Asked on Oct 17, 2013

Brick house, how to add insulation to make this cold house more energy.

Angel Roberts
by Angel Roberts
Hi everyone... I have an old brick on brick house that has no insulation (except in the attic) I have suggested tearing down the plaster walls or should I say knock it all off of the inside brick, and add a layer of insulation then drywall, but the hubby says it will make all the rooms too small.... so is there any other way to improve the situation?
  11 answers
  • Years ago in homes similar to yours the insulation was similar to blown in wherein after many years the insulation settles in the walls. There are reputable companies that can blow in insulation in your walls again because there should be space between the lathe/plaster walls and the outside walls. The only drawback if this can be done is that you will have small holes/plugs in the walls that will have to be patched/repaired. You may also want to check out your windows if they are not new because a lot of heat/cool is lost this way as well.
  • Angel Roberts Angel Roberts on Oct 17, 2013
    Unfortunately, the people who built this house did not leave that space between the walls, its just layers of plaster on the cinder blocks....i'm not sure why they would have done this since we live in IL, and they winters here can be brutal. I believe what they had done was fill the cinder holes with some type of insulation...
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Oct 17, 2013
    how much insulation do you have in the attic? You can also do some "air sealing" ....caulking around windows etc. One good way to see where your biggest energy losses are occurring is to have a home energy audit performed.
  • D.I.Yankowski D.I.Yankowski on Oct 17, 2013
    What's the outside like? What kind of siding do you have? It's possible you could insulate the exterior of your house. There are products that go on like stucco and leave you with a stucco type finish and others that are a type of rigid foam that can be covered with vinyl or wood or (my choice) fiber cement siding.
  • Angel Roberts Angel Roberts on Oct 17, 2013
    KMS : already had the home energy audit done and had some repairs done......still cold. D.I.Yankowski: It is a brick house. Cinder brick on the inside outside is plain ole red brick... and there is no covering over the outside brick, within my budget... I can"t even drill inside the house to the outside walls if I want to hang pictures due to the blocks and bricks
  • Hubby is technicall right but not practically, sheet rock is 1/2 inch so you would lose 1 inch on both opposing walls + another inch in styrofoam insulation. You could use 1/4 drywall too No big deal breaker
    • See 1 previous
    • Josephine Howland Josephine Howland on Jan 30, 2015
      @Angel Ernst It seems that this plan to add a layer of insulation and then sheet rock would be the simplest. Remember, you will only be doing the outside walls, so it shouldn't make the rooms much smaller at all.
  • Dr. Energy Saver Dr. Energy Saver on Oct 18, 2013
    What did the home energy audit report recommend in terms of insulation for the house? There are several new insulation materials available that have a much higher R-Value per inch than conventional fiberglass bats. That means you can get great results with a thinner layer of insulation. I'd strongly suggest you call a home insulation company offering different types of insulation, and look into all your options. If you are on a budget, look into local energy efficiency incentive programs in your area. You may qualify for tax credits, rebates or loans that will help pay for the cost of the upgrades. Here you can find a list of available programs inyour state -
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Oct 18, 2013
    Installing some 2 x 4's on the "flat" and filling in the bays with some rigid foam (extruded kind XPS) will give you about the wee bit for the drywall. This will also solve your picture hanging problems. This will only need to be done on the exterior wall.
  • D.I.Yankowski D.I.Yankowski on Oct 18, 2013
    With a clearer picture of your walls, I'm throwing in another vote for putting up drywall. KMS has it exactly right. Show your hubby this thread.
  • Angel Roberts Angel Roberts on Oct 19, 2013
    Thank you everyone. This is great info. We had a home energy program come in a couple of years ago, they put in a new furnace, and put caulking and weather striping around windows and doors. They used to be able to do projects like this (insulation) but their budget was cut so they were limited to what they were able to do.
  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Jan 30, 2015
    @Angel Ernst I know this was posted quite a while ago but thought I would put my two cents in any way. I think the idea of taking brick out and dry walling is an excellent idea. They now have a spray on insulation that doesn't take the same amount of room as the fiberglass/fabric insulation. It could be expensive - not sure - but you could go room by room of the exterior walls and the savings on heating costs eventually will pay for it. I would start with the room that the most time is spent in. Hope you find it warmer soon.