It seems strange now, but most pre-WWII houses in the UK were built solid brick, i.e. without cavity wall. My little three bed semi was built in 1936 and so has no cavity. This means that the walls are cold, even when the house is heated and we tend to get condensation and fungal growth where the air is still, behind furniture and in corners.
There are two solutions to this problem on the market: dry lining and insulated render, or inside and outside.
Dry lining creates a plaster board stud wall inside the exterior wall of each room. This process is very simple and cheap to execute. The problems associated with it are numerous, though:
All of the skirting boards, curtain rail supports, radiators and pictures rails have to be removed.
Because the finished wall will be circa two inches thicker, the carpets are too big and the window sills are too small.
Any electrical sockets have to be either moved or refitted to the new wall.
The plaster board has to be skimmed with finish plaster.
And, after all of that and cleaning up the mess, we can think about making good and redecorating. Price circa £3,000.
Not surprisingly, the exterior solution of an insulated render seemed attractive: any mess would be outside. This system consists of an insulating board studded to the existing wall, covered over with a cement, into which is pressed a retaining mesh, which is covered with a final self-colour waterproof skim. It all seemed so simple!
The catch is that the walls have to be clear to enable the system to be applied. So the lean-to garage that I built, my bench, all of the shelving, the lighting, and electrical sockets, the sink, taps, and soil pipes in my brewery, the mains power supply cable to the house, the internet fibre optic, the telephone cable, the television aerial cable, the soil pipes from toilet, bath and wash-basin, and the exhaust vent from the central heating boiler all have to be moved.
I have nowhere to store all of my tools and brewing equipment for the two weeks (estimated) that the work will take, so any passing ne’er-do-well can help himself. Price circa £9,000.
Maybe I should move house.