What are the Different Types of Loft Insulation?
Loft insulation is one of the most important areas of insulation you can get in your home. Your lofts are one of the most susceptible areas to heat loss and simply by adding a layer of insulation, you can minimise this loss, reduce your carbon footprint and maximise your ROI on your insulation whilst adding value to your home. By insulating your loft, your home could increase in value by up to 14%, this is in addition to monthly savings on energy bills. Therefore, we beg the question, not whether you should insulate your loft, but how can you insulate a loft? This article looks to compare and contrast different types of loft insulation materials that can be used, where their benefits lie and which one is right for you.
Do you want a Cold Loft or a Warm Loft?
When insulating a loft, there are two main types, cold loft and warm loft. A cold loft insulation project focuses on the floorboards, insulating the joists and preventing heat from escaping from the rooms below into your loft. A cold loft could be beneficial if you have no intention of use of your loft and if temperature fluctuations will not affect any contents of your loft, otherwise, you should opt for a warm loft insulation.
A warm loft insulation projects takes into account both the loft floor and the underside of the roof, insulating the rafters of the roof. Although this form of loft insulation is typically more expensive, due to more insulation needed, it is a more effective solution. Warm loft insulation allows you to use your loft space as a living area, for a bedroom, an office or however you see fit. Moreover, you can store contents in your loft without having to worry about damaging effects of temperature changes. If you opt for warm loft insulation, then the temperature in the loft will be regulated and heat prevention will occur at the loft floor level and the roof level. Therefore, what type of insulation will best insulate a loft?
Types of Loft Insulation
Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam insulation is one of, if not, the best type of loft insulation on the market today. Due to its spraying application and its expanding nature, it has the ability to reach all nooks and crannies that your loft and the rafters of the roof may have. This, therefore, creates an effective air-tight seal and a robust insulation structure in your property. Significantly, insulating your loft with spray foam insulation can lower your heating and cooling costs up to 50%, a figure that is not likely to be achieved if you use more traditional forms of insulation.
Although spray foam insulation is more expensive than other methods, what it will do for you makes it worth every penny. Not only will your home increase in value and you will save money on energy bills every month, using a spray foam insulation solution for your loft floors and roof will create a superior thermal resistant layer of insulation. Using a foam insulant will meet your expectations, the insulant is eco-friendly, has a high thermal resistance, provides soundproofing, covers all areas (especially when using open cell spray foam insulation), it contains no harmful gases, prevents mould growth and condensation and much more.
Benefits of Spray Foam Insulation for Lofts:
1. Save up to 50% on energy bills.
2. Adds value to your home.
3. Reduces your carbon footprint.
4. Environmentally friendly insulation.
5. Reduces noise pollution.
6. High thermal performance.
7. No harmful gases.
Cellulose is a more traditional type of insulation that spray foam; however, it does have its benefits. Cellulose is composed of shredded paper in addition to a fire retardant, borate. The paper composition is broken down into cellular fibres and it is installed using an insulation blower.
This blown-in insulation can fit easily between more irregular joists and crevices, which makes it ideal to insulate and cover most areas. Cellulose insulation is also beneficial when used as an insulation top-up on already existing insulation. Moreover, although cellulose is a tradition form of insulation, it is still more energy efficient than other insulation types, such as fibreglass. Cellulose is also an eco-friendly solution due to it being composed of paper.
However, the blown-in nature of cellulose insulation creates a lot of dust and the paper structure is not as strong as if you were to use a more solid foam solution. Overtime, cellulose tends to weaken and decrease in performance in addition to absorbing moisture, subjecting the insulant to mould and, eventually, rotting.
Benefits of Cellulose Insulation for Lofts:
2. Energy efficient.
3. Inexpensive traditional insulation.
The last insulant we will discuss for insulating your loft is fibreglass insulation. Fibreglass insulation is composed of glass fibres which are used to trap air bubbles, creating an insulating effect by slowing down the exchange of heat between areas and surfaces. This form of loft insulation is also known as batt insulation or blanket loft insulation as it comes in specific rolls or batts and must be cut into the shape needed.
Because fibreglass insulation comes pre-cut, it makes it easier to fit into joists and can be installed by homeowners themselves. This type of loft insulation can be beneficial to homeowners as it does not burn, it is inexpensive, can be installed by the homeowner themselves, it forms a vapour barrier and the insulation has different density variations for more effectiveness.
However, there are a handful of downfalls when opting for fibreglass insulation for your loft. The insulation roll is known to slump and sag over time, the fibreglass material causes skin irritation, therefore requires protective wear before installing. This irritation is due to ‘silver’ that is released from the fibreglass, it is also dangerous to inhale and can affect your respiratory system.
Benefits of Fibreglass Insulation for Lofts:
1. Inexpensive form of insulation.
2. Creates a vapour barrier.
3. Fibreglass insulation does not burn.
4. Rolls and batts allow for DIY installation.
5. Density variations of the insulation.
Picking the Right Insulation for your Loft
There are many types of insulation you can use for the loft, the three mentioned above, spray foam, cellulose and fibreglass are common type used and are the recommended go-to insulants for your projects. However, finding the right insulation depends on what objectives you want to meet, whether that is to save money, be environmentally friendly, self-installation, reduce noise pollution or whatever you are looking for.
As industry experts we do recommend the use of spray foam insulation as it meets most, if not all, criterion that most homeowners look for. If you are interested, you can book your free consultation by contacting us at www.sprayfoam.co.uk/contact.html or you can call us directly on 0203 411 5188 to arrange an appointment.