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How to insulate an old cottage

April 11, 2016

Insulate an old cottage

Many people still prefer to live in their ancestral homes rather than modern and new buildings or houses; though the architecture may be desirable, old cottages can pose the problem of regulating the temperature so insulation is typically the answer to combat the issue. Talking of insulation for a cottage, it would require a through and through approach covering wall insulation, floor insulation, attic insulation as well as cavity wall insulation if there is a need.

To make an old dwelling place comfortable enough to live in during the time of extreme temperatures, a suitable choice needs to be made in terms of the insulation materials used. Certain factors need to be considered before working on wall insulation or floor insulation of an old building. The environment and general weather of the region plays a big role as this will point one in the right direction in terms of moisture content and other concerns. The performance of the insulation material plays a big role here since it is inclusive of the R-value, vapour penetrability, and air permeability. Another factor to be taken into account would be the material characteristics such as recyclability, production, extraction, hazardous components and so on. Many individuals and companies now prefer bio-based insulation which is completely natural and made from plants, animals, and other renewable resources.

If you are looking into the insulation of a stone cottage then the first step should be to remove cemented concrete present on the walls and floors thus, allowing moisture to pass through. Gypsum boards, cement, polyurethane materials and plastic membranes are not a great option for an old structure. Natural materials are more preferred since they control the humidity as they absorb and release moisture as needed. Natural resources are also better because of being environment-friendly and being free from any harmful chemicals or components. Modern technologies and evolvement of new manufacturing approaches have led to much enhanced natural materials which offer breathability as well as thermal mass qualities.

Old doesn't necessarily have to translate into the cold; the insulation of old cottages is becoming a common problem universally and one which is aggravated during the colder months of the year. Eventually, the aim is to have a house which is warm, allows for conservation of energy and emits as little carbon dioxide as possible. When it comes to a brick wall maintaining the aspect of breathability is not so critical as brick cannot breathe well however the case of a stone wall is very different; It does breathe, has thermal mass value and there will be a ‘cavity’ which is packed with stone rubble at the centre of it thus the maintenance of breathability is a major concern. Cavity wall insulation is the key to the issue.

Celotex insulation is one of the options for the wall insulation, flat roof insulation and floor insulation of old buildings; Celotex insulation offers rigid multipurpose boards which are typically used with suitable internal lining boards to considerably enhance the thermal insulation in old as well as new solid or cavity masonry walls and timber frame walls. Celotex insulation is commonly referred to as specialist insulation boards addressing aspects of construction such as under-floor heating, flat roof insulation, rain screen cladding and such. Being an extremely popular choice amongst insulation materials, Celotex insulation is available easily in the market place and available in varying sizes and thickness to match distinct requirements.

For high-performance rigid PIR insulation, Kingspan TP10 is presented as an effective material. It is typically used at rafter level within tiled or pitched warm roof spaces for roof insulation. It is also deemed ideal for attic insulation. Kingspan TP10 is also an ideal home insulation product for use as wall insulation and floor insulation. On average its use creates 15% more usable warm roof space. A few added benefits are that insulation of pipes and tanks is unnecessary, there is no condensation risk and the material remains unaffected by air movement. Since it is easy to handle and cut the installation process of Kingspan TP10 is quick and convenient. The unique selling point of Kingspan TP10 is its manufacturing process which uses the Niflam trademarked technology (a high-performanceCFC/HCFC–free polyisocyanurate (PIR) based formulation). As a result, the process gives out rigid insulation panels with a density of 32kg/m3. Kingspan TP10 is available in varying thickness levels ranging from the basic 20mm to the maximum level of 150mm. Naturally the more the thickness the higher the R-value; the lowest thickness level having an R-value of 0.85 and the highest that of 6.7. Kingspan TP10 may be used in ventilated as well as unventilated (Sealed and Unsealed) constructions. There is generally a choice between either of the approaches, except in the case of refurbishment/loft conversions. In these instances, unless the whole roof is to be stripped, it is impossible to use an unventilated roof, because a breathable sarking membrane cannot be installed. Unventilated roof approaches create a warm pitched roof space, which does not require cross ventilation. Recent research suggests that sealing an unventilated roof yields a more energy-efficient roof, as the impacts of ventilation and incidental infiltrating cold air are negated. Therefore, if creating an unventilated roof, it is preferable to fully seal all joints in the breathable sarking membrane with tape. Any water vapour reaching the breathable sarking membrane escapes without condensing. There is then adequate air movement beneath the tiles to dissipate this water vapour to the outside atmosphere.

The Kingspan TF70 is an efficiently performing, fibre-free, insulation core which offers a low emissivity composite foil on both of its sides. This is mainly used for floor insulation in solid concrete and suspended ground floors. It offers many superior characteristics such as remaining unaffected by air infiltration, offering resistance to the passage of water vapour and being ideal for the refurbishment of old structured or buildings.

The budget may vary depending on the insulation material being used however it may be difficult to come up with a budget solution when it comes to the insulation of an old cottage. The cost can vary however with price variations for instance between Kingspan or Celotex amongst various other manufacturers so it’s best to search the market.

If you need any prices or advice on any insulation products or advice on insulating an old cottage please feel free to give us a call on 0203 582 6399 and one of our agents will be more than happy to assist you.

 




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