Your loft has more to do with your home's energy efficiency than you might expect. Keep reading and learn more about it here.
According to the Energy Saving Trust a quarter of a home’s heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home. Installed correctly, loft insulation should pay for itself many times over in its 40-year lifetime.
With energy prices increasing at unprecedented rates a more energy efficient home will benefit the planet and your wallet.
In the next few years, you may see more and more homes being built or retrofitted with energy-efficient measures in mind. While some of these changes may be costly, they can save you a lot of money in the long run on your energy bills. A very cost effective measure is insulating your loft correctly.
Do you want to insulate your loft in 2022? What are the best practices for doing so for maximum energy efficiency? There are many options available so it's important to know which one will work best for you.
This guide will show you how to insulate your loft in 2022.
Benefits of Insulating Your Loft
The loft is one area in your home that you might be neglecting when it comes to insulation.
This may be because many people don’t realise how much energy they can save by insulating their loft correctly. If you're thinking about upgrading your insulation this year and want to know what that means for your heating system let’s take a look at a breakdown.
Proper insulation plays a big role in keeping heat inside during winter months while preventing too much heat from building up during the summer months. This makes your home more comfortable all year round even without air conditioning or heating. Since more heat is retained in your home, you'll spend far less money on heating. The same applies to cooling your home, too.
According to the Energy Saving Trust a typical cost to insulate the loft of a detached house is just £395 and the annual cost saving of that installation is £380. The financial benefits are significant.
When the loft insulation is properly installed, you'll also find that it does a great job of preventing noise from the roof tiles/slates. If you had sound issues, loft insulation can make a big difference.
With an efficient home insulation plan, you can enjoy lower energy costs and a better, more comfortable home, win-win.
How to Do It Yourself
There are a few different ways you can go about insulating your loft, but we'll focus on the most common way. This involves using rolls of quilt or mineral wool insulation. This is a great option if you're looking for an affordable and easy way to get the job done yourself. Here are the steps involved.
First, measure the dimensions of your loft space. Make sure to purchase enough insulation material to cover the entire area to the required depth. Be sure to get more than you think you need, as it's better to have too much than not enough.
Lift the floorboards in your loft (if present) and ensure any insulation that may have already been installed between the joists/trusses is good quality. This may need to be replaced if there are gaps in the insulation or if it’s very old.
Current government guidelines suggest 270mm of insulation. So, if you already have 100mm between the joists/trusses a top up layer of 170mm is recommended, installed perpendicular to the first layer. Ensure that any ventilation at the eaves is always left clear.
If you need a bit more guidance or have questions on what could be right for your loft, try looking into questions that people with similar projects ask.
If you plan to use your loft for storage, you will need to raise the storage platform above the insulation to prevent insulation compression. Compressing insulation can reduce its thermal performance by over 50%. A raised storage platform can be easily and inexpensively created with Loft Legs, designed specifically for this job. Full details of this project can be found here.
Insulation and Downlights
If there are any downlights in the loft, these need to be checked to make sure they are suitable. Firstly, check the bulb and make sure it is NOT a dichroic bulb as these are designed for display cabinets and can sometimes be found incorrectly installed in ceilings. Dichroic bulbs send the generated heat back up through the fitting so can be very dangerous if installed in a ceiling with insulation above.
Secondly, check that the downlight is approved to be covered by insulation.
If you see a symbol like this on the fitting then you will need to cover the downlight with a downlight protector before insulating. Read more on this subject here.
Another thing that should be considered when insulating a loft space is ventilation.
Check all vents before carrying out any work. You want to make sure there is proper airflow throughout the loft before and after the installation to avoid moisture build-up, which can lead to mould growth and other structural issues.
What Are Your Options for Your Insulation Project?
There are different types of insulation material, and each one has a specific purpose. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular alternatives.
Most people will choose low-density fibreglass rolls because it’s easy to install and very cost effective. Fibreglass roll is ideal for a DIYer, all you need to do it roll it out and cut to size, no specialist equipment or knowledge is required. Simply ensure it is laid continuously and that there are no gaps and the job is done.
This type of insulation is installed through a blowing machine that pushes the insulation into all of the cracks and crevices in the area you are trying to insulate. It's great because it fills every nook and cranny, but can be a little more expensive than fibreglass rolls and generally requires an installer to carry out the work.
One downside to this type of insulation is that if there are any gaps in your installation, the insulation will just fall out. Make sure that you have an even surface to work with and ensure the eaves ventilation is not blocked.
Spray Foam Insulation
This is another popular choice for homeowners. It is generally applied to the rafters of the loft to create a warm room and is generally used if the space is going to be used as a room rather than for storage. Once sprayed the liquid polyurethane foam expands and hardens into a solid foam, filling all gaps and creating an effective thermal barrier.
It's a great choice for people who have irregularly shaped lofts or those with lots of nooks and crannies. The primary downside is that it can be expensive, especially if you need to cover a large area. Just keep the size, space, usage, and overall design of your loft in mind if you decide to use spray foam. Homeowners should ensure that this method is approved by their structural warranty and mortgage provider.
This type of insulation is convenient as it is sold in easy to manage bags. You simply pour it into the spaces you want to be insulated but care should be taken to ensure the area is “sealed”. Areas round loft hatches, downlights and the eaves can be problematic as the pellets tend to escape.
Although this option is less expensive, as the insulation settles over time, it becomes less effective and so your energy use may increase. It is also quite a messy option if you are using your loft regularly as the pellets move around and can be displaced.
Rigid Panel Insulation
The last type of insulation we'll look at is rigid board insulation or PIR sheets. Due to the high cost this is another solution to consider if you are using your loft as a habitable room rather than for storage. It is typically installed at the rafter level and ensures the heat is retained in the loft and does not escape through the roof. Again the boards need to be installed correctly with an air gap behind them to ensure there is a vented space below the felt.
Whichever type of insulation you decide on, make sure to read the instructions carefully before starting your project! Improper installation can lead to decreased efficiency and higher heating bills. Always remember, if in doubt, ask for help.
There are plenty of resources available online, as well as professionals who can assist you with your project. If you need some inspiration take a look at a case study.
What Are The Benefits Of Installing Your Own Insulation?
There are many benefits to installing your own insulation.
Saving money is a major benefit. By insulating your loft, you can keep the heat in during the winter and the cool air in during the summer. This means that you will not have to spend as much money on heating or cooling your home. By installing it yourself you also save on any professional installation fees.
Additionally, you'll be helping to protect the environment. When you insulate your loft, you are preventing all that extra heat from escaping into the atmosphere, reducing your energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, which is good for the planet.
You'll also increase the value of your home. If you ever decide to sell your home, having a properly insulated loft will be a selling point.
Things to Consider When Preparing To Insulate Your Own Loft
Before you start insulating your loft, you should consider the following things.
Will you be using the loft once it’s insulated? If yes, will it be used for storage or as a habitable room?
Think about the size and construction of the loft.
Are there any obstacles such as vents, pipes, tanks or cables below where the insulation will be applied? This may impact the type of insulation you select.
Measure the loft and get costs for the insulation options that suit your requirements.
Once you have this information you will be able to make a much more informed choice and be able to choose the right insulation method for your loft and your requirements.
Ready To Get Started in 2022?
As mentioned before, there are many benefits to insulating loft spaces in 2022, and installing the insulation yourself can save you even more money.
Keep in mind that insulating your loft is an investment. The more energy-efficient your home is, the lower your energy bills will be. Over time you'll recoup the costs of installing insulation many times over whilst adding value and comfort to your property.
If you’re interested in installing your own loft insulation, then we're here to help. Loft Leg offers products that allow you to insulate your loft correctly and still use it for storage. This means you get the benefit of a useful space and a warm home combined with lower energy bills.
Check out our range of products today.