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First Time Buyers considering SEAI Deep Retrofit Grant

  • 21-01-2022 10:12pm
    Registered Users Posts: 5,686 ✭✭✭

    Hey all, I could use some advice. We are First Time Buyers and got our house a few months ago. We are yet to move in because there is work to do on the house, and long story short, we ended up discussing the deep retrofit grant with a contractor. Our current house (3 bed dormer bungalow, ~96m2) is an BER E grade so could definitely benefit from the scheme. However the quote we got today was a fair bit steeper than we were expecting at an 80k initial outlay and then 20k back in grant funding, so a total of 60k net. We were expecting closer to 60k pre-grant.

    This will include the full works of New Windows and Doors, Exterior Insultation, Attic insulation, Air to Water Heat system, Ventilation system, and one stove. The idea of getting all that done and dusted up front and having the foundation of a warm dry house is appealing, however we also need a new kitchen, new bathroom and obviously to furnish the house..

    I had initially thought getting all this work done up front made more sense, but now I'm questioning it.. Is the Deep Retrofit really that much more beneficial over doing each part of the works one-by-one over a number of years? Each time I think about the works that need to be done my head just spirals..

    • We definitely need new windows and doors, and I don't think there is much point in getting those done without the exterior insulation being sorted.
    • I love the idea of the Air to Water heat system instead of Gas, and we need new rads as well (The existing ones are old and completely inefficient). I figure there is no point in putting down flooring, or painting the walls if we're only gonna be ripping it up to put in new rads, re-plumbing for the heat system etc..
    • We need a new kitchen but I don't think there is a point in doing this until the house is wrapped, the kitchen is already quite damp so I think putting in a new kitchen would be silly until the windows and doors + insulation are done
    • We want to knock one wall (I would argue is an absolute necessity), and move another wall to open up the bathroom a bit. Both of these will impact the size and layout of the kitchen so I go back to square one with needing to do the "core" works first..

    I'm completely confused.. Are we mad to consider the grant as a first step in our house journey? Are we better off doing it piece-by-piece?

    Would appreciate any insight anyone can offer..


  • Registered Users Posts: 686 ✭✭✭houseyhouse

    I was advised not to do anything to the house until we’d lived in it a full year. I think it’s good advice. You’ll learn things about the house, the light, etc that are very useful when deciding what changes to make. If the house was inhabited up to now then it’s probably livable. Having said that, getting it warm and cosy so in one will make it more pleasant to be in.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,827 ✭✭✭MicktheMan


    Minimum 4 seasons in the house before you decide on what to do and remember that just because there's a grant for something and your house qualifies for it does not automatically mean it's the best/right thing to do.

  • Registered Users Posts: 995 ✭✭✭iColdFusion

    Don't really agree with the responses above, if its a BER E its going to be cold and it would be best to get the messy energy upgrades out of the way before you move in so id plough ahead with windows, doors, external insulation, internal insulation etc right now, will be more cost efficient to do all in one go as builders hate piece meal work and charge a premium for the hassle plus it will be better for you to have all this work done now and then start with new kitchen, decorating, furniture etc.

    On heating id forget about a heat pump if you already have a gas connection in place and just get a new more efficient boiler, heat pumps are great and make sense for new builds because you avoid the cost of a gas connection but you have already paid for that and it will cost you money to remove it so sticking with gas will help you bring the whole thing back closer to the original budget.

  • Registered Users Posts: 664 ✭✭✭starbaby2003

    We were living in our house six years before a complete retrofit. I would NEVER do it again. You will be putting money into the house that will be ripped back out when you do the complete retrofit. If you have the money to do it, I would proceed. I can’t believe how comfortable our house is now. When people say X number of years it is usually to get a feel for the house for extensions/ knocking walls etc that is completely different to bringing your house up to spec. We did both extension worth waiting for A rated efficiency not worth waiting for if you can afford not to.

  • Registered Users Posts: 664 ✭✭✭starbaby2003

    On a side note, if you are getting external insulation and have floating floors make sure you get those taken up and insulated too, it’s not standard and makes such a difference.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 686 ✭✭✭houseyhouse

    I agree getting it cosy makes a huge difference but if you don’t know how you’re going to use the house long term you could end up wasting money, eg replacing windows that in the near future you decide to move/ block up/replace with a slider. To some degree this depends on the house. If you’re in a housing estate you’re going to be limited in what you can do to front of the house whereas if it’s a one off house (this house sounds like this could be either) then you have much more freedom.

    Agree 100% about not doing it piecemeal though.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,491 ✭✭✭hesker

    Currently living seven years in a cold house. Also looking at deep retrofit. I got the same quote as you but without ventilation or a stove. 150m2 for EWI.

    Costs are extortionate. I would happily do all the work myself but would have to take unpaid leave and there’s no way that’s happening.

    If I was you I would do it now. I’m sorry I didn’t do it years ago.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,584 ✭✭✭Yellow_Fern

    New windows and doors rarely are worth the cost. An exception might be where they are warped and cant be closed anymore

  • Subscribers Posts: 41,192 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat

    well thats a very wild generalisation.

    there are many, many reasons why replacing windows and doors will make complete sense for an energy upgrade.

    Aluminium frames with no thermal break.

    Wooden frames, usually for single glaze windows, usually showing signs of rot.

    PVC windows with broken seals, no low e coating, and no thermal break in frame.

    You could easily get a PVC window thats 20 years old that would have a u value of 2.8 or worse.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,584 ✭✭✭Yellow_Fern

    I am not disagreeing with you, strictly speaking, but making sense is not the same as paying for itself. The level of sense involved depends on your budget and many factors, size of windows etc. But there is far too much emphasis on windows in the media and I feel the need to constantly bang on against this. You mention 20 year PVC windows having a U value of 2.8, that is a terrible score, but if you are externally insulating, you have the opportunity make a huge impact on the temperature of perimeter of the window frame. Signs of rot can usually be safely treated. Single glaze wooden window can last 200 years in Irish climate with some love. If the goal is make a perfect luxury home sure, but if the goal is reduce heating bills, and carbon emissions with as little embodied carbon as possible, I am less convinced.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 13 thisprocessisnuts

    Hi I’m in the same situation as you & interested on what you decided . In my case I can’t afford to rent whilst all this work goes on