Category Archives: Insulation

  • Why Wait to Insulate?

    Summer is almost over. The world cup is a distant memory, Wimbledon flew by like a Djokovic back hand and having a BBQ for breakfast, lunch and dinner is no longer acceptable. Sun light is gradually fading along with your tan and as the temperature tumbles we reluctantly spend more time indoors.

    During the summer heatwave the idea of doing some DIY might not have been that appealing to some of us. Why ponder that plumbing problem when you can have another glass of Pimms? Why would you re-tile the bathroom when you can lie in the paddling pool in the garden? Why paint the spare room when you can get a bit of colour on your chalk white legs?

    You might not have wanted to work up a sweat inside when you’re busy sweating outside but now could be the time to switch your focus from the garden to the house. We’ve tried to keep cool all summer but as we wave good bye to the sunshine it will be autumn giving us the cold shoulder.  So it might be time to consider how to keep your house warm.  Around half of all your heat can escape if your home is not properly insulated!

    Insulation reduces the exchange of heat through a surface such as a wall, attic, floor, duct or roof. In a well-insulated home less warm air escapes from the house in the winter and less cool air escapes during the summer, reducing the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling. So it can keep your energy bills down, reducing your carbon foot print whilst saving you a bit of money. In fact, the Energy Saving Trust estimates that in one year a typical three bedroom semi-detached house can save up to £310 on energy bills by installing loft and cavity wall insulation.

    Think of your home as the human body, the more layers we have on the warmer we are. We lose body heat from our head, hands and feet so we put on hats, gloves and socks. So what winter accessories do our homes need and where’s the best place to start?  The most important thing is the walls, since for a typical house the walls will lose around 30 to 40 per cent of heat. The roof comes in second place, accounting for approximately 25% of heat loss. Then comes the windows and doors with 20% and finally, the floor.

    What makes a good insulator?

    Remember that woolly jumper you wear that keeps you warm but itches your neck? The same goes for your home, generally good insulators consist of products that have a structure similar to wool, that trap tiny pockets of air. Wood based products like hardboard and wooden doors are good insulators as are fabrics like cotton and hemp. So you might want to dig out that pair of heavy vintage curtains you inherited from your great aunt Sally. Polyurethane based spray foam solutions are good for filling gaps in roof tiles or the adhesive variant can be used around windows and doors. Any cold air creeping through cracks and gaps can be stopped with a simple sealant.

    What types of insulation are there?

    Wall insulation depends on what type of wall you have in your home. A cavity wall insulation means there is a gap between the inner and outer leaf so insulator can be inserted to the wall by drilling holes which are then refilled with cement.  Then there’s solid wall insulation (no cavity inside them). If you have solid walls you can choose between internal or external insulation. So you either do the whole façade of the building or you apply the insulation internally to certain inner rooms.

    You’ve got two options when it comes to insulating your roof. Warm loft is insulating immediately under the roof or cold loft is insulating immediately above the ceiling of the top storey in your house. Warm loft is more expensive than cold loft but is usually a more effective way of insulating the space.  It’s kind of like sticking a woolly hat on your head when it’s freezing outside.

    Double glazing in windows and doors is great if you can afford it, it will drown out the sound of that barking dog or busy road, keeping your house both warm and quiet! Floor insulation can be expensive, make sure if you really need it depending on the type of floor you have and how old your house is. An easy alternative to floor insulation is laying some carpet or sticking a few decent rugs all around.  Sadly this might mean a bit more hoovering!

    One minute it’s too hot, the next it’s too cold! Complaining about the weather can be exhausting but don’t leave it too late to insulate your home and save some energy and money. If DIY has you questioning why you bothered or you simply don’t have the time, let Balma Building services give you a helping hand.