When improving the energy efficiency of your home, and reducing energy bills, insulating your loft is a great place to start. Insulating your loft by yourself is another way to save money, however, it can be an intimidating task. We have compiled a list of do’s and don’ts to help you get started. Read on for information on the materials required and how to get started on insulating your loft.
Carry out some research before attempting a loft insulation. One of the first requirements will be to decide what type of insulation you are going to use. Also, research the current industry recommendations for loft insulation. This will help you understand the efficiency and the amount of insulation material required for each type of insulation material.
Plan it Out
Make sure you know the length and width measurements of your loft to ensure you buy the right amount of insulation. Write a list and purchase all the items you will need to ensure you have everything to hand before you start the work.
Check Your Existing Insulation
Although you may have insulation in your loft you will need to check it’s in good order as old or perished insulation can amount to the same as not really having any insulation. Materials that appear not to be in good order need to be removed and replaced.
A good example of something to check is your water tank if it is located in the loft. Check if it has an insulating jacket and whether the pipework is also insulated. If the tank does not have a jacket or the pipework is bare then you will need to insulate the pipes and buy a jacket for the tank.
If the insulation materials in your loft appear to be in good condition, it is still worth checking that they meet the current recommendations for a satisfactory loft insulation.
Buy the Right Materials for the Job
There are various types of insulation and you need to pick the one that’s tailor-made for your needs and fits your budget. You can choose from:
- Blanket Insulation – This comes in a roll and it’s made from raw materials like glass and mineral fibre.
- Rock Mineral Wool Insulation – Comes from rock and other materials which are melted down and then spun. It is sold in batts, in rolls or for loose-fill.
- Sheet Loft Insulation – These are rigid sheets made from 'board'. You get them treated so that they are moisture and/or fire resistant for extra safety.
- Loose-Fill Insulation - Loose-fill is made of vermiculite. You can buy it in bags and pour it into the gaps in your loft space.
- Rigid Foam Insulation – These are foam boards which can be cut to the required size.
- Sheep’s Wool – If you want a more environmentally friendly option for your insulation, this is a 100% natural product. It is far less likely to cause skin irritation or breathing problems when it is being installed.
Make Sure You Have the Right Tools Before You Start
You’ll need the following tools for a DIY loft insulation project:
- Trimming Knife
- Tape Measure
- Staple Gun
- Face Mask
- Knee Pads
Check Building Regulations
There are different building regulations depending on the type of insulation you need to carry out. Loft, cavity wall, solid wall and floor insulation each have a set of regulations. It’s advisable therefore to check with your local council’s planning department before you start.
Check to See If You Are Eligible for A Grant
You might be eligible for free loft insulation or a grant to help towards the costs. Have a look at the government’s website, Grants-UK and it will tell you how to apply for a grant or get free insulation. You can also find information about other ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency on the .gov website.
Use a Trusted Insulation Specialist
If you decide to look for someone professional to install your home insulation, make sure they are reliable and quote competitive prices. Try two or three companies so that you can compare quotes. You can find insulation installers on the National Insulation Association website. Enter your postcode to find an installer near you.
Forget Safety Measures
Make sure you have plenty of light in the loft so that you can see clearly. Before you start work remove any obstacles such as loose floorboards or electric cables, which should be placed above the insulation. Use chipboard flooring sheets to kneel on and that way you won’t tread on any joists which could result in you putting your leg through the ceiling, risking personal injury and possibly creating additional expensive repair work.
Use Alternative Materials
It is not advisable to use materials that aren’t recommended for insulation purposes because several problems could occur. Firstly, the material may not be up to the required standard and therefore won’t be an effective form of insulation. Secondly, the materials you use may not reach safety standards and could prove to be dangerous in the event of a fire. Finally, in the event of a fire or a flood, if you don’t have a material that your home insurance deems suitable you could invalidate your policy and end up with limited or no insurance coverage.
Attempt the Job If You Really Don’t Know How
Your DIY expert friends and YouTube videos might make the job look easier than it really is. If you are not good at DIY, then don’t attempt to insulate your loft. Leave it to a professional.