TYPES OF LOFT INSULATION
There are several types of insulation:
GENERAL RULES WHEN INSUALTING A LOFT
Make sure you don’t block air vents as this could lead to problems with condensation and damp.
All electrical cables, wires and light fittings must be kept uncovere,d to prevent overheating.
Remember to insulate pipes or water tanks, as the loft space will become colder with good insulation.
If insulation is applied between joists and it becomes squashed down it looses its efficiency.
One last tip - insulating your loft in an invaluable way of saving money and reducing (CO2) emissions to the atmosphere, but don’t forget while you are about it to also insulate pipes, water tanks and… the loft hatch! It is important to bear all this in mind, you don't want to rely on your home insurance if you can help it. It's advisable to follow the guidelines in order to do the best job you can.
If you think the pipes aren’t important just remember that the whole point of insulation is to reduce the heat in the loft, which means more danger of them becoming frozen.
Insulated loft hatches can be bought from DIY stores to help prevent chilly draughts seeping through to the house.
When most people think of loft insulation this is what comes to mind.
The insulation is like a thick blanket or quilt, which rolls out over the loft floor. It comes in different type and thicknesses. The most popular types are:
Mineral wool, also known as glass or rock fibre, and
This is easy to install and can easily be tackled by a DIY enthusiast. The rolls are pre-cut to fit exactly between the floor joists in the loft. It is advisable to lay another layer the other way to cover the joists themselves. Alternatively boards backed with insulation can be laid over the first layer of mineral wool to create a stable surface for storage.
The material is made from rocks or glass heated to produce fibres. It is treated so as not to rot, it discourages vermin and is inflammable.
A NOTE OF WARNING: Anyone laying this material should wear protective gloves and a mask.
One of the most sustainable products on the market, sheep’s wool insulation makes good use of a product which over the years has, quite literally, gone out of fashion (as man-made fibres have become more popular in clothing) and is even dumped sometimes after shearing.
Sheep’s wool is becoming more and more popular and is treated with naturally derived additives to become insect repellent and fireproof.
Being a natural fibre it doesn’t pose the kind of skin irritation problems that other insulation can when being installed.
This type of insulation calls for a professional to install, as it is loose it isn’t practical if the loft is to be used for storage unless boards are fitted over the insulation.
Blown insulation is quite literally granules of mineral fibre, although it could be paper, are blown through a large hose to fill the spaces between the joists.
Its advantages come in areas where joists are irregularly spaced or where obstructions make it difficult to lay blanket insulation.
You need to take advice on whether your loft is suitable, as the insulation is loose granules it will blow about if there are draughts in the loft.
Like blown insulation this isn’t a method recommended if the loft is to be used for storage, unless the joists are to be covered by boards.
This material can be made from 100 per cent recycled paper, sourced mainly in the UK. Installation couldn’t be easier. The fibres are quite literally tipped onto the floor and spread out.
Another form of granular insulation is version of vermiculite, (you may know this as a soil-free medium for growing plants), while mineral wool and cork granules are also used.
Unlike most other types of insulation these boards are not fitted on the floor but between the rafters. They are best fitted in properties that are new build or are being renovated and the tiles are being re-laid.
The rigid boards are made of extruded polystyrene fixed by screws or nails.
Boards are often favoured in loft conversions as it is the one time heat rising from the rest of the house can be an advantage to help warm the loft space.
It is necessary to ensure a gap is left between tiles and insulation to help prevent condensation problems.
Like boards, multifoil insulation is installed between the rafters in the loft rather than the joists.
Multifoil insulation is quite literally that - layers of foil bound together with foam or soft dry fibres. This creates air pockets which trap the heat, and warmth is reflected back to further cut heat loss - making it extremely efficient.