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Save Money & Insulate! | What We've Done & Our Future Plans

internal insulation

I'm so glad to see the back of Winter and welcome spring - owning an old home certainly brings about its challenges during the winter period and keeping it warm and toasty is often easier said than done. Older homes weren't exactly designed with modern day insulating regulations, in fact - they weren't really designed to be insulated at all! Over the last year we've made a few steps to make our house a warmer cosier place - so I thought I would share ways we've insulated so far, and what we also plan to do in the future too.

So our home is a Victorian Terrace. It hasn't been renovated since the 50s, so it's incredibly outdated in many ways, including its insulation. One of the main reasons insulating our home is extra important to us, is because we don't have central heating. The house came with a 60s back boiler, which we've since removed - but sadly we don't have the funds to fit a whole new system. We do however have the funds to add  or upgrade insulation, most of which can be done DIY-style without too much hassle and it's much more affordable too! It's not going to heat our home, but it's certainly going to help retain heat and make it a much warmer place to live.

In the Roof

When the word "insulation" is mentioned, roof insulation is probably the first thing to come to mind. It's probably THE most talked about insulation and for a very obvious reason - an un-insulated roof is one of the biggest sources of heat loss. You may already have an insulated roof and think the job had already been done for you - but actually many older homes roof insulation is now insufficient for current building regs. Over the years insulation has been fitted in varying thicknesses, and yours (like ours!) could be as little as just 50mm thick. Modern day regs recommend 270mm thickness(!) so obviously there's some serious room for upgrading here.

Our kitchen is a very very old single-storey extension with a roof above the ceiling. We already had insulation installed, but it was a mere 100mm thick. So obviously we had to change that! Insulation is so affordable and so easy to install, even for a non-DIYer. If you do have old insufficient insulation, like us, there's no need to remove it - you can just lay a "top-up" roll over the top - which is exactly what we did! It's so easy to fit, you simply roll it all out, making sure not to bury any electrical cables (and keeping it away from the underside of spotlights!) cut it so size if needs-be, and pad it into the gaps between joists. And that's it! If something costs virtually nothing and it's going to save you money - why the hell wouldn't you? PS - we got our insulation for FREE, which you can read about in this post!

roof insulation diy

On-top of Walls

I've done a whole post on this before, so if you've read that one - you'll already know about this! ;) Unlike modern houses with insulation in-between the walls, older homes have nothing at all. This means external walls are another source of heat loss (especially if they're single skin like some of ours!). Whilst older homes often don't have a cavity, so can't be filled with wall insulation that way, there's still a way to insulate those walls! Insulating plasterboard! It's basically a plasterboard with a rigid foam type insulation on the underside. It means you can insulate your walls internally, quickly and easily. We've used this in both the kitchen and conservatory. It can fitted just like any other plasterboard, either screwed to the wall with battons or fitted using 'dot and dab' as we have done. We've only used this on single-skin walls as it is quite pricey to buy, but these are the areas that really need it the most and we definitely feel its worth doing! You can read more about how we fitted it here.

insulating plasterboard diy fitting
how to fit insulation internally

Underneath floorboards

Many older homes have wooden floorboards on the ground floor, and whilst these make a lovely flooring feature, they also create a void of coldness beneath them. Ground floor joists also require air vents to ensure they don't rot away, so this isn't just a heat loss problem, but also a potential draught problem. Underfloor insulation will prevent heat escaping downwards and we have big plans for the next year to get ours done. We actually have an unheated basement underneath our ground floor floorboards, but the idea is pretty much the same. We intend on using a rigid foam type of insulation for this (very similar to the plasterboard insulation above!), as they can be cut to size and squeezed in-between joists, but you could also use a wool insulation instead - you'd just need to add some kind of mesh/string system to stop it from falling to the ground. It is worth noting however, that there does need to be some space for air to flow under floorboards, so you certainly don't want to "over-fill" with insulation.

As well as insulation, we also insulate the actual gaps in-between floorboards too. I've mentioned this product before and we've used it in both our old house and this house and can't rave about it enough! It's called Draught-ex and it's basically a rubber seal that squeezes into the gaps between floorboards and prevents draughts. It's invisible once in place and it truly makes the world of difference. You can also use it underneath any skirting board gaps too and I think it even smartens the floorboards up and makes everything neat and tidy. No more crummy gaps and you certainly can't lose any earings through them anymore either! We used this stuff in pretty much all rooms with exposed floorboards!



If you have single glazed windows - well man do I feel for you!!! (Been there, freezed to death, got the frozen t-shirt). Upgrading windows to double (or even triple!) glazed windows is going to make ALL the difference. But if like us, your budget doesn't allow that, I recommend using Window Film during winter months. They essentially create the same kind of vacuum in a double-glazed window and help prevent heat loss. We used them every single winter in our last home - whilst they look tacky and horrendous (not going to lie!), we noticed a big difference - both with heat loss and condensation.

Double glazing is obviously more insulated, but they're not always working as well as they should be. For example if you have double glazed windows that have condensation in between the panes of glass, this is also bridging the insulation they're meant to provide. People often live with condensed windows because they can't afford to replace the whole window fitting - but actually the glass itself can be replaced for a fraction of the cost without replacing the whole unit. Cloudy2Clear can replace failed glazing in windows without the hefty price-tag or upheaval - and they can also update all your old double glazing for new insulated versions which as well, which are actually 3 times more efficient than standard double glazing. Again, this can all be installed without replacing the whole window unit as well. It's a great way to improve the insulation of your home without crazy expenses or at the cost of damaging a finished interior/decor of your home!

Here's a little snap of some of our very dated condensed attic windows that need some attention soon..

condensation in roof window
how to repair condensed windows

Draught-Proofing Doors

I love a good wooden front door, it's character is something a uPVC door just can't achieve. BUT, uPVC doors are infinitely more insulating with proper seals that keep draughts out. Sadly old wooden doors aren't exactly known for their draught excluding purposes, but there are ways you can fix that. By replacing old draught-seals, installing a brush bar along the bottom of the door and even things like updating letterboxes for draught-proof versions and installing a keyhole cover can really help too. You'd be surprised at how much of a difference having a properly insulated non-draughty front door can make! We've recently updated the look of our front door recently and have all this next on the to-do list before winter arrives! As you can see, the door will certainly benefit from some new hardware anyway ;)

front door makeover

So these are just some of the things we've done so far and some our insulating plans for the next year or two as well... I'm sure we'll have even more to add over time though! ;)

Do you have any tips/ideas to add for us? We'd love to know ways in which you've insulated your old home!

*Collaborative Post


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