Twistfix press releases

Is YOUR Basement Protected?!

The rain is back with a vengeance and many properties have once again suffered from flooding. Those with basements have been particularly affected and this is often due to inadequate basement water­pro­ofing, which should always be carried out by a quality professional using high quality basement waterproofing membranes and related products, all available from Twistfix.

Recent storms have deposited millions of litres of rainwater onto the ground, causing a significant rise in the level of the water table. Properties with non-existent or inadequate below-ground waterproofing systems have suffered extensively as a result of this inclement weather, leading to a sharp rise in the number of work opportunities for contractors involved in the repair and renovation trade.

The water table is the lowest point of ground beneath which lies only water. Across the country, this level varies greatly due to a number of factors including rainfall level, soil drainage capacity and height above sea level. It is difficult to predict the ever-changing levels of the water table though properties in low-lying areas are particularly susceptible to the problems caused when the level is high. To ensure that basements and other underground areas such as crawl spaces remain consistently dry even during the periods of heavy rainfall as are presently being experienced, it is essential that comprehensive basement tanking systems are installed.

Twistfix specialise in providing damp proofing systems to our contractors. The range includes all materials and accessories required to provide a professional damp proof course; waterproofing membrane forms an integral part of the selection.

Cavity-drain damp proof membrane create an air-gap between themselves and the floor or wall they are applied to, allowing water to pass through and be safely directed away from the property. Once installed, using tough and durable waterproof plugs and plug seals, the possibility of water ingress is completely eliminated. Thanks to their ability to deal with aggressive groundwater symptoms, cavity drain membranes have become the structural waterproofing method of choice for most properties in the UK.

Our waterproofing membranes and other basement waterproofing systems can be used on projects of any scale, providing professional results at the most competitive price. If required, the highly-skilled Twistfix technical team are available to assist with selecting the most suitable product.

Is YOUR Basement Protected?!

For more information on our comprehensive selection of basement waterproofing and damp proofing products, please contact us on 0845 123 6006 or chat with us LIVE online.

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Summer Fires — Three Simple, Lifesaving Steps to Safety

Everybody knows just how dangerous fire can be and how easily it can get out of hand - some of us have been unfortunate to experience the effects personally. The warm, rain-free weather in lots of the country recently has had a noticeable drying effect and this means that fire’s capability to get out of control is of even more concern than usual - a simple stray spark from a summer bonfire could lead to disaster. It’s good food for thought and, while you’re thinking about it right now, it’s a great time to purchase some protection…

ThermoGuard Fire Retardant Varnish

It’s a quick, easy and inexpensive job, that might just save your home or even your life, to apply our quality ThermoGuard Fire Retardant Varnish to wood and any other timber derivatives while you’re at it. In just three simple, clearly-defined steps, you can provide Class 0 Fire Rated Protection to your property. Here come the tech specs…

  • ThermoGuard Fire Retardant Varnish comes as a kit comprising activator, top coat and the all important intumescent varnish base
  • Each kit contains sufficient product to coat around twenty square metres
  • If there is a fire, the base expands dramatically in response, forming a tough, fire-resistant carbon char to insulate the wood from the worst of the flames and heat - smoke is held back too and this is all confirmed with stringent EU testing
  • Final topcoat gives a durable and decorative finish so it’s great to use for internal woodwork or external cladding - a totally clear formulation lets the substrate shine through with its natural glory but with infinitely enhanced peace of mind, it's a combination that’s difficult to duplicate
  • Choose from satin or matt finish - both offer UV protection on top of the fire protection so nothing is going to stand in your way, whatever the British weather decides to chuck at us next!

It’s great to enjoy the sun and warm weather but you should always do it safely and choosing a professional product like this from a reliable supplier like us is the winning combination that will get you, your family and your home through this season, into the next and for many more years to come. Our product range will always reflect quality, diversity of choice and competitive pricing - that’s the Twistfix Promise.

Don’t fight fire with fire, prevent it with ThermoGuard. Hurry, buy before the end of August and save £7.75 on each kit - great news if you’re a contractor stocking up.

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Crack Stitching Systems – Tried & Tested

Crack stitching bars

Crack stitching bars number amongst our most popular products. Used for the effective reconnection and reinforcement of cracked brickwork and masonry walls,­ our CE Marked cold-rolled and helically-twisted stainless steel bars bond securely across cracks, increasing the flexural and tensile strengths of the masonry and restoring structural integrity. So, just how strong are they?

The axial strength of a crack stitch repair is determined by the performance of the helical bar encased in a proprietary grout and bonded into the wall.  Not all helical bar and grout composites offer the same performance as the Twisted brick stitch system, which has undergone CE Mark testing and which gives a declared performance of over 8kN per stitch for a 6mm diameter bar.  Why chose to use a bar and grout stitching system that has not passed independent CE Mark testing?

Cracked masonry is a common structural defect in brick built walls. The problem is particularly common in older buildings and, to avoid further damage and degradation to the structure, any cracks must be quickly repaired to restore the safety and structural integrity of the property. High strength helical crack stitching systems are the best way to repair cracked masonry, quickly providing the much-needed support to strengthen the wall and give the building a continued service life.

The process of repairing cracked masonry using helical crack stitching bars is simple yet effective.­  It can be carried out by competent builders to ensure the job is completed to a safe and professional level. Helical bars are retrofitted directly into the masonry, usually concealed within the mortar bed joints, to reconnect and strengthen cracked walls.  When encased in grout the innovative helix bars are designed to enhance flexural and tensile strength within the masonry, fully redis­tri­buting load forces along the full length of each grouted bar. This increases the stability of the structure and guarantees that any further sagging, movement or cracking of the walls are resisted.

Twistfix Helical Crack Stitching Bars are manufactured in the UK to patented engineering tolerances. High-tensile stainless steel provides the ultimate in strength and corrosion-resistance, the products have been rigorously tested in order to ensure they meet and exceed every official specifi­cation. The bars are available in a choice of three sizes and in packs of ten; installation will require the use of masonry repair grout along with accessories, all of which are also available from Twistfix separately or as part of a comprehensive kit. Look out for a news article detailing our masonry repair and crack stitching kits soon.

Our helical crack stitching bars form an integral part of our masonry repair systems and solutions. For more information on our comprehensive range of products, including remedial wall ties, please call our dedicated customer service team on 0845 123 6006 or drop us an email!

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Wall Tie Failure – More Schools Affected...

wall-tie failure combined with Gertrude’s intensity

In January, news of Storm Gertrude hit the headlines all over the country as it carved a vicious swathe of destruction across the country. As is often the case, Scotland was one of the worst-hit areas and you may remember the story of Oxgangs Primary School in Edinburgh, where a wall collapsed due to wall-tie failure combined with Gertrude’s intensity. The story took a further twist recently as news that a further THREE schools in Edinburgh are to be temporarily closed amid safety fears.

The schools affected by this news are:

Along with Oxgangs Primary School, these three estab­lis­hments were closed while ‘further, detailed tests’ are carried out by structural experts to diagnose and potentially repair the issues. All of the schools that have been closed were built by the same contractor working under the Public Private Partnership 1 project and, at just ten years old, the structures should certainly not be showing such damage. A preliminary investigation revealed that there were several problems with the way external walls had been erected – at Oxgangs, the width of the wall cavities was incorrectly measured and the wall ties not correctly installed to the required embedment depth, resulting in their failure and the collapse of the wall.

Education Convener Cllr Paul Godzik, said that health and safety of pupils and staff is the school’s ‘top priority’, as he explained the council’s decision to close the schools temporarily. He said that the closure was: “ a purely precautionary measure… whilst the survey results have indicated that these schools could continue to operate in normal weather conditions until the necessary works are carried out, we are unwilling to take any risk. We would like to apologise to parents however I am sure everyone will understand why we have taken these steps."

Melanie Main is the Education Spokeswoman for Edinburgh Greens and agreed that safety had to be the number-one priority. “On the face of it, it looks like something has gone badly wrong with the way these private school building contracts have been handled… once any emergency work is completed it is crucial that respon­sibility for these failings is established."

The Buiding Research Establishment publication, BRE Digest 401, details the 'drop-off' in axial performance of traditional ties that are built into walls with wide cavities and the significant reduction in load capacity when ties are installed to an incorrect depth.  Twistfix supply the retrofit CD Wall Tie, which carries CE Marking for use in cavities of up to at least 150mm.  The one-piece stainless steel tie can be used in all types of masonry structuires and is ideal for use in remedial repairs to public buildings where fire-ratings are required.

Getting the numbers right when installing wall ties is clearly essential and that’s why we provide the Wall-Tie Calculator – a handy, accurate tool!

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New Windows + New Doors = New Cracks!

Spring is in the air and it is time to start all those home maintenance jobs that you wish had been done before the winter.  At this time of year many homeowners consider getting new windows to give their house a facelift and to improve insulation, not to mention adding value to heir property. After the job is complete, many homeowners are settling back to enjoy their new windows when they notice cracking in the brick walls above - this common problem can be easily-solved by qualified professionals using quality Twistfix products. So what causes these cracks and how are they fixed?

The key lies in the old frame which, to allow for the installation of modern double glazing, is removed, This frame doubled as an effective lintel, helping to support the brickwork above: without this frame, the masonry begins to settle onto the new frame which, generally made from uPVC, cannot handle the pressure and allows sagging of the lintel to occur, causing cracks. The problem also ooccurs with the fitting of new patio doors, over which there is significant weight of brickwork.

Newman Building Solutions (NBS) are a structural repair contractor registered with Twistfix and their skilled staff often come across this problem. When they do, they reach instantly for the Brick Arch Repair Kit from Twistfix, which contains everything necessary to form new beams above failed lintels, soldier courses and arches that have weakened or failed. Steve Newman from NBS regularly purchases the product and spoke to us about using it.

"Uniquely we can use BRE load tables to design the retrofit masonry reinforcement beams," he said, "a process that is incredibly accurate and offers a number of cost-saving benefits from reduced waste to increased productivity". He warned against inferior contractors, stating that: "Many competitors profess to be expert in this field despite them having no independent test data on the bar and grout combination that they use.” As NBS are so dedicated to rigorously-enforced high standards of practice across the board, Steve Newman was: “Surprised that surveyors and engineers allow such systems to be utilised without detailed analysis of the loads and third party test data verification."

Masonry crack repairs must, by their very nature, be extremely robust and long-lasting. The Brick Arch Repair Kit from Twistfix contains helical bars, specialist masonry repair grout, tools and all the accessories you’ll need to achieve the most professional results - guaranteed. It even includes a handful remedial brick ties for pinning dropped arches and secured them to the reinforced brickwork above.  Get all the information you need from our expert team by calling us today or chatting live online.

Check out all the masonry rein­for­cement 'tech-specs' and our Brick Arch Repair Kit - get the job done right first time and before cracks above windows get worse. Choose Twistfix for all your masonry crack repair needs.

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Millionaire Misers and Budget Basements — The Connection Collapses..

Late last year, an exclusive, multi-million pound property in London’s swanky south-west heaved a tired, defeated sigh and collapsed into an embarrassing, ugly and extremely-costly eyesore. The collapse, which has mainly been attributed to a basement extension gone horribly wrong, is a sobering reminder of how no property, regardless of its market value, is immune to physics. Don't fall victim to the same devastation - we will show you how.

The Georgian property was enviably situated in south-west London and once owned by popular singer Duffy. In May 2014, property website Zoopla estimated the value of the detached building, which boasts four bathrooms and six bedrooms, to be £3.5m. An extensive refurbishment project, which included a basement excavation of considerable size, was in progress up until the building’s collapse into a rubble-heap. The incident fortunately occurred just before midnight meaning that nobody was hurt.

The campaign group Safer Basements expressed concern at the ‘substantial damage’ caused by the many basement excavations in the area. Val Sancourt, speaking on behalf of the group, was quick to point out that the concept of basement conversion was something they were not remotely opposed to. “We're saying before you put in a basement you need to have had proper hydrological inves­tiga­tions - if it can't be proved to be safe then applications should not be granted,” she clarified.

The problem of foundation damage occuring when digging a new basement is not an isolated one.  However as houseowners seek to convert or excavate new basements they can reduce the risk of mishaps by employing a Qualified Engineer to investigate ground conditions and design structural elements, and by using a Registered Member of the Basement Waterproofing Association to carry out the work.  BWA registered contractors are experienced, insured and have access to a comprehensive knowledge-sharing network for structural water­pro­ofing.

Twistfix are pleased to join the likes of Fosroc, Pudlow and Wykamol as manufacturing members of the BWA. Both our structural reinforcement and our waterproofing products are created or selected based on an extensive track record of safety and efficacy, meaning that you can relax with the confident knowledge that your precious property is protected from such devastating accidents (that could have been avoided) as this one in London last year.

So, what do you need to properly achieve a lasting, safe and comfortable basement conversion? Click here to find out.

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How to Beat Condensation Season with Twistfix

Condensation season brings misery to thousands of homeowners around the country, as well as to landlords and businesses. This is the second of a special two-part article focusing on the issue and offering a range of ways to negate it.

Reducing condensation means reducing the amount of water vapour in the air and this can be done in a number of ways, including:

  • Not using radiators to dry laundry. Although the weather during winter means drying clothes outside isn’t always possible, using radiators to do so is one of the worst contributors to airborne water vapour in the home, often easily doubling the level. Clothes should be dried in a properly-vented tumble-dryer if possible but, if using a radiator is the only option, one should be chosen in a dedicated room that can be isolated from the rest of the house and well ventilated.

  • Keeping doors closed. This is particularly important for the rooms that cause the most moisture i.e. the bathroom and kitchen. Moisture is hindered from spreading around the property when the doors are kept firmly closed and seals should be regularly checked to ensure efficiency.

  • Providing ventilation. Allowing warm, moisture-laden air to escape is essential in reducing condensation and can be achieved by simply opening a window. If this is not possible, a vent or extractor could be the solution.

  • Controlling temperature. Maintain steady heating levels for longer periods of time is preferable to causing temperature extremes as this warms the building’s fabric instead of just the air within it.

We supply a wide range of products designed to enhance the efficiency of your home at controlling condensation. These include:

  • Positive Input Ventilators - keep the air flowing with these quality items

  • Heat Recovery Units - lower your bills and carbon footprint while experiencing a warmer, more comfortable home

  • Anti-Condensation Paints - choose from this range, apply and enjoy the benefits immediately

  • Mould Control - from fungicidal paint additives to complete, professional mould removal kits, we have everything to help you combat damaging, unsightly and unhealthy mould problems

Please browse our collection of anti-condensation products and contact us now if you are concerned about condensation issues in your property.

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Condensation Control — The Landlord's Curse

Condensation season is of particular importance to landlords, who have a legal duty to assess risks and hazards within rental properties before taking action to solve the issues. We offer a comprehensive professional collection of products designed to alleviate the many health and structural problems caused by condensation and reduce the impact of what is known as ‘the landlord’s curse’.

Local authorities must take action against risks and hazards classed under Category 1. These include risks relating to Mould Growth and Damp and therefore any complaint from a tenant about these problems should be taken extremely seriously. It has been repeatedly shown that people living in damp conditions suffer several health implications and these become the landlord’s respon­sibility if proper maintenance and repairs have not been carried out, resulting in mould and damp.

It is important that the causes of damp and mould are established; upon inves­tiga­tion, it has been found time and time again that condensation – not rising damp or penetrating damp – is the cause. Each tenant produces an average of 4pts of water vapour per day through bathing, washing, cooking and simply breathing – this adds up to 224 pints of moisture per day in an average 8-bedroom HMO.

As well as ensuring condensation is kept to a minimum with the use of devices such as positive input ventilators, landlords should always offer guidance and advice to their tenants about the issue. Such guidance should include instructions to:

  • Keep the inside temperature as constant as possible

  • Cover saucepans when cooking

  • Avoid drying laundry indoors altogether though, if there is no other option, use a clothes rack instead of a radiator and place this in a closed, ventilated room

  • Install tumble driers correctly, with proper venting. For condensers, make sure the reservoir is emptied regularly

  • Avoid using paraffin heaters or portable gas fires

  • Keep furniture slightly away from the walls behind

  • Regularly check extraction units

  • Be on the lookout for the signs of condensation including streaming walls/­windows, black mould spots and peeling wallpaper

Browse our professional collection of condensation control products and make sure you adhere to your respon­sibi­lities as a good landlord.

Our team are available to offer advice on selecting the best combination of products for your unique requirements.

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Condensation Season Begins...

Those involved in the property-maintenance trade will be well aware that ‘condensation season’ is about to begin, while homeowners may well be unpleasantly discovering the fact! As time progresses and the weather gets colder moving into winter (with this coming season predicted by many to be the worst for 50 years), reported cases of property damage due to condensation are set to increase - here we present part one of a special two-part article on condensation season and how to get through it with your property unscathed.

The Process of Condensation

The air surrounding us is loaded with water vapour. This level of moisture is increased by our activities in cooking, washing laundry and bathing - all things which are essential to our comfort. When air warms up, which it does as we turn up the heating during cold weather, it can hold even more water vapour. When this moist air comes into contact with a cold surface, such as a window or wall, it cools and the water vapour condensates, returning to its liquid state where it pools at the bottom or soaks into porous surfaces.

Damp Problems Caused by Condensation

Dampness caused by condensation provides an ideal environment for the growth of various moulds, most recognisably Black Mould, which can have serious implications for human health. From causing or aggravating respiratory conditions including bronchitis and asthma to skin irritations like eczema, the moulds spores can be extremely dangerous. In terms of the property itself, water seeping into wood and masonry surfaces can cause decay, while clothes, furniture and decorative surfaces can become water-damaged beyond repair.

Diagnosing Condensation Dampness

The problem is identified visually by signs such as water running down internal window surfaces, water pools on windowsills, damp walls without tidemarks and patches of black mould, particularly where walls meet. It is important not to confuse the problem with rising damp (rising damp contains salts; salts will not permit mould to grow) or a leaking roof or pipe (which will typically create isolated damp areas around the location of the leak).

Solving the Problem

The blight of condensation can be mitigated by reducing the amount of water vapour created, keeping wall and air temperatures in alignment and improving ventilation to expel moisture laden air. We supply a professional collection of anti-condensation products which complement a range of ways to reduce the amount of water vapour and mould in your property.

Check out the next part of our special article for more details - subscribe to our newsletter to catch this and other important updates.

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Forget Floods — Say Hello to Hydrosnake!

Humans have fought a constant battle with the elements throughout our existence and hardly any more so than with the rain and then the floods that follow. As is our genius, we keep coming up with new ways to deal with whatever Mother Nature decides to throw at us and the Hydrosnake, along with our very own professional Flood Pump Kit, are particularly fine examples of our infallible ingenuity and resilience.

Hydrosnake Flood Defence Barrier

The traditional method for holding back floodwater is the sandbag. If you have ever tried to move one of these, you will know just how heavy and cumbersome they are, as well as being dirty, dangerous and not always that effective. Hydrosnake replaces the sandbag at a stroke, bringing with it a host of features and benefits into the bargain.

  • Each Hydrosnake will quickly and easily absorb a massive 20 litres when simply laid down in the path of floodwater, acting as a strong, effective barrier at the same time. Containing super-absorbent polymers that crystallise and expand immediately on contact with water, the Hydrosnake easily holds up to 40 times its own weight in water and retains its bulk for several months

  • A low weight (less than half a kilogram when completely dry) and intel­lig­ently-designed shape (capable of folding nearly flat) that can be folded or stacked as required means the Hydrosnake can be moved quickly and effortlessly to where it’s needed most - ideal in an emergency when time is of the essence

  • Placed together, a series of Hydrosnakes can allow for the safe and efficient directing and channelling of floodwater to where it cannot cause as much damage

  • Hydrosnakes are kind to the environment and disposal is as quick as slitting the pads and allowing the non-toxic contents to drain harmlessly away

Twistfix Flood Pump Kit

Properties that have become severely flooded need even more power and this is where our comprehensive Flood Pump Kit comes in. Comprising a fully-submersible pump, extended discharge hose and filter tank including lid, our kit is also loaded with convenient, reliable features.

  • Simple to operate yet extremely fast and powerful, the pump has a 166 litres per minute discharge capacity and can be operated independently or within the supplied filter tank

  • A quick-fix connector on the hose means not even a split second is wasted in setup

  • Manual and Automatic function are both provided so you can suit the individual application. For homes in areas with a high water table, which often causes flooding beneath suspended floors, our flood pump can be simply set to automatic and stored away out of sight, from where it will continue to perform effectively and with very little maintenance

This month has already got off to a wet start and more is predicted to be on its way soon so don’t get caught out - make sure you have the right flood protection products waiting and ready to deploy. Contact us today and allow us to put a bespoke package together for you.

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