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Community and Q&A

1920 brick rowhome — bathroom gut rehab help.

Michele2933 | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

EDIT from original post:

Hello again from Philadelphia, PA. We’ve gutted to the brick wall on four sides of the only full bathroom in the house. (On the first floor no less!) This was an add on to the original structure with brick on 3.5 walls. Two of them are party walls attaching to neighbor’s structures. The exposed wall has one jalousie window which I am replacing with a new Marvin Infinity fiberglass double hung window.

In my original June post, I was asking about studs and insulation. I am adding photos here and forgot to mention that the exterior brick wall with the window has been stuccoed over — outside. In fact, the entire back of the rowhouse has been stuccoed. Would this extra layer have an effect on the permeability/contracting of the brick?

Should I still insulate the party walls and NOT the windowed/exterior wall? It seems counter-intuitive and I’m having a difficult time convincing my contractor this is the way to do it! I DO trust your judgement!

Thank you so much for your time and input! I love this site!

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Wood studs make more sense than steel studs, because steel studs act as thermal bridges, reducing the thermal performance of your wall. More information here: Steel Studs.

    Insulating brick walls can be tricky. It's safer to insulate the party wall than the exterior wall. More information here: Insulating Old Brick Buildings.

  2. DEnd2000 | | #2

    This may be a dumb question, but why not insulate on the exterior? That way your brick will be all nice and snuggly. Then you can show off that old brick. Though if you don't cover up the brick you may want to look into some sound deadening, or else you risk some unwanted reverberations eminating from there during dinner parties.

  3. Michele2933 | | #3

    Not a dumb question! My plan (probably not always the best one) was to power wash, seal and paint the exterior stucco after the windows are installed. The entire house needs to be rewired and another plumbing issue has popped up. So, for budget reasons, I really can't afford to insulate the exterior which, I assume, would be to use some type of siding. (I really cannot even think of putting vinyl siding on a 1920 rowhome.)

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