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...

  October-November 2003  
o It's alive and growing beneath the floorboards. Andrew Loder (Gwent)
o How do I create a suspended timber floor. Elizabeth Woodman (West Sussex)
o Limewater can help solve dust problem. Fiona Baldwin (Norwich)
o Shelter coat of limewash will help to protect stonework. Jonathan Pickard (Northampton)
o Uninhabited Scottish mansion poses problems for DJ. Dennis Johnstone (Skipton)
o DPC company provides incorrect advice for Clunch property. Angela Barkes (Cambridgeshire)
o So-called professionals fail to give correct advise on damp gable end wall. Andrew Parkin (Pembrokeshire)
o Solving condensation may require a lifestyle makeover. Ian Johnstone (Somerset)
o Noisy neighbours are driving us bonkers. Lucy Brown (Manchester)
o Efflorescence on stonework raises damp concerns Brian Phillips (Gloucestershire)
  September 2003  
o Should I seal my repaired brick worth with Thompson Water Seal? Stephen Ledger (Sheffield)
o Surveyors provide conflicting advice concerning damp. Karen Rhodes (Edinburgh)
o Advice required for chimney stripping. Steve Collins (Essex)
o Increased ventilation & limewash finish for police station bathroom. Andrew Warburton (Borders of Scotland)
o Water seeps through our 3ft thick walls Sian Thomas (Highlands and Islands)
o Advice required for work on non-listed property e.g building regulations. David Penrose (Suffolk)
o 1 part cement to 4 sand - is this right? Ian Perry (Somerset)
o Does my roof really need underfelt? Beverley Dodd (Cambridgeshire)
  July-Aug 2003  
o Cut tie leads to movement in thatched cottage Lucy Clayden (Hertfordshire)
o Seek independent advice. Maud Lemee (East Sussex)
o Damp party walls in the actic. Mark Ford (Dorset)
o Sump pump makes more sense than tanking in damp cellar. Cathy Mayes (Cambridgeshire)
o Wasps invade thatched roof.. Mandi Randall Cramp (Essex)
o Injected chemical DPC should be your last resort Andrew Kershaw (Tyne and Wear)
o Should I sandblast stone floor to remove adhesive Graham Sephton (Yorkshire)
o Lime ash floors should be as reliable as modern flooring materials Richard Porter (Leicestershire)
o So-called damp experts offer confused advice Alistair Saddington (Berkshire)
o Cottage built into hill poses damp problems Adrian Andreou (Greater Manchester)
o Modern wonder-solutions which seal external walls may aggravate damp & spalling problem. Ryan Gearing (East Sussex)
o Roof insulation advice sought John Astleford (Lincolnshire)
o External drainage system required to deal with damp Graham Boycott (Yorkshire)
  June 2003  
o What should we finish our new oak windows with? Tessa Collinson (West Sussex)
o Surveyor's verdict on oak roof structure could jeopardise sale. Ian Bagshawe (Derbyshire)
o Island cottage suffers in hands of its former surveyor owner. Mike Henley (Nottingham)
o Should my underfloor heating system be incorporated into a concrete floor? Jaqy Halstead (Lincolnshire)
o Cracked & spoiled plaster around wood burner flue raises concerns. Dave Mortlock (Colchester)
o Wonky oak floor may leads to furniture problem Susan Daltrey (Kent)
o Dead cat or pheasant may solve septic tank problem Ruby Turner (Hampshire)
o External masonry paint seals in damp Mark Kerrison (Norfollk)
o How do I deal with flaky & bubbling paint in the cellar Carol Smith (Surrey)
o Should we use traditional paints if our property is being repaired with traditional materials Suzy Jackson (Hampshire)
o How do we clean smoke-damaged beams? Robert Hughes (Cambridgeshire)
o Severe flooding causes water to come up through the floorboards Laura Michalczyk (Hertfordshire)
  May 2003  
o Leaky chimney drives us to tears. Jane Smith (Yorkshire)
o Re-instate internal render to hide & protect flaky bricks. Caroline Richardson (Essex)
o Trampolining kids cause ceiling problems William O'Brien (Norfolk)
o Cellar conversion advice David Ilbert (Cheshire)
o Advice needed to build doorway in cob cottage. Kim Chadwick (Cornwall)
o Clicking noises in friends' house leads to concerns. Lilibet Taylor (Kent)
o Cement render on rubble walls leads to damp problems Tony McNicholl (Gwynedd County)
o Should disused chimney flues be vented? Ross Easton (Central Scotland)
  April 2003  
o Limewashing problems in Cellar. Chris Duncan (Bristol)
o Paint source required to match colours used in market town. Simon Walstrom (Buckinghamshire)
o Does central heating draw damp into a property & advice concerning insulating roof space? Graham Earl (Eastbourne)
o Does tar seepage from chimney present health hazard? Duncan Haigh (Hampshire)
o Removal of chimney to maximise space. Carol McCaffery (Berkshire)
o Should we remove harling to reveal external stone walls? Sarah Benfield (Fife)
o Should we use a RICS or TAS surveyor for the full structural survey of our thatched property. Bob Gee (Berkshire)
o Can I have sash windows dipped to remove paint? Keith Wade (Hertfordshire)
o Efflorescence leads to concerns over appearance of chimney. Nicholas Coope (Cambridgeshire)
  March 2003  
o How to spot woodworm. Nadine Cordell (Hertfordshire)
o Pebble-dash victim strikes back. Paul Robinson (Greater London)
o How do I protect my flagstone floors from damp. Geoffrey Watson (Durham)
o Conflicting advice from plasterers concerning lime. Donald Black (Colchester)
o Surveyor urges caution over purchase of sandstone house. Sue Lenton (Cheshire)
o Ghostly damp patches re-appear. Carolyn Moore (Horsham)
o Concrete sills & PVCu windows .can you be serious? Steve Dixon (Exeter)
  Jan-Feb 2003  
o Period dream turns into maritime adventure in our own house. Sharon Gould (Hampshire)
o Bad odour gives rise to concerns. Mrs R Cant (Berkshire)
o Damp barn wall remedy required. Nigel Sarbutts (Lancashire)
o Novice seeks calming word before buying alleged damp & insect plagued cottage. Lynee Vitale (Somerset)
o Should I use a modern waterproofing coating for my stone wall? Paul Hancock (Yorkshire)
o Can I construct a new doorway in a lath & plaster wall Julie Joss (Hampshire)
o Successive re-laying of road surface leads to penetrative damp on my front wall Carol Granger (West Sussex)
o Noisy neighbours disturb cottage tranquillity Richard Flack (Norfolk)
  Archive from 2005  
  Archive from 2004  
  Archive from 2003  
  Archive from 2002  
  Archive from 2001