Loft insulation - What is the best material to use?

By Katie Anderson on November 17th, 2010

Loft InsulationThe material used for loft insulation has air pockets in it to trap the heat and contain it in your home. And the measurement of how much heat is trapped is called a U value.

The lower the U value the quicker your insulation traps the heat and keeps your home warm. And the Energy Saving Trust claims a U value reduction of 95 per cent when insulated for a house that previously had no loft insulation at all. Although you may have insulation in your loft already, it might not be to current guidelines and could require topping up.

A poorly insulated home can lose up to a quarter of its heat through the roof. The Energy Saving Trust recommends that lofts should ideally be insulated to a depth of 270mm, but generally speaking the thicker the insulation the less heat your home will lose.

What is loft insulation?

The two main types of loft insulation are loose granular beads and the blanket or quilt insulation on a roll. It is effective for at least 40 years and the amount of energy you save by having to heat your house less means it’ll pay for itself in the long run.  Plus, the less you have to heat your home the more you’re reducing your CO2 footprint.

The Energy Saving Trust gives approximate estimates of the savings linked with loft insulation with annual savings per year of around £150 for homes with guideline installed insulation with a thickness of 270mm. Just about every home qualifies for these savings.

Are there different types of loft insulation?

In so much as there are different loft insulating materials, then yes. These include:

  • Mineral wool
  • Fibreglass
  • Sheep’s wool
  • Recycled newspapers
  • Fire-resistant cellulose fibre

Fibreglass and mineral wool are two of the most commonly used materials. More environmentally friendly insulating materials like sheep’s wool and recycled newspapers are more expensive than the traditional materials and therefore cost considerably more.

Rockwool is a leading supplier of mineral wool insulation. Their products, such as Rockwool loft insulation are known for having excellent thermal and acoustic performance as well as fire protection. Quick and easy to install, all Rockwool insulating products meet the thermal requirements deemed by building legislation in England, Scotland & Wales, including The Approved Document L (England & Wales) and Part J (Scotland).

Knauf insulation are one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of insulation products such as glass and rock mineral wood and extruded polyethylene and polystyrene.

Free loft insulation and loft insulation grants

As a means of cutting your home heating bills and keeping your home warmer and more comfortable, home insulation is a cost-effective measure. But what makes it an even more attractive option, homeowners could potentially have their lofts insulated for free.

As long as you have an accessible loft with no damp patches or condensation issues, your house may qualify for free loft insulation, or at the very least a heavily subsidised grant. Depending on how easily accessible your loft, it will determine which type of insulation you can use. A Builder Guide registered home insulation specialist will be able to help you with any queries you have regarding loft insulation and loft insulation grants.

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