for People with a Passion for Period Property
Ask an Agony Uncle!
Stephen Boniface - Stephen Boniface specialises in building conservation providing multi-disciplinary consulting services. He is Chairman of the Building Surveying Faculty and member of the Residential faculty. He serves on the RICS Building Conservation Forum Board and is the 'Agony Uncle' on the Period Property UK website (

Ask our Agony Uncles ...

You can write to our panel of experts free of charge on any subject, providing it's got something to do with Period Properties.

Our experts are all specialists in matters directly involved with older properties. So, if you have a problem with an older building - or if you think you might have a problem - ask an Agony Uncle...

  December 2001  
o Quest for information concerning listed building Mike Leepard
o Sealing bricks unlikely to alleviate damp Tom Derry (London)
o Ventilated dry lining system may solve dampness Paul Wilkins (Somerset)
o Seek council help due to differing water bylaws concerning septic tanks Nina Dendy (Cumbria)
o Specialist societies provide better information than many books Adrian Barwell (Leicestershire)
o Paint removal from brick exterior of house Andrew Hebron (Teddington, Greater London)
o Lack of soundproofing leads to insight into neighbours extra curricular activities Neil Sutherland (London)
o Let that floor breathe Rob & Katie Blair (Leicestershire)
  November 2001  
o Poor flashing leads to water ingress Mike Foster (Greater London)
o Earthy smells cannot escape from rooms Nigel Pearson (Shrewsbury)
o Professional advice to stop weathering of stone Stephen Cooper (Somerset)
o Traditional limewash provides better solution than PVA Tony Corr (Warwickshire)
o Official advice required before change of use Sandra Evans (Gwynedd County)
o Conservation requirements make roof ventilation difficult David Ramage (Dumfries and Galloway)
o Roof insulation also requires ventilation Andy Haynes (Oxfordshire)
o Asbestos tiles lead to possible concerns Julie Revans (Bristol)
o Don't hide damp deal with it at source John Albury (Gloucestershire)
o Underpinning leads to insurance problems Stuart Bell (Somerset)
o Crazy cracking requires raking & filling Sidney Jevons (Wiltshire)
o Potential purchaser faced with cannibalised stone barn Name withheld
o Removal of concrete screed reveals brick floor Rob & Katie Blair (Leicestershire)
o Hi-tech imaging equipment can reveal property's structure. Nick Bell (Cambridgeshire)
o Iron stains on lime walls John Galloway (Highlands and Islands)
o Can I insert a dpc in clay lump? Chris Groves (Norfolk)
o Towering Chimneys provide home for giant birds Elisa Smith (Lincolnshire)
o Lime Source Tracy Knight (Hampshire)
o Stripping in front of the fireplace Janet Shaw (London)
o Local conservation officer should have the contacts Hugh Zocher (London)
o Dusty pamments need more appeal Stephen Clabburn (Brundish)
o Sources of salvage in London Lisa Reynolds (London)
o Quarry tile floor needs sparkle Ainsley Williams (Worcestershire)
o Dirty limewash in cellar Bryan Sadler (Lancaster)
o Cob shows signs of wear & tear Louise Farrand (Dorset)
o Listed building planning permission required Chris Walsh (Clwyd)
o High ground levels cause penetrating damp Jeremy Bullock (Berkshire)
o Damp floor may lead to un-doing of previous work Claire Greene (Buckinghamshire)
o Timber floors need sprucing up Anna Erken (Gloucestershire)
o How far should I go in removing internal plaster? Alec Gunner (Cambridgeshire)
o Lime source Alison Burleigh (East Sussex)
o Crumbling Cobble Martyn James (East Sussex)
o Metal framed windows cause dilemma Lee Pearce (Essex)
o Stain barrier Mary Page (Lincolnshire)
o Have we really got rising damp Sonia Fagan (Norfolk)
o Use of mastic in timber frame house causes alarm Philip Degg (Staffordshire)
  October 2001  
o Elm floorboards look too dry Anna Erken (Gloucestershire)
o To plaster or not to plaster Osian Rees (Dyfed)
o Sourcing Lime Alison Burleigh (East Sussex)
o Specialist brass work required Vanessa Rowland (Reading)
o There's holes in my house, my House Mike Sharp (Essex)
o Natural methods capture Deathwatch Beetle Corinna Hatton (East Sussex)
o Surveyor refuses alternative explanations of damp!! Jeremy Percy (Dyfed)
o Possible tanking required following work by neighbours Dr S Learmount (Cambridgeshire)
o You can any colour as long as its........... Meg Rawlins (Kent)
o Possible erection of extension leads to move to list property Bryony Elliott (Rutland)
o Alleged damp walls lead to mortgage retention Wendy Dennis (Oxford)
o Alien creatures in our thatch Marilyn Godwyn (West Sussex)
o Pebbledash requires analysis for seamless finish Alicia Aras (London)
o Bubbling paint due to damp. Rebecca Avis (Essex)
o Professional Groups provide extension to formal training Khalid Rashid (Birmingham)
o Dry Winters & damp Summers Rachel Woods (Somerset)
o Local builder murders chimney with grinder & injected cement Dave Sadler (Devon)
o Damp Welsh farmhouse built into a hill Ian Muir (Hertfordshire)
o Do I need listed building planning permission to build a garage Gaynor Steer (Berkshire)
  September 2001  
o Ancient cellar requires limewashing Joy Heywood (Loughborough)
o Should we inject a dpc in a clay lump house? Nigel Dowden (Norfolk)
o Inglenook repair Elizabeth Hembrey (Pulborough, West Sussex)
o DeathWatch Beetle Rethink Joy Davis (Rishangles, Suffolk)
o Adhesive removal from concrete floor William MacLean (Wick, Highlands and Islands)
o Cleaning Victorian Tiled Floors Sue Craft (Derbyshire)
o Tiles stuck on fireplace with Evo-stick Lisa Jenkins (Potton, Bedfordshire)
o Stripped Pine Cyril Ives (Margate, Kent)
o I do not want to see my brick floor ! Robert Andrews (Arrington, Hertfordshire)
o Exposed Trusses Paul McJury (Crediton, Devon)
o Marble Stripping Tim Johns (Winterton, Lincolnshire)
o Durability of Thatch John Brough (Cambridgeshire)
o Window Salvage Jacqueline Hart Saward
o Cleaning Tiles Jo Coughlan (Ceredigion)
o Period Wallpaper Alice Case (Liverpool)
o Save those Sash Windows Andy May (Staffordshire)
o Copper Roofing Specialist? C Innamany (London)
  August 2001  
o So-called experts say granite built property needs an injected dpc? Steven Paige (Newquay, Cornwall)
o Removing crusty white deposits Colin (Cheshire)
o U-value for wattle & Daub Paula Harber (Nr Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk)
o Where to look for rotten nasties James McAteer (Strathclyde)
o What no dpc? Jason Chambers (Keswick, Cumbria)
o Back to school at 'The Lime Centre' Helen Pitel (London)
o Derelict wreck next door undermines my confidence in buying dream cottage Anita Omatseone (Essendon, Hertfordshire)
o Something damp under the stairs James Meek (Hackney, London)
o Flue deposits possibly lead to damp? Terence Heath (Cheltenham, Gloucestershire)
o Grants & alterations without listed building planning consent John Hall (Farnham, Surrey)
o Leave it bare or give it a wash...limewash Stephen Blake (Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire)
o Incorrect equipment leads to mis-diagnosis of damp Michaela Rata (Norfolk)
o Beeswax & turpentine provide answer to parched beams Louise Threapleton (Ripon, Yorkshire)
o What lime mix for pointing flintwall Andrew Pritchard (Fraxfield, Hampshire)
o Limewash provides protection against erosion Nikk Smith (Stockport, Cheshire)
o Secret cleaning tips for brass knob Patrick Hutchinson (Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire)
  July 2001  
o How do I know whether its a good buy? Robert Woolf (Gt Shelford, Cambridge)
o Removing crusty white deposits Buz Millar (Nuneaton, Warwickshire)
o Repairing Brick and Flint Andrew Pritchard (Petersfield, Hampshire)
o Removing paint from eighteenth century fireplaces JohnLockwood
o Clunch drying out Jonathan Nicoll (Burwell, Cambridgeshire)
o Original fireplace? Vanessa Jackson (Clitheroe, Lancashire)
o Making daub mortar Mick Thawley (Pulham Market, Norfolk)
o The formerly internal now external wall Stephanie Hughes (Dumfries and Galloway)
o Damp converted cellar Adam Hunter (Norwich, Norfolk)
o A legacy of unauthorised work P Smithson (Coggeshall, Essex)
o Damp patches in the bedroom Karen Murphy (Twickenham, London)
  June 2001  
o Sandblasting Chris Woollett (Sheerness, Kent) & Suzanne Evans (Worcestershire)
o Roof Repairs Chris Wilber (Derby, Derbyshire)
o Future Problems Mr Smith (Truro, Cornwall)
o Paint Stripping plaster coving Jackie Needham (Somerset) & Vince Vitulli (Essex)
o Sealing an unglazed tiled floor Eileen Chandler (Malpas, Cheshire)
o Underpinning Ritu Kapoor (Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey)
o Replacing high windows Paul Marsh (Bury, Lancs)
o Vandalous pebbledash Maureen Wilkinson (Norfolk)
o Improving a loose flagstone surface Chris Wallis (Beaminster, Dorset)
o Glue removal David Flockhart (Kent)
o Removing Pebbledash Rendering David Weisfeld (Hertfordshire)
  May 2001  
o Damp Proofing a Cellar Janet Morgan (Preston, Lancashire)
o Breating Basements Karen McHugh (Matlock, Derbyshire)
o Lime Wash and modern plaster Ben Knibbs (Carlisle, Cumbria)
o Making New look Old Kate Scott Thomas (Malmesbury, Wiltshire)
o The dreaded cement render Vernon Adams (Bideford, Devon)
o Preparing for limewash Dave Goodman (Newbury, Berkshire)
o Persistent Damp Tracy Knight (Thornton Heath, Surrey)
o Crumbling Pre-cast stone bay Peter Charles Crew (Petersfield, Hampshire)
o Defeating penetrating rain Glyn Strong (Churchdown, Gloucester)
o Returning wood to a lighter stain Anna Rossiter (Hexham, Northumberland)
o Unreliable surveyors' diagnoses Maureen Wilkinson (Norwich, Norfolk)
  Archive from 2005  
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  Archive from 2002  
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