Renovate a weatherboard cottage for energy efficiency

Last updated: 6 September 2022

Weatherboard houses and energy efficiency

Weatherboard houses are lightweight constructions with timber framed walls and external weatherboard cladding, timber framed floors on stumps, timber windows and roof tiles. The timber walls will easily transfer heat and cold; cooling down quickly in winter and heating up quickly in summer.

Most weatherboard houses are unlikely to have insulated walls. Because the fabric of the weatherboard is less robust than brick, adding wall insulation is a must-do for the weatherboard renovator.

What will renovations cost?

Cost Saving
Draught proofing $1,550 $295
Insulation – Ceiling $3,070 $330
Insulation – Floor $2,440 $335
Insulation – Wall $2,210 $455

Assumed improvements to existing weatherboard style home with 180.3m2 floor area in Melbourne climate zone, 'always home' usage profile, Lee, T., Wu, C., Guthrie, K. and Dewsbury, M., 2014

Renovation tips for weatherboard homes

Add bulk installation

Install bulk insulation into the walls when an extension is added or rotting timbers are replaced, as this is when the builder removes walls linings. Your builder or installer should ensure that the insulation product supplied is less than 90mm high so that the insulation is not compressed when installed. Your builder should also recommend a type of building paper, house wrap or reflective foil to separate the insulation from the weatherboard to avoid condensation.

Draught-proof your home

Rotting timber and/or general wear and tear can create gaps between weatherboards in walls, floors and around doors and windows. Repairing and sealing these gaps – draught-proofing your home – is well worth the effort, as it will reduce heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer, saving you energy and money.

Retain character

It is possible to retain the character of your weatherboard home when renovating, by retaining existing timber window frames for example. One option is secondary glazing, where lightweight acrylic panels sit 100mm off the original glass panes, adhered via magnetised frames.