Why do Stone Houses Stay Warm for a Long Time?

Stone houses are known for staying warm, even in the winter. The stone is an excellent insulator and it’s also very dense which helps to keep cold drafts out of your home.

Stone is an outstanding choice of material to use in the construction of your home because it helps to retain heat and cold.

Stone buildings have been around since ancient times and they’ve always had this quality. You can see that these homes were built with an eye towards warmth because they don’t need any additional insulation as you would find in a wood-frame house.

Stone has all the following benefits:

  • it’s durable;
  • fire-resistant;
  • mold-resistant;
  • soundproofing properties;
  • insect resistant; and
  • pest resistant.

One of the main downsides to owning a stone house is that if it’s cold inside and warm outside your home will still be cold.

Stone is great for keeping the house warm when already heated up, but you’ll need to consider ways to keep your space heated while unoccupied.

The only time that stone isn’t a good insulator is in extremely cold conditions that are below -30 degrees Celsius. In those cases, the insulation properties of stone will fail and it won’t be able to keep the heat inside.

R-value of stone

Stone is a great material to build with because of its many advantages. It is durable, fireproof, and easy to work with. One of the most important aspects for homeowners in colder climates is how well stone retains heat.

Why do Stone Houses Stay Warm for a Long Time?

The insulation value of stone walls ranges from R-20 to R-40 per inch depending on thickness and type, which means it can retain up to 40 times more heat than an uninsulated wall.

Material Type
(Low Value)
k-Value
(Thermal Conductivity)
(W/mK)
R-Value
Equivalent (R)3
(Hr • ft2 • ºF / Btu)
Granite3.980.038
Limestone1.330.108
Marble2.940.049
Sandstone2.90.05
Quartzite (Sioux)5.380.027

In the table above, if a material has a k-value of 1.00, it means that 1 square metre of material in a thickness of 1 metre will transfer heat at a rate of 1 watt for every degree Kelvin of temperature difference between opposite faces. The ‘low value’ shows what the insulating properties of each stone material is.

For context, for example, a wool blanket has very good insulating properties because it has a k-value of 0.04 W/mK. This means that 1 sq. metre of the material in a thickness of 1m will transfer heat at a rate of 4 watts for every degree Kelvin of temperature difference between opposite faces.

But to compare with stone, an uninsulated concrete block has a k value of 0.19 and lightweight concrete has a k value of 0.16.

So, when comparing the insulation properties of the stone to lightweight concrete blocks, the stone is more effective. It is however a lot heavier to build with stone.

Factors that make stone walls effective insulators are their high mass per unit volume, the presence of air pockets within the walls, and the ability of certain types of stones to absorb or radiate heat.

Stone is fundamentally different from wood in this respect because wood has no insulation properties. Wood warps, cracks, and splits due to changes in temperature and moisture content. It can also be very difficult to seal all cracks or spaces that heat can escape from.

Stone walls are unique because they retain heat, even when the surrounding air is cold. A stone wall will also act as insulation because it doesn’t allow for any drafts to travel through multiple parts of the dense structure.

Best way to heat an old stone house

Heating an old stone house with a traditional wood stove might have been the answer in the past but it’s not always practical for today’s modern lifestyle.

Modern heating is more efficient and often less expensive, so you might want to explore your options before making any decisions on how to heat your home.

Best way to heat an old stone house

It is important to make the best decisions when it comes to heating your home.

Wood Log burner stove

One of the most common ways people heat their homes is with a wood log burner stove, which can be expensive and inefficient.

This type of stove is typically used in an open fireplace, which can be pleasing aesthetically; however, they are not very practical for heating large homes or homes with very thick stone walls.

Wood-burning stoves take a long time to heat your home and it’s almost impossible to install them in all rooms of the house unless you have a central furnace.

One problem with this type of stove is that you’ll need to keep cutting wood on hand for it to work, which means a constant supply of logs will be necessary.

Fireplace

A fireplace is also a good option because it has all the same heating properties as a wood-burning stove.

A fireplace is usually aesthetically pleasing and can be used to heat your home quickly because it’s already in the room you’ll be living in.

Fireplace

There are several types of fireplaces, but traditional masonry fireplaces are not very practical because they take too long to heat up and they are not efficient.

A prefabricated metal fireplace is a better choice because it heats up your house faster and it’s more environmentally friendly.

Fireplaces can also be located in each individual room in the house all connected to the same chimney.

Central Furnace

A central furnace is the most practical type of heating for your home because it heats up several rooms at once with fewer expenses.

The only drawback is that unless you have a very thick stone wall, then there might not be enough insulation to hold the heat inside. This will cause the temperature in that area to rise and fall too quickly when you heat or cool your home.

In order to prevent this from happening, you’ll need to add an additional layer of insulation in the form of a wall cavity with fiberglass material inside it.

This can be done during the construction phase so there is no extra cost involved.

Central heating system

If you’re serious about making your home more energy-efficient and comfortable for everyone in the family, then switching from a wood log burner stove might be the best option for you.

A central heating system has many benefits over using a wood stove, and it can be used more efficiently because you can control each room’s temperature better.

In addition, a central heating system will keep your home comfortable without wasting any extra energy.

It is good for the environment and will help to lower your carbon footprint.

The radiators that come with modern central heating systems are also very stylish these days with different types of models to choose from.

Some even come with decorative covers to give you the choice of how you want your radiators to look in each room.

The initial installation cost for new central heating systems can be expensive but they will reduce your expenses on energy bills and maintenance over time, which is a good future investment.

Energy-efficient Windows

To save heating costs during winter, choose energy-efficient windows instead of traditional glass windows for an old stone house. Many old stone houses are not built with energy efficiency in mind.

During the wintertime, these houses can be very expensive to heat because their thick walls block out the sun’s rays and the warmth that penetrates them.

Energy-efficient Windows

Window panes made of energy-efficient glass will allow your home to retain more warmth because they don’t block out the sun’s rays.

Some of the features of energy-efficient windows include, but are not limited to

  • Low-e coatings
  • Argon Filling
  • Vinyl frames
  • Triple glazed windows

If you choose these types of windows for your home, then expect to pay a bit more upfront, but you will end up saving a lot of money after a few years because you won’t have to constantly pay to heat your home.

If you’re thinking about replacing the windows in an old stone house, then don’t worry because it’s fairly easy and inexpensive to find replacement windows to suit the style of older homes at any hardware or building supply store near you.

Electric Heaters

One way that many people like to use in order to keep their old stone houses warm during winter months is by adding an electric heater, which will not only work well for this type of house but also cut down on energy costs.

If you live in an old stone home, there are many different ways you can go about keeping it warm during the cold winter months without breaking the bank.

Electric heaters are great for heating up rooms in old stone houses because they can be used to heat up small rooms with ease.

In order to make the most out of these appliances, you will need a chimney that is well sealed and insulated in order to prevent any heat from escaping through your chimney flue.

Final Thoughts

In order to make your old stone house warm during wintertime, you’ll need a good source of heat.

However, you won’t have to use expensive heating systems or stoke a fire all day long in order to keep the cold out and the warmth inside.

Using an electric heater is a great way to keep your family members comfortable during the cold winter months.

In addition, you won’t have to spend a ton of money setting up your home with one of these heaters as they are fairly inexpensive and easy to use.

Even though old stone houses require a bit more maintenance than other types of homes, there is no reason why you can’t keep them warm during the winter months

Using the tips listed in this article, you should have no problem keeping your old stone house warm during winter.