Buying, selling or running a home – everything you need to know about your home and garden!


Carbon dioxide emissions are now considered to be one of the main causes of the greenhouse effect. Consequently the environmental lobby is forcing governments to constantly upgrade their recommended minimum insulation specifications on new and converted property. The government is also attempting to encourage the use of more efficient heating systems by providing grant aid. None of us likes paying too much for energy and therefore insulation, draft proofing and upgrading heating systems should be considered.


Loft insulation is in most cases the most cost-effective way of improving the thermal efficiency of a dwelling and can pay for itself in less than two years. Loft insulation should be a minimum of 200mm thick.

If you have attic rooms, improvements can be obtained by using a foil-backed thermal plasterboard, which could be used with solid board insulation sandwiched between the new and original plaster.

As you upgrade insulation to the roof space, the roof will become cooler in the winter and therefore all pipework and header tanks will require additional insulation. Care should also be taken in order to avoid reducing the ventilation in the roof space.


Insulation in walls could be investigated. Before installing cavity wall insulation, however, you first need to confirm the construction of your home.

You must never install cavity wall insulation in a timber-framed house. The timber framework requires ventilation; insulation could all but eliminate this and can cause serious rot to occur in the main supports to the structure.

Cavity wall insulation will pay for itself quite quickly, in approximately three to four years.


To achieve the best from your windows should be double glazed and draught proofed.

Sliding windows that are original can in many cases be double glazed though only a glazier would be able to confirm. If there is stained glass there are systems that sandwich the original glass in the double glazed unit, retaining much of the original appearance.

Draught proofing

All windows should be draught proofed, there are a number of systems that are available from DIY stores to do this.


Doors should close snugly and be draught proofed. The letterbox can have a brush style draught excluder. Again, there are a number of systems that are available at your DIY store.