In these days of rising energy bills, coupled with our increasing awareness of the need to conserve energy for the benefit of the environment, one form of home improvement that is becoming more and more popular is insulation. There are several ways in which you can keep the interior of your house warm, whilst at the same time increasing its energy efficiency and also its marketability. In this article, we look at the three most popular of these.
Cavity Wall Insulation
More recently-built houses tend to have been constructed using two layers of brick wall with a cavity in between them. In order to insulate these homes, a resistant material is injected into the cavity through small holes that are drilled on the outside of the property. The beauty of this technique is that it does not cause any damage to the interior décor in the house.
Solid Wall Insulation
For older houses it may be necessary to adopt a different strategy. These older homes tend to be build of a single-stone wall construction and, in fact, are likely to be even less energy efficient than cavity walls. Insulating these walls from the interior involves the installation of rigid boards that are covered in insulating material. Alternatively, stud boards, which have been pre-filled with a material made from mineral wool fibre, can be added to the interior. One of the main disadvantages of this type of insulation is that the overall area of the insulated room will be reduced, especially if the existing walls are uneven or not symmetrical.
In some houses, where internal wall insulation is not possible or where the householder does not want to suffer the loss of floor space, the walls can be externally insulated, using a specialist render or cladding.
A substantial amount of heat can be lost through the windows of a house. The windows should be checked for any drafts around the edges of the frames and, if any exist, they should be appropriately filled with an insulating filler, which can be supplemented by plastic or foam insulating strips. If the windows are single-paned, they should be replaced with either double or triple glazed units by a company who knows windows like Otto’s Exterior. Another simple way of improving on the energy efficiency of a property’s windows is to add a set of heavy curtains and/or install external shutters.
A surprising amount of heat can be lost through the floors in a house, principally through gaps in the floorboards, especially where they meet the skirting boards. A careful check needs to be made of the floor to detect any gaps that are either visible to the eye or can be detected by hand. Any gaps should be filled using the necessary sealant material. In some homes, which have floors of a suspended timber build, it is necessary to raise the floorboards and fit insulating material, such as mineral wool, to the underside of the floor, between the joists.
All of these measures are well within the capability of anyone who has basic DIY skills and will add comfort and value to a home, whilst reducing its energy bills and benefiting the environment. In that respect, insulating a property is an improvement that is well worth undertaking.
This article was written by Billy Phillips, writing for The Decorators SW, specialist painters and decorators in Torquay, South Devon whose website is at www.thedecoratorssw.com