What type of insulation should you get?

The benefits of adding insulation to your home have been extolled for years – make your home warmer, reduce your energy bills, make more efficient use of your home heating oil – we could go on! The details below should give you some essential information about the type of insulation available, and the type of insulation you should get depending on your home type, house age and where you feel like you are losing most heat.

The primary function of insulation is to prevent heat escaping from your house, and keep it where it’s needed most. What type of insulation should you get? Here are the most common types available with a brief summary:

Roof and loft

Most people assume that because hot air rises they will lose most of their precious heating from this source, and in fact the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland estimates that up to 30% of your heating can be lost through cavity walls without adequate insulation in place. That’s a significant portion of the money you spend on home heating oil being wasted. Loft insulation is normally available as either cold or warm insulation, and will differ depending on whether you have a flat roof or a pointed (or pitched) roof.

Cold loft insulation is probably the most commonly known in Ireland – where insulation is rolled out across the beams, and is useful if you don’t use your attic space as a living space or for storage. If you do need the space however, warm insulation would be more appropriate which is installed directly under the roof in the pitched area. The most important thing to remember about installing loft insulation is that you need proper ventilation, otherwise you could have serious damp problems in the future.

Cavity Wall

Cavity wall insulation is often lacking in homes that were built before 1990 in Ireland, so is still a very popular type of insulation to add to your home. The cavity is the gap in between the interior and exterior walls, and the insulation is pumped into this space. It is possible to have cavity wall insulation installed even in your live in a terraced or semi-detached house, your installer just needs to put a barrier in place to contain the insulation and keep it where it’s supposed to be.

Solid Wall Insulation

Solid wall insulation, for when a house does not have the cavity gap that can be filled with insulation, can be insulated either internally or externally. It can be an expensive solution, however these types of homes tend to lose more heat through not having insulation so it is a worthwhile investment if you are planning to stay in the house for some time. Again, you will need to use breathable materials to allow for adequate ventilation in order to prevent the build up of damp. Talk to a professional who can advise you if you have a house with solid walls.

Floor Insulation

This can be as simple as sealing gaps with some caulk to prevent any drafts creeping over your toes if you walk barefoot across wooden floors. Carpets are naturally insulating, but unless you want to replace all your wooden floors for carpet, you can consider adding floor insulation when replacing the flooring. Due to the disruption this can cause to your home, it’s better to do this when you first lay the floor or as part of a refurbishment.

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