AS to design, it will be readily appreciated that a square or oblong house has advantages which the more elaborate and rambling structure does not possess. If a future addition is likely, provision should be made in the original plan, if possible, and not left to chance.
A roof with dormers is more expensive to build than a roof which slopes in the ordinary way, more or less after the fashion of the lid of the Noahs Ark of our nursery days. Thatched roofs, while undoubtedly picturesque, are not adaptable for the use of gutters. As a result, heavy, continuous rain causes the wet to splash against the lower portions of the house, and damages any flower beds which may be under. At the same time the mud splashed up is unsightly.
Whilst slate may be considered the best material for roofing, a good tile will give approximately the same result with a more attractive appearance. It is easier to repair a tile roof than a slate roof, because slates have no nibs by which they can be secured without nailing. Portmadock and Westmorland slates represent the finest quality; house buyers should beware of cheap foreign tiles and slates.
Outside woodwork is best preserved by paint, but it must have a basis of genuine white load. The interior woodwork may be painted and left flat, or finished with enamel. On the other hand it may be stained and wax polished, as taste may dictate.
The usual floor is of deal and the borders may be stained so as to save a fitted carpet or a linoleum surround.
Many people prefer the principal rooms to be laid with a hard wood floor such as oak, which may be polished and overlaid with rugs. Parquet flooring is laid on a deal sub-floor. Wood block flooring necessitates a solid concrete floor, and is liable to swell. Such rooms as the cloak room, larder, and portions of the kitchen, e.g. underneath the stove and sink, should be tiled.
THE best kind of soil, both from the practical and health point of view, is gravel, because it enables water to get away quickly and provides a more or less solid foundation which is unaffected by long periods of wet and drought. Loam with a gravel sub-soil is the ideal condition for a garden, and is usually evident when the lower strata is gravel.
Clay both shrinks and expands, and is apt to cause settlements in the building. These are not necessarily serious, but may cause cracks and necessitate the refitting of doors and windows. It follows that the building with the fewest projections, such as bay windows, is more likely to stand better than a house with them. In the cheaply built house attention is seldom paid to the importance of keeping water pipes as much as possible on inside walls to avoid damage by frost. While the initial oxpenso is increased by having wash-basins supplied with hot and cold water in bedrooms and bathroom, it is usually less costly than buying wash-hand stands, and the saving in housework is considerable. It is more expensive to add such fittings later, and the modern trend is all in favour of them.
Light and Heating
A warning against cheapness also applies to everything connected with electric light and power. It is bad practice, for instance, to use lead-covered cables. All cables should be protected by steel conduit.
The most economical way of heating a house, although the first cost is greater, is to have the passages, bathroom, bedrooms, and even reception rooms heated with radiators supplied by a boiler. The boiler can be utilized, by means of a double cylinder or calorifier, for the domestic supply of hot water.