How to Insulate a Stone Wall

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Stone walls are more commonly used as foundations, but occasionally stone is used as a building or finishing material for the exterior walls of homes. While stone walls look rustic and have a certain amount of charm, they offer little insulation value, since thermal energy moves faster through dense materials such as stone. To regulate the temperature of spaces enclosed by stone walls, install a layer of insulation to slow the movement of thermal energy and reduce heating and cooling costs.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 by 4 lumber
  • Fiberglass insulation
  • Vapor barrier
  • Drywall or paneling
  • Power saw
  • Hammer

Insulating a Stone Wall

  • Determine the type of wall construction. Most stone walls are solid, but occasionally the wall is built in two separate courses of stone with an airspace between. This type of wall is more common in brick or block construction than field stone.

  • Construct a frame wall on the interior of the stone wall. Use 2 by 4 lumber to build the studs and plate of the wall. Frame openings for windows and doors. This interior wall should reach from the floor to the ceiling and the window and door openings should seal against the wood frame. Include any wiring, such as outlets, light switches or wall lights in the construction. This new wall will be the new interior of the room when it is finished.

  • Insulate the wall with 4-inch batts of fiberglass insulation. Be sure to put extra pipe insulation around any plumbing fixtures or pipes between the insulated wall and the stone wall, as this area may be prone to freezing.

  • Cover the studs and insulation with a plastic vapor barrier and finish the interior of the wall with drywall or paneling. This is done for aesthetics rather than insulation value. The trim of the wall should completely close off the space between the insulated wall and the stone wall.

Tips & Warnings

  • The effectiveness of insulation is rated by its R-value. Fiberglass insulation is rated as having an R-value of 3.2 per inch. A 4-inch batt of insulation would have an R-value of 12.8. Recommendations for insulation vary depending on the climate of the location, but the U.S. Department of Energy recommends a minimum of an 11 R-value in the walls of homes in northern parts of the United States such as Montana.
  • Maintain the exterior stone wall and repair any cracks. Any openings that allow moisture and cold air through the stone wall can cause deterioration of the studs and insulation in the interior of the house.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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