainable but it is also really easy to keep clean and hygienic as it is easily sterilized.

Granite worktops have been used for hundreds of years, however previously they were only seen in glorious buildings and stately homes, however now that granite is more affordable it is being used more and more in peoples homes, bathrooms and kitchens.