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Profile view of professional workman in protective workwear installing thermal insulation layer under the roof, fixed material on wall

Insulation Solutions for Old Houses: Comfort & Savings

Have you ever experienced the discomfort of living in an old house that’s as drafty as a barn? The bone-chilling cold seeps into your bones despite wrapping up in a paper-thin blanket on a frosty winter night. Inadequate insulation can be a real issue, but fret not, as we can tackle it together. 

Let’s explore the most effective ways to address this frigid problem. We’ll navigate through various types of insulation and compare their advantages and disadvantages for our beloved historic homes. 

This riveting journey will not only reveal what works best but also how it can affect your comfort level and energy bills. You will even get to hear from homeowners who have transformed their old houses into comfortable and cozy havens with smart insulation choices

Let’s get started with some practical tips based on extensive research.

Need for Insulation in Old Houses

If you own an older house, chances are it’s not as cozy and energy-efficient as you’d like it to be. That’s because many older homes lack adequate insulation.

This isn’t just a minor inconvenience. Poor insulation can lead to significant problems, from discomfort during extreme weather to unnecessarily high utility bills.

The US Department of Energy approximates that using correct insulation could bring savings on heating and cooling expenses for homeowners.

The Problem with Inadequate Insulation

Inadequate insulation lets your home’s precious heat escape during winter months while allowing unwanted hot air inside during summer. It makes your HVAC system work overtime, causing wear and tear and inflated energy expenses.

Older Homes Often Lack Proper Insulation

Houses built before the ’80s often have insufficient or even no wall insulation at all. This was due to lower energy prices back then coupled with less stringent building codes concerning thermal performance.

Making Your Old House More Comfortable & Efficient

A well-insulated house is comfortable all year round and helps you save money on utilities. Investing in better insulating materials is key here, especially if you own an older property.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Insulation for an Old House

Choosing insulation for your old house can be a daunting task. However, the process can be made much easier with a thoughtful approach.

Your Home’s Age and Construction

The age of your home and its construction materials play significant roles in choosing insulation. Older homes built with wood or brick may benefit more from spray foam insulation, which expands into tiny crevices and provides superior air sealing.

Climate Considerations

The climate where you live also impacts the type of insulation you should choose. In colder regions, high R-value insulation like fiberglass might work best. For hot climates, radiant barriers combined with traditional insulating materials could give optimal results.


Cellulose is an environmentally friendly option because it’s made from recycled newspaper treated with fire retardants.

Budget Constraints

Budget plays a big part in deciding what kind of insulation to get installed in your old house. Spray foam tends to be pricier than other types but offers excellent long-term energy savings that can offset upfront costs over time.

Different Types of Insulation

Fiberglass, cellulose, and spray foam are among the popular types of insulation. Each comes with its unique features.

Fiberglass Insulation

Favored for its cost-effectiveness, fiberglass is widely used in many homes. It’s lightweight but can be tricky to install because it requires protective clothing due to tiny glass shards. 

Cellulose Insulation

A green option made from recycled paper products, cellulose offers excellent thermal performance. But remember that it might settle over time, which could decrease its effectiveness. More on cellulose insulation here.

Spray Foam Insulation

This is a great choice if you’re after an air-sealing barrier. The application of spray foam results in a remarkable expansion that ensures thorough gap filling, thereby enhancing energy efficiency to an exceptional level. Check out this link for more about spray foam.

Remember: No single insulation system will be appropriate for all buildings, as each home is unique.

Comparison of Insulation Types

Not all materials are created equal when it comes to insulating your old house. Let’s take a look at three popular types: fiberglass, cellulose, and spray foam.

Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass insulation, the pink stuff you often see in attics, is an affordable option with a decent R-value. But installation can be tricky – make sure to avoid skin contact.

Cellulose Insulation

Made from recycled paper products, cellulose insulation offers a green choice with good thermal performance. It does settle over time though so more may need to be added later on.

Spray Foam Insulation

Last but not least we have spray foam insulation. While pricier than its counterparts, it provides excellent energy efficiency and forms a moisture barrier too. Our team at Star Spray Foam has seen firsthand how effective this type can be in old houses.

Bear in mind that every residence is distinctive and what may be effective for one might not operate as well for another.

Best Practices for Installing Insulation in an Old House

Installing insulation properly is crucial to reap its full benefits. Here are some best practices.

  • Know Your Insulation Type:

Different types of insulation require different installation techniques. Spray foam, for example, needs a professional touch due to the chemicals involved. Fiberglass and cellulose can be DIY projects if you’re comfortable with it.

  • Create a Vapor Barrier:

To keep moisture out, use vapor barriers like polyethylene plastic sheeting when installing fiberglass or cellulose. This guide from provides more details on creating effective vapor barriers.

  • Avoid Blocking Ventilation:

Ensure that ventilation is not impeded, as it is essential for maintaining good indoor air quality and inhibiting mold growth. So make sure your insulation doesn’t block vents or airflow paths.

The Correct R-Value

Your house’s location determines the recommended R-value (thermal resistance). Use enough layers of insulation to reach this value but avoid compressing material as it reduces effectiveness.

Hire Professionals If Unsure

Star Spray Foam team of professionals, offer their expertise when you need help with complicated installations.

Professional Help vs. DIY for Insulation Installation

Choosing between professional help and a do-it-yourself approach is no small task when it comes to insulation installation in an old house.

The Pros of Hiring Professionals

Hiring professionals such as those at Star Spray Foam can select the best insulation for your home’s individual needs due to their expertise.

Their experience can also prevent potential mishaps during installation that could lead to energy inefficiency or even damage.

The Cons of Hiring Professionals

But, hiring pros isn’t without its downsides. The cost might be higher than doing it yourself, especially if your project is large-scale or complex.

The Pros and Cons of DIY

If you’re handy around the house and willing to learn, installing insulation yourself can save money. But there are challenges too.

A lack of knowledge about proper techniques could reduce effectiveness while risks associated with handling materials need careful consideration.

Remember: No matter which route you take, getting quality insulation installed properly will pay off in comfort and energy savings down the line.

Maintenance and Longevity of Insulation in Old Houses

Maintaining your home’s insulation is not an arduous task; a bit of attention will keep it functioning optimally. No need to worry, the task is not as difficult as it seems.

First off, spray foam insulation is pretty low-maintenance once installed. Just make sure it stays dry. If there are any leaks or moisture problems, they must be dealt with promptly in order to avoid harm.

Caring for Other Types of Insulation

Fiberglass and cellulose insulation require more attention than spray foam. Keep a lookout for any signs of deterioration or vermin infestations – these can drastically reduce their effectiveness eventually.

Lifespan: How Long Does It Last?

The longevity varies depending on the type used. Spray foam insulation from Star Spray Foam can last up to 80 years if well-maintained.

  • Spray Foam: Can last up to 80 years with proper care.
  • Fiberglass: Typically lasts around 20-25 years but may degrade sooner without maintenance.
  • Cellulose: Usually holds up for about 30 years but requires regular checks for pests.

No matter what kind you have though, remember that proper installation initially will help extend its lifespan too.

Best Insulation for an Old House: FAQs

How do you insulate an old house without tearing down walls?

You can use blown-in insulation, like cellulose or fiberglass. A professional installer drills small holes in the wall, blows in the insulation, and then seals up.

Is it worth it to insulate an old house?

Absolutely. Insulating your old house reduces energy bills, improves comfort by keeping temperatures consistent, and decreases environmental impact.

What is the longest-lasting home insulation?

Spray foam tends to last longer than other types of insulation. It resists moisture, maintains its R-value over time, and typically lasts as long as your home does.

How do you insulate a house with existing walls?

You drill holes into the wall’s interior or exterior surface. Then blow-in loose-fill or spray foam insulation gets added through these points before sealing them off again.


To make your old home warmer, more comfortable, and more energy-efficient, you have considered different options for insulation that don’t involve demolishing walls. You have learned about different types of insulation for your home, such as fiberglass, cellulose, and spray foam. These options can improve your home’s comfort and save you money.

Remember, inadequate insulation can lead to discomfort and inflated energy bills, and old homes often lack proper insulation. But with careful consideration of factors like your home’s age, climate, and budget, you can make informed decisions to enhance your living space.

Whether you opt for professional assistance or choose the DIY route, the key is proper installation, as it ensures that your insulation performs optimally. Regular maintenance is essential, and different insulation types have varying lifespans, so staying vigilant is key to long-term success.

Now, it’s time to take action and transform your historic home into a haven of comfort and energy savings.

Ready to make a difference? Get in touch with Star Spray Foams, the leading specialist in insulation solutions for old homes. Their experienced team can guide you through the process, helping you make the best choices for your unique space. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them for a more comfortable and cost-efficient home.