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Loft insulation: where to start

(20 Posts)
EeyoreIsh Fri 08-Nov-13 16:12:12

We've got a cold victorian house, that has minimal (like 10cm) old loft insulation. So we have a huge loft that leaks heat.

We're not eligible for free insulation because we have damp problems in the kitchen so can't get cavity walls done.

We're going to do it ourselves. Any tips on how to choose a type of insulation, and where it's best to get it from (I.e. best price). I'm happy to pay a bit extra now for significantly better saving and warmth in the long run.

(We're also doing lots of other insulating/draught proofing work on the house too, we're not just relying on the loft!)

BrownSauceSandwich Fri 08-Nov-13 17:02:19

I don't think you pay more for better insulating properties. The cheapest sort is mineral wool, and that insulates really well. But you can pay more for stuff that's more environmentally friendly in its production, and nicer to work with (eg: recycled plastic better, wool best). We considered all these options, but in the end went with cheap, nasty and effective (mineral wool roll) because:

A) we were a bit skint, and there was a really good offer in homebase
B) my husband volunteered to do it without my help, and he said he didn't mind the mineral wool

It's made a big difference to our heating bills. And we don't have cavity wall insulation either. A few tips though:

1. If you're planning to pick it up yourself, don't underestimate the size of the rolls. It took us several trips to get the bloody stuff home, because it wouldn't all fit in the car.

2. Work out how much storage space you need in the loft. There are various options for boarded areas. You can get insulated boards, or you can raise the height of the joists over that area to fit a sensible depth of insulation underneath the boards. The former is a bit more expensive, the latter is a bit more work. Either way, you're not likely to want to do more of it than you have to.

3. Wear clothes you don't mind binning afterwards. Mineral fibres never come out.

struggling100 Fri 08-Nov-13 17:10:53

This is one of those jobs where you're fine to do it yourself. I know from bitter experience - I got a 'specialist' company out to insulate my loft, and all they did was dump a load of rolls of mineral wool up there across the joists - they literally just unrolled it.

A bit wiser, I got up there myself, boarded it with bits of old wood, and rearranged the insulation in the boarding. It's fairly straightforward to do (especially as you don't have to worry about a perfect finish since you won't see it). It's not the world's most pleasant job though - handling the insulation is like wrestling a very warm sheep, and you need rough clothes, good gloves, trousers tucked into socks, and a face mask.

I definitely recommend sorting out some kind of boarded area when you do it - you'll be glad you did in the long run! It's a hassle and a bit more work, but the extra storage is really handy

EeyoreIsh Fri 08-Nov-13 17:22:18

Really helpful advice, thanks.

DH isn't really convinced of the need, but I've said I'll pay so he only has to do the labour. (I would normally do it myself, but I don't think bump would fit through the loft hatch grin)

Plumpcious Fri 08-Nov-13 22:45:40

B&Q have instruction films on their website. See the bottom of this webpage:

PigletJohn Fri 08-Nov-13 23:16:48

I strongly advise you to get the mineral wool which is treated with Ecose, which prevents it shedding dust and fibres which I you may find irritant.

It is brown, not yellow, and although made by Knauf, some of the own-brands sold in big chains are the same stuff, rebranded. Look for the Ecose name on the wrapper.

Space Blanket is irritant once the plastic wrapper tears (it will)

If your roof is old and unfelted it will be filthy. You can clean it but it will get filthy again. If it is felted you can make it clean.

Buy a box of the dust-masks with the little plastic valve on the snout. Wear clothes and a hat that you can rip off on the landing as soon as you climb down onto the dust-sheet, and shove in a bin bag for immediate washing while you go in the shower. Especially if you have dusty old insulation up there.

Rolls of insulation are not really expensive. Look at the websites of your gas and electericity suppliers, and other suppliers too, they will probably have a cheap, or subsidised, or free, scheme.

Get Climaflex or similar rigid foam pipe insulation as well, and jackets for any tanks up there. The loft will be very cold once you have insulated it. Do not block the eaves, stop the insulation a few inches short so there is a nice cold breeze blowing through to prevent damp and condensation.

Example prices

EeyoreIsh Sun 22-Dec-13 11:03:52

Thanks for all your advice. We've insulated the loft now, using the type recommended by pigletjohn.

It's made a massive difference to the warmth of the house. Amazing!

lljkk Sun 22-Dec-13 12:26:37

yeah, doesn't it just make a huge diff!?

specialsubject Sun 22-Dec-13 12:55:07

bumping this because I'd appreciate hints about where to get cheap/subsidised/free insulation. Tried British Gas, failed their postcode lottery.

it is all £35 a roll plus, ten times what it cost last year (when we didn't have a house so couldn't do it) - anyone know any different?

EeyoreIsh Sun 22-Dec-13 12:58:17

I didn't get it subsided, but paid £20 a roll in b&q, so it cost £120 to do the loft.

specialsubject Sun 22-Dec-13 13:36:30

interesting, thank you - it is only 100mm thick but we do have some stuff up there already.

lalalonglegs Sun 22-Dec-13 14:26:25

I got it much cheaper than that at Travis Perkins over the summer. It was the recycled plastic bottle type as well so much less itchy to deal with - I can't remember the precise figure but it was 170mm thick and about £12 a roll.

PigletJohn Sun 22-Dec-13 23:47:23

it is all £35 a roll plus

Where were you looking?

I can see it disappearing from the front pages. I expect stocks are running out. The special offers are best in July.

It is very bulky so look for delivery terms.

don't forget the pipes, tank and cylinder (if any)

ThatIsIt Mon 23-Dec-13 11:21:56

Has anyone tried this stuff? Is it cost effective?

PigletJohn Mon 23-Dec-13 11:28:48

it is absurdly expensive. I wouldn't do it that way.

specialsubject Mon 23-Dec-13 12:17:43

thanks folks (especially PJ) - will keep an eye on prices for the summer which is when the job will be done anyway.

recommended depth seems to be 270mm so the 100mm won't cut it in the bare patches - but it will be done one way or the other.

PigletJohn Mon 23-Dec-13 15:37:04

Wickes also have the 170mm which is currently £19.99. The thicker rolls are shorter so they all hold about the same weight. For some reason their website has been designed to prevent you finding their range of loft insulation if you search on "loft insulation"

In the summer sales you can often get two for the price of one, or even three for the price of one.

With modern insulation being deeper than the loft joists, there are two good ways of insulating and flooring, depending on your willingness to do basic carpentry vs. cost.

PigletJohn Mon 23-Dec-13 18:17:20

btw, you might like to email Wickes and complain that their website search does not show all loft insulation when you search on "loft insulation"


they have big rolls of 100mm, 170mm and 200mm on their website, all cheaper than B&Q or Homebase, but the search only finds one of them. They may have others, but who can say?

PigletJohn Tue 24-Dec-13 17:57:38

ha ha! They seem to have acted on my complaint!

specialsubject Tue 24-Dec-13 19:19:00

Piglet John Power!!

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