Are there any grants available for insulation?
Yes. There are several different grants and offers that you can take advantage of if you are making home improvements which make your property more energy efficient.
Most energy companies provide government subsidised grants to help people pay for some or all of the costs of having insulation installed. People over seventy years of age and people on certain qualifying benefits are entitled to 100% of the costs.
The government also runs the Warm Front Scheme, which provides financial help for insulation to people on low incomes who live in poorly insulated houses. Grants of up to £3,500 can be claimed under the scheme.
In 2012 the government will introduce a new initiative; the Green Deal. It will enable home-owners to take out loans to pay for energy efficient home improvements, and repay them through their energy bill. The idea is that the reduction in heating bills will help to offset the cost of the repayments.
How much does roof/loft insulation cost?
Installing roof insulation will cost anything from £100 – £350, depending on the size of the house. It could save up to £175 per year on heating bills and will pay for itself within a few years.
What kinds of insulation are available?
The most common type of insulation used in lofts is mineral wool rolled insulation. Typically, two layers are rolled out between the beams that make up the floor of the loft.
If access to the roof space is difficult, a professional installer can blow insulation into the loft through pre-drilled holes. Loose-fill insulation is also sometimes used, often in house which have irregular beam patterns that make it difficult to lay rolled insulation.
Can I install it myself?
Yes. Mineral wool insulation can be bought in rolls from most DIY shops and if you have good access to the loft you can easily complete the job on your own. Make sure you have the right thickness of insulation and avoid covering any airbricks, electrical cable or light fittings.
Are there any regulations?
Building regulations state that loft and roof insulation should have a U value of no more than 0.16W/m2K. The recommended thickness for insulation is 270mm.
Cavity Wall Insulation
Why was the wall built with a cavity?
Originally to keep out wind-driven rain in coastal areas, it was found that cavity walls had insulating properties and they became more widespread from the 1920’s.
How is cavity wall insulation installed?
Homes built more recently have cavity walls insulated as part of the build process, but if it is being fitted into an older house it is blown through a series of holes that the installer will drill along the length of the wall.
How much does it cost?
Cavity wall insulation will cost around £100 – 350, but you could pay more if you opt for superior materials like foam or bonded polystyrene beads.
How can I tell if I have cavity walls?
If the brickwork is of a consistent pattern, with the longer face of the bricks visible, it is likely to be a cavity wall. Solid walls tend to have more irregular brickwork.
Solid Wall Insulation
How are solid walls insulated?
Solid walls can be insulated from the interior or the exterior. Rigid insulation boards are fixed directly to the wall from the inside, or fitted to exterior walls and covered with a weatherproof layer.
What is the difference between internal and external insulation?
Internal insulation is usually around 100mm thick and will reduce the floor space in your house. It can cause an upheaval during installation as each room has to be completely emptied and it may not be possible to fix heavy fittings and furnishings back to the wall.
External insulation causes less disruption during the installation and can also help to protect the wall by filling gaps and cracks. It may require planning permission, however, so check well in advance.
How much does it cost?
Internal insulation will cost approximately £5,500 – £8,500; external insulation will cost in the region of £9,400 – £13,000. Both could save well over £400 per year on heating bills, but will take several years to pay for themselves.
Why do I need to insulate the floor?
Cold air can get into the house through floorboards and through any gaps between floorboards and skirting boards. The cold air causes draughts, lowers the temperature, and helps heat escape through increased airflow.
How is floor insulation installed?
In properties with wooden floors, the floorboards are lifted and mineral wool insulation is laid underneath between the beams. Properties that have concrete flooring can have rigid insulation boards laid above or below during building or when a floor is replaced.
Floors can also be insulated from below if they are above a basement. Insulation is fitted in-between the beams of the floor and covered with a layer of plasterboard. Gaps between the floorboards and between the floorboards and skirting boards are filled with silicon sealant.
Which floors should be insulated?
All of the floors on ground level should be insulated. Upstairs rooms generally do not need to be insulated as they benefit from the heat rising from the room below, but if they are above an un-heated room such as a garage, they should also be insulated.
How much does it cost?
If you install the floor insulation yourself, you could expect to pay around £100 for materials. A professional installer will probably charge around £770 to insulate the entire ground floor of a property. Floor insulation will save anything up to £85 per year on your energy bills.
Can floor insulation be fitted with underfloor heating?
Insulation is actually required with underfloor heating systems to prevent heat loss to the ground. Building regulations also require a better U value from floors with underfloor heating; a U value no greater than 0.25W/m2K is specified for floors of all types and a U value of 0.15W/m2K when the floor includes underfloor heating.