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How to survive in an uninsulated mass concrete cottage?

  • 26-05-2023 11:00am
    Registered Users Posts: 11


    Unfortunately my previous post got deleted to here it is again.

    I'd love to know if anyone has experience of living in an uninsulated 1950s mass concrete cottage?

    My partner and I bought such a property intending to renovate it but given the massive increase in building supply and labour costs, it actually makes more more sense to just build a new house on the site and then knock down the current cottage. We'd like to save on rent by moving into the cottage for a year or so but I'm really worried that it would be far too cold in the winter. I've never lived in a concrete property before. Note that we gutted the property soon after buying it.

    We thought we could install new windows, large wood burner, oil boiler system and loft insulation as these are things we can use in the new property. However not sure if that will be enough.

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated. To give you an idea, we'd need to heat three rooms - the living space which is HUGE (12 x 5 x 5m), a bedroom (5 x 5m) and a bathroom (2 x 5m).

    An alternative could be to buy a mobile home and live in that but I don't know if that would be more comfortable than the concrete cottage.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,726 ✭✭✭lalababa

    There are a raft of grants for insulating old houses. Look up .

    With poured concrete in a small cottage I'd say the way to go would be to wrap the outside.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Peshy101

    Thank you. Yes we looked into the grants but they don't really add up for us. Firstly, the insulation has to be done by an approved contractor which is fine, however they have all increased their prices by roughly the same amount as the grant. External insulation is definitely the way to go but the quotes we've received have been for €15-20k. Seeing as we're going to knock down the building eventually, this doesn't really make sense in our situation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,088 ✭✭✭herbalplants

    Always the case once those contractors are approved for the grants, the price go up, not sure what is the point for these grants.

    Why do you need to knock it down later? Why was your post deleted? Were you given a reason for being deleted?

    Living the life

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,981 ✭✭✭Glaceon

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,148 ✭✭✭Claw Hammer

    Build a log cabin inside which is capable of being dismantled. You should be as snug as a bug in a rug.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Peshy101

    Apologies had a few issues with my account so had it deleted and opened a new one. Have re--posted the question in case anyone is interested

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Peshy101

    We have enough land to build the new house first and then knock the old one down. There's no way the planners would accept keeping both. They've become very strict with regards to building in rural areas especially if you don't meet local needs which we don't

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Peshy101

    This is why I love the boards. Totally out of the box thinking. Thank you. It's a brilliant idea! I'll look into costs

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,064 ✭✭✭blackbox

    Obviously people have lived in it before.

    How bad can it be?

    Could you not put up with it for a couple of years until you build the new place?

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Peshy101

    Sure that’s why I’m asking as I haven’t lived in an uninsulated concrete property before so wanted to get an idea of other people’s experience. You make a good point re: precious owners. From what I can tell, the used wood burning stoves in all the rooms for heat. Not sure how they got hot water as the place had been left empty for at least 10 years.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,249 ✭✭✭cgcsb

    I once rented an end of terrace concrete 1950s house in a town. The attic was well insulated, all windows double glazed, front bedroom wall had a layer of internal insulation on the front wall. Despite this the house was BALTIC, my friends were getting me hot water bottles and electric blankets for christmas and birthday presents, and they were well used.

    The only heating was 3 electric storage heaters and a solid fuel stove in the living room. It cost me a FORTUNE and I was still frozen out of it. Once the storage heaters broke and I was 2 weeks without any heat in November so I got an electric fan heater and stayed elsewhere some nights. On the upside, nice and cool during the few hot summer days.

    For context I'm male, well built and was in my mid 20s at the time, I regularly swim in the Irish Sea with no issues, even in January. I'm really not one to moan about the cold but my god I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

    If you have gas or oil and good radiators I think that'd change things but really look into it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,804 ✭✭✭Alkers

    If you're going to be knocking it down don't spend a penny on doing it up!

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,781 ✭✭✭Odelay

    Damp will be your greatest issue. Store any possessions of value somewhere else. Maybe buy a dehumidifier, they should be cheap this time of year. Just check it will function at low temperatures, many do not.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,838 ✭✭✭gipi

    Do you have planning permission to build another property on your land? If you don't, you should look into that first, before deciding what to do with the old house.

  • Registered Users Posts: 345 ✭✭iniscealtra

    Agree with above poster regarding plannning. What about extending?

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 67,448 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    I would be more of the opinion that there's no way the planners will give you permission to build a new house and demolish a habitable one at the same time.

    It'll usually be a new house - local needs requirements entirely in place - or "extending" the existing one by keeping a subset of the walls.

    Get planning permission before doing any further things like the internal wall demolition you've already mentioned.

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,100 ✭✭✭✭Water John

    I think there is a total of about €70K available to do up a house such as this to live in it. This is outside of any SEAI grants. Consider doing it up and plan to incorporate it as part of a larger building in few years. no capital investment wasted. Seen some where the old house become the bedrooms of a larger building.

  • Registered Users Posts: 327 ✭✭delboythedub

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,148 ✭✭✭Claw Hammer

    No planning permission is needed to demolish internal walls unless it is a protected structure or there is a condition in the original grant of planning permission requiring it.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 67,448 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    I know. I meant that they are making the house very uninhabitable when they may need to use the house still

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,954 ✭✭✭spaceHopper

    Spend and few hundred euros and talk to an architect about how to restore the cottage, look around are there other cottages that have been kept, see what they did, even knock the door and ask them.

    If you are determined to knock it. I'd use electric IR heating panels that heat the objects in the room and not the air itself.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,148 ✭✭✭Claw Hammer

    The house is hardly an less inhabitable by virtue of having internal wall removed!

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 67,448 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    Across the two threads it's been revealed that there's one giant impossible to heat room in it now.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,217 ✭✭✭deandean

    OP I lived for 20 years in a mass concrete 1930s house. What I suggest to you is the following.

    Eliminate all drafts (the first rule of getting your house warm).

    Insulate the attic.

    Don't bother spending €40k or whatever on new windows and external wall insulation. Being honest about it you won't get a return on your investment.

    Accept that you are going to spend a lot of money heating it. So if you have oil fired central heating, budget an extra €1k per anum for oil. Put in bigger radiators and even a bigger boiler if you need to.

    This is not the most environmentally sustainable solution but it's the best financially.

    Best of luck!

  • Registered Users Posts: 426 ✭✭chrisd2019

    Might I suggest you post some pics of the property in its current condition to assist with the advice.