Options for adding insulation to existing walls?

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Posted by: from Val Caron
1/14/2015 at 3:06:07 PM

I own a 1960's home. All brick exterior with plaster interior walls. The insulation installed was the old style staple on insulation. Over the years it has settled and the R factor has decreased dramatically.

Apart from removing all the plaster and (removal of brick exterior is not an option), are there other options?

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Date/Time1/14/2015 at 4:13:20 PM

Not really very many. Have you thought of pulling your trim and foaming your windows. That will fix a lot of your problems. Most of your heat loss is actually through your windows and attic.

If you are looking for a cheap fix try blow in insulation in your attic. It will reduce your heat bills by 10%.

It is a common misconception that your wall insulation is to blame. Another major problem is actually not having a return air or blocking them.

Before you tear your walls apart consult a heating specialist that would be where I would put my money.

Good luck

Joe Nafziger

JDS Interiors

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Unicon | United Construction Company in Mississauga
Date/Time1/14/2015 at 4:15:32 PM

Quite simply put, if you are going to re insulate you might as well do it right - so no, there are not any other options.

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Karina from MKR Construction in Toronto
Date/Time1/14/2015 at 4:44:01 PM


The only other alternative if you don't want a very big mess, is to cut a section 2-3 feet on the middle of the wall, remove all the old insulation, clean it, and then add foam insulation. After you will have to patch the section you previously cut, plaster it and paint.

Hope this helps.

MKR Construction

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Date/Time1/14/2015 at 5:07:34 PM

Unfortunately, there are no other options.

The other issue that needs to be looked after is Asbestos.

If removing plaster and when removing Insulation you need to get the material tested and make sure it does not contain Asbestos.

Hope this helps.



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Date/Time1/15/2015 at 9:57:36 AM


I had the same choices as you, my house is a two story home and was built in 1908. Only part of my house is brick but the interior in the same with plaster and latt. When renovating the interior I had to add insulation as well and you have only the two choices. You can have insulation blown in from the interior of the house, but there will be a small amount of damage to the walls. Depending on the condition of your interrior walls the best way though is to remove the plaster and re insulate, polly and finish with drywall.


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Date/Time1/15/2015 at 10:51:44 AM

You can tear down all the plaster and check for and remove any asbestos wearing a mask. Then loosen electrical outlets. You can then thicken your wall with 2 inch rigid insulation. Then you can install new 2 by 4 structures, reinstall outlets, and redo gypse.

Do it once, do it well.

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Date/Time1/15/2015 at 6:14:17 PM

Hi Tom

While I cannot offer too much in the way of insulation options, if you are going through all the work in demoing the walls (either fully or partially) I would also consider taking care of the electrical and plumbing.

While this adds to the cost of your planned reno, it certainly is less expensive to do it while you are taking things apart then once they are all put back together.



John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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Date/Time1/16/2015 at 8:39:24 PM

How do you know that the insulation has settled? If this is a guess, take a laser device that measures the temperature of the area that it is pointed at. Determine where your house is the coldest and that is where you would start. You can't blow insulation into an area that has batts but once you determine the problem for sure, then it is much easier to come up with a solution.

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