How to insulate a solid-wall building

Jennywell Hall - CAfS Green Build 2017So, you live in one of Cumbria’s gorgeous old stone, slate or brick homes. It’s built the traditional way, probably with two layers of stone filled with rubble, or perhaps just a single, solid wall.

These buildings work in a completely different way to cavity-wall properties. The most important thing to think about is managing moisture. This will drive the decisions you make about insulation and ventilation.

If you’re stripping back to your bare wall, you have a few main options for internal and external insulation.

Browse our advice and guides below.

Internal wall insulation

Floor & roof insulation

Concrete floor dug out in sandstone house #ReadyForRainThe ground floor and the roof in older properties play a part in managing moisture.

Concrete floors with closed-cell insulations under them can cause dampness in walls, as they push moisture back into the walls.

That’s why limecrete floors are often used in older buildings.

Check out our video showing a limecrete floor being installed at 33a Chapel Street in Appleby. The property was sensitively renovated to allow it to manage moisture while keeping cosy.

A conservation architect specified a breathable roofing system for the house, too. Watch the video explaining the materials he’s recommended and how it’ll be installed.

External wall insulation

Brick decay due to leaky downpipe and cement renderAny external wall insulation must be breathable, to allow the wall to release moisture.

Cement-based renders or non-breathable insulation systems trap moisture in the wall, causing the brick or stone to degrade over time. Ideally, these should be removed from older properties to allow the walls to dry.

We recommend lime-based external wall insulations and renders.