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Attic Insulation Energy Savings: A Cost-Effective SolutionBy admin
Wednesday, 11 September 2019
In recent years the government has placed a heavy emphasis on the importance of insulation and in particular, insulation in our roof spaces and attics.
Attic insulation is known to lower energy bills, as it prevents warm air from leaving the house, and this is why it has been encouraged by the government and why most of us now have fibre insulation in our ceiling space.
But what about spray foam insulation in the attic? Is this a good idea, and will it offer the same protection that the classic mineral wool insulation can? It’s time to find out…
Why Is Adequate Insulation So Important?
According to the Energy Saving Trust, one quarter of all of the heat in our home is lost through the roof. This loss can be effectively reduced by simply placing a barrier of insulation between the living areas and the roof.
They suggest that it is possible to save around £225 per year on a detached house simply by adding 270mm of mineral wool insulation in the space between the floor joists of the attic or loft. This is clearly a huge energy saving, and not only great for the fuel bills, but is effective at reducing your carbon footprint.
You may also want to insulate for more practical reasons, such as creating a new room in the loft, building a loft extension, or using the attic for storage or as a living space.
Is Mineral Wool The Best Option?
Not everyone can use mineral wool insulation in their lofts, due to the loss of head height. This will clearly impact on the usability of the loft, and as there is not enough space in the joist cavity to fit this level of insulation, a new floor will need to be added if it is to be boarded out.
For anyone wanting to make the most of their attic space, this can be a difficult and expensive job.
Spray foam insulation offers a credible alternative that is quick and simple to install, and because it is applied directly to the underside of the roof, it gives you back the flexibility you need to use the room as you wish.
According to the National Insulation Association, 100mm of spray foam is the equivalent of around 170mm of normal loft insulation, so it is easier to get the required values with less room being taken up to do so.
Spray foams come in a number of different forms, with different thermal values. Higher density foams (closed cell) are used for insulation, and generally have a thermal value of between 3 and 6, while mineral wool insulation of the same thickness may only be between 3 and 4.
What Is Spray Foam Insulation?
Spray foam is created when two materials, isocyanate and polyol resin, are joined together. When mixed, the chemical reaction caused forces them to expand by up to 60 times the liquid volume.
The results is a highly insulative material, that is perfect for spraying into difficult to reach spots and cracks.
Spray Foam Insulation: Closed Cell vs. Open Cell:
Closed cell insulation can offer a structural improvement to your roof, and can provide a better result, as the structure contains enclosed pockets of gas that slow down heat transfer. This is similar to how double glazing works.
However there is a need for ventilation with closed cell foam as it does prevent airflow.
Open cell foam is less dense, and will not offer structural support. You will need a thicker layer to get the same insulating properties. However, it is an excellent acoustic barrier, and still enables adequate ventilation in the interior space.
Your installer will be able to tell you what type of foam you should use in your attic.
How Does Spray Foam Help Halt Heat Loss?
Both types of insulation act in a number of ways to prevent heat transfer within your home:
Conductive Heat Transfer: The foam has a cellular structure that is filled with air, preventing transfer of heat through the material.
Radiant Heat Transfer: Due to the opaque nature of spray foam, it does not allow radiant heat to pass through.
Convective Heat Transfer: Spray foam can create an airtight seal, blocking convective heat transfer, effectively keeping a property cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
While spray foam is very safe once stable and dry, it can release chemicals during the spray process. For that reason, it is recommended that you leave your home while it is applied. The contractors are always protected, to prevent inhalation of the product
Attic Insulation Application: The Process:
It is a very quick and easy process to apply spray foam to your attic space. In general, the foam will be applied to the spaces between the roof rafters. It can be sprayed onto almost any surface, and will stick very effectively.
In almost all cases, it should be applied by a professional who is is correctly trained. The British Board of Agrement’s list of installers is a great place to start to find a tradesman.
If your attic is non-vented, it is best to apply the insulation to the floor of the attic room rather than the roof. However this does allow for the easy use of the room in the future.
In most cases it is applied to underside of the roof. Your installer should carry out a survey to ensure they are using the correct type of foam and the right thickness.
The application process involves the use of a spray gun and hoses to the two separate materials. Once mixed together at high pressure, they turn into a foam. This is sprayed in even coats onto the spaces between the rafters to the required thickness.
While spray foam is very safe once stable and dry, it can release chemicals during the spray process. For that reason, it is recommended that you leave your home while it is applied. The contractors are always protected, to prevent inhalation of the product.
Spray Foam Attic Insulation: What Savings Can I Expect?
Unfortunately, spray foam insulation is not offered as a free option under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, therefore, you will need to pay for it yourself. However, the cost of application could soon be earned back in lowered bills and improved energy efficiency.
A general guide price of around £20 to £50 per square metre is typical for this type of insulation, and the thicker the required depth, the more expensive it will be.
If you choose open cell foam it will be less expensive, but will be less effective structurally. The Energy Savings Trust estimates that it costs around £300 to insulate a loft with mineral wool, while spray foam could start at £1000.
The payback time is therefore much longer, and could take upwards of 5 years to repay in energy savings.
You can expect to make huge energy savings in both the Summer and the Winter. Spray foam will prevent heat from entering your home from outside when the weather is warm, and from leaving your home during the colder months. You will spend less on your energy bills, and help to protect the environment too!
The Benefits Of Spray Foam Attic Insulation
From negating noise niggles, to driving down your overall bills, spray foam really is the ultimate insulation allrounder. Here’s a list of just some of the brilliant benefits it provides:
- Spray foam insulation is easy to use in an area such as the attic where there are many nooks and crannies that need to be effectively filled.
- It can cling to almost any surface, and requires very little preparation before application
- Spray foam has high insulation R-values, making it perfect at keeping heat inside the home, or preventing heat from entering the home.
- Spray foam can work as an acoustic barrier too, allowing you to use your loft as a music room or playroom.
- Spray insulation takes up less room, and will allow you to create the head height needed to use the room more effectively.
- Because spray foam sets rigidly, it can shore up the structure of your roof, giving it additional stability.
- You can expect to make huge energy savings in both the Summer and the Winter. Spray foam will prevent heat from entering your home from outside when the weather is warm, and from leaving your home during the colder months. You will spend less on your energy bills, and help to protect the environment too.
Transform your attic space in less than a day, with the help of spray foam insulation. Take the first step into turning your roof space into a healthy, habitable room, by calling 0800 1700 636, or by simply clicking the button below!Related Home Logic Living ArticlesFULL RANGE OF SERVICES:OUR OFFICES:
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