How do you stop air leaks in an old 1950's house?


How do you stop air leaks in an old 1950's house?

Don Fraser Sept. 3, 2021Last updated: Sept. 8, 2021

My daughter owns an early 1950's 1 1/2  story house.  What do you recommend be done to reduce air loss  throughout the house. The subflooring laying on the joists are diagonally laid planks rather than plywood ( Assume plywood was not used at that time) which results in gaps between the planks  at the perimeter of the main floor and under all walls, and under the half walls under the roof. My understanding is that air and resulting heat loss is a major problem in this design of house.

Responses (1)

Emmanuel Cosgrove
Emmanuel Cosgrove Sept. 8, 2021, 11:01 a.m.

Air leakage through walls and ceilings is responsible for a large percentage of the heat loss and energy costs of a home, it is wise of you to try to deal with that. There are a few ways you can do that depending on how you want to carry out the work. Here are a few pages that will help. Working from the outside -

How to install air barriers properly for a durable and energy efficient house

For the least expensive solutions to save energy I would start with the easy DIY energy efficiency steps, have a look here for ideas -  

Best Energy Saving Tips for Green Homes - 10 Tips

The best way to proceed really depends on how bad the problem is and how much she is willing or able to invest in improvements. She may be wise to get a blower door test to first find how bad it is, as well as help find and fix the biggest problem areas.

There is also a spray on air barrier product that we tried in our Montreal office and we were very happy with the results. It is a product called Aerobarrier, and it is applied by pressurising the house to that air is forced out, and releasing a spray with adhesive particles into the air that plugs the holes as it escapes. I’m sure that sounds a little sketchy and probably messy, but it is not nearly as bad as it sounds, and it does not lead to off-gassing  dangerous toxin into the air like so many building products these days do. Read more below. After a look over those pages let us know if you have more questions.

Aerobarrier Air Barrier Spray for Sealing air leaks in Attics or Homes