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Home » Blog » How to Insulate an Old Home: Tips and Tricks for Keeping Your Home Warm and Energy-Efficient

How to Insulate an Old Home: Tips and Tricks for Keeping Your Home Warm and Energy-Efficient

How to insulate an old home 1

Insulating an old home is essential for maintaining a comfortable living environment and reducing energy costs. Many older homes lack proper insulation, which can lead to drafts, uneven temperatures, and high heating bills. Thankfully, there exist numerous measures homeowners can implement to insulate a vintage residence and enhance its energy performance.

The first step in insulating an old home is to identify areas that need insulation. Common areas that lack proper insulation include walls, attics, and basements. Homeowners can hire a professional to conduct an energy audit to determine where insulation is needed most. An energy audit can also identify other areas where energy efficiency can be improved, such as air leaks and inefficient heating systems. Once problem areas have been identified, homeowners can begin to take steps to insulate their home.

Explanation of the Importance of Insulation in Old Homes

Importance of Insulation

Insulating an old home is essential for several reasons. It can improve energy efficiency, increase comfort, and save money on energy bills.

Energy Efficiency

Insulation acts as a shield, hindering heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer. In an old home, the insulation may have deteriorated over time, leaving gaps and holes that allow air to escape. This can cause your heating and cooling systems to work harder, resulting in higher energy bills. By insulating your old home, you can reduce the amount of energy needed to maintain a comfortable temperature, thus lowering your energy bills.

Comfort Improvement

A well-insulated home can also improve comfort levels. Insulation aids in controlling the temperature and humidity within your residence, enhancing overall comfort. It can also reduce the amount of noise that enters your home, providing a more peaceful living environment.

Cost Savings

Insulating an old home can lead to significant cost savings in the long run. Lowering the energy required for heating and cooling can result in cost savings on energy bills. Additionally, insulation can help to extend the lifespan of your heating and cooling systems, reducing the need for costly repairs or replacements.

Overall, insulating an old home is a wise investment that can provide numerous benefits. Whether you choose to use fiberglass or another type of insulation, it's important to ensure that your home is properly insulated to maximize energy efficiency, comfort, and cost savings.

Challenges of insulating older properties

Older homes come with a unique set of challenges when it comes to insulation. Two of the most significant challenges are preserving the historical integrity of the property and dealing with existing structures and materials.

  1. Preservation of historical integrity

Many older homes have a historical significance that needs to be preserved. Adding insulation can be a challenge as it may alter the appearance of the property. Homeowners need to find insulation options that do not alter the historical integrity of the property. Spray foam insulation presents itself as one viable choice. This type of insulation can be sprayed into small spaces without altering the appearance of the property.

  1. Dealing with existing structures and materials

Older homes often have existing structures and materials that can make insulation challenging. For example, many older homes have plaster walls that can make it difficult to add insulation. Homeowners need to find insulation options that work with existing structures and materials. Fiberglass insulation stands out as another alternative. This type of insulation can be installed in walls and attics without altering the existing structure of the property.

In addition to these challenges, homeowners need to ensure that their insulation creates an effective barrier to prevent energy loss. Proper insulation can help reduce energy costs by creating a barrier that keeps warm air inside during the winter and cool air inside during the summer. Homeowners should consider using an air barrier to prevent air leakage and maximize the effectiveness of their insulation.

Overall, insulating an older home can be a challenge, but with the right insulation options and techniques, homeowners can improve the energy efficiency of their property while preserving its historical integrity.

Assessment of Insulation Needs in an Old Home

Assessment of Insulation Needs

Insulating an old home can be a challenging task, but it is essential for ensuring energy efficiency and comfort. Before commencing any insulation endeavor, it's imperative to evaluate the insulation requirements of the domicile. This segment will lead you through the evaluation process, aiding in the identification of critical zones necessitating insulation.

Professional Energy Audit vs. DIY Inspection

To determine the insulation necessities of an older residence, you have the option to enlist the services of a professional energy auditor or perform a do-it-yourself examination. A professional energy audit is a comprehensive assessment of the home's energy efficiency, including insulation, air leaks, and heating and cooling systems. A professional energy audit can be expensive, but it provides a detailed report on the home's energy performance and recommends specific insulation improvements.

Alternatively, you can conduct a DIY inspection by identifying the key areas that require insulation and evaluating the current insulation state. While a DIY inspection may not be as comprehensive as a professional energy audit, it can help you identify the most significant insulation needs and save you money.

Identifying Key Areas for Insulation

Identifying Key Areas

The key areas for insulation in an old home include the attic and roof spaces, walls, floors and basements, and windows and doors. Each of these regions necessitates a distinct insulation type, and the insulation materials and R-values will fluctuate based on the site.

  1. Attic and Roof Spaces

The attic and roof spaces are the most significant sources of heat loss in an old home. Insulating the attic and roof spaces can significantly improve the home's energy efficiency and reduce heating and cooling costs. Commonly suggested insulation materials for attic and roof spaces encompass fiberglass, cellulose, and spray foam insulation.

  1. Walls

Walls are the second most significant source of heat loss in an old home. Insulating the walls can improve the home's energy efficiency and reduce heating and cooling costs. The recommended insulation materials for walls include fiberglass, cellulose, and foam board insulation.

  1. Floors and Basements

Insulating the floors and basements can improve the home's energy efficiency and reduce heating and cooling costs. Commonly recommended insulation materials for floors and basements encompass fiberglass, foam board insulation, and spray foam insulation.

  1. Windows and Doors

While windows and doors are not significant sources of heat loss, they can still benefit from insulation. Insulating windows and doors can improve the home's energy efficiency and reduce heating and cooling costs. The recommended insulation materials for windows and doors include weatherstripping, caulking, and foam insulation.

Evaluating the Current Insulation State

Before adding any insulation, it is essential to evaluate the current insulation state of the home. This includes checking for any air leaks, gaps, or voids in the insulation. Insulation can only be effective if it is properly installed and sealed.

Understanding Insulation Materials and R-Values

Insulation materials come in different types and R-values, which determine the insulation's effectiveness. The R-value measures the insulation's resistance to heat flow, with a higher R-value indicating better insulation. The recommended R-value for insulation will vary depending on the location and climate.

In summary, assessing the insulation needs of an old home requires identifying the key areas for insulation, evaluating the current insulation state, and understanding insulation materials and R-values. Whether you choose to hire a professional energy auditor or conduct a DIY inspection, proper insulation is essential for energy efficiency and comfort in an old home.

Insulating the Attic and Roof

Insulating the attic and roof is crucial for keeping an old home warm and energy-efficient. This section will cover the material options for attic insulation and the step-by-step process of insulating the attic.

Material options for attic insulation

Insulating the Attic

There are several material options for attic insulation, each with its own pros and cons. The following materials are frequently employed::

  1. Fiberglass batts - These are the most affordable option and are easy to install. However, they are not as effective in sealing gaps and air leaks as other materials.
  2. Blown-in cellulose - This material is made from recycled paper and is more effective at sealing gaps and air leaks. It is also more eco-friendly than other materials. However, it is more expensive than fiberglass batts.
  3. Spray foam - This material is the most effective at sealing gaps and air leaks. It also has a higher R-value (a measure of insulation's ability to resist heat flow) than other materials. However, it represents the priciest choice.

Step-by-step process of insulating the attic

Below are the steps that will walk you through insulating your attic::

  1. Sealing air leaks - Prior to installing insulation, it's vital to address any gaps or air leaks in the attic. This can be done using caulk, foam, or weatherstripping.
  2. Installing baffles for ventilation - Proper ventilation is important for preventing moisture buildup in the attic. Baffles can be installed to ensure that air can flow freely between the vents and the attic.
  3. Laying down or blowing in the insulation material - Once the air leaks have been sealed and the baffles have been installed, the insulation material can be laid down or blown in. Adhering to the manufacturer's guidelines for the particular insulation material is crucial.

Through insulating the attic and roof of an older residence, homeowners can notably diminish their energy expenses and enhance the general coziness of their dwelling.

Wall Insulation Strategies

Insulating existing walls in an old home can be a challenging task. However, with the right approach and insulation material, it can be done effectively. Below are several wall insulation techniques that can enhance the energy efficiency of an older residence.

A. Insulation methods for existing walls

1. Injection foam insulation

Injection foam insulation is a popular method for insulating existing walls in old homes. It involves drilling small holes in the walls and injecting foam insulation into the wall cavities. The expanding foam fills the void, forming a barrier that aids in retaining heat and preventing energy loss.

2. Dense-packed cellulose

Dense-packed cellulose is another method for insulating existing walls. It involves blowing cellulose insulation into the wall cavities using a special machine. The insulation is packed tightly into the cavities, creating a barrier that helps prevent heat loss.

Retrofitting walls with minimal damage

Retrofitting walls with minimal damage is a technique that involves adding insulation to existing walls without causing significant damage. This technique is ideal for homeowners who want to improve the energy efficiency of their homes without the expense of a major renovation.

1. Drilling and patching technique

The drilling and patching technique involves drilling small holes in the walls and blowing insulation into the cavities. Once the insulation is in place, the holes are patched and painted to match the existing walls.

2. Interior versus exterior approach

The interior versus exterior approach involves adding insulation to either the interior or exterior of the walls. Interior insulation involves adding insulation to the inside of the walls, while exterior insulation involves adding insulation to the outside of the walls. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages, and the best approach depends on the specific needs of the homeowner.

C. Additional measures: weather-stripping and sealing

In addition to adding insulation to existing walls, homeowners can also improve the energy efficiency of their homes by weather-stripping and sealing. Weather-stripping involves sealing gaps around windows and doors to prevent drafts, while sealing involves sealing gaps and cracks in the walls and floors to prevent air leakage.

Overall, insulating existing walls in an old home can be a challenging task, but with the right approach and insulation material, it can be done effectively. Implementing these wall insulation techniques can enhance the energy efficiency of your home, leading to potential savings on energy costs.

V. Insulating Floors and Basements

Insulating floors and basements is crucial to keep the home warm and comfortable. In this section, we will discuss the different insulation materials and steps to insulate crawlspaces and basements.

Choosing insulation materials for floors and basements

When it comes to insulation materials for floors and basements, there are three main options: rigid foam boards, spray foam, and fiberglass batts.

  1. Rigid foam boards: These boards are made of polystyrene, polyisocyanurate, or polyurethane and are great for insulating floors and basements. They are simple to set up and offer superb insulation capabilities.
  2. Spray foam: This type of insulation is made of polyurethane and is sprayed into the floor or basement walls. It expands and fills all the gaps, providing a seamless insulation layer.
  3. Fiberglass batts: These batts are made of glass fibers and are a popular choice for insulating floors and basements. They are straightforward to install and offer effective insulation.

Steps to insulate crawlspaces and basements

Insulating crawlspaces and basements is a bit more complicated than insulating floors. Below are the instructions to adhere to:

  1. Sealing and moisture control: The first step is to seal all the gaps and cracks in the walls and floors. This will prevent air leaks and moisture from entering the space. Moisture control is also important to prevent mold growth.
  2. Insulating floor joists and rim joists: The next step is to insulate the floor joists and rim joists. This task can be accomplished with either rigid foam panels or fiberglass batts. It's important to firmly secure the insulation using wire or insulation supports.

Window and Door Upgrades

Older residences often experience significant heat loss through windows and doors. Upgrading them can greatly improve the insulation of a home.

The role of windows and doors in heat loss

Windows and doors are areas of a home where heat can easily escape due to their susceptibility to gaps and lack of insulation. Single-glazed windows are particularly inefficient in retaining heat and can account for a significant amount of heat loss. Proper sealing is crucial to reduce heat loss in windows and doors.

1. Single-glazed vs. double-glazed windows

Single-pane windows consist of just one layer of glass, whereas double-pane windows feature two layers of glass separated by a layer of air or gas. Double-glazed windows are more efficient in retaining heat and reducing noise. They also reduce the amount of condensation on windows.

2. Importance of proper sealing

Proper sealing of windows and doors is essential to reduce heat loss. Gaps surrounding windows and doors can be effectively sealed using weather-stripping and caulking. Weather-stripping is employed to seal gaps around windows and doors, whereas caulking is utilized to seal gaps between fixed building elements.

Options for improving insulation

There are several options for improving the insulation of windows and doors.

1. Weather-stripping and caulking

Weather-stripping and caulking can be used to seal gaps around windows and doors. It is a cost-effective way to improve insulation and can be done by homeowners themselves.

2. Secondary glazing or window inserts

Secondary glazing involves adding a second layer of glass to an existing window. This is a more cost-effective option than full window replacement. Window inserts are another option, which involve adding a removable panel to an existing window frame.

3. Full window and door replacement considerations

Full window and door replacement is a more expensive option, but it can greatly improve the insulation of a home. When considering full replacement, it is important to choose energy-efficient windows and doors and to have them installed by a professional. This option may also require drilling and modification of the existing window and door frames.


Insulating an old home is a great way to keep it comfortable and energy-efficient. Here are the main steps to insulate an old home effectively:

  • Identify areas that need insulation, such as the attic, walls, and floors.
  • Select the appropriate insulation type according to the climate and the specific area being insulated.
  • Install the insulation properly, making sure to seal any air leaks.

While it is possible to insulate an old home yourself, it is recommended to consult with a professional for best results. A professional can help you identify areas that need insulation, choose the right type of insulation, and install it properly.

Insulating an old home has many benefits, including energy conservation, comfort, and cost savings. By keeping the cold air outside and the warm air inside, you can reduce your energy bills and keep your home comfortable year-round. Moreover, adding insulation to an old house can aid in diminishing your carbon footprint and promoting a healthier environment.

If you thinking of installing insulation in your house, at Critter Stop we are completely at your disposal. With years of experience providing insulation services in the Dallas - Fort Worth Metroplex, we understand very well the necessity of our customers. Contact us today at (214) 234-2616 to get a free inspection and start building a new version of your home!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to insulate old house?

Determining the optimal method for installation for an older house hinges on several factors, including the house's age, construction type, and local climate. Typically, employing a blend of insulation materials like spray foam insulation, fiberglass batts, and blown-in cellulose proves most effective. This multifaceted approach ensures thorough insulation coverage and maximizes energy efficiency.

Can existing walls of an old house be insulated without demolition?

Yes, it is possible to insulate existing walls in an old house without demolition. A viable choice is blown-in insulation, which can be introduced into the walls via small apertures. Alternatively, spray foam insulation presents another option, applicable directly onto the interior or exterior walls. Both methods exhibit efficacy in bolstering energy efficiency and curtailing heating and cooling expenses.

What insulation options are available for insulating the interior of an older home?

There are several insulation options available for insulating the interior of an older home, including fiberglass batts, blown-in cellulose, and spray foam insulation. Every material boasts its own merits and drawbacks, underscoring the importance of consulting with a professional to discern the optimal choice for your unique circumstances.

What are the specific considerations for insulating old homes in climates like California?

When insulating an old home in a climate like California, it is important to consider factors such as the amount of sunlight the home receives, the prevailing winds in the area, and the type of construction. For example, homes in coastal areas may require different insulation materials than those in inland areas, and homes with large windows or skylights may require additional insulation to prevent heat loss.

How can one determine if it is financially beneficial to insulate a heritage house?

To ascertain the financial viability of insulating a heritage house, one must factor in variables like the home's age, the state of the current insulation, and the expenses associated with acquiring and installing insulation materials. A professional energy audit can help to determine the potential energy savings and the return on investment for insulation upgrades.

What insulation materials are recommended for homes over 50 years old?

For homes over 50 years old, it is generally recommended to use insulation materials that are durable and long-lasting, such as spray foam insulation or blown-in cellulose. These materials aid in enhancing energy efficiency and curbing heating and cooling expenditures, while also offering supplementary advantages like enhanced indoor air quality and noise attenuation.

What are 3 insulation tips for old houses?

Seal air leaks: Identify and seal any air leaks around windows, doors, and other openings using weather-stripping and caulking to prevent heat loss and drafts.

Insulate the attic: Properly insulating the attic can significantly reduce heat loss through the roof, improving energy efficiency and comfort in the home. Consider using fiberglass batts, blown-in cellulose, or spray foam insulation for optimal results.

Upgrade windows and doors: Replace old, single-glazed windows and doors with energy-efficient double-glazed or triple-glazed versions to reduce heat transfer and improve insulation in the home. Additionally, seal gaps around windows and doors with weather-stripping and caulking to further enhance insulation.

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Lee Gorman
Lee Gorman
13:50 21 Nov 22
I’d give a 10 star review if I could! We had a great experience with Critter Stop. Everyone I dealt was friendly, professional, and reassuring. Phillip was very helpful and knowledgeable about the work he was doing. He walked me around the entire house to make sure I saw and understood the services he provided. He was also really nice and answered all my questions — he is exactly the type of person that should be interacting with customers.I love the fact that they will come back for up to 1 year after installation if any problems occur — this shows me they stand behind their work.The owner was great too, he personally came to my house and walked me through their offering. I recommend critter stop to anyone and everyone!
Susan Casey
Susan Casey
14:53 15 Nov 22
Critter Stop is a fantastic business! Everyone involved is extremely professional and very easy to communicate with. Chisam, the owner, did a great job of explaining the process to get the squirrels out of my attic during the initial free estimate. The exclusion crew who did all of the initial work was fabulous. The crew consisted of Phillip, Nick and Corey who arrived promptly when they said they would. They are happy, positive employees. Everyone is very polite and patient in explaining their work and answering questions. They came back several times to check the traps and finish it off with the fogging. Lester was very good about following up to schedule each trap check with me, and the office staff who took care of the billing was very efficient. Critter Stop is a well run company with honest, trustworthy employees! Thank you to all of you who worked hard to make my attic critter free and for the peace of mind that you guarantee your work. Great to know I can call them if for some reason a squirrel figures out a way to get back in!
Karen Eckholdt
Karen Eckholdt
14:54 22 Sep 22
Critter Stop has made this project easy and extremely professional from start to finish! They are very detailed and competent from start to finish and know so much about their business. They made a problem easy for us and at a reasonable cost. We would be happy to recommend this company and their owners and staff to anyone.
Aaron Echols
Aaron Echols
13:51 03 Aug 22
The guys at Critter Stop responded quickly, were very friendly, and gave us an honest estimate of what we might need. They explained why some items on other quotes were or were not necessary. They communicated well to get us scheduled, and did the work well and quickly. Great service at a fair and competitive price.
Jacob Scribner
Jacob Scribner
19:23 27 Jul 22
Brandon and his other coworker Gavin came to install insulation in my attic. I am very grateful for the hard work and professionalism. My house feels a lot better with the insulation installed. 5 star review. Cory Leach was also very nice and helpful. He came to my house to do another job and was very attentive and professional. Thank you Corey and thank you Critter Stop for helping me.The owner very polite and helpful, I’m glad I found this company to help me.
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