Solid wall insulation

If your home was built before 1919, its external walls are probably solid rather than cavity walls. Cavity walls are made of two layers with a small gap or ‘cavity’ between them. Solid walls have no gap, so they let more heat through.

Solid wall insulation may be suitable for a variety of property types such as brick, stone, steel-framed and concrete construction.

Solid walls can be insulated – either from the inside or the outside.

Listed below are some of the pro’s and con’s relating to each type of solid wall insulation

External wall insulation:

  • Can be applied without disruption to the household.
  • Does not reduce the floor area of your home.
  • Renews the appearance of outer walls – with various finishes/colours available, such as brick slips, pebble dash and render.
  • Improves weatherproofing and sound resistance.
  • Fills cracks and gaps in the brickwork, which will reduce draughts.
  • Increases the life of your walls by protecting the brickwork.
  • Reduces condensation on internal walls and can help prevent damp (but will not solve rising or penetration damp).
  • Is best installed at the same time as external refurbishment work to reduce the cost.
  • May need planning permission – check with your local council.
  • Requires good access to the outer walls.
  • Is not recommended if the outer walls are structurally unsound and cannot be repaired.

Internal wall insulation:

  • Is generally cheaper to install than external wall insulation.
  • Will slightly reduce the floor area of any rooms in which it is applied (the thickness of the insulation is around 100mm).
  • Can be completed room by room to avoid major disruption.
  • Requires skirting boards, door frames and external fittings such as radiators and switches to be removed and reattached.
  • Can make it harder to fix heavy items to inside walls – although special fixings are available.
  • Needs any problems with penetrating or rising damp to be fixed first.
  • Particularly appropriate where you need to maintain the external appearance of the building.

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