how do we make 1920s house warmer?

Umm Ibn
hace 4 meses

Hi, we currently live in a new build and have bought our 1st place which is a house built in 1920s. Unlike our current new build place which has low ceilings and small rooms, our new 1920s place has large rooms and what feels like drafty rooms. It already has double glazing. Is there anything we can do to make it naturally warm and insulated like our current new build place? we have allergies and don't cope well with having the heating on alot. Many thanks!

Comentarios (7)

  • T Gray
    hace 4 meses

    We moved from a 2000 new build to a 1906 build. It is a very different way of living in a house.

    Before you call/hire anyone, do your own research. Find out how your house was constructed. Is it solid or cavity wall (more likely to be solid, ours is). You have double glazing but how many chimneys are in the house and how draughty is it? These houses are not meant to be hermetically sealed, they can suffer dreadfully with condensation and damp if they are insulated incorrectly. We don't use the chimneys so have invested in a chimney sheep to block the draughts but still keep the breathable aspect.


    Really thick curtains on the windows help enormously as does keeping the internal doors closed over most of the time. If you can't afford blanket lined curtains, an easy trick is to get cheap fleece blankets from somewhere like The Range and sew/velcro them into your existing curtains. Careful of fire regs though, we don't do candles as we have cats and they are wonderful yet stupid, so no open flames for us!

    Roof space insulation is a good start, again, research breathable insulation. Lining your walls with 10cm of internal insulation is a terrible idea if you want to keep the original features in a house. However if you are gutting it because there are no features left, get someone in who has a proven track record of old house renovations. Ask to see their portfolio and you also shouldn't be able to book them for at least 6 months if they are good!

    There is a Haynes manual for Victorian to Edwardian construction in which you may find some info on the construction of you house, though yours is more interwar period. It's a good read nonetheless.

    There are loads of sites on the internet which give info on house building, This one describes the various periods with how to recognise them. We often go for a walk around our area and try to guess the house age (and this was before lock down!)


    These are just my thoughts from having experienced the joy (and pain) of owning an older house. Get used to having to fix stuff, don't worry unduly if hairline cracks are appearing as the house naturally shifts (cos they do and it is usually ok!) Get a structural survey done on the house. Also get used to a much higher fuel bill, plus investigate HEPA fans that can help reduce particles (we got one for our bedroom and it has worked well).

    Keep asking on here for help and advice because the community is super and helpful and has helped me transform my tired old house into a home that I love. Oh and live in it for at least 6 months before deciding to do any decoration. The house will tell you what it wants. :-)

    I wish you all the best in your new home.

    Umm Ibn agradeció a T Gray
  • Umm Ibn
    Autor original
    hace 4 meses

    Thank you T Gray, lots of useful advice. Did you consider outside insulation?

  • T Gray
    hace 4 meses
    Última modificación: hace 4 meses

    Hi Umm Ibn

    We didn't consider outside insulation because it is a classic red brick villa. It would spoil the look of the house entirely. The little things we have done inside like re carpeting the hall, the chimney sheeps, sealing around the double glazing, thick curtains etc has actually helped reduce the bills. Air movement is good, draughts are bad is our mantra :-) You will have to accept that you will never make an old house into the standard of a modern build. But that is part of the compromise you make to live somewhere that has history and character.

  • arc3d
    hace 4 meses

    Hi Umm Ibn,

    Insulating an older property, which when it was built, was designed to breathe, can be really tricky and expensive if you get it wrong. There are lots of rogue companies out there that will try to sell you lots of useless products to insulate and damp proof your house.

    However, there have been many examples of people getting it right to create super energy efficient homes that are even more efficient than new builds. Some examples include 100 houses that have been converted into negative energy homes i.e. a house that produces more energy than it consumes, but as T Gray suggests research is key.

    We lived in an older property a while ago. A large detached house with a huge garden that backed off into a field. It was amazing.... until our first winter came. The living room had 4 large radiators, which I, when we first moved in, thought was too much, but with the heating on full blast it would take about 2 hours for the house to start warming up. 10 minutes after turning the heating off it was freezing cold!

    Anyway we took the easy option. We moved into a nice new build!

  • PRO
    Tim Offer Architects
    hace 4 meses

    Hi there

    There are two great books published by SPAB (Society for the protection of Ancient Buildings) about old houses and work to make them energy efficient - https://www.spab.org.uk/shop/product/old-house-handbook and https://www.spab.org.uk/shop/product/old-house-eco-handbook

    As others have said research is key, and this might be a good place to start.

    Best of luck!

    Tim Offer

  • Katie Duke
    hace 4 meses

    Hello and congrats on your new home! There's some really good advice here already but thought I would throw in option of underfloor insulation. I live in a 1930s semi and my other half and his dad spent a back breaking few days fixing Kingspan insulation boards to the joists underneath our ground floor. We just have the original floorboards exposed throughout our ground floor (no carpets) and the insulation has made a huge difference.

    Also as someone above has mentioned try to minimise drafts. We used thin foam on a reel to squash into joins where skirting/beading meets the floor. Also draft excluders on all the internal doors to try and prevent warm air in living and/or dining rooms pulling in the cooler air from the hall. A nice heavy door curtain over the front door helps as well as insulating round the letter box. Make sure seals around you exterior doors are good and that you aren't drawing in cold air that way. Finally thermastatic valves on all the radiators mean you can have the heating on just where you want it - better for the environment and your wallet and (ref allergies) means you don't dry out the air in the house too much. Good luck!

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