House warming ideas for elderly parents and one who’s had a stroke

12
Found 18th Dec 2017
I’m trying to make my family home warmer for my elderly parents and was looking for ideas. It’s a single skin house so cannot do cavity walls. I’m looking at rendering and also looking at changing the existing double glazing windows. Can I change just the glass on them or do I have to replace all the windows themselves. They’re at least 15 years old.

Looking for further cost effective ideas and government schemes as my dad suffered a stroke and mobility isn’t the best

Appreciate any ideas

Thanks
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12 Comments
External insulation ?
It could be worth looking at the silicone externally on the windows. That degrades after time so you could get away with a new silicone job. We also have a single skin wall and it was very draughty in here. We built a false wall on the insides, lost about 3 inches off each room, filled the gap with celotex and plasterboard and skimmed it. Its much warmer now in the rooms we've done and has stopped most of the mould we would get.
Hi

Had you thought of loft insulation and contacting the local council regarding this. Helped the Aged UK, maybe able to suggest schemes or grants that could help.

Good luck.
See if you or your mom can't get money of the government to be your dads carer. Use the extra money to keep the heating on.
Need to be careful when insulating older properties as some were never designed to be air tight. You might have issues with mould etc if you seal too many gaps without allowing for moisture.

Do you know what is underneath the floors as sealing the gaps between floorboards can save a lot of heat loss.
Edited by: "kester76" 18th Dec 2017
The first thing to do is go overboard with insulation in the loft - fit in as much as you can - 600mm minimum I'd suggest.

Then, as they have a single skin solid wall, in the spring spray/brush this waterproofing solution onto the walls. ebay.co.uk/itm…649

This will reduce the level of damp in the walls which will make the walls fell a lot warmer. When water evaporates it needs a significant amount of latent heat - which cools a property' walls as it dries (the reason you're meant to get out of wet clothes as soon as you can in cold weather).

There are some specialist companies selling this service as a "miracle cure" but it is simply a silicone liquid which forms a permeable waterproof coating on the first few mm of the wall surface.
Edited by: "Van1973" 18th Dec 2017
A lot of homes are cold simple because they way they are set out. For example if your main living room also has a door to a hall and kitchen this can be a problem. You heat the main room and the heat rises while doors are open and allows cooler air in at the lower level. This make a room feel cold even if the heat is turned on. Central heating helps but most people turn the rads in halls and adjoining room down to save money. What you need is to balance the heat around their living space.

Also placement of furniture also has an effect. for example placing a sofa on the far wall from a radiator gives better warmth then placing it against the radiator, again that's because the heat goes up, across the ceiling and falls to the far walls.

As for the house itself well fitting windows and doors in a must. Not much on the outside will help in your case I suspect because that would be keep warmth in, what you need is to get the rooms warm first. Curtains on doors can be very effective as are heavy window curtains and don't forget the floor, it's a simple job to pull a carpet back and put some plywood down then put th carpet back.
There probably isnt much point just replacing the glass in the dg units - newer units can have insulated frames and thicker glazing units - look at good quality stuff rehau (?sp?) has a good name.

What sort of house is it? single storey? terraced? got some pics? (of a similar property if you dont want to put up pics of your own house.

What is the construction? when you say single skin is this brick/timber frame or is it one of those concrete panel builds - this makes a big difference to how and what you can do. How old? are there chimneys? what are the eves like?

If its fairly standard construction (eg brick) then your best bet is external insulation as the first poster suggested. Our house is an old single skin build and I've done the back and the side with 15cm eps with thincoat render over it (couldnt do the front because we are in a conservation area). It has made a huge difference.

External insulation is a standard technique in europe but in the UK still considered to be esoteric so you get silly prices quoted but actually it is easy to install.

Internally insulating rooms using celotex or insulated plasterboard is OK, but is very disruptive/messy and reduces room sizes. It also can cause problems with cold bridges and condensation around floors because the insulation is missing from floor/ceiling voids.

Things that you can do very quickly and easily is to reduce draughts - so make sure you have fire hoods on downlighters, draught excluders on doors, external post box and block up the letterbox.
Van197358 m ago

The first thing to do is go overboard with insulation in the loft - fit in …The first thing to do is go overboard with insulation in the loft - fit in as much as you can - 600mm minimum I'd suggest.Then, as they have a single skin solid wall, in the spring spray/brush this waterproofing solution onto the walls. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/EVERBUILD-402-WATERSEAL-25LTR-WATER-SEAL-REPELLENT-TRANSPARENT-SOLVENT-FREE-25L/141440402726?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649This will reduce the level of damp in the walls which will make the walls fell a lot warmer. When water evaporates it needs a significant amount of latent heat - which cools a property' walls as it dries (the reason you're meant to get out of wet clothes as soon as you can in cold weather).There are some specialist companies selling this service as a "miracle cure" but it is simply a silicone liquid which forms a permeable waterproof coating on the first few mm of the wall surface.



I'd be careful with both these suggestions.
Too much roof insulation can lead to condensation in the insulation - well known and documented issue.

I'd never put waterproofer on a wall. If water is getting in through a wall then sort out the pointing/render/guttering that is permitting it. Most people are totally unaware of how much water vapour is generated inside a house (cooking/showers/breathing and gas fires are terrible for causing damp) and assuming an old house (most non-concrete panel single skin walls are going to be old) waterproofing the outside will cause damp issues with interstitial condensation.
I agree that damp walls are cold but the reverse is also true - cold walls are damp.
Original Poster
Thanks everyone for the reply...I contacted Age UK for some advice and they've put me through the warm homes scheme who in turn will contact me for advise and grants if applicable

The house is a 4 bed detached premises...single storey made only of brick frame. One chimney but we don't really use it but it does have a gas fire...once again don't really use.

Going to look at external insulationdont fancy doing it inside as we don't want to lose internal wall space

Will also look at doing the Windows...but there are so many Windows it's going to cost a lot of money we don't have 😭

Appreciate everyone's suggestions...thanks again
mas999 h, 38 m ago

I'd be careful with both these suggestions. Too much roof insulation …I'd be careful with both these suggestions. Too much roof insulation can lead to condensation in the insulation - well known and documented issue.I'd never put waterproofer on a wall. If water is getting in through a wall then sort out the pointing/render/guttering that is permitting it. Most people are totally unaware of how much water vapour is generated inside a house (cooking/showers/breathing and gas fires are terrible for causing damp) and assuming an old house (most non-concrete panel single skin walls are going to be old) waterproofing the outside will cause damp issues with interstitial condensation.I agree that damp walls are cold but the reverse is also true - cold walls are damp.


?? Interested to hear of the well documented examples of condensation within insulation in a loft space - let me have some links please.

Rain impinging upon a double brick single skin wall will not "get in through" the wall but will wet it and hence increase it's moisture content. When this moisture evaporates from the wall surface it has to find some heat from somewhere to vapourise (latent heat of vapourisation) - this will have to come from the sensible heat of the wall and hence lower the temperature of the wall. Putting a PERMEABLE waterproofer on the outside of a wall will prevent liquid water from permeating into the wall but will not restrict the escape of water vapour from the wall. I agree with your comment re. cause of internal water vapour and efforts should be taken to reduce these - but these are secondary to the potential wetting of a wall from external rain. Therefore reducing this wetting can make a significant reduction to the heat losses through the wall. There are a few academic papers documenting this .... storage.googleapis.com/wzu…pdf This is something that is mis sold (oversold) by some manufacurers and contractors but there is nothing wrong with the science - and spending something like £50 for a DIY job to treat the North and East facing walls will result in a significant payback very quickly through reduced fuel use and improved comfort.

Re: "damp walls are cold but the reverse is also true - cold walls are damp" - I'd counter with walls needn't be damp and dry walls are easier to keep warm!
Van19731 h, 19 m ago

?? Interested to hear of the well documented examples of condensation …?? Interested to hear of the well documented examples of condensation within insulation in a loft space - let me have some links please.Rain impinging upon a double brick single skin wall will not "get in through" the wall but will wet it and hence increase it's moisture content. When this moisture evaporates from the wall surface it has to find some heat from somewhere to vapourise (latent heat of vapourisation) - this will have to come from the sensible heat of the wall and hence lower the temperature of the wall. Putting a PERMEABLE waterproofer on the outside of a wall will prevent liquid water from permeating into the wall but will not restrict the escape of water vapour from the wall. I agree with your comment re. cause of internal water vapour and efforts should be taken to reduce these - but these are secondary to the potential wetting of a wall from external rain. Therefore reducing this wetting can make a significant reduction to the heat losses through the wall. There are a few academic papers documenting this .... storage.googleapis.com/wzukusers/user-17911946/documents/565dcbc4157c9sX7Lk3D/094-Rirsch.pdf This is something that is mis sold (oversold) by some manufacurers and contractors but there is nothing wrong with the science - and spending something like £50 for a DIY job to treat the North and East facing walls will result in a significant payback very quickly through reduced fuel use and improved comfort. Re: "damp walls are cold but the reverse is also true - cold walls are damp" - I'd counter with walls needn't be damp and dry walls are easier to keep warm!


I'll have to find the references - they were either on ebuild or gbf - Its a long time since I looked into this. Googling for condensation in lofts brings back gazillions of hits many of which cite increased insulation as a cause of dampness in attics but not the specific issue that I meant.
It is a known issue with cold roof constructions where there is no vapour barrier below the insulation. The issue is that warm damp air rises through the insulation until it hits the dew point and condenses but because of the thickness of the insulation it isnt able to be dealt with by the ventilation in the roof space. So you get a wet layer in the insulation. This is distinct from the cases of condensation forming on the rafters or underside of the felt then dripping onto the top of the insulation, leaving the top of the insulation damp. Importantly the issue with condensation in the body of the insulation canoccur even with a well ventilated roof space.

There is a relevant discussion here:
pistonheads.com/gas…i=0
various pro-housbuilders involved inthe conversation.

re walls: the OP has a single solid wall, not a cavity wall. That can get wet as a result of penetrating rain, and in such cases I'd be looking to make sure the pointing and condition of the bricks is good rather than splashing on silicon waterproofer. In a solid wall in an old building, typically built with lime rather than concrete the mechanism is that the walls become wet in rain but then dry out. In severe weather areas where there is a strong risk of penetrating rain it would be normal to have a rendered finish, but again render shouldnt be sealed.

Anyway the brick developmetn organisation always used to recommend not applying waterproofing to bricks because it seals moisture in and leads to spalling. Maybe there are new sealants that are recommended?

For the OP - I'd suggest having a look on the greenbuildingforum.co.uk and search on external insulation. the members on there are a mix of builders/architects and academics. There are many threads covering installation of insulation and the pros/cons of different methods/materials. I'd suggest that a single storey detatched property is ideal because you dont need scaffold and with a bit of thought you could put up a decent amount of eps fairly easily.
TBH if you use a mix of mechanical fix and foam adhesive then you could diy it fairly easily.
You'd need to look at the detailing at the eves and around doors/window reveals and services/guttering. You cant run electric cables through eps and gas pipes need to be external so I'd expect possible relocation of pipework and a new flue on a boiler.
Edited by: "mas99" 18th Dec 2017
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