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1960 bungalow renovation & extension

  • 21-10-2022 8:31am
    Registered Users Posts: 11

    Hi, we are at the planning stage of renovation & extension of a 1500 sq ft / 140 sq m 1960's bungalow. Large site, easy access, Louth.

    Renovation include filling cavity floor with concrete, changing some interior walls, closing up entrance doorway, plumbing, wiring, internal slab insulation re-rendering exterior etc. Extension two story of 1350 sq ft / 125 sq m. Also a garage of 600 sq ft / 55 sq m.

    Many questions...

    Any similar experience, recommendation, estimate of costs per sq ft / m would be appreciated.

    Advice about heating system, oil system at the moment, were thinking of underfloor air to water heat pump (for whole house or extension) and solar.

    It's all beginning to sound expensive.



  • Registered Users Posts: 39 Parkender

    If you can include external insulation (especially as you mentioned external render) and MHRV you may be thankful down the road. I didn't have to renovate our 1930's cottage as it had work done on it but that was 14 years ago. Put in MHRV (best investment ever) as there were no vents in most of the rooms - so we now have no mold problems (and less illnesses etc.). Stuck with oil as I haven't completed external insulation yet myself. I think a heat pump system may struggle without the house being as airtight as possible so only you will be able to judge that. Solar is on my to do also but wafer thin roof needs replacing and that's v expensive at the moment. MHRV though is ideal to install (I would imagine) in a single story when being renovated - may not be as easy after. I personally would prioritise that alongside external insulation if needs be. Best of luck.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 j_the_ostrich

    Thaks, very much appreciated, we hadn't been considering a HRV system, but it makes sense as we will be doing quite a lot of works in the old bungalow and the attic space is available.

    Because of airtightness in the original bungalow, and that we will likely spend the majority of our time in the extension (2 bedrooms upstairs, kitchen & tv snug downstairs) we need advice whether we should have effectively two separate heating systems:

    -keeping the oil in the original bungalow and lesser used rooms,

    -and a heat pump in the extension which we can build to a suitable standard.

    I don't know the capacity of solar, what combination is possible for electricity for a heat pump, assistance with hot water, and assistance with heating. Any thought would be helpful.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,758 ✭✭✭MicktheMan

    OP, you may pick up some useful information / ideas from this article

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,014 ✭✭✭TimHorton

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,204 ✭✭✭zg3409

    Beware heat pumps can cost more than oil particularly if your house is not new and not super insulated and air tight. Electricity prices have doubled recently. Oil has doubled too but may come down.

    Do you have access to mains gas? In the past that was cheapest but it's double at present.

    Wood pellets burners were cheap but prices have gone right up recently and you need a very big store compared to oil.

    Beware solar only provides enough energy to heat hot water in summer not winter and it won't ever heat whole house. Unless you go mad on solar it's not really a heating source beyond water for showers. Ho for solar but don't expect too much.

    Consider under floor insulation if digging up floors. In these days insulation is key, and cheapest is attic so ideally go for 350mm of cheap fibreglass or similar. If renovating walls then consider extreme wall insulation. Use low flow vents and consider all vents carefully.

    Before starting any work get good advice from designer but also a real builder as to what are cheaper options. Get firm quotes and beware costs are riding monthly. Consider if you can afford it and if it makes financial sense. Look at seai grants and full retrofit grants. Look at alternatives such as moving to an already completed house. Renovations can easily take 3 years, can cause you to need to move out and rent at a massive rent cost (if you can find anywhere to rent) and it can be 1+ years before builders even start any work. It can be start stop due to availability of workers and materials with things like windows taking months and basic supplies out of stock.

    I would be very hesitant to start a big job with a possible recession coming and value of finished house possibly less than you spent on it. If you go to sell when finished the mortgage may be higher than value meaning you can't sell.

    Costs are hard to predict, often depending on how far you go, a new kitchen can cost 50k, bathrooms 12k each easily, couches and tables often costing thousands each. You need a big budget and a big reserve and firm quotes based on a locked design before starting anything. It can spiral out of control easily and banks may stop lending, or giving stage payments part way through the project if banks have trouble getting funds cheap on international market.

    Post edited by zg3409 on

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  • Subscribers Posts: 39,897 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat


    Much much more likely that electricity prices will fall to a more regular level then oil in the medium term.

    In the long term it's a practical guarantee that oil prices will continue to rise faster than electricity

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 j_the_ostrich

    Many thanks to all, the advise is much appreciated. Thank you Micktheman for the very helpful article, and the time zg3049 took to write thoughts in detail.

    There are some recommendations that seem consistent...

    Floors: Original cavety floors filled with concrete and insulated. Has anyone recommendations about the insulation?

    Walls: Extreme insulation; Rockwool mechanical fixed to exterior and finished render, batt edges butted to prevent air flow at back. Has anyone thoughts about adding interior wall insulation? I've had recommendations to add an insulation board to the interior of all perimeter walls.

    Attic: 350mm of fiberglass.

    Ceilings: 300mm cellulose on 100mm fibreglass between ceiling joists. For predominantly sound purposes (work nights regularly) I am hoping to afford a concrete upper floor / ceiling in the extension, has anyone found an effective, cheaper way to reduce noise from ground level to upper floor?

    Ventilation: MVHR system. Somone told me they found in their system that the returning air seemed cold, is this typical? Is there an economical system (solar?) that could assist keeping the air warm? (Forgive me is this is daft; I need to rule out a lot of stupid within me)

    Heating, It seems I should only proceed with a heat pump with caution after specialist assessment, and I've been reading testimony's of very high electricity costs for some. The house may not be suitable. I'm in complete agreement that oil is going to go only one way, but the costs of changing to electrical are prohibitive and gas isn't an easy option either. I'm trying to weigh up the cost of moving away from an oil system v's the costs of the oil over the years. I'm still looking into wood pellets. There will be a solid fuel / wood burning stove, perhaps a back boiler? Anyone thought about keeping the oil and using a back boiler would be great. Certainly control for different heating zones, and SEAI grants if possible for the retrofit.

    Solar: Helping out with hot water/ PV array. Ther is a generous availability of south facing roof. Any recommendations for other assistance form solar, or missteps to avoid?

    Doors: Spring closing exterior doors, and doors between heating zones. Mostly because kids don't seem to like closing doors.

    Affordability is a real concern, (again thank you to zg3049) I really appreciate the pragmatic real world advice. At today's prices we simply can't afford to get it wrong and need to make changes later. So like anyone else, I'm thinking of the greatest return for investment, within the budget we have. It's a blessing that we will not need to live in the house or rent while it is under works.

    We have access to storage nearby the site, should we consider buying materials and storing them before beginning works to avoid delivery delays and associated costs? If so has anyone thoughts on what materials are most prone to such problems/ which should we consider for purchase and storage?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,758 ✭✭✭MicktheMan

  • Registered Users Posts: 42 BAABAA96

    Hi All,

    I'm in a similar situation. I've just bought an old ex-council house in Dublin (I believe from the 1930's). The BER advice we got was a little frightening and the costs involved would prohibitive to get everything done at this stage.

    Would anyone have recommendations on where to start with bringing up the energy rating of the house?

    In my head I would probably do the following, then try to save towards some of the other jobs:

    1 - Attic insulation - Everyone I've spoken with said I should DIY this, even with the grant available. Anyone with similar experience, or anyone that has got a professional to do it? I'm not the handiest of people

    2 - Windows and doors - We have someone organised to look at these but basically the windows are doors are old and leaking heat (tangible drafts on some)

    3 - New flooring - we have picked out a nice 12mm wood floors with a heavy underlay

    4 - heating controls upgrade - The boiler seems to actually work well so I dont think it needs replacement, but getting better control over the time and zone of the house that gets heated is surely worth investing in?

    If anyone has any recommendations please let me know!!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,072 ✭✭✭monseiur

    Attic insulation can be DIY but it's a pig of a job and you need good quality PPE especially face mask & goggles. Fit at least 350mm and allow for vents at eaves etc. If budget allows consider internal insulation on external walls, this is the ideal time to do it when you're replacing windows & doors. As most rads will have to be taken down to fit internal insulation your plumber can fit individual thermostatic valves when refitting them. If central heating pipework is old and is gun barrel consider replacing them with copper, all can be surface fitted except at door etc.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 42 BAABAA96

    Pig of a job doesnt sound like my type of work tbh. I'm a number cruncher for a living so anything manual labour wise is not something im very good at!

    With the internal insulation is that going to make the floor space smaller?

    Ant the pipework you mentioned is that for throughout the whole house? whats the benefits of copper over gunbarrel? im not sure what mine even are

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,072 ✭✭✭monseiur

    I'm not a plumber but I understand that gun barrel tends to rust/rot over time both from the inside and outside if in a damp area, unlike copper which is a lifetime job if done right but is obviously more expensive. There may be grants available to upgrade controls etc. on your heating system, check SEAI website for info.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,072 ✭✭✭monseiur

    Forgot to mention that internal insulation on exterior wall will reduce width/length or room by 62.5mm - the insulation is 50mm thick + the plaster slab is 12.5mm Plaster slabs with thicker insulation are available, but you'd need a minimum of 50mm insulation.