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...

  January 2005  
o How should I finish our beams? Lucienne Rickerd (Northamptonshire)
o Noise insulation advice required on a tight budget? Anonymous (Buckinghamshire)
o Cellar prone to flooding raises concerns. Simon Bower (Greater Manchester)
o Will the use of a sealant help stop my bricks spalling? Lesley Walton (Devon)
o Will a spray applied foam help to insulate my attic room? Rory Moore (Yorkshire)
o Are the builders re-pointing my stonework with the correct lime mix? Vivienne Dyer (Gloucestershire)
o Oxfordshire giant seeks more headroom. James Hogan (Oxfordshire)
o Solution required to reduce dust and spiders from thatched roof. Mags Miller (Suffolk)
o 14th Century beauty requires intensive care. Suzanne Albert (Suffolk)
o Potential noise from single-skin brick wall needs addressing. Lorraine Horley (Buckinghamshire)
o Advice required on potential re-thatching of cottage. Sally Ives (Devon)
  March 2005  
o Cracking plaster blamed on poor bricks by plasterers Michael Lavin (Cheshire)
o No it's not listed. But, it is now. Alan England (Leamington Spa)
o People selling us house leave out information from sellers information pack. Colin Kunz (Surrey)
o Sleeping with Fungus Chris Greenshields (Cornwall)
o Village pump falls on hard times Julia Hardy (Devon)
o UPVC window double whammy Louise Doolin (Gloucestershire)
o Solicitor allegedly fails to spot that a property is listed. Mrs Anonymous (Cheshire)
o Insurer puts collapsed ceiling down to wear & tear. Diane Sharrier (Greater London)
o Flying freehold creates noisy problem Jenny Black (Greater London)
o Does our soleplate really need replacing? Edna Carey (Cambridgeshire)
o Who owns the loft in a converted property? Kirsty Jordan (Buckinghamshire)
o Drunken driver & insurer cause headache for listed property owner. Melissa Akin (Hertfordshire)
o Multi-coloured oak flooring needs revitalising Peter Wheelen (Shropshire)
o Poor condition of paint stripped timbers leads to query on how to finish wood. Margaret Kelley (Lancashire)
o How do I enhance the colour of my beams? Janice Bignell (Hertfordshire)
  May 2005  
o Good deed leads to builder leaving trail of disaster John Hayton (Tyne and Wear)
o Can we cut trees down in conservation area? Hazel Paul (Greater London)
o Are traditional well construction experts all extinct? David Cane (Norfolk)
o Do we require fireproof doors in new loft conversion? Tamara Davis (Greater London)
o Sinking floors in Victorian semi Lynda McAfee (Dorset)
o What mix should I use to render a wall in exposed spot on coast? Michael McAuliffe (East Sussex)
o Woodworm concealed in boards under new laminate floor. Caroline McIntyre (Edinburgh)
o Advice required for ancient glass repair. Lisa Whitehead (Lincolnshire)
o Neighbour complains of strange smells from my chimney Christine Turner (Staffordshire)
o Do we require a FENSA certificate to replace our windows? Mike Taylor (Dorset)
o Is my slate roof porous? Andrew Newton (Yorkshire)
o Did insurer make specification error on repair of flood damage? Jessica Yeung (Wiltshire)
o Should I seal my exposed brickwork? Denise Tinant (Hertfordshire)
o Building inspector suggests we need to replace our flagstone floor with concrete. Geraldine Horner (Derbyshire)
  June 2005  
o Let there be light Vanessa Davies (Somerset)
o Do I need listed building consent for decking? Nick Davies (Berkshire)
o Will damp be a concern in buried property? Andrew Moss (Lancashire)
o Flaky, dry beam raises concerns over structural integrity. Dominic Taylor (Derbyshire)
o Am I allowed to paint the exterior of my cottage whatever colour I want? Sally Kingham (Devon)
o It's been tanked, but it's still damp. Lucy Williams (Greater London)
o Are permethryn insecticides safe for pets? Janet Soley (Lincolnshire)
o Am I responsible for building a firewall? Sue Jackson (Devon)
o Colour of pub leads to complaints to council Julianne Watkins (Oxfordshire)
o What do I do after receiving disappointing damp & timber report? Louisa King (Surrey)
o Will we be required to reinstate the interior of a listed cottage? Kimberly Wide (Devon)
o Victorian drains cause nasty smells for flat occupants. David Fennell (East Sussex)
o Filler on external timbers raises rot concerns. Jon Gibbs (Hampshire)
o What precautions should we take when using insecticides internally? Paul Cousins (Kent)
o Should I use tanking slurry? Jane Tigwell (Hampshire)
o Has insertion of DPC led to severe condensation problem? Ben Taylor (Gwent)
o Sound insulation solution required for Victorian flats. Shane McNeelance (Greater London)
o Frost damaged bricks may lead to problem when selling property. John Turner (Greater London)
o Leaky bathroom leads to potential claims for damages. Veronica Smith (Strathclyde)
  August 2005  
o Determined damp patch Emma Sheward (Staffordshire)
o Cleaning a lime ash floor Amy Dinsdale (Devon)
o Structual movement David Fletcher (Suffolk)
o Rain ingress David Howes (Suffolk)
o Noises from the loo Dillian Warman (Wiltshire)
o Foil backed wall paper. Jake Barlow (East Sussex)
o Replace the roof or not? Helen Slack (Yorkshire)
o Damp ... again Stephen Flint (Oxfordshire)
o DPCs Kate Williams (Wiltshire)
o Investigating a damp problem Geraldine Timlin (Hampshire)
o Care for chalk cob cottage Louise Payne (Devon)
o Wallpaper stripping Alan Newland (Greater London)
o Re-housing bats Sarah Else (Greater London)
o Sealing timber and brick Karen Norton (Shropshire)
  September 2005  
o Restoring a packed earth floor Caroline Payne (Surrey)
o Ten year old damp Cathy Smith (Hertfordshire)
o Can we avoid a chemical injection? Gill Korszanski (Dumfries and Galloway)
o Chimney liners - stainless steel or in-site cast concrete? Richard Buller (Northamptonshire)
o Pesky sparrows Robert Woolf (Cambridgeshire)
o Our Victorian house is cold and draughty Jenny Steadman (Cheshire)
o After the fire... Anonymous (Cheshire)
o 'Clinker' built house Nadine Cordell (Hertfordshire)
o Who owns that derelict property? Lindsey Wale (West Glamorgan)
o Confused by damp specialists Lyn Taylor (Essex)
o Tank damp Ms. Neilson (Greater London)
o Putting back a staircase Paul Nurton (Essex)
o How to shave a cow Adrian Rudd (Derbyshire)
o How can we convince the Building Control Officer? Jenny Bishop (Essex)
o Our sandstone has turned to sand Ruth Aldis (East Sussex)
o Are wooden beams in our chimney a fire hazard? Emma Hawkins (Hampshire)
  October 2005  
o Soil pipes - inside or outside? David Gould (Northumberland)
o Is the damage caused my responsibility? Micheal McAuliffe (East Sussex)
o Willl the installation of wall ties cause the damp? Stephen Murr (West Sussex)
o Has my 100+ year old wood still got moisture in it? Richard Wolferstan-Bannister (Bristol)
o Is the tarmac public path causing damp to my walls? Richard Bailie (Lancashire)
o Turps and Linseed Oil David Morrow (Somerset)
o Filling the space where the timber meets the lowest row of bricks Stuart Cox (West Sussex)
o Find the root cause of damp Sue Woodville (Greater London)
o Both the plaster and the paint are falling off the wall in chunks! Ken Bell (Norfolk)
o Once central heating is introduced will the damp rise? Christine Sage (Somerset)
o Resale adversely affected by past structural movement Ruth Blay (Greater London)
o Left with a house, which we can't sell or remortgage Helen Middlemas (Peterhead)
o Strange chimney breast John Downe (West Sussex)
  Archive from 2005  
  Archive from 2004  
  Archive from 2003  
  Archive from 2002  
  Archive from 2001