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Best Type Of Insulation For Homes

Best insulation types

If you are looking for ways to improve the heat retention of your home, then look no further than home insulation. There are a variety of methods available to enhance the insulation of your property, from your walls to your loft and floor.

This article will highlight the key reasons as to why you should insulate your property, the insulation materials available to you and where you can install them, as well as any key consideration you may need to make and how much each insulation method will cost you.

Why Should I Insulate My Home?

Installing insulation on your property is a tried and tested method to improve heat retention inside your home. Properties that lack the necessary level of insulation are more vulnerable to heat loss. There are several key areas in your home that are susceptible to heat loss due to a lack of insulation. These are your property’s:

  • Roof: Which can lose up to 25% of your household’s heat.
  • Walls: Which can lose up to 33% of your household’s heat.
  • Windows: Which can lose up to 20% of your household’s heat.
  • Floors: Which can lose up to 15% of your household’s heat.
  • Draughts: Which can lose up to 15% of your household’s heat.

Pros And Cons Of Insulating Your Home

Benefits Of Insulating Your Property

Advantages of installing insulation
Advantage Explanation
Cut your energy bills Insulation aims to retain more heat in your household. In turn, this will ensure you are less reliant on your central heating system which should result in your heating costs significantly reducing.
Reduce your carbon footprint More energy efficient houses that are not reliant on gas or combi boilers are more environmentally friendly as they minimise their gas usage. 
Your home retains more heat Perhaps the most self explanatory benefit, but insulated homes retain more heat which makes them more comfortable during the colder winter months. On the other hand, insulated homes are also cooler in the hotter summer months.


Drawbacks Of Insulating Your Property

Disadvantages of installing insulation
Disadvantage Explanation
High initial costs While various insulation methods will differ in price, no matter what insulation you have installed in your household there will be a high initial cost that comes alongside it.
Risk of cold spots One of the hardest jobs insulation installers face is ensuring that insulation is distributed evenly. Especially cavity wall insulation.

If this is not completed correctly, the development of cold spots becomes a real risk. This could lead to dampness, condensation, and even mould.

Risk of poor installation  Installing insulation of any kind is a difficult task. If the installation process has not been completed correctly, it could lead to future issues that can be quite expensive to fix.
Unsuitable properties Not every property will be suited for every type of insulation that is available. Factors like the type of walls your home is made of, your available roof space, and any planning permission issues (like those placed on historical buildings) can all be significant factors.


What Are The Best Insulation Materials To Insulate Your Home?

Depending on the areas you are installing insulation in your home, there are different types of insulation materials that are best suited for different jobs. In this section, we will detail the key insulation materials available on the market.

Rigid Foam Insulation

Also known as insulation boards, rigid foam insulation typically provides good quality thermal resistance and reduces heat conduction. Additionally, they can also provide internal wall insulation and external insulation. Typically, an insulation board will be made using polystyrene, polyisocyanurate, polyurethane, or phenolic materials.

Spray Foam Insulation

Used either on its own or to boost other insulation methods, spray foam insulation is the perfect measure for areas that are oddly shaped or are obstructed. This is due to the flexible nature of spray foam insulation. This type of insulation is typically made using cementitious, phenolic, polyisocyanurate, or polyurethane materials.

Wool Type Loft Insulation

One of the most common types of insulation is wool type loft insulation, which is often used in loft spaces. Typically, this type of insulation is made of either fibreglass or mineral fibre materials. Similar to spray foam insulation, the flexible nature of this insulation type allows it to be used in a variety of different ways.

Aluminium Foil Backed Insulation

Combined with polyisocyanurate or polyurethane boards, aluminium foil backed insulation material can protect insulation boards by providing a vapour barrier. This can minimise dampness, which insulation has a tendency to cause.

Multilayer Foil Insulation

As the name suggests, multilayer foil insulation combines multiple layers of insulating materials to boost its insulating properties. However, the unique selling point of this insulation method is that it is one of the thinnest methods on the market, and is often used in areas where other insulation measures cannot reach. Additionally, this type of insulation also has a long lifespan.

Wood Fibre Insulation

This final insulation method is made out of waste wood materials, including: sawdust, chips, and off cuts, making it more environmentally friendly compared to other insulation measures. The waste wood is broken down and made into either insulation boards or quilts, and can be installed in a variety of locations.

Where Can You Install Insulation?

Now that you know about the various insulation materials that are available to improve the heat retention of your home, you may be wondering which measures are best installed in the different parts of your home. The section will detail the spaces you can install insulation in your property, as well as the best materials to use and the risk and rewards of installing insulation in those places.

Cavity Wall Insulation

One of the most common, and popular, forms of insulation is cavity insulation. If your home was built between the 1920s and the 1980s, the chances are that your property will feature cavity walls. A cavity wall relates to the gap placed between your internal and external wall. 

Best Insulation Materials For Cavity Wall Insulation

  • Blown mineral fibre: When used in cavity wall insulation, either fibreglass or mineral wool is installed using compressed air into your wall cavity.
  • Urea formaldehyde foam: Once injected into the cavity wall, urea formaldehyde foam will expand within the cavity to provide insulation.
  • Polystyrene beads or granules: Either installed loosely, or combined using resin, foam can be injected into your wall cavity.

Risks And Rewards Of Cavity Wall Insulation

  • Provides noise cancellation features.
  • Reduce the risk of moisture building up inside your cavity walls.
  • Improves the fire resistance of your household.
  • However, there are a variety of cavity wall insulation problems you must be aware of before installing this type of home insulation. The most important is that cavity wall insulation could lead to possible cold spots if insulation isn’t evenly distributed.

Loft Insulation

Another popular form of insulation is loft insulation. As the name suggests, loft insulation is placed in the roof space of your home. When you have turned on your central heating system, heat will rise in your home. In order to maximise heat retention in your property, you should consider installing roof insulation, as it will minimise the amount of heat loss you will suffer from in your roof space.

Best Insulation Materials For Loft Insulation

  • Blown mineral wool: The most traditional form of loft insulation that is often used in attic spaces is either fibreglass or mineral wool. However, insulation companies are moving away from this type of insulation material due to the skin, throat, and eye irritation it causes.
  • Spray foam insulation: Instead, insulation companies tend to now install spray foam insulation in loft spaces as it is more effective than its predecessor and can also reach difficult locations.

Risks And Rewards Of Loft Insulation

  • Flexible form of insulation material.
  • Reduces heat loss.
  • But can lead to a reduction in your property’s value (when spray foam is used).
  • Also can’t be installed in listed properties.

Solid Wall Insulation

If your property does not feature cavity walls, then you may wish to consider installing solid wall insulation. This type of method can either provide internal or external wall insulation, and typically forms an additional barrier for your home. The latter option will change the external appearance of your property, so be mindful to select a design that you like.

Best Insulation Materials For Solid Wall Insulation

  • Internal solid wall insulation typically means installing insulation boards inside your home which you can then decorate over.
  • While external solid wall insulation usually means installing insulation boards outside and then covering with either render or cladding to the exterior surface of your property.

Risks And Rewards Of Solid Wall Insulation

  • Provides noise cancelling benefits.
  • Reduces heat loss.
  • While this is the only solid wall alternative, this type of insulation is more expensive compared to cavity insulation.

Floor Insulation

The final place that we recommend installing insulation is in your floors. Floor insulation is typically installed between your floorboards and your floor joists, and can minimise the heat loss you suffer in this area. Remember to make sure that your floorboards are not suffering with any rot or damp issues, as insulation will further increase this problem as it will trap moisture and destroy your floors.

Best Insulation Materials For Floor Insulation

  • Insulation boards: This insulation method provides a sturdy and waterproof insulation base to improve the heat retention of your floors.
  • Wood insulation: The most environmentally friendly method of the three, wood insulation may not be the most efficient insulation method but it will be the cheapest.
  • Spray foam: Installed in a similar way to loft insulation, spray foam insulation is a convenient insulation method when insulating hard to reach places.

Risks And Rewards Of Floor Insulation

  • Minimise heat loss through your floors.
  • Depending on the type of insulation material you choose, this could be either very cost effective or expensive.
  • Could potentially lead to damaged floors if your floorboards aren’t accessed before installation.

Additional Insulation Considerations

When installing insulation in any property, there are additional considerations you must take into account. Typically, these factors will come into play depending on whether you are insulating a new-build or older property.

Insulating New-Build Properties

Due to new building regulations, most new-build properties will come with enhanced insulation methods that will make sure that your property will retain heat easier. However, measures like vapour barrier layers and breather membranes may not be included, so there are always improvements available.

Retrofitting Older Properties

In complete contrast to new-builds, older properties tend to have poor insulation and may need a lot of work. Typically, wall and loft insulation are the best places to start in this case. However, there may be issues on the horizon. Certain insulation materials will be unavailable to you when you are retrofitting your property, like solid insulation sheets (e.g., polystyrene sheets and foiled back boards). Additionally, you may find problems when retrofitting cavity wall insulation, especially where blown in mineral fibre is concerned.

How Much Does Insulation Cost?

The amount of money insulating your property may cost you depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • The size of your property.
  • The type of insulation materials you are using.
  • The variety of insulation methods you are installing.
  • The difficulty of installing insulation.

However, in order to give you a general idea as to how much insulation may cost you, the table below will detail how much each of the four key insulation methods we have previously detailed will cost depending on a variety of property types. The information below is based on industry averages only.

How much is each type of insulation, on average, depending on property type?
Property type Average cost of cavity wall insulation  Average cost of solid wall insulation Average cost of spray foam insulation Average cost of floor insulation
Flat £450 £6,575 £1,475 £625
Semi-detached house £1,250 £9,050 £3,600 £1,485
Detached house £2,575 £17,525 £4,550 £2,350

The information above should only be taken as a guideline. If you are looking for specific information related to your household, then why not get in touch with ZOA Eco Grants today? Our insulation experts can answer any questions you have regarding home insulation.

Best Type Of Insulation For Homes Summary

Are you ready to take the next step in insulating your home? Not only can insulation provide you with a more comfortable home, but you can also reduce your energy bills, minimise your carbon footprint, and limit the amount of outside noise you hear indoors. To give you a brief overview of the best insulation methods available, the table below outlines the key areas you may want to install insulation, and which materials are best served in those locations:

Best type of insulation depending on location
Type of insulation Best insulation materials
Cavity wall insulation
  • Blown mineral wool materials including fibreglass and mineral wool.
  • Urea formaldehyde foam.
  • Polystyrene beads or granules.
Solid wall insulation
  • Externally: insulation boards with cladding or render.
  • Internally: insulation boards with plaster.
Floor insulation
  • Insulation boards.
  • Wood insulation.
  • Spray foam insulation.
Loft insulation
  • Blown mineral wool materials including fibreglass and mineral wool.
  • Spray foam insulation.

If you are ready to install insulation in your home, then why not get in touch with ZOA Eco Grants? Our insulation experts can help you find the best insulation method for your home.

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