Renovating your living spaces is as much about the practicalities as the presentation. When we think about making a home environment cosier, we have to ensure it is adequately insulated, but when it comes to insulating your property outside and in, what are the things you need to consider?
Insulating the Exteriors
Insulating the exterior of your property is an effective way to save energy by reducing the amount of energy you need to heat your home. Improving the exterior walls will upgrade the thermal efficiency, especially those older properties. External wall insulation can help your home to maintain a more comfortable temperature, so you spend less on heating bills and can improve the sustainability credentials of your home.
There are different types of external wall insulation products, including synthetic external wall insulation known as vapour closed insulation, which can cause a number of issues in old houses. It can damage the structure, making it more expensive to fix, but you also need to consider if you are making any additional changes to the wall before adding insulation, for example, installing stone cladding, metal cladding, stone, or terracotta.
Ensuring that you find an installer registered with an appropriate association can provide more peace of mind, but you also need to make sure that a survey is conducted before work begins. This can help you decide what sort of insulation is best and if you need to make any other alterations, for example, ventilation.
After you find the right installer and get a survey, the work can be carried out with minimal disruption, with the cladding or render applied at the final stage.
Draught-Proofing the Floors
If you are considering insulating your floor, the best solution will depend on what type you have. Floor insulation can make rooms warmer and more comfortable, as well as reduce energy bills while also reducing damp. Insulating a floor is not high on the list of people’s priorities but it can be very useful.
When it comes to insulating an existing floor you will have to determine if your home is a suspended timber floor or solid floor. If you have a suspended timber floor, the workers may need to insulate it from below, which would mean having access to a basement or a cellar. While this is not always feasible, if you insulate from above, it can be more complex and result in lifting floorboards which may cause damage. If your home is a period property, you will have to make a swift decision as to if this is worth your while.
Insulating a solid floor is difficult if you cannot lift the materials. Solid floors need to be allowed to breathe, otherwise, moisture is trapped and can cause problems with damp. If you can see signs of damp, you need to make sure the external ground levels are lower than the inside floor and ensure that your water system is working properly, with no blockage and leaking water pipes.
When insulating any floor, it’s important to see all the gaps between the floor and the skirting board to minimise drafts before the carpet is laid, as you cannot do this afterwards. You also should not obstruct the floor where possible, as this can contribute to damp. If replacing a floor is possible, underfloor heating can make the property more energy efficient, which is commonly found in bathrooms with solid floors.
Insulating Your Interior Walls
Insulating interior walls don’t just provide financial benefits, but insulating the interior walls can reduce sound and thermal transfer which can mean that you can play music a little more loudly! There are different ways to insulate the interior of your home including fibreglass, rock wool, loose-fill cellulose, and open-celled spray foam.
Spray foam is a great solution as you can spray the foam into an airtight seal, stopping the movement of air, and as it expands in volume, it can seal hard-to-reach places. It is a long-lasting solution and, in comparison to traditional materials, it does not sag over time.
Roof and Loft Insulation
One of the best ways to insulate a home is through the loft or the roof. When you are looking for loft insulation, you’ve got to start by checking there’s no condensation or damp problems. This can make it an easier job, and in many cases, you can do it yourself. If you have easy access to the loft, you can use mineral wool insulation laid between the joists and then put another layer at a right angle to cover the joists, creating a full layer of insulation.
When insulating your roof and lofts, there are a few extra things to consider including:
- If you want to use the loft for storage.
- Is there room in the roof?
- If you plan on using the loft as a living space, the walls and the ceilings between unheated and heated spaces need to be insulated.
- If you have a flat roof, it should be insulated from above, which can save you a lot of money on your heating bills.
A Few Other Things to Remember…
When you are insulating your property you should also bear in mind some of the following:
- Identify the problem areas. You may not have the same problem areas as another house with the same structure. You could opt for a thermal imaging report to highlight where you are losing heat.
- Insulating the pipework. Covering pipes with insulation by using pipe lagging is easily available in DIY stores. You could also cover your water tank in a heat-proof jacket.
- Move the furniture away from radiators to allow greater air circulation.
- Fitting your carpets with underlay is a low-cost solution if you cannot afford to insulate your floor. You can also plug any draughty holes in the floor with rugs.
- Invest in a smart thermostat. Finally, this is an incredibly cost-effective way to keep your home warm as you can set the temperature in the space and it can also be connected to other electronic devices to control your heating when you are away from the property.
Insulating your home covers a number of different bases. When you understand what you want to achieve, whether it’s exterior, interior, via the loft, or just in general, you can heat it far more effectively.
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