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Old Wood House - Insulate or Not?

I own a house in southern Ontario, Canada built in the 1870s. It has wood board and batten siding with no sheathing from what I can tell, and lathe and plaster walls on the inside. There is no insulation in the walls and most of the windows are original. For such an old, drafty house the heating bills are surprisingly reasonable. The siding and exterior trim is in rough shape and will need to be replaced soon. I have read a lot of opinions about insulating houses like this one and creating moisture issues in the walls. When I remove the siding that would be the time to insulate. Should I bother insulating at all or if I should then what would you recommend? Thanks!

Re: Old Wood House - Insulate or Not?


The walls are not that thick, insulating would not give you that much resistance. You would be better off sealing up and repairing the cracks, making sure the vertical furing strips are tight, sealing around the windows, etc.... Replace the insulation in the attic, there you will get the most value. And you can install many layers, creating a nice barrier against the cold.

We have an old Victorian house, that has no insulation, and we stay nice and warm in the winter, and very cool in the high humidity summer. The plaster walls are thick, much more than sheetrock. I have rebuilt most of the windows(I can rebuild only so many during the warmer weather seasons), sealed up the cracks in the clap board siding, etc....


Handy Andy In Mt Airy NC

Re: Old Wood House - Insulate or Not?

We had cellulose blown into the walls of our 1865 home, it seems to have cut down on drafts as well as road noise. It was also 75% off through a local agency so it cost well under $1,000 for 2 stories and took 1 day per story, see if your utilities offer something like that. I've also been fixing up the windows, and we installed low-e storm windows over our windows and they seem to outperform all of our neighbors' new replacement windows in drafts and noise. Between that and 72+ tubes of caulk and an IR camera we have really cut down on drafts.

Re: Old Wood House - Insulate or Not?

Mines got blown in as well compared to the last old house i lived in its much more energy efficient but that could be because of other factors 2. Fyi its was blown in in the 60s hasnt caused any issues yet

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