A staggering quarter of the heat in your home can be lost through an uninsulated roof, yet millions of households fail to invest in energy efficient insulation. According to government data, this works out to around eight million in the UK – meaning nearly a third of households could benefit from adding it to their holdings. With a labor cost of around £250 before materials are added, insulation expert Jo Callow shared her DIY method with Express.co.uk.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, a typical semi-detached house can save £355 a year on energy bills by adding attic insulation. And with further increases planned for April when the general price cap expires for some, these savings will be even more significant.
However, with current prices, the average homeowner will have to wait several years for their investment to pay off. Checkatrade’s cost guide states that while the exact cost will depend on the size of the loft and type of insulation, most traders charge a daily rate of around £250 for installation.
Once you add in the added cost of materials, electrical rewiring, and piping delays, the total number can quickly jump to well over the hundreds.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Joe said: “Adding loft insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home, reduce energy bills, make your home more comfortable and do your bit for the planet.” In many cases, you can do it yourself in a day for under £300 using tools and materials found at your local DIY store.”
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However, you should always do a few simple checks before you start DIY loft insulation. First, you have to make sure your loft is “right,” Joe explained.
She said the space should be empty and dry, have a pitched roof, and the joists should be strong enough to support your weight. After this point, you can start measuring the width and length of the space.
Multiply these numbers together to calculate the total area you need to insulate. Jo said: “Make the thickness you want. 270mm is the minimum in most parts of the UK, but in general, the thicker the better (new buildings are usually built from 400-500mm). You have to calculate how much insulation Which you’ll need depends on the thickness you’ve chosen.The bottom layer should be a 100mm thick loft roll, while the top layer(s) can be up to 170mm thick.”
You should always purchase enough loft rolls to cover the total area of your loft per tier. Jo recommended choosing pre-punched patterns to minimize cutting.
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How to install the upper insulation
To install the insulation, you will need a tape measure, retractable knife, fine-toothed hand saw, crawling boards, overalls, a dust mask (FFP1 minimum), safety goggles, a bump cover and gloves.
Protect electrical devices
Jo warned that you may need additional materials if there are air gaps, electrical cables, or a water tank.
Before installation, insulate all heat-generating electrical installations such as downlights with protective covers, and place electrical wires over the insulation to prevent fire hazards.
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Start by sealing any gaps where air could seep into the loft from the room below, Joe said, using sealant and duct tape. With the 100mm of insulation still in its package, cut the roll so that the width will fit snugly between the joists.
Apply the base layer
Standing in the center loft space, at the point furthest from your opening, place the end of the 100mm roll up against the free end of the insulation in your eave.
Slowly loosen the insulation, making sure it sits “tightly between the joists.” Where the edges meet on the other side, cut the roll and butt the two ends together tightly. According to Joe, this step should be repeated until the entire loft has a 100mm underlayment.
Add a second layer
Now it’s time to fit the second layer. “You’ll be laying this insulation at a 90-degree angle for the first layer, starting at the eaves (and remembering to maintain the 50mm air gap),” explained Joe.
“If you’re installing a third layer, you’ll want to do this at the same time so you don’t crush the new insulation. Cut slits in the insulation to fit the rafters as you go.”
Move from the eaves to the center loft space, until your entire loft is finished. Joe added: ‘You may need to isolate your upper opening if this has not already been done. You can find tips on how to do this at Knauf insulation center for homeowners. “
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