Home insulation may initially sound like a headache, but we hope this article will prove otherwise. We’ve compiled all the information you will need to think about when considering what home insulation to choose for your property.

If you’re in need of any assistance, we offer structural engineer services in Cornwall. A member of our team will be happy to provide you with information, advice and various quotes, to help make your house feel more like home.

What Type of Insulation Should You Use?

All insulators have advantages and disadvantages, the most important factor is finding an insulator that fits your needs. Insulation varies in price, so it’s important to be aware of which one will best meet your requirements as this will have an impact on your overall spending.

Popular types of DIY insulators are:

• Batts of fibreglass and mineral wall
• Cellulose
• Multifoil

Consider each carefully before making a decision, a mistake could potentially be costly. We’ve included a detailed list of four popular options of home insulation.

A close up of blanket insulation

Fiberglass Batt Insulation

Batt and roll insulation is available in the form of blankets. They consist of flexible fibres. They are suited to standard spacing of wall studs, attic trusses or rafters and floor joists. The rolls can be hand-cut and trimmed down.

Certain manufacturers will attach a facing in order to act as a vapour barrier. Facings are also useful as they will enable a fastening for insulation. Flame-resistant facings are also available, this should be utilised for areas where the insulation is exposed.

Loose-Fill and Blown-In Insulation

Unlike blanket insulation, loose-fill and blown-in consist of small particles of foam, fibre and various other materials. These particles help to consume and fill any space without having an effect upon the structures and finishes.

Because of their ability to conform, loose-fill insulation can be used for retrofits and difficult locations to install other insulations. The most common materials used are cellulose, fibreglass and mineral wool which can be composed of rock or slag.

The materials used are by-products of recycled waste materials. Cellulose is predominantly made from recycled newsprints; fibreglass can contain up to 60% recycled glass and mineral wool from 75% post-industrial recycled content.

Multifoil Insulation

Multifoil is an unusual insulation as it works differently in comparison to other available options. Multifoil insulation controls the three mechanisms involved with heat transfer; radiation, conductions and convection.

The outer layers reflect up to 95% of infra-red radiation back into your home, preventing the heat from escaping. Multifoil also controls air and vapour movement too, acting as a thermal break while also reducing the cold bridging.

Cold bridging is an area in the building where there is a gap in the insulation. Because these gaps are much colder they are prone to condensation which can lead to mould growth.

Multifoil, however, cannot meet new-build regulations alone, it needs to be used in addition to other insulation. It can be accepted as an upgrade as a single layer in refurbishment projects requiring different U-values.

A hand holding a spray foam gun

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam is an alternative to traditional building insulation. It is versatile and can be used for an array of projects that include insulating your roof, loft walls and floor.

Spray foam has been used for over 30 years and has become a popular option due to how effective it is and its ability to prevent any air leakage. There are two available options, these include:

• Closed-cell spray foam
• Open-cell spray foam

Closed spray foam will set in a rigid, solid shape which will aid in supporting structures if it needs any assistance. It is also recognised as a better insulator than open-cell spray foam, as once it sets it will contain more separate pockets of gas.

This will produce a barrier to moisture, so this will require the room to be well-ventilated to prevent any build of condensation.

Open spray foam is much less dense in comparison to closed spray foam. Due to its lack of density, open spray foam will require a much thicker layer to get the same level of insulation.

It is a practical option for sound insulation as it will block and reduce airflow. Because of its ability to allow some airflow a build-up of condensation is not an issue.

A neglected attic

Insulation Maintenance

Once you’ve installed your insulation you shouldn’t need to worry about anything, but it is good practice to check on it from time to time. Bear in mind the recommended thickness of the chosen materials as you will need to ensure these meet the requirements for optimal insulation.

While checking your insulation you will also need to keep an eye out for any moisture. Moisture can slowly destroy your insulation and your walls as well as create the perfect environment for mould.

Another factor to keep an eye out for is a layer of dust; if you do spot this it is recommended that it’s wiped off as it will help to improve the insulation efficiency.

Draught Proof Your Home

Draught proofing your home is a comfortable way to save money and support your insulation. It’s a quick, cheap project that will likely pay for itself after a year or two.

By draught-proofing your property you’ll be able to reduce your thermostat and be much more comfortable in your home. If you reduce the thermostat by one degree you can typically save up to £90 per year.

Look for areas of uncovered gaps and openings to the outside such as:

• Doors – this includes keyholes and letterboxes
• Fireplaces and chimneys
• Pipework
• Cracks in any walls
• Windows
• Gaps around electricity fittings

When draught-proofing, ensure there are areas where ventilation is necessary such as bathrooms and kitchens.

Bathrooms will require some ventilation to allow moisture to escape, this will reduce any potential mould growth.

Kitchens or any areas where there are open fires or flues will also require ventilation. Instead you can seal these areas off from the rest of the house to maintain a more constant and comfortable temperature.

We hope this article has provided enough information on insulation. If you need further advice, contact our team of structural engineers at Martin Perry Associates. We offer a range of services that can help you with your home insulation needs.