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Insulation plays a huge part in keeping our businesses and homes cooler in summer and warmer for longer in winter, reducing the cost of our heating bills in the process. Your retail premises should be warm and inviting for potential customers and your staff will love a cool office floor in summer. Therefore, the more insulation you have and the thicker it is, the more efficient your property will be. If you’re worried that it doesn’t have enough insulation, you may be able to install some more yourself. This job isn’t too difficult, though there are some key points to consider when undertaking this task. Read on to find out more about installing insulation in your home or business premises.
How to lay insulation
There are a few different areas of a building in which you can lay insulation. The main areas are the loft or attic space, the walls and the floor. Despite common knowledge that most of the heat from a building is lost through the roof, this is a myth. Around 25 per cent is lost through the roof and the remainder is through the walls, floors, windows and doors, so these areas are just as important when it comes to installing insulation if you want to reduce your business’ gas usage.
How to insulate a loft space
There are two ways you can insulate a loft. First, you can insulate the floor. Heat rises, and therefore it will continue to rise until it’s stopped by something, such as a barrier of insulation. In a loft that has no floor insulation, the heat will rise above the top floor of the property and begin to heat the attic space too. This is a waste of energy as you don’t want this unusable space to be heated. Therefore, insulating the floor could keep as much heat within the usable rooms as possible.
Second, you can insulate the walls and ceiling of the loft. Ideally, it’s beneficial to do both of these things to make your home or business as efficient as possible.
To insulate a loft, you’ll want to start by applying the insulation in between the joists. If you’re using rolls of insulation, you may need to cut each piece to size, so do this carefully with a knife that has a large serrated edge. This is why you should always wear a mask when installing insulation to ensure you don’t breathe in any fibres. Lay each piece flat inside the joist. When there are pipes in the way, you should use a pair of scissors to cut the insulation so it slots in neatly. Carefully push the insulation into place, being careful not to compress it. Doing this will reduce the number of air pockets in the material, and these are important for trapping the hot air.
Once all of your joists have insulation between them, you now need to insulate over these. You can lay the insulation on top of the joists, installing it in the opposite direction to the insulation inside the joists. For instance, if the joists run horizontally, lay the rolls vertically. You should make sure that there are no big gaps between each roll.
How to insulate a floor over concrete
Installing insulation can become a problem when you don’t have a space to install it into. For example, it can go underneath floorboards. But what about when you don’t have floorboards, only a solid concrete floor?
In this instance, you may need to bring the levels of your floor up slightly using wooden slats, as in the image above, to create a space for the insulation to sit in. This will mean losing some height within the room, however, it is a good option as concrete can be cold, and a lot of heat can be lost if you choose to simply install the flooring over the concrete.
Once you’ve raised the floor, you can install the insulation just as you would in between the joists of the loft, making sure not to compress the insulation to tightly.
Alternatively, a slightly easier method would be to install insulation boards. These aren’t as thick as the rolls, and so you won’t lose as much room height, and they’re easy to install straight onto a concrete floor. You can use a strong tile adhesive to ensure that the boards are fixed securely and won’t move.
How to insulate walls without a cavity
Most homes generally have walls that contain a cavity. This is simply a gap between the two layers of bricks that means insulation can be installed in between. However, old buildings don’t generally have this gap as they’re built with just one layer of brick. When this is the case, how can you add insulation to your walls to keep the heat in?
Just as you would a floor, you can either build a stud wall to your existing walls, which is then filled with insulation, or you can fix insulation boards to them. Some other insulating techniques involve applying a coating to the exterior walls of your home, or applying insulation boards to the outer walls and then rendering over them to provide a smooth finish. However, these methods could potentially cause further issues, such as damp, and may best be avoided.
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