Solid brick walls and cavity walls

After 1930 houses started being built with cavity walls. This means that the outside walls of a house are built with two layers and a space or cavity between them. From 1985 all new houses built in this way have insulation fitted into the cavity but houses built in the intervening period have unfilled cavities. It is now easy and inexpensive to have the cavity filled and this will reduce considerably heat loss through the walls.

There are two easy ways to check if you have cavity walls. Either look at the 'bond' or pattern of the brickwork or check the thickness of the wall.

Picture: cavity wall

A cavity wall will look like the picture on the right with all the bricks laid end to end with only the long face of the brick or 'stretcher' showing.

Picture: solid brick wallA solid brick wall will look like the wall to the left with both the long face of the brick and the short face or 'header' showing in a regular pattern.

The thickness of a wall can be measured at a door or window. A solid wall will be 23cm (9") thick plus internal plastering and external rendering (if any) and a cavity wall 30cm (11.5") plus plastering and rendering (if any).

The best way to get cavity wall insulation installed is from one of the energy supply companies who offer discounts of around 60% on the usual price. (If you are on an income-related benefit it could be free.) HEET and Warm Front will also do this free for people eligible for their services.

Picture: Other services from HEET

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