How to Make an Old House Airtight
Let’s face it, back in the day, houses weren’t built with environmental sustainability in mind.
Sustainable architecture and airtight houses weren’t really a thing – the emphasis was more on speed and cost rather than impact on the planet. So, does this mean we should just knock down old buildings and start again with a more eco-friendly approach? Or can we channel the energy of Grand Designs and transform some of these old timers into modern day marvels that achieve a cleaner living standard and lower energy bills?
Of course we can! And here at Intelligent Membranes, we already have.
Our Managing Director, Alex White tells us about one retrofit project using our Passive Purple Range and how to make an old house airtight using our products…
The Great Yarmouth Retrofit
Councils are calling on our services more and more because they know we can deliver effectively, professionally and at speed. On paper this was a tough project – a massive old apartment block in Great Yarmouth with people still living in the building, so it had to be quick and efficient with no margin for error. The building was being insulated externally, with a whole new façade from render to aluminium panels.
The Sustainable Solution: Passive Purple
Local authorities and councils turn to us because of our product and the Great Yarmouth project is a good example.
Passive Purple is spray applied and is a very vibrant colour. You can physically see that the building has been sprayed and is airtight. The fact it’s a liquid membrane means that it adheres to the surface it is applied to, so damaging that liquid membrane is very, very difficult.
Our competitors use a paper membrane where one little cut ruins the air tightness completely, so it’s much higher risk to use.
For example, say you have ten cracks in a wall, using our paper competitor, the ten cracks are still in the wall but hidden and air gets behind the paper. One defect in that paper or wear and tear over time means the air will start to seep through. Our Passive Purple product impregnates the surface it is adhered to and creates an airtight substrate filling any holes, cracks, penetration leaks or problem areas.
We’re making the fabric more airtight rather than it being just the last line of defence. Using Passive Purple is a more guaranteed process.
Applying Passive Purple on a Retrofit Project
The Great Yarmouth project was a large apartment block and because it was an old structure, the first thing that we did was spray Passive Purple on the external side. Then, some thick 200 or 300mm insulation was added before the inside of the building was ventilated. Essentially, to look at, the inside of the building remained the same other than a lick of paint, it was the outside of the building where the appearance changed.
The mechanical fixing phase of the project again underlined why using our spray on polymer product was perfect for this retrofit. Mechanical brackets were fixed to the building, leading to multiple penetrations and the prospect of holes and cracks being created. With our product, they showed up immediately and were subsequently fixed and filled. With our paper competitor, these defects would have been wrapped in a parcel and hidden, ultimately leading to a loss of air tightness.
Overall, the Great Yarmouth project went smoothly and highlighted perfectly the huge advantages of using our liquid based products.
So if you’re still wondering how to make an old house airtight, why not browse through our products or get in touch with our team for more expert advice?