If you’re looking to improve your home and benefit from the Green Homes Grant you will probably be considering what type of insulation is best for your home. To qualify for the Green Homes Grant vouchers, you must install either insulation or low-carbon heating. These are called ‘primary’ measures under the scheme. If your home isn’t insulated, you will be leaking money through your roof and walls. Bad news for you; bad news for the environment, which is why a wide range of insulation is covered by the scheme, from insulation for cavity walls and under floors, to external insulation for solid wall and park homes.
Making green improvements through insulation will save energy and can help cut your energy bills by up to a third. Moreover, understanding the best type of insulation you can install in your property, can potentially help you save hundreds of pounds per year on your energy bills, whilst contributing to a cleaner, greener environment and planet.
Types of roof and loft insulation
Much of the heat. up to 25% which is lost in houses escapes through the roof due to the fact that heat rises. Insulating your roof or loft to a recommended thickness of 270mm is the best way of stopping this heat from escaping. There are different types of loft insulation you may consider for your property.
Blanket loft insulation or matting insulation is the most common type of loft insulation, and the easiest to install. It is made from mineral or glass fibre and comes in foil-backed rolls which are put between the loft joists.
Loose-fill insulation is made from fire-retardant lightweight fibres and is better for those difficult to access spaces with irregular joists, or to top-up existing insulation. Blown-in insulation is when cellulose mineral fibres are blown into loft space using specialist equipment.
It’s quick to install and useful for spaces where access is limited, such as gaps between roof joists. It’s a specialist job though, so you’ll need professional help.
Floor insulation explained
Underfloor insulation is another good way of preventing heat loss through the floor and is particularly good for older houses. Many older properties have ‘suspended floors’, where there is a gap underneath the floorboards. This gap can be filled by temporarily removing the floorboards and laying rolls of mineral wool insulation.
Another cheap but effective way of preventing heat loss via the floor is to fill the gaps between the floor and skirting boards using caulking or a sealant. You can also put a layer of insulation, such as a polyfoam board, below your carpet for more energy efficiency.
Cavity and solid wall insulation
The National Insulation Association estimates that about a third of a property’s heat is lost through the walls, so insulating your walls can make your property much more energy-efficient. Many modern homes in the UK are built with cavity walls, which means an inner and an outer wall with a space between them, which are designed to stop rainwater reaching the inside of the property.
But these cavities also allow heat to escape, so you need to prevent heat from escaping by filling the gap between these two layers. Cavity wall insulation is installed by drilling a small hole in the property’s outer wall and using a pump to fill the gaps with a polyurethane insulating foam. It is quick to do and relatively inexpensive but will need to be done by professionals. You can also install solid wall insulation, which can be fitted internally or externally, with decorative coatings. But this method is quite a bit more expensive and disruptive than cavity insulation, as it can mean more building and decorating work.