18 Days Until The Renovation Begins!

A Few Questions and any Advice You Can Give Before Will Be Useful :)

Hi all, I can’t believe it after being on here for so many months, but as the thread title suggests, in 18 days from today I will be getting the keys to my first house (BISF of course!) and will be starting on the renovation work immediately (god knows it needs it- hasn’t been touched since first construction!).

18 Days Until The Renovation Begins!

Now I’ve already booked my friend in to install a new combi boiler in the outhouse (which I will be converting into a proper part of the house) on day 1. Which means, on day 1, I will be removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room and will also start removing the horrendously sized fireplace, chimney and back-boiler (thanks to the guide on here), and this will of course have a knock on effect with the start my work on renovating and revamping the other rooms.

So, before I actually start, I do have a number of questions- but outside of these I’ve obviously read all the various incredibly useful threads (such as Ed’s insulation project etc) and see various comments from other people working on theirs (such as the fiddly noggins!).
So…. BEFORE I get to the stage of hindsight, is there anything you can recommend to make any particular job easier?
eg Has anyone figure out the best way to hang a new ceiling and make those pesky unsecured noggins easier to manage?
Is there a reason to start one particular room before another? etc etc.
Literally if there has been any job you have undertaken and in hindsight realised that if you had done something in a different order or anything, I would be really grateful to hear about it.
Now, on to my questions!

I’ve read Ed’s post a number of times and also found his original thread on another forum asking all sorts of questions around the most suitable insulation to use etc. A lot of what I have read still went WWAAAYYY over my head, however as part of this project I will be re insulating the entire house (as well as some soundproofing of the party wall). Now in his original forum post I read a lot of questions around condensation and the possible need for vapour barriers etc, reading his actual work thread though I cannot see this mentioned anywhere and whether or not he had to use one in the end. So, assuming I insulate the external walls in a very similar way to Ed  (ie using PIR board but then probably a top layer of rockwool or fibreglass type), is someone able to tell me whether I not I will or will not need a vapour barrier??

Front door:
I could be being a complete idiot here, but is the size of the front door on BISF houses quite a unique size?? The reason I ask is the measurement I took some time ago doesn’t seem to match any doors that I find on most websites… it could well be I took the measurement wrong, but could someone confirm this for me? lol thanks

So as you’ll all know if you have a BISF house with the original roof (may be the case even with light weight replacements?), there’s a big ol gap running the entire way around the edge of the roof, so big in fact birds and other animals could easily get in should they wish. I won’t be getting the roof replaced for a while (but it will be getting done as it is the original asbestos cement), but would of course like to prevent any wildlife etc getting through this gap- particularly because if a bird or something did get in, they could quite easily damage the roof when on the inside. So I just wonder if there is a easy way of closing this gap? I imagine its quite useful for ventilation but I assume replacement routes wont have it so must be fine if blocked up some how?

Thats all for now, so thanks in advance :)

Grangey :)


  1. Hello Grangey
    Congratulations by the way on securing your BISF property, I have been following many of your previous posts and been aware of the ups and downs that you have encountered. I must admit that I admire your enthusiasm and perseverance which is very refreshing to observe and I for would very much look forward to seeing your project develop through to fruition.

    Whilst not an authority on BISF renovation I do agree that much of the information shared on this unique website has proved invaluable to me and I must take my hat off to those who have taken the time to share experiences and even create step by step guides on various aspects of BISF renovation with Ed and Dougs posts springing to mind to name but a few.

    I do feel that this amazing resource is so often under used by so many owners who could so easily contribute to help others and I myself have been guilty of this in the past. I myself hope to be able to change this in the coming months by adding some of my own projects but on a smaller scale due to my limited abilities but I am sure that every little helps.

    Onto your questions, if I may offer some assistance.

    I think I am correct in saying that with regard to insulation, the use of a vapor barrier was not needed due to the combination of an existing steel sheet in the first floor construction and the need for ventilation and breath-ability. The most important factor was to allow for an air gap between the outer wall and insulation to avoid the risk of thermal bridging. Perhaps Ed may be able to confirm this as he does seem to have become a bit of an authority in this area due to the amount of extensive research he undertook prior to commencing work. That is of course if ED still frequents the site as I have not seen him on here much of late. I presume due to Winter hibernation like the rest of us. :)

    I do know that the front door of a BISF is not of a standard size. Most replacements that I have seen have seen tend to be made from timber or UPVC with a glazed side panel added to fill such a wide gap.

    In regard to the gap you mention, I have noted similar in my property but I also see what I can only describe as plastic inserts around one foot wide that have been fitted to reduce this gap. I shall try to obtain a photograph for you to see. They are easily removable and may well be a common roof fitting but I myself had not seen them before.

    I would like to add that I think your choice to remove the Kitchen wall and fireplace are both essential improvements needed to modernise these houses and are well worth the time and effort.

    I hope I have helped a little and I for one really do look forward to seeing the results.

    My very best
    DR J