Historic houses - advice forum

I know there are a few people here that own ‘listed’ or at least very old properties (UK). I’m trying to find the best web sites and forums to go for advice and other owners in similar houses.

Any suggestions please?

What about Listed Property Owners Club? Good/Bad/Waste of time?



LPOC is an excellent source of advice and well worth the membership fee.

Their listed homes insurance is also worth checking out.

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I should imagine buying a house in the UK with a grade 1 listing would make it difficult. Watched a great episode of Grand Design last night where a young couple bought a 200 year old place on a river. Unfortunately the local authority declared it unsafe and ordered it to be demolished, which was the first after all the years of watching. To their credit they built a beautiful modern wood structure (imo) and rebuilt the stone walls around it.

Buying these heritage (graded) buildings comes with a lot of responsibility and often increased costs.


Having Grade II isn’t too much extra hassle; it’s just a case, mainly, of retaining the look and character… so no flat roof extensions or plastic windows. However, tbh, we’d never want to do this sort of thing anyway.

Grade II* (or higher) can be REALLY expensive with EVERYTHING maintained and built as it was when first listed. Spoke to the agent and they were saying they had a II* on the books and the estimated refurbish bill was twice the sale price of the house.

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I’ve done the online insurance quote thing; I’ll see what they come back with. SAGA and Aviva are both around the £400pa mark with Aviva being unlimited contents cover.

If the quote is good AND the house purchase actually happens (last biggy is the septic tank) then I’ll sign up.

If you are moving to an area like where I live … ie no mains sewage, no mains gas etc… do check if oil heating and hot water, state of the oil tank. If it’s relatively modern, it will be plastic and be sound… if older it is likely steel and could be in a rough way…. and can be a bit lumpy on finances to replace if not expecting.
Good thing though domestic heating oil has been cheaper than gas sometimes massively so in recent years.

The other thing to check is the mains fuse and utility feed… ideally you want it rated at 100 amps, and if overhead feed, there is a good chance it will be … what with all our electric car chargers will be needing over the next 10 years or so.


I don’t think they’ll be cheaper than Saga & Aviva, but you will need to check that their policies offer the same buildings cover, as the LPOC one is specifically tailored to listed properties.

FWIW the buildings/contents on my Grade II property is around £1500 per year (although that does include quite a lump to cover my wife’s jewellery).

Good luck with the purchase, if you decide to go ahead with it.

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Wow!!! £1.5K… cripes.

I have lived in two ‘B’ listed cottages for the last 45 years, the listing system is different depending on which country you live in, I’m in Scotland.
I have never found house insurance problematic or unnecessarily expensive, most companies ask standard questions re year of construction, building listing etc.
In terms of specific web sites or forums, whilst there are general guidelines regarding listing the most relevant information/constraints will relate to the specific area/local authority/planning department.

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The biggest single piece of advice I would give about older houses is to maintain breathability. Vinyl (plastic) emulsion paints, gypsum plasters, rubber backed carpets, glass fibre or foam insulations, sealant this that or the other all basically stop moisture moving through the structure of a house. This generally means it gets trapped inside the brickwork instead and the result is a cold wall and condensation on the inside where warm air meets a cold surface. This makes the house cold and damp. If you keep it breathable then you have half a chance of keeping it dry and things are a lot happier, and warmer. There’s some good online resources about this, some of them verging on rants about the damp proof industry but the premise of allowing moisture to move and escape is sound.


I find Peter Ward’s vids on YT to be very good - and having engaged with a hopeless damp-proof person, all they wanted to do was ‘drill & inject’, with no awareness of the structure of the building.

Above said, it seems management of moisture in older properties can now be managed via the installation of heat-exchanging fans, although I think the m.o. must be to avoid pushing furniture against external walls and alike.


arrr… yes. He’s the guy getting annoyed over damp meters.

Ah yes damp meters… be careful. Ensure the operator really knows what they are doing and distinguishing between condensation… common in solid walls and actual rising damp… rising damp tends to produce visible salts and puffed plaster… advice from @HappyListener above spot on, air gap furniture to external solid walls… and yes accept occasionally over time you may get a bit of black mold in out of the way corners, but so easy to clean away. Old houses were never designed for the temperatures many have their houses today, or our higher humidity levels.

But if rising damp, luckily these days, unless there is some sort of structural issue or drainage issue it’s so easy to deal with and manage through modern chemical injection… if you don’t mind re plastering afterwards.

Like a lot of dales houses, this one is built into a hillside. Most of the rear wall has been dug down and an external membrane put against the wall; so that part’s fine. The end of the house though was a barn which has been converted to a utility room. There are signs of damp coming through. The surveyor said either tank it (the walls) or live with it. Easy to fix one way or the other.

Our big issue is a very old septic tank that really needs replacing… that part’s easy. Then there’s the soak away pipes that run off under a neighbours field with nothing written to ensure long term access or permission. :frowning:

That’s true for brick walls, but many stone walls with irregular joints, voids, and a very high ratio of lime mortar : stone are not easy to inject. I’ve done it on a couple of old stone houses as it’s cheap and reasonably easy, but the results can be hit and miss.

Injection has been tried to a short section to the rear of aforementioned house; the surveyor wasn’t very complimentary.

Yes, I did it because it only costs a few quid and I thought it might help but I wouldn’t expect it to work as a complete DPC in the way it should on a brick wall.

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Sure, but many old brick walls are lime mortar too, and luckily none of mine have failed touch wood.

I guess an alternate if not using inserted rubber membranes or chemicals is to do what was originally done, and indeed I have on some of my current house, insert a slate layer… but have not heard of anyone doing that recently. But again might not be practical with thick stone walls.

Slate works well, although I’ve seen it crack on old houses where there has been movement. Many old houses had little or no foundations to support the wall compared to modern standards so a bit of movement was common.

With stone walls there is often no continuous mortar course that can be followed either through the wall or along it, and what there is might vary in thickness from nothing up to a 2 or 3 inches. Thus a continuous DPC is pretty much impossible to install.

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Yes, and the walls are 700mm thick! :wink: