Did you know that you can save an average of 15% on your utility bill by insulating your living space? Most homes need to be insulated to keep them warm in winter and cool in summer. One of the best ways to insulate your home is by installing insulation in your loft.
If you’re looking to spruce up your loft and turn it into an inhabitable space, or just some extra storage space, keep reading for a simple guide to insulating a loft.
Why Should I Insulate My Loft?
Lofts can make for beautiful open-plan living spaces when renovated and decorated properly. Unfortunately, all that beautiful open-plan room also makes for a very chilling living space, without proper insulation. Sure you could stock up on heaters and blankets, depending on the severity of your winter weather. But either way, insulation is a once-off investment that will save you a ton on your utility bill.
Lofts also make great storage spaces or extra rooms. Whether you’re spending time in your loft or not, insulating your loft allows less heat to escape, saving you money (and much-needed winter warmth!)
Insulating a loft is actually pretty easy when it comes down to it. With more and more people staying indoors, DIY projects have become a great and productive way to pass the time in isolation.
Measuring Effectiveness: The R-Value
The measurement used to determine the effectiveness of insulation is called the R-Value. A higher R-Value means that the insulation is better at trapping heat. As different insulation methods have varying R-Values, the type of insulation you choose will depend on your climate and location.
If your winters are icy cold, it’s recommended that you go for an R-Value between R 49 and R 60 in an uninsulated loft space. Before you undertake any insulation project make sure that you know what R-Value you should be aiming for.
Insulating a Loft: Everything You Need to Know
Deciding on how you’re going to use your loft is only the beginning. Sometimes it’s best to call in a professional if you’re out of your depth. But if you’re committed to DIY, take a look at all of the essential information on methods, materials, and tools below.
The type of insulation you choose will depend on your desired R-Value and your DIY competence. Methods such as spray foam insulation and blown-in insulation tend to be better left to professionals. This is because they require specialized equipment and a professional eye for the specifications of the space. Plus, a professional service can assess factors like dampness and airflow to determine the best type of insulation for your loft.
Options are endless when it comes to insulation materials, but if you’re taking a DIY approach, we’d recommend wool-type or blanket insulation. These are often sold in rolls and vary in material. Again, the material you choose will depend on the recommended R-Value of the area you’re insulating.
Before you undertake any DIY project, you should have a good understanding of the process involved and the right safety measures in place.
If you’re working above any lighting fixtures, ensure that you turn the power off to safely navigate the area. Steer clear of any chimneys or other sources of heat when laying your insulation.
Protective clothing is also a must. This includes gloves and goggles and workwear that you’re willing to get dusty. Finally, it’s a good idea to enlist a helper to hand you materials as you work.
Where Should I Insulate?
There are various ways to approach loft insulation, depending on what you’re going to use the space for. If you’re actually going to be living in the loft or spending a lot of time there, ceiling insulation is the best way to go.
Ceiling insulation involves placing your insulation between the rafters in your loft. The easiest way to insulate the ceiling involves fitting insulation between the rafters or over the ceiling joists. Your choice will depend on the shape of your roof. Detailed DIY info on rafter insulation is available here.
If your aim is to trap heat in your house and use the loft as a storage space you should use loft floor insulation. This means that the insulation will be installed under the floor of the loft to regulate the temperature in your house.
Ceiling insulation can get quite tricky, so if you’re set on DIY loft floor insulation is probably your best, and easiest bet.
Loft Floor Insulation
There are two main options when it comes to loft floor insulation: loft floor rolls and insulated floorboards. The first option uses floor rolls or blanket insulation rolled over the floor of the loft. Loft floor insulation can be used in creating a double layer of insulation across your loft floor.
The second option involves fitting insulated polystyrene and chipboard floorboards into the floor of your loft. This method is more expensive and time-consuming and is only suitable for creating a top layer of insulation, meaning you’ll still need a base layer. This method is also recommended if you’re turning your loft into a storage space.
It’s important to keep in mind that insulating a loft using these methods will most likely require an additional layer of flooring over the insulation. Make sure you know how to correctly board over your insulation safely before you proceed.
What You’ll Need
As loft floor rolls are the easiest DIY option, here’s a list of things you’re going to need to get the job done. It comes down to materials for cutting your insulation to size, and the insulation itself.
- Panel Saw
- Craft Knife (a larger blade works best)
- Loft Floor Insulation (a material of your choice)
Laying Loft Floor Rolls
Before you begin, determine whether you’ll be laying your insulation over cables or near recessed downlights. The power should be switched off, and cables should be placed gently (never pull them taut) on top of the insulation. If you are insulating near recessed downlights you need to fit an insulation guard.
Once you’ve dealt with cables and lights, installation is fairly easy. Just make sure you leave enough space for ventilation and refer to any additional instructions from the insulation manufacturer.
Get That Warm, Fuzzy Ceiling
Insulating a loft is an easy home improvement project for creating the ideal temperature in your home or some useful additional storage space. Because insulation comes in so many shapes and sizes it’s always best to research your specific loft environment before taking action. If you enjoyed this article, keep browsing our home decor section for more handy home and DIY tips.