A GUIDE ON HOW TO INSULATE YOUR LOFT

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Insulating your loft is a must for reducing the amount of heat you lose throughout the day while also keeping it cool in the hotter months and reducing your energy bills. If you’ve recently had a loft installed or had an area of your attic converted into a loft, then the next step once it’s all complete is to insulate the whole area just as you would in other areas of the home.

If your loft is easy to access and has no damp or condensation problems, it should be easy to insulate – and in many cases, it is possible to do it yourself. If access is easy and your loft joists are regular, you can use rolls of mineral wool insulation. The first layer is laid between the joists – the horizontal beams that make up the floor of the loft – then another layer is laid at right angles to cover the joists and make the insulation up to the required depth.

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Before you begin

There are a couple of things you should be aware of or do before you jump into the insulation process. Firstly, you should make sure there are enough ventilation gaps or if it’s already been installed with loft ventilation. These gaps will need to be kept open when you begin the installation.

Make sure cables are kept away or secured before adding insulation - there should be no contact with electrical wires or cables and should be clipped to roof joists. When you start insulating your loft you should also turn off the main's electricity in case of any live wires you encounter when installing.

You should also wear safety equipment when installing insulation. Maintain a minimum of 1cm gap between the insulation and anything that gets hot. If you’re ever unsure, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging or consult a loft conversion company that can help you with insulation.

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Planning & preparation

  • Loft insulation is an effective way to reduce heat loss and save on your fuel bills. Here we will show you how to fit loft insulation rolls, as well as how to insulate pipes and cold-water tanks
  • This guide is based on installing glass mineral loft insulation wool rolls. The minimum recommended depth of this type of insulation material is 270mm. This equates to a Thermal Resistance R-Value of 6.1
  • If your loft has existing loft insulation in between the joists, measure the depth of it. Ideally, this base layer needs to have a depth of 100mm and come up to no more than 25mm above or below the joist. The second layer of at least 170mm can then be laid over the top of the joists to get you to the recommended building regulations guide of 270-300mm
  • The gap between joists is most commonly 400mm or 600mm, so loft insulation rolls tend to be available in a width of approximately 1140mm. Most come with pre-cut perforations so they can easily be cut into halves or thirds
  • Remove any stored items from the loft so you can work in a clean and uncluttered space. Try to work in good lighting and use a portable battery-powered light if necessary
  • Measure your cold-water tank so that you can fit an appropriate tank jacket. You'll need to insulate tanks and pipes before you start to lay the loft insulation
  • To calculate how many rolls of insulation you need, work out the size of the area in m2 (length x width = number of metres squared) and check the coverage of the rolls. You can deduct around 10% to allow for ceiling joists.

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Benefits

  • Significant savings on your energy bills
  • Easy and quick to install
  • Keep the heat in your home

Choosing loft insulation

If your loft is easy to access and has no damp or condensation problems, it should be easy to insulate – and in many cases, it is possible to do it yourself. If access is easy and your loft joists are regular, you can use rolls of mineral wool insulation. The first layer is laid between the joists – the horizontal beams that make up the floor of the loft – then another layer is laid at right angles to cover the joists and make the insulation up to the required depth.

Staying safe

  • Turn off the power at the mains consumer unit before touching any cables
  • Always move slowly and carefully in the loft and work from ‘crawling boards’, moving them along as you go. Never stand between joists and avoid standing directly on joists as much as possible
  • It’s generally recommended to leave a 75mm gap between the insulation and any hot chimneys, flues, or recessed light fittings, but be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Wear safety goggles, a suitable face mask, and gloves when fitting your insulation.

Aftercare

Avoid applying weight to, or storing items on the insulation, as this will reduce its efficiency.

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