Draughty vents

In almost every room in the house we have a vent like this:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/le3rxydvkjg8vhm/2013-02-03%2000.52.52.jpg
Are they necessary? In this kind of weather I can feel a big draught through them.
The house has no gas supply and never has (I get that they would be needed if we did). Ironically, the only room in the house without a vent is the one with the open wood fire, which might actually benefit from it.
Any suggestions on what I can do about the draughts?
Thanks,
Alex
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Alexander Lamaison wrote:

They are plaster of paris vents, reinforced with horsehair or string, with a gauze on the back to stop flies getting in, they are easily removed with a sharp scraper with little or no damage to the existing plaster - I've removed hundreds of them.
The hole behind is probably sleeved - IE not open to the cavity, which may or may not be insulated, -if they were open to the cavity and the walls insulated, then they woulkd be full of insulation and we wouldn't be having this coversation.
To brick each one up you'll need two bricks, and better to put something behind it, polystyrene is cheap and easy, but loft insulation soaks water up like a sponge. Set the bricks back from the plaster half an inch and render over with the same mortar you used to brick up, following day skim over, leave to dry and paint.
You don't need any of these vents
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On 2/4/2013 12:23 PM, Phil L wrote:

What was their purpose?
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S Viemeister wrote:

In the days before loft and wall insulation, they were there to allow air movement through the house to cut down on damp caused by condensation etc. No new houses have vents in every room, they have small trickle vents on DG windows and these are more than adequate.
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.. err ... right. Only thing they're missing is some bull's blood.

Alas no gause on these. Insects treat them like their own personal entrance.

That's good to know. How are they holding themselves up? Just wedged between bricks. Two of them are in the side of dormer windows so there probably aren't even bricks involved.

I'll add it to the ever growing list of brickwork :/ Any ideas how best to handle the ones in the dormer windows? How are the sides of a dormer window constructed? Inside there is plasterboard and outside cladding so I'm assuming just a simple timber frame in between?
P.S With the mounting list of brickwork I need to do, does anyone know where I can get small quantities of 'retro' bricks delivered that would match the (1950s) house. I'm in Kent and the existing bricks are teracotta red with an old style triangular (London?) frog. Wickes only does modern perforated bricks in small quantities.
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We got Imperial sized bricks from a place near Dover, lessee now, <furtle, furtle> hmm, thassodd, they seem to be in Billingshurst. Anyway it was:
<http://www.lambsbricks.com
they have a place near Faversham as well. Mind you we got enough for a small porch, dunno if they do small quantities.
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Looks like they stock exactly what I'm after. Thanks!
I'll ring them up tomorrow to find out how far outside my budget they are :-P You don't happen to remember roughly what you paid per brick do you?
Alex
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I'll look it up in the morning.
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Tim

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It seems we paid £1/brick for Handmade Imperial Rubber Range Medium/Dark Multi Facings - size 9" x 4 1/4" x 2 5/8"
This was Jan 2011.
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Tim

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Thanks. If I can get a similar price then its affordable. Otherwise it'll have to be some cheapo rubbish from the local shed.
Alex
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google for "brick library"
e.g. http://www.ibstock.com/gen-where-you-can-see-us.asp
Jim K
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Looks like there's one in the centre of town. So is the idea that you trot in there with a sample or photo of the bricks you want to match and they have them on display so you can compare? Are they likely to have Imperial size ones?
Alex
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take samples away and compare with yours in situ.
Jim K
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Alexander Lamaison wrote:

They are stuck on with plaster, which is why they are easy to remove - there's no bricks involved - the room was plastered before these were stuck over the hole in the wall.

I don't know what you mean by 'in the side of dormer windows' Do you mean in the window reveals?

If it's plasterboard inside, then these will need squares of plasterboard nailed or screwed over the holes, then skimmed.

Best bet is to drive around and see what work is being carried out on buildings that match yours, often you will see skips full of unwanted bricks which are weathered and free. You'll be lucky to find anywhere that delivers small quantities, you can fit 50 at a time in a car boot.
Also, when I mentioned bricking up the vents, I meant inside - the outside vent is best left in place
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Sorry, should have explained. Dormer windows stick out of the tiled roof so have three external sides. One is the window; the other two, which go between the window and the tiled rood are plasterboard inside and cladding outside and have a vent in.
Lemme see if I can find a pic ... almost exactly like this:
http://www.fsbuilders.co.uk/projects/dormer/dormer8.jpg
except we have a vent at the top of each side, near the window.

Doesn't that just let mosture in? Ok so it already would but once the inner side is sealed up that moisture would no longer be ventilated away. Or not?
Thanks for all your advice.
Alex
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Alexander Lamaison wrote:

bits of plasterboard needed for those then.

You can remove them if you wish, but it's not worth the bother of trying to match up brickwork, work off ladders / hire towers etc, when they look OK as they are. No moisture will get in and if it does, it's already vented to outside....if you are worried about this, they can be sealed up externally with clear silicone, but personally, I wouldn't bother
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