When insulating your loft, there are a few important bits and pieces to take into account. Materials, storage, thickness and U-Values should all be looked at before any insulation takes place in order to ensure that your loft is insulated the most efficient and cost effective way possible.
Materials: here at TheEcoStore we are against using cheap materials that are a hazard to work with and pose no benefits to the environment throughout manufacture and disposal. Instead, we are proud to stock the thermafleece range of insulating materials, which include sheep wool rich, hemp and recycled plastic bottles, all of which are sustainable and provide great insulating qualities.
Sheep wool rich blend of insulation
The Cosywool, Original and Ultrawool insulation all have varying percentages, from 75% to 85%, of sheepwool with the rest made up of recycled fibers to give it the extra strength that is often needed with loft insulation. The sheep wool, while also being 100% sustainable, gives it fantastic insulating qualities and means that you don’t even have to wear gloves or a mask when working with it.
Insulation from plastic bottles
The Supaloft is insulation made entirely from 100% recycled plastic bottles, which means it is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to insulate your loft. Thousands of plastic bottles, which would otherwise end up in landfill or in the ocean, are used to keep you warm throughout the winter months; it’s the perfect solution!
Plant insulation – Hemp the sustainable fibre crop
Hemp is a fantastically fast-growing, sustainable crop that produces a fine fibre that is perfect for insulation. There is no other material that you should use if you are looking to use insulation made from plant fiber. Hemp is an incredibly versatile plant and the insulating qualities it has certainly make Natrahemp one of the best in the business.
Which material is the best insulator?
As all of the above materials have different densities, they all have differing insulating qualities. Below is a best-to-worst list that shows the insulation and the thermal conductivity, which if you divide by the thickness you get the U-Value. Alternatively, divide by the U-Value to get the required thickness. For example, Using Utrawool to get a U-Value of 0.155 W/m2K you need 225mm. (0.035/0.155=0.225)
- Ultra – 0.035
- Original – 0.038
- Cosywool – 0.039
- Superloft – 0.04
- Natrahemp – 0.04
How to maximise storage – and insulation – in the loft
Most of the properties in the UK are constructed with a 75mm high joist in the loft. So, if you were to insulate up to the top of the joist and then lay boarding over the top, the maximum depth of insulation would only be 75mm. This would get you a U-Value of around 0.5 W/m2k, which is way above the current building regulations for lofts at 0.16. In order to reach building regulations, you would need 230mm of the Original, just to put it in perspective.
So how can you reach building regulations & have storage?
In order to fit in that extra 170mm (or there or there abouts) of insulation, you would need to raise the boarding by the same amount. One way to increase the amount of insulation would be to lay more joists/timbers crossways on top of the original joists. This would give you 75mm inbetween the joists and an extra 100mm between the new planks of wood. So still not building regulations, what else can you do?
Loft stilts – reach building regulations with storage
Loft stilts, or loft lifters, are the cleanest way to install enough loft insulation to keep you warm throughout the winter, save you money and reach building regulations. They are adjustable stilts that can raise the height of your boarding to 180mm above the joists. This means that you can have your 75mm, followed by a further 180mm, meaning if you use the original insulation you can get a U-Value of 1.49 W/m2k! Success! The loft stilts are really easy to use, and are perfect for either a whole loft storage area or just a small section.
The perfect loft space – try it yourself
A 40m2 loft space with 250mm of UltraWool insulation, reaching a U-Value of 0.14 W/m2k. This is above and beyond the required for building regulations and means a saving of around £290/year with an upfront cost of around £2,000. The install is fantastically easy; with no protection required as the sheepwool rich insulation is as comfortable as the clothes on your back. An area of 10m2 also used for storage through loft lifters/ loft stilts costing £100.