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How can we insulate this external facing solid brick hall to landing stair wall?

Discussion in 'Plastering and Rendering' started by Fishwalker, 13 Apr 2021.

  1. Fishwalker

    Fishwalker

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    So we've had the hall and landing taken back to brick as the original lime plaster had blown and cracked badly in corners or was hole sounding and was coated with a Chrysotile artex skim that was damaged in places.

    We had a professional asbestos company do this work a few days ago, who fully sheeted off the area and used a wet removal product on the artex first, plus double bagged and disposed of it all correctly. Had the old skirtings removed too.

    Now we're dealing with a new problem of living in what feels like a derelict house with radiator removed in the hall so it's freezing in there! Electrics are hanging everywhere.

    The external wall up the stairs is solid brick and north facing but is fairly sheltered by the next property that also reflects a lot of sunlight onto the wall due to there's being painted white.

    I was hoping to take this opportunity to insulate the walls and ceiling before plasterboarding over (our plasterer insists dot and dab is fine for this with batten and board for the ceiling.

    However the space between the stair string and brick is only 25mm and to insulate would need 40mm in total, due to 25mm insulation board plus 12mm plasterboard and 3mm skim. We'd therefore need to have a faux stair string made and lose stair width. Our plasterer said this would be very expensive and beyond our already heavy spend.

    He said once we get it all boarded and the holes closed in the landing ceiling (old defunct air exchange system, which was taking heat away) to be removed and an insulated loft hatch fitted that it will be much warmer. But our energy and heating bills are very high! £6.50 a day in cold weather!

    Also there are deep voids between stud walls of lath and plaster of empty space. Would it be a good idea to put insulated board in between studs? Would that help retain heat in those rooms?

    If at the bare minimum we batterned and insulated just the area around the front door and later got a composite door, would that help retain heat?

    We also need to upgrade insulation in the loft.

    Any advice would be appreciated!
     

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    Last edited: 13 Apr 2021
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  3. jacko555

    jacko555

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    Not a builder but have similar house and issues. Although not solid wall.

    There are (very expensive) very thin insulation boards. Cant recall the name.

    However, I found draft proofing was the winner. I cut my heating will in half during winter. Gas alone was around £6 when frosty out!

    First by upgrading windows to double glazed. The curtains moved when it was windy before this.

    This highlighted the breeze ripping through front back back doors. Old warped wooden doors. Added new back door and draft proofed porch and front door.

    This highlighted the draft from the loft hatch. Topped up insulation and made hatch draft proof.

    This highlighted the draft under the kitchen units - well vented floor void and holes for services caused the kitchen to be degrees colder and a breeze of your feet. Applied expanding foam in gaps and loft insulation in holes.

    Next was drafts coming up from skirting boards. We will be replacing these when we sort the floors, so have just stuffed them with insulation at the bottom, and caulked where I could.

    Unused fireplaces are "blocked" with a trickle vent. The used fireplace had a flue damper we close when not in use.

    Walking round with a joss stick (not allowed a cigarette) helped identify other breezes such as holes around toilet soil pipe etc.

    Long list but my point is fix the holes, retaining warm air and heating will be a noticeable win.

    The house does have air bricks in the rooms without fireplaces. At ceiling level. I haven't blocked these because of condensation risk / old house etc. However have had no condensation issues so its a possibility. However, you need to manage humidity (decent extractor in bathroom and kitchen). Dont dry clothes on radiators. Etc
     
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  4. Fishwalker

    Fishwalker

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    Ay we have many drafts from the old wooden front door, which should in theory be protected by the 80's porch add on with double glazing but that is in need of updating and the porch is single skin and freezing (might as well be outside!)

    The loft hatch you could see gaps around and is not insulated and we have a 20cm hole in the landing ceiling where a non functioning air exchange unit is in the loft so we heat the street really!

    Our skirtings are off so will fit new ones better as gaps all around floor to subfloor currently!
     
  5. Djangobanjo

    Djangobanjo

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    That's a lot of north facing wall. Long-term it might be cheaper to move the stairs a few inches so you can get 50mm insulation board in there.
     
  6. Fishwalker

    Fishwalker

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    I'd love the budget to do that but the best we could possibly afford is to build the fake string with 25mm insulation. It's just our construction plasterer guy thinks that would be well over our budget of 4k. I almost wish we'd just scraped the asbestos artex coating off but it was cracked and hollow in quite a few places and holes in the upper ceiling with patterned plaster we couldn't replicate.
     
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  7. Djangobanjo

    Djangobanjo

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    Is external insulation an option later on? Maybe focus on making it all good and then insulate on the outside when you've saved some more money. At least it is getting warmer now.
     
  8. jacko555

    jacko555

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    Or be pragmatic and use 10mm insulation? No idea how that compares to 25mm in terms of u value. However, its better then what was there (none).
    ?
     
  9. Djangobanjo

    Djangobanjo

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    Anything is better than nothing - 10mm might be enough to ward off condensation and black mould - I've done that around window reveals.

    If doing 10mm I'd still be looking to insulate the external wall later on if you plan to stay in the house for a while.
     
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  11. Fishwalker

    Fishwalker

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    I'm now looking into lime plastering. Making some enquiries and have been told expressly not to dot and dab to the solid downstairs walls as I'll be welcoming future mould and condensation and breathing issues. I've got the construction guy hankering for a start date but now just don't know!

    There's also a lot of gaps in the lower brick work letting in terrible drafts.
     

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  12. Fishwalker

    Fishwalker

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    Well I've booked in a lime plasterer conservation specialist to use an insulating lime plaster on the downstairs walls and the wall going upstairs, whilst plasterboarding the rest of the upstairs walls that are breeze block or lath.

    It's taken 5 weeks to find and vet this guy but he has excellent reviews! Only prob is it's costing £4800! And if we choose an insulated breathable board and lime landing ceiling £5400!! It does also include chopping off and putting a lime render on the first 2 bricks of the external walls, which presently have cement and making good the bricks that are wobbly or missing plus a bit of joinery on the loft hatch.

    So with the £2000 it's cost to rip it back to brick, and the electrics we're having done, this is something we'll be paying back to the bank for a couple of years, when we wanted to get a new front door and insulate the loft!
    But we opened Pandora's box and I can't risk covering it all back up again with dot and dab and inviting future damp, plus we intend to stay here.

    Another quote was £3750 for the same spec, minus insulated landing ceiling but not available till end of June or another £1900 but although I was very tempted, ultimatately he couldn't convince me, after speaking to the other guys that he really understood working with lime mentioning adding cement.

    I had a further quote from a prestigious lime firm in Cumbria to come in at 7-8k for the same spec.

    I realise I could cut costs by doing the lime scratch coat myself but it's just not possible with my 6yr old and work. At least this way, I might salvage the summer holidays for family time instead of DIY plastering!

    I'll update soon!
     
    Last edited: 16 May 2021
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  13. Mr Chibs

    Mr Chibs

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    This dot and dab comment is a real divider in opinions.

    When starting my renovation I was told by celotex to keep a void between the bricks and the insulation. Any damp (If there is any) would wick its way through the brick Ending up outside. After all, you don’t want it inside.

    There’s a few posts on here not agreeing with this method Saying it should be directly applied so no chance of moisture forming, 4 years down the line all seems well.

    I chose to reduce my stair width and insulate, and I remade the stringer from plywood, and made a template from around the treads/risers and used a jigsaw. It cost £25 for the wood.

    I know what old properties are like to live in, usually cold, insulate as much as you can, sort drafts, do the floors, fit better windows/doors budget permitting.
    Mine is now warm.

    Insulation is cheaper bought separate to plasterboard.

    Good luck.
     
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  14. lostinthelight

    lostinthelight

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    Have you looked at wood fibre insulation boards which can be stuck to the walls with lime adhesive and skimmed over with lime? I wish I had some nice surfaces like yours to fix the boards to, instead Im having to level it with battens first but that does give somewhere to hide cables and pipes in.
    Schneider Room 140 T&G
    https://www.lime.org.uk/application...tem/expanded-cork-insulation-system-7396.html


    Some reading on adding portland cement to lime plaster: https://www.buildingconservation.com/articles/cement/cement.htm
     
    Last edited: 16 May 2021
  15. Fishwalker

    Fishwalker

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    So I'm stressing again about the money we're about to spend in a couple of weeks and just wondered what people's thoughts are on my quote of £4800-£5400 to get the hall and landing re-plastered as above. The higher amount is if we have insulated breathable board and a lime finishing coat to the landing ceiling rather than just plasterboard and gypsum skim.

    Also, does anyone think the demolision guy and team should have removed all the crumbled lime plaster from between/that has fallen into the void between the wooden wall laths? The thought of leaving it all in there and covering it back up with plasterboard, compared to the renovation programs I've seen, with the satisfyingly cleaned up spaces between joists (laths removed) and people pushing in lovely rolls of sheepswool insulation, seem like something I'll never have, despite it costing 8.5k with a new insulated loft hatch and ladder, skirting and electrics and that's not even going near half wall panelling we wanted and roll out understairs storage!

    I have no-one to look after our 6yr old, as my other half is always working and or folks are too old now to have her, or enough days in a row to warrant putting up plastic sheeting and sealing off all the rooms again - to take off the worst laths, to clear behind them off all the rubble.

    There's also left on plaster in quite a few places, e.g. around door frames that my plasterer will need to remove, so I'm wondering how much of the quote I'm paying him, for work that I thought the demo guy would do! Then there's the old gloss paint I wanted to remove before re-plastering but same problem with child preventing that as it possibly had lead in so needs her shipping out.

    It's just bugging me, as the demo guy charged £2k for their job, of getting it all back to brick and safely removing the Chrysotile Asbestos coating with X Tex.

    He said it would take him 4 days to do but took 3 in the end, including sheeting up and cleaning. To be fair the dust afterwards hasn't caused breathing issues but it did get through the sheeting to the small office room that needed additional cleaning.

    I've attached photos of the laths.
     

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  16. Mr Chibs

    Mr Chibs

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    Morning

    It’s a decent size from what I’ve seen in your pictures, but I couldn’t bring myself to spend that, it seems steep to me.

    How many days do they think it will take to complete, and how many men involved? Do you know their hourly rate?


    Personally, last time I gutted a house, I removed all the old wooden laths prior to boarding.
    All bits of plaster need removing.

    You don’t need to insulate any internal walls.

    As for lead paint... are you sure it is that old? Burning paint off architrave and skirting is not an enjoyable job, Very time consuming too... are you sure you can’t rough them up an repaint?

    In my current house, I replaced all of mine, as they were a state and it would have taken longer to save and repair.

    Don’t get down about it all, it’s all doable... keep the questions going (y)
     
  17. foxhole

    foxhole

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    Warmline EPS Insulated Plasterboard 2400mm x 1200mm x 22mm
     
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