Insulating an old home with uneven walls & original features

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Hi everyone,

I'm possibly thinking to buy a home for my family that we really like, but before we do we need to make sure it's worth it as currently has a very high energy consumption as owner is paying approx £250pm for gas/electric. The reason for this is because it has no insulation and boiler needs replacing

The house is detached and has a low "F" rating in terms of energy. It is built of Yorkshire stone and has "Hard-To-Treat" cavities. External wall insulation is not possible as it would ruin the house's appearance and the chances of council agreeing to this are pretty slim



Here are the screenshots of the house's EPC done in 2011: (NOTE THE BLUE ARROW IN 1ST PIC POINTING TOWARDS CURRENT ENERGY COSTS!!! )-



I want to deal with things one at a time, so my main questions for the moment are relating to internal wall insulation only.

Let's just assume I've had to do the job myself:-

1. Have a look at the photos above...I don't want to lose the original looks of the house, so how do I work around features that are very original to the house? Example is it has a fireplace/chimney that curves out of the external wall.

2. If the fireplace/chimney can be insulated, would I still be able to use it for a short heater, such as a wood burning stove?

3. What sort of costs am I talking about to do four walls of a medium detached house?

Thanks
 
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Why are the cavities hard to treat and who told you this?
 
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Many of the houses around here are made of Yorkshire stone. My own house where I currently live is also the same stone and it's classed as a hard-to-treat cavity as it's less than 50mm and the stone is very uneven. So from this I assumed the detached I'm looking at will also be the same.
 
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We took on a similar but older property ( Victorian ) .... F rated with similar Gaz & Leccy bills when we moved in.

New boiler, new rad thermostatic valves , new windows and some better loft insulation ... Plus switching supplier ( sometimes older folk don't bother ) and we've got it down to £140 a month ... Nearly half !!!
 
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Depends what you are going to line the walls with and how much room you are prepared to lose. I insulated the external walls of my house with 25mm thermaline plasterboard, foam fixed to the walls. All thermaline plasterboard is, is a thin layer of plasterboard loosely attached to a layer of polystyrene. So I sprayed the foam onto the back of the polystyrene and propped the plasterboard against the walls, obviously making the necessary cuts for window recesses etc. I carefully peeled the plasterboard layer from the polystyrene, applied foam and carefully reapplied that again. In doing this I didn't have to use battens or drill holes into the stonework. One person I told about this on the internet said it sounded like a bodge diy job, but not in my experience, and the walls feel warmer instantly. Failing this, be prepared to batten out the external walls and see if you can get hold of some rockwool flexislabs http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Rockwool-...hash=item1c582b3d6d:m:mMRGE4FrZDTxNVvFkRP9aAw . I think the mimium thickness is 50mm, neatly placed between battens. Obviously plasterboard on top then plaster. You will feel the difference, the stuff is fantastic, I put it all over the place. Personally I would use a combination of thermaline with adhesive + batten and rockwall. Thermaline for the sensitive areas, i.e. around the feature fireplace and batten the large featureless areas. When you reach the architectural mouldings that run along the perimeter of the ceilings, you may lose some of that due to the thickness of the insulation, plaster + skim etc, but the line can be finished neatly and stiched in, and you can always remove it later having not damaged the moulding at all.
 
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@FRAN1870 - Was this an end or mid terrace? Don't forget mine is a detached house with 4 external walls, which means a lot more heat loss.

@HawkEye244 - Sounds like a brilliant job you did, but I'm not sure if I could do this as I'd need to do internal. Also with a fireplace that I'll be using, how would I protect the insulation from catching on fire? Have a look at the first picture of the external red house....can you see how the fireplace chimney is protruding out of the wall like an arch? How can you insulate this?

@Brigadier - I've already got plans to do these because in my opinion, majority of the heat loss is being lost from the 4 external walls and a large amount from the reception rooms floors as the cellar ceiling has zero insulation
 
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Ours is large a semi...

I would honestly address the efficiency first ... Also the way you use the system, our previous owners hardly used the central heating but had two gas fires running pretty much constantly.

External insulation is very effective and might seem cost effective when spending £250 a month, but might not be so attractive if you only spend half that.

Comfort vs payback ?
 
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Thanks Fran. To be honest, I don't think the floor is a worry as I can do this myself, so we'll leave that out for the moment. The problem is that I can't go for external wall insulation, because it would change the look of the house, which the council would most definitely not allow.

From what the vendor has told me and from what I've seen, they have gas fires, central heating and electrical halogen heaters on for long periods to keep the house warm...This is why their bills are £250pm.

Now my concern is if I had to install internal wall insulation, how would I cover a unique designed open fireplace with insulation??? Remember I still want to use this fireplace for either open, gas or wpod burning stove.
 
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I can't see the council objecting to a planning application for external insulation in such a home. As long as the finish is sensible it could actually make the frontage look really cool.

There's a row of terraces down the street where one has had it fitted ... Personally I think it looks great.

Guess you also have to factor in the cost of the application into the comfort equation .... If you've got 20 years payback I wouldn't bother.

we have zero wall insulation and it's comfortable enough :)

As for the curved wall i would imagine that the structural shape is actually rectangular like the rest of the house so you could smash it out and square it off to make it easier to insulate ?
 
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Morning Fran,

The row of terraces? Are these in your street?

Also from looking at my photos in first post, to me it looks like a totally curved chimney....yes within the structure it will be rectangular, but that curved "red" part is the external wall as can be seen in the first and last photos.

One thing I would be interested in is know whether I can totally get rid of the chimney curve, so that it's straight as it would allow two issues to be resolved - Firstly I would be able to easily bring my car in and secondly the insulation can go on easily.
 
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I added 50mm of Celotex to all external walls of the top two floors of my place, added 60mm insulated plasterboard to the sloping ceilings on the top floor, insulated the lofts properly and replaced single glazed for double glazed windows throughout and halved my gas consumption. I didn't add internal wall insulation to the ground floor to preserve some specific features. I also insulated under the floorboards of all downstairs rooms.
 
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Thanks for your reply TheVictorian.

What type of a house do you have?
How many external walls?
Did you do the job yourself?
If so, how much did it cost you?
 
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I have a 3 storey Victorian semi with 5 external walls. My logic with just doing the top two floors centred around putting a cap of insulation over the property to keep most of the heat in, the radiators on the top two floors rarely come on, the ones downstairs work a harder as there is more heat loss in those rooms.

I did it all myself, removing all plaster from the relevant rooms, battening the walls with 50mm timber, 50mm celotex between, joints taped in aluminium tape and 12.5mm plasterboard on top.

I can't remember exactly what it cost but you could work out costs for yourself easily enough, factor in 1 x skip for each room and battens at 600mm centres vertically.

You can do this work a room at a time and spread the cost. Do the top floor first.
 
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