We have a very old home (over a hundred years old) with single wall construction. We love our home, but it is always cold!!! Is there a thin insulation we could add to the inside walls and then paint over? We are looking for any suggestions about how to keep some warmth in our home.
Debbie K. ~ Monterey, CA
Hi Debbie. I know exactly what you mean as I live in the same type of house. You don't mention what type of exterior siding you currently have and I'm not sure what you mean by single wall construction. If you're referring to some sort of adobe or concrete configuration that doesn't provide an interior cavity between the interior and exterior wall surfaces, the only somewhat easy solution that I can think of would be to install nailing strips on the exterior and then install insulated vinyl siding. Depending on the depth of the strips, you could probably also add some foam insulation board between the strips and underneath the vinyl.
You can do the same thing on the interior by using the nailing strips and sheetrock or paneling over the foam insulation board, but it will be more work as the interior trim and electrical boxes will need to be adjusted. If you plan to do the entire home and not just a few rooms, it might be less expensive and much less disruptive to add the insulation to the exterior. I am not aware of any type of thin insulation board that can be simply painted. Everything I have used in the past requires some sort of exterior or interior finish material to be added to cover the insulation.
If I misunderstood and you do have an inner cavity in your exterior walls, wood siding can be drilled to allow insulation to be blown between the wood framing. The holes are then plugged and it's usually difficult to see that it ever happened. Of course, if your old house has brick or stone veneer, any home insulation added will have to be from the interior unless you want to tear down what might be a hard to duplicate exterior finish.