The Best Tips for Older Homes When It Comes to Insulation
There are many benefits to owning an older home and on a personal note, I really love them. Older homes have so much style, class, and history to them, you can’t help but think about everything and everyone who lived in the house or passed through the doors.
While older homes often feature high-quality craftsmanship, they aren’t without their challenges.
Many homeowners must face little or no insulation, which can lead to drafts and higher energy bills.… cold rooms in the winter and boiling hot rooms in the summer. Both the extremes of hot and cold are due to poor insulation and lack of air sealing.
Are you wondering if you can retrofit your home with today’s modern, high-quality, efficient insulation products?
In this month’s article, I want to address the special challenges, as well as some reliable tips, for insulating older houses.
Issues That Can Occur with Older Homes
While today, no one would dream of constructing a home without some type of insulation in days gone by, this wasn’t the case and while older homes are well-constructed, with age, these materials have shrunk or deteriorated, causing them to become less airtight.
Carpenters and masons built older homes to have a natural ventilation system. Unfortunately, natural ventilation is like leaving a window open 24/7/365. This leads to drafts, uneven temperatures, and very high energy bills. FYI, the highest monthly gas bill toping $2,000 for a uninsulated 80 year old uninsulated home 3,200 square foot home.
Even if some insulation was added, later on, problems such as insects, rodents, and water leaks can quickly ruin many types of insulation.
If you have an older home, chances are that it isn’t as comfortable as you would like it to be. With the help of an expert insulation contractor, such as Chicago Green, you can have modern insulation that not only will not damage your home but will make it more structurally sound.
Step #1, Let’s Start in the Attic
When people talk about insulation, the attic is often the first place they think about. This part of the house plays a huge role when it comes to temperature regulation. This is the first step is the attic is unfinished… if the attic is finished, the question is, do you like how it looks? Do you want to keep it or do you need to keep it as is?
If you remember your old high school science classes, hot air rises. This means that in the winter, all the money you are spending on heating bills could be going right out to the great outdoors! Many older homes have large attics that make insulation easy to install. You should watch how fast the snow melts on your roof compared to other homes on your block…. How big are the icicles? (Special note: if someone previously installed a furnace in your attic… foam is your only option!)
If you plan on using your attic space as storage or for living quarters, then you should have spray foam insulation applied to the roof deck to help regulate the temperature of the house and the attic space.
Gaps, cracks, and other irregularities in an attic is often the biggest problem when it comes to traditional materials, such as fiberglass, but when you use spray foam insulation, every crack and crevice will be sealed and covered, so no water, no insect, and no animal will ever call your attic home.
Step #2, The Basement/ Crawl Spaces
Not all homes have basements, but you might have a crawl space, cellar, or other underground space that should also be insulated.
To withstand the fluctuating ground temperatures and moisture issues, you will want to insulate the exterior walls to help control these temperatures, as well as spray the floor joists to prevent drafts and bugs from making your floor their favorite place.
Moisture is almost always a problem in basements and crawlspaces. By using spray foam insulation, you can avoid these issues because spray foam provides a water-tight seal that will also make your basement structurally sound.
Step #3, Insulating the Existing Walls
Existing walls come in two types.. One we can help with and one that is borderline hopeless without doing major construction. If your walls are existing 2×4 construction with either plaster or drywall, those wall MAY be able to be filled with cellulose insulation and though that is not our primary business, we can help you with that. If your walls are simply just furring strips on a masonry exterior, those walls require demo, new 2×4 framing, foam and then a new finish. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to know what is inside the wall without opening it up.
The walls are typically the third step in the process of making your home more comfortable… We do strongly suggest this be an incremental approach as it is the highest cost with only incremental increase in Comfort! As you approach construction of rooms of your home, that is the time to open up the walls and see what needs to be done, after you have done the attic, basement and crawl spaces.
Which is the Best Insulating Material for Older Homes?
Spray foam is the best option when it comes to insulating older homes in the attic, crawl space or basement. Cellulose or foam is the best option for the walls depending on the type of construction.
Polyurethane spray foam starts off as a liquid, but as it cures, it expands into a thick, durable, long-lasting foam that is can be waterproof in the case of closed cell foam, air-tight, and animal-resistant.
This expansion fills in every space and crevice, regardless of how small or how irregular the space may be. This is often the case in older homes and spray foam deals with this problem beautifully.
Closed-cell spray foam is completely waterproof. This means no mold, no condensation, and no more ruined insulation due to water leaks in your basement or crawlspace!
Choose the Right Professional
Experienced insulation contractors, such as Chicago Green, know exactly how to insulate your older home without causing damage to the structure.
Spray foam needs to be applied at the correct temperatures/ humidity and that will depend on what the air temperature is outside or in your home.
Call Chicago Green Spray Foam Insulation today for a free quote.
Have your older home insulated with spray foam this spring, and you can smile all summer long at your reduced air conditioning bills! Comfort is only a FOAM CALL AWAY! 847-987-3626
As I always say, comfort is just a FOAM call away, so why not call the friendly professionals at Chicago Green today while you’re thinking about it?
Your wallet and your family will be glad that you did!