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Is it possible to survive winter in an uninsulated 1950s concrete bungalow?

  • 25-05-2023 6:35pm


    I'd love to know if anyone has experience of living in an uninsulated 1950s mass concrete cottage?

    My partner and I bought such a property intending to renovate it but given the massive increase in building supplies and labour costs, it actually makes more more sense to just build a new house on the site. We'd like to save on rent by moving into the bungalow for a year or so but I'm really worried that it would be far too cold. I've never lived in a concrete property before. We thought we could install new windows, oil boiler system and loft insulation as these are things we can use in the new property. However not sure if that will be enough.

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated.



  • Registered Users Posts: 494 ✭✭ J_1980

    Buy some rolls of insulation wool and roll out in the attic. Cheap way to get some sort of upgrade.

  • Hahaha. Not the arctic but Tipperary isn't so far off. I'm joking of course. I'm fine being a little uncomfortable and blasting a wood burner for a year. What I don't want is to be wearing a winter coat to bed every night and seeing icicles on the walls. We stayed in a mobile home for a few days this winter (stupid idea) and BOY was that bad.

  • Yeah so we were thinking to replace the broken windows, loft insulation and new boiler and wood burner. Basically stuff that we can take with us after. Any other recommendations?

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 63,113 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011

    If you keep the heating on 24/7, it'll be fine all the time - you'll just go broke if its a hard winter.

    You will want to eliminate drafts, put a lot of attention in to heating the rooms you'll use when you use them (timers on heating sources, smaller electric heaters for rooms that are used briefly, etc) and also look at things like electric blankets for bed.

    You could probably get electric heaters and electric blankets second hand, or buy them and resell them if you are concerned about using random second hand electrical heating devices

    You will pay through the nose for someone to do attic insulation, whereas you can do it yourself cheap over a weekend. A horrible, horrible weekend taped in to a hoody and mask and gloves etc.

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  • Thank you that's really helpful.

    Actually we already knocked down most of the internal walls so at the moment it's one huge 13x5m room with 5m ceilings plus a 5mx5m bedroom and a small bathroom. It's the 13x5x5m room I'm most worried about. I figure a really huge log burner would solve that issue plus some attic insulation.

    As you said, the two smaller rooms can be heated with small electric heaters.

    Do you think PIR floor insulation is worth it between the joists? Or doesn't that really help that much vs cost?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,681 ✭✭✭ Field east

    Use heave curtains on windows and inside of halldoor

  • Registered Users Posts: 48 windowcills

    If you have dust mite alergys you will be healthier then ever in an uninsulated house

    You can easliy diy fit an ebay heat recovery ventilation system for around e600 to prevent mould

    Electric blanket can be a throw over the couch too, warm people instead of the room

  • Registered Users Posts: 59,527 ✭✭✭✭ FrancieBrady

    we already knocked down most of the internal walls so at the moment it's one huge 13x5m room 

    Ideal time to insulate.

    Is external insulation possible?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,004 ✭✭✭ phormium

    Of course you'll be fine, most of us over a certain age were brought up in similar. Lived in a mobile home for 4 years winter and summer with a baby/child and we didn't freeze, it wasn't a new fancy one either, was old when we bought it and that's nearly 40 yrs ago. Stove in sitting room and oil filled radiator moved around as needed to other rooms. As mentioned electric blankets are great things!

    Get rid of as many draughts as possible, good curtains on windows and possibly front door too. Attic insulation is cheap enough to do and make sure trapdoor going up is well sealed. Then if you have a fire source at least one room will be toasty, the downside of electricity rises is that the good old oil filled radiator is expensive to run. I bought the equivalent of a Super Ser last winter as I don't have central heating on during the day and I used it to heat the main room I use which I used to use the oil filled for. Oil filled is nicer heat though and will help dry the air, gas gives a moist heat so not the best for an already cold possibly damp house.

  • Registered Users Posts: 981 ✭✭✭ JohnnyChimpo

    I think you're underestimating the hassle of taking these things with you

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,898 ✭✭✭✭ elperello

    Are you going to demolish the 50's house ?

  • Registered Users Posts: 7 Peshy101

    Yeah. There's no way the planner would allow us to keep both. I would love to be able to just improve on the 50s house instead of knocking it down and rebuilding but I can't find a cost-effective way that also provides for better energy efficiency.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,898 ✭✭✭✭ elperello

    If I was demolishing the house in 12 months time I wouldn't spend any money on it.

    Anything you fit to the house will have to be removed adding to your costs.

    Save your money for the build.

    Just as others said buy electric radiators etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,126 ✭✭✭ arctictree

    FYI, we got planning for a new build as a replacement for our old cottage. The planners put a condition in the planning that both buildings must stay on the same folio (to prevent selling of the old cottage) and that the old building can only be used for short term letting. Its actually worked out well. We did a minor renovation and the cottage is a great little airbnb in the summer. We dont really let it over the winter for the reasons you have described.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,919 ✭✭✭ Bigus

    Put down some 3 inch insulation on the existing floor and plywood on top , and glue some insulation onto the walls in one bedroom to make a cosy nest . Will work wonders , don’t over think it .

  • Registered Users Posts: 154 ✭✭ pauly58

    You can certainly survive but I wouldn't say it will be pleasant. We moved from England in 1986 & bought an old farmhouse with no running water, it had electricity connected with one plug socket & obviously no central heating just an old Stanley range.

    We used to go to bed wearing our clothes, my wife developed bad chilblains . We bought Supersers but they caused bad condensation. I used to wear several layers of clothes, thick tee shirt, grandad style shirt & a massive jumper. When we had solid fuel central heating fitted it transformed the old place, we lived there for twenty years.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,000 ✭✭✭ Explosive_Cornflake

    I did a winter or two in a mass concrete 1930s building, without central heating. It was fairly miserable but worth it in the end as it's very insulated now and barely needs heating

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,308 ✭✭✭ gipi

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  • Registered Users Posts: 366 ✭✭ Shauna677

    Do 100 press ups every morning and you be roasting for the day after them. :-)