Go back
Home Logic Article

Attic Loft Insulation

attic loft insulation

If you live in an older home, chances are that the existing insulation is either non-existent, or simply not up to scratch.

Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving. One common misconception among homeowners is that a large amount of insulation in the attic means that its adequately covered.

Needless to say, this is far from the case. Over time, traditional insulation materials, such as fibreglass and cellulose, lose their efficacy. The once compacted fibres come loose, reducing their thermal performance.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, a quarter of heat is lost through the roof of the home; compromising your comfort and bumping up your bills as well.

By investing in the right type of loft insulation, you will prevent these problems from the outset, safe in the knowledge that it will remain this way for 40 years on average, without requiring costly replacement.

How Much Insulation Do I Need in My Attic?

How long is a piece of string?! A popular question among property owners, like most things in life, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this query.

Current British Building Regulations require a minimum of 270mm of insulation between the joists for a loft.

To put this into perspective, some historic homes have as little as 25mm currently installed. Add to this the fact that existing insulation is often compressed by storage boards (thus further reducing its effectiveness), and you can see why an upgrade is necessary.

Depending on the material you use, the thickness required will vary. Overall, striving to achieve the highest R value possible should be your number one aim; the higher the R value, the better the resistance to heat flow.

In a loft, the minimum standard set is an R value of 6.1; however, you should strive to attain an R value of 7 or more to gain maximum benefit long-term.

attic loft insulation

Open celled spray foam insulation offers the most potential for savings-the product performs for the life of the building, saving you from costly replacements

What’s the Cost of Loft insulation on Average?

Like many types of home improvements, Loft insulation falls under the category of renovations that pay for themselves over time-as long as you pick the right material.

In terms of initial cost, the National Insulation Association suggests a guide price of between £20-£50 per square metre on average; however, this will vary depending on a variety of factors, including foam type, accessibility of the attic, and whether prior repair work is needed as well.

Open celled spray foam insulation offers the most potential for savings-the product performs for the life of the building, saving you from costly replacements.

The less energy used within a property sealed with spray foam is evident in its energy efficiency, with gradings on Energy Performance Certificates being positively impacted as well-increasing your home’s resale value immeasurably.

What Are the Top 5 Loft Insulation Materials on The Market Today?

From bulky, fibreglass batts, to insulation made from sheep wool, the options on offer to homeowners are almost endless-as are their plus points and pitfalls.

With the above in mind, let’s explore how the 5 key contenders compare:

Loft Insulation Type No.1: Fibreglass

One of the most popular types of loft insulation on the market, fibreglass is often found in homes built after 1930, where the fluffy yellow rolls are almost ubiquitous.

However, as mentioned previously, despite proving an effective insulator in the short-term, its viability long-term is questionable; it rapidly loses its efficacy if it becomes wet.

In addition to this, inevitable wear and tear means that over time, the compacted fibres can easily come loose, leading to gaps within the material.

attic loft insulation

Although sheep wool insulation is easy to install, it's long-term effectiveness leaves a lot to be desired-and is prohibitively pricey to match!

Loft Insulation Type No.2: Cellulose

For the eco-conscious amongst us, cellulose sounds good in principle; this insulation is composed of between 75-85% recycled materials.

Yet in practice, its shortcomings quickly start to surface-especially if you have a burst pipe, or a roof that’s starting to leak.

In other insulation methods, water can collect on the surface; in contrast, cellulose absorbs the moisture like a sponge, leading to issues with damp.

Loft Insulation Type No.3: Sheep Wool

Just when you thought you’d heard it all! Although sheep wool is easy to install, its long-term effectiveness leaves a lot to be desired.

In terms of cost, it is also prohibitively pricey, due to both availability and logistics. What’s more, if you’re aiming to install insulation between rafters, you’ll need to use a more rigid form of the wool-which can be challenging to source.

Loft Insulation Type No.4: Mineral Wool Insulation

Widely popular before World War 2, mineral wool insulation comes in two types: rock wool and slag wool.

Although an ideal soundproofing solution, the fibres in mineral wool make it inadvisable for a D.I.Y job, or for those with existing allergies that can flare up if loose fibres are released into the air.

attic loft insulation

Spray foam can be used in both old homes and new builds alike, and in the former instance, offers substantial support to the roof, making it ideal for roof restoration

Spray Foam: The Loft Insulation Alternative

As in most spheres of life, technology continues to progress-and the insulation industry is no exception.

One of the very latest products on the market is spray foam insulation-a highly versatile product that, unlike traditional methods, can be installed in hard-to-reach places, such as rafters in dormer-style homes.

Spray foam can also be used in both old homes and new builds alike, and in the former instance, offers substantial support to the roof, making it ideal for roof restoration.

It should be stressed that although D.I.Y spray foam kits are available, you should enlist the help of an accredited expert to achieve the desired results.

Although hiring a professional may be more expensive, spray foam has proven to be one of the most cost-effective materials in the long run, delivering year on year energy savings to your bills.

Can You Remove the Existing Insulation in My Attic?

Absolutely! In fact, removing outdated, sub-standard insulation is the very first step of our installation service. 

All of our accredited installers wear protective clothing during both the removal of the existing insulation, and the installation of the new material.

We also clean the surrounding space thoroughly after removal; insufficient cleaning of the area after insulation removal will result in poor air quality and could be dangerous for human inhalation.

Lamentably, the used product is near impossible to recycle, so careful disposal is required.

attic loft insulation

Want to transform your attic space into a fully habitable room? You can have your old floor-lining insulation removed and boarded over to achieve this-in less than 48 hours!

So…Now My Old Insulation’s Been Removed, Can I Transform My Attic into A Habitable Room?

Following this, the next logical question to come to the fore is which insulation material you should replace it with to create a habitable room-rather than solely a space for storage.

Not only do you need a product that seals out air and water-you also need a material that stands the test of time, regardless of the weather outside.

In this respect, spray foam offers the ideal solution. 

It’s sprayed or injected directly into the roof cavity of your attic, meaning there’s no lining across the floor. 

Want to transform your attic space into a fully habitable room? You can have your old floor-lining insulation removed and boarded over to achieve this-in less than 48 hours.

What’s more, after the spray foam has been applied, the effects are almost immediate; with tangible improvements to comfort due to better temperature regulation. Perfect!

Learnt everything you needed to know about icynene spray foam? Time to take the next step and find out whether you can invest in this innovative insulation in your home.

Request Your Free Roof Survey Today!