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"Anyone have any experience with drafty old houses?" Topic

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1,148 hits since 14 Sep 2011
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napthyme Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Sep 2011 9:31 p.m. PST

The house we live in is 100 years plus. its had lots of remodeling over the years, but the north side is just like someone has left the barn doors open.

The house has newer Masonite siding with the old clap board underneath. I've done the best I can at trying to fill the void between the siding and the foundation with foam expanding insulation, but still there is a draft in here that will freeze a brass monkey.

Years ago a company came and sprayed expanding foam into all the walls but the north one because they said it already had insulation in it (I still do not believe it.)

Does anyone have any ideas of what could be done to reduce the draft before winter? I'm getting tired of freezing to death in the north rooms of the house.

Roderick Robertson Fezian14 Sep 2011 9:34 p.m. PST

Put your wargaming library against the north wall?

Sorry, but our house is less than 10 years old (and, while it has iits own problems because of the builder <*spit*>, that's not one of them).

napthyme Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Sep 2011 9:43 p.m. PST

I've got dressers up against the wall problem is the floor is still drafty like there is a giant sized opening somewhere still.

goragrad14 Sep 2011 10:26 p.m. PST

Without seeing a floor plan or pictures (in lieu of actually seeing the house) it is hard to say. Does it have a full basement? Or attic? Either could provide potential openings for drafts even if the wall is sealed. If you have a basement, you could try lighting a smoke candle down there and see if you get anything coming up into the house. For an attic you would need to get something that would sink or do the candle in the house while watching in the attic.

There could also be window and door openings that might not be 'tight.' Or lighting fixtures in the ceiling that are relatively open to air flow. Speaking of the ceiling, how is the insulation over the rooms on the north side of the house?

Electrical outlets and switches can also provide openings (there are specifically cut pieces of insulation that can be placed under the covers).

Dropzonetoe Fezian14 Sep 2011 10:27 p.m. PST

Coming in from a cold air vent perhaps?

napthyme Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Sep 2011 10:44 p.m. PST

The attic has plenty of insulation the cold air is from the floor area.

It just has a crawl space that I can't get into cause its to small to crawl into.

There is only 1 outlet on the north side and its not in this room, so that can't be the source.

there is no vents in this house either.

At one time they put tar paper roofing around the bottom of the house, but that is not a solution that works with any satisfaction.

I'm not familiar with new construction materials to know what might be available to help.

goragrad15 Sep 2011 12:09 a.m. PST

Just one room then. From your description it appears that the draft is not isolated to a small area of the wall. Hardwood or tile flooring? Or is the room carpeted? Might have a gap that is covered by the base molding. Without a method to narrow down the location it might require pulling the entire strip. If it is from the floor, then the alternate is to get a way into the crawlspace.

RavenscraftCybernetics Inactive Member15 Sep 2011 3:25 a.m. PST

This may help.


OldGrenadier at work15 Sep 2011 4:46 a.m. PST

My step-dad lives in a house that's about 80 years old. He and I undertook a rigorous program of caulking and insulating when we first moved in, including any vents that lead into the crawlspace. Eventually, he had the brick foundation re-covered to help prevent drafts. This may help as well for you.

jdpintex15 Sep 2011 6:58 a.m. PST


richarDISNEY Inactive Member15 Sep 2011 7:20 a.m. PST

You house doesn't happen to look like this?


Along with the draft, do the walls bleed? Do you hear voices that say "get out" in a creepy fashion?
If so, I think I know your problem…

Klebert L Hall Inactive Member15 Sep 2011 7:47 a.m. PST

None of the effective solutions are cheap or fast.

Ran The Cid15 Sep 2011 8:15 a.m. PST

"It just has a crawl space that I can't get into cause its to small to crawl into."

Could be the source. I have a 65 year old house with an addition. The crawl space under the addition is not sealed – the floor always gets cold in the winter.

VCarter Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2011 9:39 a.m. PST

"It just has a crawl space that I can't get into cause its to small to crawl into."

Not much of a crawl space then, is it. Could it be filled in with insulation?


napthyme Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Sep 2011 11:08 a.m. PST

I'd love to put insulation in there but it would take a midget to crawl back in there far enough to do it where it needs it. there is maybe 10 inches of space in that area.

any solutions for recovering the brick?

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2011 11:15 a.m. PST

I have experience with drafty old bosses.
Are they the same thing?

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian15 Sep 2011 1:41 p.m. PST

I'd love to put insulation in there

Child labor an option?

goragrad15 Sep 2011 2:32 p.m. PST

Doubt you want to go to that extreme, but some judicious excavation could create a bit more room to work in.

On the exterior you could place foam board (or even building wrap) over the brick, but would then have to make a decision on what to cover that with.

Another alternative could be a false floor in that room. Put down a membrane to cut infiltration than a layer of foam board and then flooring. You would lose an inch or so of height in the room and the cost and labor would not be insignificant, however.

Unfortunately, I can't think of a particularly simple and elegant solution at this time.

Cold Steel Inactive Member15 Sep 2011 3:06 p.m. PST

Before the Masonite was added, did they cover the old clapboard with a vapor barrier? That may be where your problem lies. The siding may look nice, but it probably isn't sealed. Get a 2d opinion on the foam. If the old insulation was a fiberglass or blow fill type, it probably settled to the bottom between the studs. Make sure they check at the top and middle of the wall.

How about stucco on the brick?

Consider a landscaping option. Mound dirt against the wall of the crawl space. Or some type of hedge to block most of the wind?

Jovian1 Inactive Member17 Sep 2011 10:18 p.m. PST

Spray Rhino lining on the bricks and it should seal out any draft. Get an insulation company to blow the crawl space full of insulation.

Old Slow Trot Inactive Member21 Sep 2011 6:26 a.m. PST

One of my brothers lives in an older house. Drafty in certain spots,but other spots,not so much.

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