The Importance of Loft Insulation
Posted on 8th December 2020 at 11:49
According to Government figures, of the 7.4 million homes in the UK that have lofts, approximately 95% of them have some form of insulation. However, a much larger percentage of those homes don’t have sufficient levels of insulation, and some have no insulation at all. It’s easy to tell the homes that don’t have loft insulation. When snow has fallen, those homes that lose the snow from their roofs quickly are the ones with no or little insulation.
With as much as a quarter of a home’s heat being lost through the roof, it is important to ensure that the loft or attic, and a flat roof, is well-insulated to stop the heat loss and reduce heating costs. With the right level and quality of loft insulation lasting for around 40 years, it will pay for itself in no time at all.
Why is loft insulation important?
If your home feels colder than it should despite the heating being on full, or your energy bills are literally through the roof, it’s more than likely that your loft, attic or flat roof either has little insulation or none at all. Heat will escape through the narrowest of cracks and as heat rises, the first place it will go to is the top of the house.
Not only are you losing money, escaped heat from your home is emptying huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and that contributes to the overall global warming problem. So insulating your loft will also reduce the carbon footprint of your home.
How to insulate a loft
For lofts or attics that are dry and clear of any boxes or stored items, the most cost-effective way of insulating the loft is to put roof insulation between the joists. Blanket roof insulation comes in rolls of either mineral wool, recycled materials or glass fibre. It can be cut to fit between the joists using scissors or a Stanley knife (if installing loft insulation yourself, safety must be the utmost priority).
If you’re going to try it yourself, here are the steps to follow to insulate a loft.
● Ensure that all water tanks and pipes in the loft or attic are lagged to stop them from freezing. Once the insulation has been laid and there is no heat escaping into the attic, it will become cold in that space.
● If there are any electric cables in the roof, make sure they are above the insulation material or bring in an electrician to have them professionally moved to a more convenient location in the loft or attic.
● Before going ahead and purchasing the rolls of blanket loft insulation, measure the space to ensure you don’t under- or over-buy insulation material. Remember that the insulation must be a minimum depth of 270mm. Include the thickness of the joists, which is generally around 100mm in depth. If you’re not sure, measure them.
● With the joists being around 100mm in depth, you will need two layers of blanket insulation material. Usually, the insulation material comes in rolls that are 1140mm in width so it will need to be cut to size to fit between the joists.
● Once the first layer is in place, a second and potentially a third layer will be needed to reach the minimum 270mm thickness. It is recommended that each layer is at a right angle to the layer below.
For those who want to continue to use the loft or attic to store items and boxes, boards will need to be fitted over the insulation material and fixed to the joists. However, not just any board will suffice as it will result in an insulation thickness of 100mm or so in depth, far below the recommended minimum of 270mm. Therefore, either:
● Have the loft or attic floor raised by a carpenter to allow for a 270mm depth of loft insulation below the boards; or
● Use mineral wool as the insulation material between the joists, then add a layer of rigid insulation boards on top of the joists, and finally put a layer of floorboards over the top. It is possible to purchase floorboards that have been bonded with insulation boards for easier installation.
If your home has a flat roof, it is still possible to insulate the roof space to stop heat from rising and escaping. The easiest way to do this is to insulate the roof from the outside to reduce the potential of condensation. Aim to carry out the work at the same time as any regular maintenance work. There are two ways of insulating a flat roof:
● Warm deck insulation – this option is laying a vapour barrier on to the current roof deck to prevent condensation, then adding the rigid insulation board on top, and finally fitted a new roof deck onto the insulation boards.
● Cold deck insulation – with this option, the internal ceiling is removed first and either rigid insulation boards or mineral fibre is fitted between the roof deck and the ceiling. Ensure there is a 50mm minimum gap between the deck and the insulation, and the internal ceiling is then replaced. Ensure that a vapour barrier is created between the insulation and the internal ceiling.
Generally, warm deck insulation is the preferred option as there is the potential of condensation building up with cold deck insulation.
Benefits of loft insulation
Ensuring your loft, attic or flat roof is well-insulated comes with a range of benefits including:
● Reducing heat loss through the roof of the house by creating a thermal barrier. Generally, homeowners experience a 25% reduction in the amount of heat lost through the roof and benefit from a warmer house in the winter, and a cooler one in the summer.
● Savings on heating bills – it is reported that homeowners could save as much as £110 over a year with loft insulation.
● Reduce your home’s carbon footprint – the Energy Saving Trust suggests that insulating your loft can result in a reduction of carbon dioxide escaping into the atmosphere by as much as 550kg to 1030kg per year.
● Less noise pollution – loft insulation can result in a reduction in noise pollution from outside, particularly for first and second floors.
● Increase the value of your home – installing loft insulation will mean a higher Energy Performance rating for your home. A higher rating equals a higher value and better selling prospects.
For a simple yet cost-effective way of reducing heating bills, improving energy efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint of a home, installing loft insulation is the answer. If you’re handy at DIY, it is easy to install yourself. Alternatively, there are a variety of government-backed grants and schemes that help towards the cost of installing loft insulation. For more information of the available grants for loft insulation and to see if you qualify, contact us today.
Tagged as: Loft Insulation
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