Is your loft properly insulated?

The recommended depth of loft insulation is 270 mm, which is about a foot. If you have some insulation but it isn’t that thick, you don’t have to remove what you have already, you can just add some more; insulation does come in different thicknesses to allow you to do this. It is simple to check,  just pop up into your loft with a ruler and see if there is enough!

Different types of loft insulation

The depth of insulation is the important thing to make sure your home is properly insulated and you can start to find your bills lessen. Some types need professionals to do it for you, but you can lay the type that comes in a roll yourself, as long as you use proper clothing and a face mask and goggles – there is nothing inherently dangerous in the product, but it is not a good idea to have too much contact with it, up close and personal.

  • Rolls – these are made up of various materials, usually backed with foil for extra heat-retaining properties. To stay green, sheep’s wool is the obvious choice and also it is pleasanter to use. Spun mineral wool is very effective but can be unpleasant to handle. This type of insulation is good for large lofts with simple spaces to insulate but can be tricky for odd corners. If you want to insulate walls though it is ideal, as it is easy to handle and attach to upright surfaces.
  • Loose fill – this is perfect for topping up, because you simply spread a layer of the required thickness on the insulation already there. You can also use it for odd corners because of course because you just tip it in and spread it around. If your loft is draughty, though, you may have problems with it moving around, leaving cold spots.
  • Sheet boards – these are the ideal choice for using in loft conversions, especially if you choose one with a decorative finish. They are easy to fit and can be used as a ceiling finish or on walls quite safely because they are fire retardant. They are rather more expensive but are more attractive and some even come with an integral fixing point, so they are really simple for any DIYer to attach. Their main drawback from the green point of view is that they are very energy intensive to produce.
  • Blown fibre – this is the only method that really must be done by professionals because it needs specific equipment. Because of needing to pay someone to do it, it does tend to come in at a rather higher price than the other kinds but it is very efficient and there are various green choices such as recycled paper and sheep wool. For lofts which don’t have easy access this is perfect, because it can be done from the loft hatch and it is also very light. The main drawback is that in a draughty loft it might move about leaving cold spots.

loft insulationEnergy Savings

The average saving per year is around £180 so starting from scratch fitting insulation yourself will pay for itself in around two years and of course the savings will continue for a long time. With energy prices going up every year, the savings will be greater, because although the amount is expressed here as an amount in money, it is of course a percentage of the bill. Added in conjunction with other insulation such as cavity wall and double glazing with solar coatings, heating bills can be very seriously reduced. Many people find that they can turn the radiators in bedrooms down so they are almost off because the heat from downstairs stays below the ceiling rather than going straight up to heat the sky.

Financing loft insulation

There are no grants currently for insulating lofts but new initiatives are coming on line constantly and so it is well worth watching the press for details. If you have equity in your home taking out a further mortgage is also a plan, as you can then go for the deepest and most convenient kind rather than being too constrained by price. Some people take advantage of zero percent credit card offers to finance the job and this is certainly a good use for an offer like this, as the savings are substantial and can be used to pay off the balance. It is possible to insulate a loft as money becomes available – you can easily buy one or two rolls of insulation and put it down when you can afford it. A little is better than none and an average loft would soon be finished. Looking out for bargains also helps – larger retailers often have BOGOF offers to help out.