There are a range of materials available for lofts, solid and cavity walls – let’s take a look at some of them.
INSULATING YOUR LOFT
You may already have some insulation in your loft – but modern recommendations say that at least 270mm (8 inches) is needed, rather that the much thinner layers used in the past.
The first two types we look at are often classed as quilt insulation, as that is quite literally what they do – form a quilt over the floor of the loft.
- MINERAL WOOL
- SHEEP’S WOOL
- BLOWN INSULATION
- GRANULAR INSULATION
- Improving your home efficiency with insulation will help you to save hundreds of pounds every year on heating bills.
- As heat naturally rises, loft lagging acts as a superb insulator to retain warmth in the home.
- 20% of heat can be lost through inefficient walls, so consider wall cavity and solid wall insulation.
- You could be wasting £200 a year on heat with inefficient windows. Consider replacement double glazing.
This is the type of product most people think of when talking about insulating a loft.
Modern versions of this material have good environmental credentials as they are made from recycled glass. The product is spun into fine strands of wool treated with a binding agent. It is fire resistant, will not rot and discourages vermin.
It’s easy to install and a competent DIYer will be able to lay the material. The recommended way is to roll the mineral wool between the joists and then cover with a second layer the other way to cover the joists themselves – as this is an area where most heat is lost.
Anyone using this material should wear masks and gloves to protect themselves.
See the general rules at the end of this section for safety tips.
A product that is gaining popularity as people look for environmentally-friendly solutions to insulating their homes.
Sheep’s wool has declined in popularity in the fashion market, so its alternative role as an insulation material is making use of a natural product that was being thrown away and wasted.
Laid in the same way as mineral wool, it doesn’t have the skin irritation problems that some materials can give – and its treatment to make it fireproof and insect repellent make it a safe option.
This needs an expert installer as it requires specialist equipment to blow loose granules onto the floor. Its advantages are that it can be used in areas that are hard to access by other methods.Its down-side is that if the loft is to be used for storage it does need to be covered by boards to stop it being trampled on – or even blow about if the loft has draughts.
The materials used are either granules of mineral fibres or paper.
Like blown insulation this needs to be covered by boards if the loft is to be used for storage.
Using this method, granules of recycled paper, vermiculite, mineral wool or cork are quite literally tipped onto the floor and then spread around.
This material is different from the others we have looked at, as it isn’t laid on the floor. It is inserted between the roof rafters – a good idea if the loft is to be converted to a room, as it lets heat rise from the rooms below to help warm the space.
Multifoil lives up to its name – it is layers of foil sandwiched together with foam or soft dry fibres and then bound together. This method creates air pockets to trap heat while the foil reflects warmth back into the room.
If you are thinking floorboards – forget it! Like multifoil these boards are inserted between the rafters.
They are constructed of polystyrene extruded to become a rigid board. Boards are fitted with screws or nails, but there must be a gap between the roof tiles and the insulation to prevent problems with condensation.
They are a solution if the loft is to become a room, so are a good option while undertaking renovation work or even on a new build property.
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