Home Owner’s Guide – Moving House Costs

Today, the high cost of moving house, with all the entailed and escalating costs involved, is making many people take a long hard look at their present property.


This may suit them very well in most aspects but possibly the full potential has not been realized and utilized to maximum effect. By looking at problem areas both realistically and imaginatively, answers can be found, and we hope to explore the possibilities of making changes to existing properties the subject of featured articles. A closely related 43problem is that encountered by someone moving into a property which is suitable in most respects but having one aspect which demands immediate modification. How this was solved in one instance is shown in this issue and is a classic example of “putting a quart into a pint pot”. It underlines the dramatic change which can be affected for in these days a reasonable outlay, plus quite a bit of hard work! As always it pays to look carefully at the problem and to thoroughly work out as many of the details and take note of possible snags in advance. The ultimate saving, plus the sense of achievement when the work is satisfactorily completed, makes the whole job well worthwhile. 

If, incidentally, you are contemplating starting a project in this category and provided that you can take black and white photographs of all stages of construction as well as42 ‘before and after” shots and hopefully colour transparencies (not colour prints) we may be interested. A reasonable synopsis of how the work progressed and the amounts of materials used, plus some sketches, can also help in assessing the possible value of a submitted article. 

With the indications all pointing to tough times ahead, it makes sense not only to maintain our property but to explore its potential to the full. Practical Householder has always aimed to help in these areas and the problems we encounter in our own projects, and our solutions often found the hard way we hope will smooth the path for our readers. 

Cracked ceilings? No Problems…

Our house is L-shaped and was built in 1960. The soil is largely clay and it is clear that some movement of the house takes place between wet and dry spells of weather.


This movement is not sufficient to cause concern in that there is no Sign of damage to walls, other than a few hairline cracks in the plaster.


However there is one crack in the ceiling (plasterboard) which runs completely across the largest bedroom, In dry spells it opens up at one end to a width of about 4mm (3/16in), and in wet spells it closes up completely. I have tried various fillers, but they always break apart in dry spells or squeeze out in wet spells. This crack, of course, is unsightly, closed or open and I wish to redecorate the ceiling. Before doing so I would be grateful for your advice on how to deal with the crack and also your opinion on the type of ceiling decoration to be used e.g. Artex, tiles or embossed 

ceiling paper. Clearly, I wish to avoid the new decoration opening up along the line of the present crack.—D, G. Webb (Glos) 

I fail to see that your property has a ground movement probably when there are apparently no real signs of damage to external walls, and I cannot see that movement of ceilings could be related to ground movements if the walls are not moving. It seems rather to me that the external hair cracks, and possibly the ceiling cracks, are a result of thermal or other structural movement. 

Alternatively, there could be some fault in the roof construction that permits movement under various loading or thermal conditions and only a careful survey by an experienced surveyor or engineer can really determine the cause. 

Where such movements regularly take place then no filling can be expected to remain in position or be able to stick the structure together.