Which Type of Thermal Insulation is Right for My Loft?
With the pressure to save both money on bills and help contribute to improving the condition of our planets environment, more and more people are resorting to the simple process of insulating our loft. Offering a significant number of benefits for a low cost investment, it is easy to see why so many people are choosing to do this. However, although the concept is simple enough, choosing the right kind of insulation for your loft is not quite as straight forward.
Many people are not even aware of the different types of thermal insulation. With blanket insulation being the most popular due to its ease to install, there are other options which may prove to be a better alternative for you depending on the type of space that you have.
As the most popular form of insulation for both builders who pre-install it in homes when building them and for home owners who are planning to add some extra heat retention to their loft, this form of insulation is both cheap and practical.
This can be used for both wall and roof insulation, so it proves to be a universal insulator that is used all across the home, especially in the loft though. Coming in rolls, it is extremely easy to install as all that is required is to literally roll the sections out across your required space. Achievable by even the most basic of DIY enthusiasts, this insulation comes available in a range of different materials such as:
- Sheep's wool
- Rock fibre
- Glass fibre
- Mineral fibre
- Foil-backed felt
Offering very effective heat retention, installing thermal insulation in your loft can help reduce your energy bills by 50%, meaning that you don't have to have your heat on for as long, as often and at as high a temperature. Proving to have obvious benefits to your finances, it also has a dramatic effect on the environment. As most heat escapes through the roof due to lack of effective lining and insulating, harmful gasses such as carbon dioxide escape and continue to rise and burn into the greenhouse layer that protects our atmosphere. This then has a knock on effect to global warming and a more polluted environment so obviously, anything that can be done to help prevent this, should be done.
For those looking for a more substantial form of insulation, block or sheet insulating is a great alternative to blanket insulation and can provide even better heat retention depending on the materials and thickness of your chosen block. This provides an excellent base for loft conversions as it can also provides a sturdier foundation to walk on. It is also commonly used in sloping roofs as they come in firm boards that don't move when on a sloping surface. They can also offer fire and moisture coatings that also help to improve the insulation in your house as well as the general welfare of your roof. For a large space, you are also able to get them pre-cut to specific sizes which offer a useful way of fitting insulation into an unusual or awkward space.
They are available in a range of materials and are very eco friendly as you can get them made from recycled materials such as cork and straw. Easy to fit once again, these prove to a better option for extra insulation or if you are considering converting your loft into a new room. This does come at an extra price however due to the extra heat retention and added durability, but are still possible to fit into your loft space with very basic DIY skills.
Loose or Blown-Fibre Insulation
These two methods of insulation both offer effective methods of insulating, however, blown-fibre insulation requires a professional to come in to your home and install it properly. Although a very quick process, due to the nature of the materials used, it requires special tools to install it. As the name suggests, shredded pieces of material such as paper and wool are blown into the joints in your loft to fill any gaps where energy could potentially escape from. This is a good method to insulate lofts that do not have much access and are not used to store household items. This can be a more expensive alternative however due to the labour and tools that are required for it to be installed professionally.
Finally, loose insulation can be done in many forms. Usually made from a combination of loose materials such as fibres, paper and cork, this is easy to install by you and is a very flexible option for awkward areas. This cheap method is also great to use as a top up insulation for any existing insulation you may have.
With both of these methods however, it is important to ensure that your loft is both damp and draught free as this will just render the materials useless as they blow around and become moist, causing potential future problems.
So depending on the type of lost you have, taking into consideration space, condition and budget, you are able to insulate your loft effectively in a number of different ways helping to reduce both your monthly bills and the amount of time your heating needs to be on.
Some useful resources here to further strengthen your home improvement skills: