Insulating a solid floor in old cottage

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Jblakes
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Insulating a solid floor in old cottage

Post by Jblakes » Sun 9th Jan, 2022 10:50 am

Morning all,

Pretty much what the title says. We have a solid floor in dining room and kitchen, then a suspended concrete floor in front room.

It's bloody cold on your feet walking about and can't be great for keeping heat in. Anybody know how to insulate the floors? It's an old cottage, 300yrs ish so don't want to put modern stuff down if it will cause problems later.

Kind regards
James

worms
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Re: Insulating a solid floor in old cottage

Post by worms » Thu 13th Jan, 2022 8:37 am

I have solid concrete floors in Kitchen, hall and bathroom, suspended floors over concrete in three rooms and suspended over earth in two rooms. The solid concrete floors have quarry tiles on top of the concrete and these can feel really coooold underfoot! In the kitchen, we've left the quarry tiles exposed. In the hall we covered the quarry tiles with underlay and carpet. In the bathroom we used a cheap cushionfloor-type vinyl. Both the carpet and the vinyl help keep the floor a bit warmer and not caused us any damp problems.

Interestingly, though, the real difference is not in actual temperature as "feel" when you step on these with bare feet. Carpet feels a lot warmer than tiles at the same temperature. I'm not sure how much heat we are losing through each floor, but this morning, with outside temps at 9C and the house at 20C, the kitchen quarries are between 16.5C and 18C - warmest near the Rayburn (obviously!) and coldest near the door. Both the carpeted hall and the vinyl in the bathroom are around 18C, as are the other floors in the house.

Of course, the correct answer would be to dig out the concrete and replace with something like insulated limecrete, but I'm not sure that the cost and upheaval would repay itself.

Cubist
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Re: Insulating a solid floor in old cottage

Post by Cubist » Thu 13th Jan, 2022 11:21 am

Fircroft dates back to about the time of the Armada and originally consisted of a cottage with attached barn. After taking over the stewardship we confirmed that the floors in the cottage area had been packed-earth but a layer of lime / ash plaster had been applied probably during the Victorian era. When the house was restored during the late 1980's the barn was incorporated with the cottage to provide two further ground floor rooms and Portland concrete was poured to these. In the original cottage footprint, quarry tiles were laid to what was then intended to be a combined boot-room and bathroom - now a kitchen- and re-claimed slate roofing tiles were laid in what is now used as a dining hall.

Within the first two years of our occupation we had dispensed with the wall to wall carpets that had been laid over the concrete floors in the barn conversion to get rid of the pervasive 'musty wet dog' smell they would produce and, after installing new French Drains at the rear of the house, we laid floating oak plank floors. These have, to my mind, been very comfortable underfoot even during the coldest winters and will for may years to come - touch wood. (Forgive me I couldn't resist :) )

That of course leaves the dining hall and kitchen floors and these can become exceptionally uncomfortable for those of us that like to go barefoot. During prolonged periods of winter weather we have occasionally considered some form of action to remedy the problem but have never been able to reconcile the Pros and Cons argument.

Like it or no, your best solution is probably the same as ours - thick socks n slippers! :roll:

CliffordPope
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Re: Insulating a solid floor in old cottage

Post by CliffordPope » Thu 13th Jan, 2022 4:19 pm

In our house it's a "time of year" thing.
At the moment, I put my slippers on if I get up in the night and have to go downstairs. It's bloody cold, but sometimes I don't bother if I'm in a hurry or only going down for a second. But if I'm raiding the fridge and want to sit and eat it experience shows it tastes nicer in warm feet.
In the summer anything goes. :)

Cubist
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Location: Shropshire/Herefordshire Border

Re: Insulating a solid floor in old cottage

Post by Cubist » Thu 13th Jan, 2022 5:22 pm

Unfortunately, in our household, an attack of the after-dark munchies can lead to verbal, albeit sleep garbled, abuse or worse - bruised calves or ribs - the First Lady, wisely, aims for the soft and tender bits! :cry:

Such will inevitably arise by returning to bed with any combination or all of the following: -
- Gritty dust, grime and other detritus brought back having omitted ones slippers.
- The grimmest example of the latter being the crushed remains of slow moving arachnids and other wee beasties that can sometimes be found perambulating about the hall.
- Being accompanied by, and thus sharing, the crumbs and/or odours of such snaffled goodies.
- Failure to ensure that ones feet, in particular but not restricted to those extremities alone, have returned to a temperature broadly in line with that found in a warm oven.

Even when all necessary precautions have been taken there is still a chance of injury - levied simply on suspicion that the snaffled goodies were a treat with her name on them.

The latter, of course, comes with the further risk of additional insult and abuse when she finds out she was right. :roll:

MatthewC
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Re: Insulating a solid floor in old cottage

Post by MatthewC » Sat 15th Jan, 2022 12:58 pm

While we were searching for, buying and then renovating this property, we rented a 12 year old house in a new estate on the edge of town. I have no idea how the solid concrete floor was built but it was honestly the coldest house ground floor I have ever encountered. Even on the hottest June day, it was impossible to walk on with bare feet. I think there was some major issue with the entire construction as the hot water supply from the boiler to the bathroom froze in the winter, despite the heating warming the house sensibly.

By comparison, our 160 year old limestone house with limecrete floor in hall and kitchen has never been so cold even in winter - and that's with no underfloor heating!

88v8
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Re: Insulating a solid floor in old cottage

Post by 88v8 » Sun 16th Jan, 2022 10:01 am

Jblakes wrote:
Sun 9th Jan, 2022 10:50 am
We have a solid floor in dining room and kitchen, then a suspended concrete floor in front room.
It's bloody cold on your feet walking about and can't be great for keeping heat in. Anybody know how to insulate the floors? It's an old cottage, 300yrs ish so don't want to put modern stuff down if it will cause problems later.
Suspended concrete? What, beams?

I dislike solid floors, which is what we have here in our 400yo, but they go with the territory.
Tiles are inherently cold, as has been said even on an insulated floor they would be cold unless one has underfloor heating. The inherent cold is of course why tiles are popular in hot countries.

The first part of the two-stage solution is to wear slippers.
The second part is to put down Turkey carpets / rugs. If the floor is rough be kind to them with some felt underlay. Felt is breathable. Turkey carpets are breathable.
They're not intended to cover the whole floor - apologies if I'm statin the bleedin obvious - but the bits where one walks or sits.

Underlay https://www.carpet-underlay-shop.co.uk/ ... tAodYTJrXQ

Turkey carpet https://www.jenningsrugs.co.uk/

Suitable carpets may also be found cheaper on eBay, with the usual caveat about quality and their claimed age.
They good good in a period house.

Ivor

worms
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Re: Insulating a solid floor in old cottage

Post by worms » Sun 16th Jan, 2022 11:06 am

88v8 wrote:
Sun 16th Jan, 2022 10:01 am
Suspended concrete? What, beams?
Ivor
Ivor, James perhaps has a similar arrangement to what we have in some rooms - the concrete sub-floor has battens fixed to it and then a timber floor on top (pine in the bedrooms and hardwood in the lounge). Is that suspended? Perhaps not in the true sense, but it acts like a suspended timber floor, with air flow under the planks. This arrangement also provides an excellent rapid-transit route for the mice! :)

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