Q: We are renovating an extremely old house (100+ years). One room has three outside brick walls. What is the best way to insulate the room from the inside?

— Frank, Carleton, MI

A: Tom Silva replies: If the brick has one-inch firring strips and you're going to tackle this yourself, I'd use one-inch foil-covered sheets of foam insulation. Cut strips to fit tightly between each of the firing strips. Then take sheets of the insulation, 4 feet x 8 feet, and cover the entire wall. Nail with 1 1/2-inch roofing nails. You won't need a lot of nails, but try not to rip or damage the foil. Make all joints tight. Then tape all seams with foil tape. Cover the foam with wallboard and plaster. You'll have to build out the wood trim around your windows or door to make up for the added insulation and wallboard. You'll also need longer screws for the wallboard, 2- to 2 1/2-inch screws.

If you're hiring a contractor, spray foam wall is a good alternative. This liquid is injected and expands into foam. The excess is then shaved off and the walls are ready for wallboard and plaster.
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