Layering up this winter – top tips for insulating your loft
As you may be aware, I am currently extending my own home and with temperature’s plummeting to sub zero temperatures in recent days, insulating my new roof has been my top priority.
When you consider that up to 26% of a home’s heat escapes through an uninsulated roof, fitting loft insulation is a simple way to save pounds on your home’s energy bills, by as much as £175 per year*, as well as improving the green credentials of your home.
But why, if insulating our lofts is so easy to do, are 38% of homes with lofts still lacking the basic levels of loft insulation**? One reason is that many people consider insulating to be difficult job, the kind of job where they’d need to get a ‘man in’. However, after thinkinsulation.com kindly supplied me with some rolls of their eco-friendly Space Insulation to insulate my own loft and taking on the job myself, I can confirm it is an easy job to do and can be completed in one afternoon.
Here’s my step by step guide:
1. Before you start, you first need to calculate how much insulation you are going to need to complete the job. Start off by measuring the whole loft space as well as the required depth you need – simply measure down the side of the joists, not forgetting to take into account any existing insulation you may have. For optimal performance the government recommends installing insulation to a minimum depth of 270mm. Also don’t forget to measure the size of your loft hatch. Finally, check that the loft is properly ventilated and consider pipes and wires within the space to ensure there are no potential dangers.
2. Wear the right clothes, this includes a long sleeved top and trousers to protect your skin from the itchy insulation plus gloves and a mask, it gets dusty! To ensure you can safely walk across the joists you will also need a flat wooden board strong enough to take your weight, plus a sharp knife to cut the loft roll to size.
3. You’re now ready to start laying the insulation. First you will need a base layer to the depth of 100mm, you can either lay the insulation straight off the roll, Space Insulation is pre-scored to widths of both 40cm and 60cm, or you can cut the roll (with a saw) to fit the space between your joists. I tried both and personally found cutting the roll beforehand made it easier to handle, especially in the rather cramped corners of the roof.
Start laying at the corner furthest away from the loft hatch and tuck the ends of the roll into the eaves, but don’t block them, leave at least a 5cm gap at the eaves to ensure there’s sufficient ventilation to avoid condensation.
4. Once the base layer is complete, add an additional layer on top, 170mm, this will give you a total depth of 270mm. This time, rather than laying the insualtion in the joists, lay it at right angles to the joists – this is called ‘cross layering’.
5. When all of the insulation is laid, make sure all electric cables are placed on top of the insulation to prevent them from overheating. Also, if you have any recessed lights, clear at least 75mm airspace around them for the same reason.
That’s pretty much it.
Still not convinced? Well, with the average roof only costing about £150 or less to complete AND with savings of up to £175* a year on your annual energy bills, doing the job yourself would pay first itself after the first year.
Of course, like any DIY job, it is physical and you do get your hands dirty, or dusty with insulating, but it is easily achievable, I can vouch for that.
Plus, when you choose a product like thinkinsulation.com’s Space Insulation, not only are you benefiting from energy savings, you are also making a sustainable choice, as all of their products are made from recycled glass, plus they are free from artificial colours and dyes, making them one of the most eco-friendly insulation products on the market.
Finally, don’t forget you can still apply for a grant for loft insulation through the Government’s CERT scheme, but hurry it ends at the end of 2012.
For more information and advice about cutting carbon emissions in the home, as well as other energy saving tips, visit www.thinkinsulation.com.
For more information about products in the Space Insulation range visit www.space-insulation.com
For details of support available under CERT contact the Energy Saving Trust on 0800 512 012 or visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk
*Based on an un-insulated loft being insulated to a depth of 270mm, according to stats from the Energy Saving Trust.