Loft insulation is a method of insulating the roof to prevent heat loss through the loft.
Heat loss is a common concern in homes and the roof is a crucial area of the home through which heat is lost.
Data shows that 30% to 40% heat loss in a home occurs through the roof. Hence, loft insulation is a great method to minimize heat loss in the home.
Here is a guide that shows all to know about loft insulation, such as how much it costs and what type is available, and if you need it.
Do I Need Loft Insulation?
Whether you need loft insulation depends on your roof design. Loft insulation is an excellent investment for homes with a loft.
If you have a loft, there’re many reasons to consider installing loft insulation.
If you have loft insulation installed already, you might not need to bother about it again.
However, note that the UK government has its recommended insulation specifications, such that insulation must be at least 270mm thick, equivalent to a 30cm ruler.
If yours is as thick as this, then you are good to go. But unfortunately, most UK homes have insulation thinner than this.
Benefits of Loft Insulation
If you’re skeptical of investing in loft insulation on the account that you don’t know what benefits it offers, it’d benefit you to consider the following benefits of loft insulation:
- It saves money
One obvious benefit of any kind of insulation is its money-saving capacity.
Like any type of insulation, loft insulation helps you save money on your energy bills by reducing how much heat is lost in the home.
Since a typical home loses up to 40% of its heat through the roof, insulating the roof is a great way in making the property more energy-efficient, saving money on energy bills.
How much you can save with loft insulation depends on your home’s size and the thickness of the insulation product.
Assuming that you meet up with the thickness requirements of 270mm, you can save up to 25% on your energy bills.
Meeting this requirement saves a detached home £225 on its energy bills and £120 for a mid-terrace house.
2. It increases the home’s value
One means to increase your home’s value is to make it more energy-efficient. Increasing the energy efficiency of your home increases its value.
Data shows that improving a property’s energy-saving features helps increase its market value by around 14%.
It has also been revealed that improving a home’s EPC from D to B or from G to E can help increase its value by £16,000 when put up for sale.
3. It improves your and your family’s heath when installed properly
Loft insulation should be properly insulated for health purposes. In a case where loft insulation is poorly installed or the flooring is wrongly laid, condensation and dampness might occur.
This might lead to respiratory infections or asthma. If you have a damp issue due to poorly installed insulation, you might want to reinstall loft insulation for your health’s sake.
4. It helps the environment
The world is awakening to its duty of saving the climate, and the UK government is doing its best on this cause of duty.
Reducing the rate of carbon emission is an excellent goal the UK government is working towards.
Proper insulation helps reduce carbon emissions, such that a single well-insulated house can help reduce CO2 emissions by 80 kg per year.
Hence, installing loft insulation means contributing your quota to savaging the climate.
5. Reduced boiler wear-and-tear
A house without insulation, or where the insulation is not up to standards, is prone to heat loss.
This calls for running the boiler more than necessary, which causes wear and tear on it. With this, the lifespan of the boiler reduces every day due to overuse.
Investing in loft insulation helps keep your home in a good living environment, and hence minimizing the need for running the boiler. This helps prolong your boiler’s life.
What to Keep In Mind
Before venturing into loft insulation, you must there’re a few things to consider.
This helps you know what to go for, what to expect, and what you need for a job completed to a professional standard.
One of these is if you need warm or cold loft insulation.
Warm or cold loft?
Majorly, loft insulation is classified into warm loft insulation and cold loft insulation, and what you store in the loft determines if it should be cold or warm.
If you plan on storing climate-sensitive materials in it or using it as a hobby room, a warm loft will be a suitable choice.
Other than this, a cold loft will make a great choice.
Let’s consider the benefits of both to know exactly what they mean:
One major advantage of cold lofts is the ease of installation and cheap costs.
In installing cold loft insulation, the only places that need insulating are between and tops of the floor joists, preventing heat into the loft.
However, note that this type of loft is prone to temperature condensation and fluctuations. The term ‘cold’ might not seem valid when the temperature gets extremely hot in the summer.
This might be a bit expensive but is more efficient than cold lofts. In warm lofts, the floor and the roof’s underside are insulated.
This lets heat into the loft and helps regulate heat. Also, the insulation prevents heat from flowing out through the roof.
This is a better choice as it doesn’t have the problem of freezing in the winter or too hot in the summer.
How does loft insulation work?
The purpose of loft insulation is to prevent heat from escaping through the roof.
However, the major concern about loft insulation is condensation, and hence the need for providing an escaping root for moisture.
This is where hiring a professional installer comes in. Well-installed loft insulation ensures that moisture passes through while still perform its function of preventing heat loss.
An un-insulated house loses too much heat through the wall, doors, window, and roof.
This calls for generating more heat to cover the lost heat. Generating more heat increases energy bills and, perhaps, carbon footprint.
How much loft insulation do I need?
Calculating the amount of insulation needed for your home depends on your roof size. This calculation is done by measuring the size of the rooms under your roof.
Adding the sizes of the room together gives you insight into how much loft insulation is needed. It’s important to put wall width into account when doing this calculation.
Also, take note that the eaves should not be insulation to enhance proper airflow.
How much does loft insulation cost?
Blanket insulation is the cheapest type of lost insulation and it costs around £8 per roll. Since this comes in different thicknesses and sizes, the prices might vary slightly.
Followed by this, on price the price ladder, is loose-fill insulation. Loose-fill insulation can cost around £13 per 12kg bag.
It’s quite difficult to tag a price to blown-fiber insulation. This is because, as mentioned earlier, it requires the service of a professional installer with special equipment.
However, the Energy Saving Trust says that loft insulation can cost up to £395 and can save up to £225 a year.
Is There Any Grant For Loft Insulation?
Loft insulation is one of the eligible energy-saving improvements for ECO (Energy Company Obligation).
The UK government established this scheme to help low-income households in the UK have access to loft insulation.
So if you can get free loft insulation depends on your eligibility status for the ECO.
With this scheme, energy providers in the UK provide qualified customers with grants to install energy-efficient improvements, which include loft insulation.
As such, if you or any of your family enjoys any benefit eligible for this grant, then you can go ahead and apply for the grant.
What about Asbestos?
Asbestos-containing products are a dangerous material to have in the loft. The products were widely accepted until 1999 when their ill effects were discovered.
As such, if you own an old property built before 2000, it might contain asbestos products.
Asbestos was discovered to be a potential cause of asbestosis, a serious long-term lung condition.
The material was also discovered to contribute to the risk of mesothelioma, a type of cancer that grows in the lining covering the body’s organs.
Before the ban of the products, they were known for their excellent properties, such as being non-conductive, heat resistant, and alkali-resistant.
These were excellent features that made the products a great choice on the market until their side health effects were revealed.
How to Know If You Have It
It’s quite difficult to know if asbestos is present in the loft or anywhere in the home.
The material is difficult to recognize, as it doesn’t have a special odor or visible to the naked eye. With this, asbestos is nickname ‘hidden killer’.
The best way to know if a product contains asbestos is to take a sample to an ISO 17025 accredited lab for a test.
Can I Install Loft Insulation Myself?
Installation of loft insulation is not usually what you can do yourself, especially if it’s warm loft insulation.
As mentioned earlier, warm insulation requires the service of a professional installer and special equipment.
Hence, hiring a professional at the job is the best way to go for warm loft insulation.
Also, hiring a professional lets him examine the condition of the roof and check for any developments that might cause issues later on, such as damp.
He then advises you on what to do to solve the issues first before forging on to install the insulation.
However, if accessing your loft is easy, you’re not going for a warm loft, and you’re sure there’re no damp issues in the loft, then you can consider insulating it yourself.
Safety Tips for Working in Your Loft
If you’ve decided that you can install loft insulation yourself, the first thing to have at the back of your mind is safety.
Even if you hire a professional, the first measure he makes is his and his team’s safety.
If your loft is un-floored, you need to lay knee-boards down for ease of crawling in your loft. These let you walk in your loft safely.
Ensure that the loft is condensation-free and is well ventilated
Brightening up the loft is important to let you see what you’re doing clearly. Try and get as many LED lights as you can get to brighten up the loft.
LEDs are a great choice as they don’t emit heat but give bright light.
Working in your loft exposes you to breathing in dust particles. Wearing a protective face mask is excellent to protect you from this.
You will also need a pair of knee pads to enhance your ease of crawling around on your knees for a long time.
Finally, be sure that your loft has undergone an asbestos test. This is to ensure you are working in an asbestos-free environment.
How to Install Loft Insulation
This guide for installing loft insulation assumes you’re not installing warm insulation.
Here is a short guide to installing loft insulation:
Start by laying the first 100mm layer of insulation between the joists. Ensure you know the required insulation size needed before cutting the packaged insulation with a hand saw.
This is to prevent wastage. Usually, the gap between joists falls between 380mm and 570mm.
Spread out the insulation you’ve just cut out between the joists and press it slightly to fit between the joists.
The next step is to run another layer of insulation perpendicular over the joists.
The required size for this is usually between 170mm and 200mm. this is giving that there’re no obstructions or braces to enhance laying the layer in full width.
Start unrolling the insulation from the loft hatch over the top of the joists. This is to ensure an even insulation over the entire space.