Nick Knowles the leader of BBC1's DIY SOS team now enjoys the invisible comfort of Robbens underfloor heating in his own west London home.

On television, presenter Nick Knowles is the "hands on" leader of an elite team of skilled tradesmen who bring solutions to the building problems amateurs can't handle.

Away from the screen, however, Nick is happy to leave building design and construction to the professionals.

So, when contemplating a complete refurbishment of his 1920's terraced home in Chiswick, he turned to a professional team based close at hand.

Helen Reed Design's offices and showroom are situated just behind Nick's house, so what easier than to pop in and ask for some advice?

Helen Reed is a qualified architect and designer and her team offers a complete structural and interior design service. Helen herself took on the role of project manager for the Knowles' house.

"Creating internal space was a priority," she explains, " we stripped the house to its bare structure and then set about rebuilding it. We extended the ground floor and put in a loft conversion. We used light and new materials to open up every corner.

The ground floor of the building is now virtually one open space. The Robbens underfloor system meant that we could avoid the clutter of radiators and they offered design option for both the existing wooden suspended floors and the concrete slab in the new extension."

During installation the spaces between the joists were first filled with insulation material to prevent downward heat transfer. The loops of Robbens multi-layer aluminium and p-EX pipework could then be clipped in position below special aluminium conducting sheets with the loop ends connected, via manifolds, to the flow and return sides of the gas-fired boiler in kitchen.

When the system is in operation the aluminium sheets ensure that the heat radiates from across the entire floor surface, rapidly bringing the room up to the desired temperature.

The aluminium layer in Robbens’ top quality multi-layer pipe not only provides a total oxygen diffusion barrier, it also rigs the system for silent running. Aluminium controls expansion of the pipework, ensuring the very minimum of noise. The Knowles' house can look forward to long years of comfort with scarcely a click or creak from the system.

Nick Knowles' house was Helen Reed's first experience of Robbens Systems, but it's unlikely to be her last.

"Not only were the systems efficient the people involved were so co-operative and easy to work with that the whole experience was a delight. We'll be back!"

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