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Keeping the winter out of your home.

Winter has arrived in the last few weeks. Would you have any quick tips for keeping winter out of my home?

One of the biggest culprits for heat loss in your home are the front and back doors.  Here’s a quick tip to find out if your exterior doors are well insulated. Once it’s dark, stand outside your front door and shine a torch around the edges of the door. Someone standing on the inside of the door should see any light seeping in. That's where a cold breeze can enter. 

Tips for insulating my home

Do you have any tips for insulating my home?

With fuel costs rising and another cold winter forecast, it makes sense for homeowners to improve the insulation in their home. A number of grant schemes and incentives are available for eligible homeowners to improve the energy quality of their homes. You can check out your eligibility with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

The attic is a good place to start as up to 35% of heat loss can occur through the roof. Usually the attic is easily accessible and improving insulation here can be done relatively cheaply. You can choose from a number of types of insulation from the widely used fibreglass and rockwool to more environmentally friendly options like thermo-hemp, sheepwool and woodfibre insulation.

Attic Conversions - What should you know?

 Q. I am thinking about converting the attic of our 3-bed semi detached house in Galway City. Before making any decision however, I would like to get an idea of the project requirements, the suitability of our attic space for such a conversion, the duration of such a project and what effect such a conversion would add to the re-sale value of the house. Can you please help?

Irish Independent Article - Ask the Expert: How to re-grout your bath

Q. The grout around my bath is unsightly, is it difficult to replace?

A. Bath and shower tiles get a lot abuse. Whenever you shower or take a bath, they get eroded with water as well as soap. Afterwards you use bleach and other chemicals to clean the same tiles. All of this abuse will cause the grout between and around bath tiles to become discoloured and worn. When grout becomes worn, it dries and cracks. When grout is damaged, it needs to be replaced with new grout. It is not a difficult one but it is slow and tedious. You can hire a qualified professional at or you can tackle the job yourself.

How to maintain your decking.

Q: With the recent good weather we have been out on our small garden deck most evenings. I have noticed that it is beginning to show signs of wear and tear – with some rotten planks and discoloured areas appearing. Can you give me some advice on how to maintain decking and to prevent this in the future? Thanks, Chris, Galway.

A: As I write from the confines of my office on the warmest day of the year so far, I am filled with envy at the thought of you out relaxing outdoors on your sunny garden deck! No doubt many families across the country are realising the very same benefits that decking provides at the moment – and long may it continue!'s weekly Irish Independent Article - Ask the Expert: How do we get rid of a foul bathroom smell?


How do we get rid of a foul bathroom smell?

Recently we moved in to a house built in 1960 and started to notice a constant and foul smell from the en suite bathroom in the master bedroom. A plumber cut off a drainage pipe outside of the house but it didn't work. We also tried to bleach the toilets and it didn't work either. Can you please tell us what might be the cause and how to fix it? Many thanks, Amy.

DIY: Does a cracked tile mean we will have to replace the bathroom wall?


I have noticed a cracked tile in our bathroom wall. Can you please tell me how to replace it without having to retile the entire wall surface?

Replacing a cracked tile can be an easy job if you take the proper care and follow the correct procedure.

How to pick the perfect colours for your paint job


Q. I am a novice looking to paint the interior of my home. Can you give me some advice on colour schemes and how to get started?

A. Painting the interior of your home can be an extremely rewarding exercise. In embarking on this kind of project you have the opportunity to change the entire look and feel of each room, the perspective of each area and influence the general mood of its occupants. No mean feat for a few cans of paint!

Irish Independent - How to wallpaper like a professional

As an alternative to painting, we are looking to use wallpaper to create a feature wall in dining room area. My memories of previous wallpapering escapades are not good - do you have an advice on how to do it properly?

Wallpapering large areas can be a daunting task but there are a number of tips for you to follow to get it just right. As with most projects, preparation is key and will remove most of the headaches down the track.

How to prevent flooding & clear flooded areas

Any tips on how to prevent flooding in my garden? Also what’s the best way of clearing flood water after the damage has been done?

If you’ve lived in your house for years and your garden has only flooded slightly, this doesn’t mean that you’re in the clear. After the last few week’s down pour many homeowners found themselves dealing with unprecedented flooding issues. Some of us may have thought the summer has skipped Ireland yet again.

How to grow vegetables at home

How to grow vegetables

Given that we are all short a few bob these days, 2011 is set to be a boom year for Grow It Yourself (or GIY). Traditionally the preserve of expert gardeners, now growing vegetables in your garden, window box or indoors is easy - if you know how!  So at we've been putting together a few tips on how to successfully grow nutritious and healthy vegetables at home - while saving you lots of money at the same time. Enjoy.

Plumbing tip on how to remove an airlock

plumbing tip removing an airlockWith the freezing weather, it could be that your water supply has been disrupted with constant water restrictions or indeed frozen pipes. When this 'water on', 'water off ' happens there is a greater chance for an ‘Airlock’ to get into your hot water system – resulting in little or no hot water coming from your taps. Read on for details on how to fix it...

What to do for Freezing and burst pipes


freezing pipesWhat is the risk of freezing pipes?
It’s a simple fact that when water freezes, it expands. Unfortunately the pipes used for your plumbing are not so flexible, resulting in burst pipes and water damage in your home. Any home with poor insulation is at risk (think many of the homes built in the last 7 years) and any space within the home where pipes are exposed to a cold air flow are vulnerable – think attic spaces, outside walls and cracked wall coverings. If in doubt, check your home out by following the investigative steps below.

Insulating your home - for less than €20

Diswasher and Washing machine repairsMaking your home cozy this winter needn't cost you a fortune! Sure, you can apply for SEI (SEAI) grants for your cavity walls, external walls and attic space - well worth doing - but you should also consider the basics. So we've put together some tips that make a difference and cost less than €20 ! 

Attic conversions advice - installing an attic ladder

Planning permission for extensionsQ. I have a growing family and we are quickly running out of storage space in the house. We have an attic but, up until now, it’s been largely ignored. I am now planning to use it for storage and will need to provide ready access to it by installing an attic ladder. I have identified a basic aluminium foldaway model but would like to know any considerations in installing it before I purchase. Can you please help?

Appliance Repairs - To Replace or Repair ?

Diswasher and Washing machine repairsWe've all had one! A washing machine, dryer, dishwasher or oven - an appliance that needs constant repairs! In an era where nothing is built to last surely there fix beyond replacing our appliances ? On the face of it there are a few options reparding appliance repairs:


DIY tiling: Advice for Tiling a Concrete Floor

Timing contractor and DIY adviceI have recently moved into a new house in need of major refurbishment. While I am getting contractors to assist with the bulk of the work I am planning to tile upstairs bathroom floor surface myself. I have a small bit of experience in tiling, having helped out a family member with his house in the past. The bathroom floor is concrete. Do you have any advice on what to look out for or tips to make it easier?

Planning Permission - Extension

Planning permission for extensionsWe are planning to extend our existing home with a kitchen in the back garden. Do you know if we will require planning permission and, if so, the best way to go about it?

Creating a study area for students

study shelving for studentsI have 2 children preparing to go back to secondary school to do the junior cert and leaving cert respectively, and one starting in university this year. I’d like to organise their rooms to provide a study area for each as well as some shelving to add some organisation for their books etc. My budget is fairly tight – do you have any suggestions?

Installing A Cat Flap

Planning permission for extensionsI have recently ‘inherited’ a cat and would like to install a cat flap for it in our wooden front door. Can you tell me how to go about it and point out any general considerations before I start?

Self Build - Explaining the term 'Self Build' and the path to take to ensure a successful result

Self buildThe area of 'Self Building' has grown wings in recent years with many propsective homeowners opting to manage their own projects - Grand designs or folly? Let's have a look at what self building entails.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Advice on how to wallpaper like a professional
By host @ 7:20 PM :: 755 Views :: 0 Comments :: :: Property Doctor

 As an alternative to painting, we are looking to use wallpaper to create a feature wall in dining room area. My memories of previous wallpapering escapades are not good - do you have an advice on how to do it properly?

Wallpapering large areas can be a daunting task but there are a number of tips for you to follow to get it just right. As with most projects, preparation is key and will remove most of the headaches down the track.

Read More..
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Insulate your home for € 20 or less!
By admin @ 1:50 AM :: 1799 Views :: 2 Comments :: :: Miscellaneous

Making your house cozy this winter needn't cost you a fortune. To prove it we've put together a few handy tips for property owners on how to insulate your home for €20 or less! read on..

Read More..
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Settlement Cracks / Drying Out Cracks - What they are, where they come from and how to tackle them
By @ 5:26 PM :: 9361 Views :: 0 Comments :: :: Building - New Home, Building - Self Build

settlement cracks shrinkage wall cracks wall cracking linesI moved into to a new house over 2 years ago and have noticed a large number of major cracks appearing in the plaster around the ceiling, corners and door frames. They have grown steadily and are at the stage where I am getting seriously worried about them. The developer has indicated that they are just ‘shrinkage cracks’ with no structural implication and has shrugged off any responsibility in this regard. Could you please let me know your thoughts on them and how they may be fixed?

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Thursday, October 18, 2007
Carbon Monoxide Posioning - Recognising the signs in your home and how to address them
By @ 4:44 PM :: 3043 Views :: 2 Comments :: :: Property Doctor

Carbon monoxide in the homeLast year we installed a new gas fire in our house. Although it worked well both my husband and I felt drowsy after a few minutes in the room with it on. There was no major gas smell in the room but I am worried that it may have been emitting carbon monoxide. I’d like to have it sorted before I need to turn it on this winter – can you please help?

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Thursday, October 18, 2007
Garden Ponds - Planning, Installing & Maintaining Your Garden Pond
By @ 3:52 PM :: 3301 Views :: 0 Comments :: :: Landscaping

garden pond creating DIYWe are looking at the possibility of installing a garden pond in our back garden. Can you please tell us how to go about it?

Read More..
<br>Home improvement & DIY Articles

Home improvement & DIY Articles

The home of DIY, home improvement & building articles in Ireland.  

Thinking of building, renovating or decorating ? Interested in self build, learning about planning permission or just installing a cat flap ? The DIY, Home Improvement and building article section covers a range of topics for anyone who is interested in getting stuck in.  

Read a range of articles that have been written by's property doctor and published national newspapers. Have your say - you can rate and comment on each article as you see fit!

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