After a lot of research into the best possible insulation solution for a low energy upgrade of a Victorian property, homeowner Sue Wheat looked to Knauf Insulation for expert advice and specified the company’s Internal Wall Insulation (IWI) System, Loft Roll 44 and Space Board for high quality performance.
As Knauf Insulation is the only producer of four types of insulation, as well as being able to offer both internal and external wall insulation systems, it was in the ideal position to offer valuable and unbiased advice to ensure the best insulation solution was specified for the Victorian property. This was a significant factor in the specification stage, with the service provided from Knauf Insulation ensuring the homeowner was informed and confident of every decision made in the project.
Older houses are typically built using ‘solid masonry external walls’ and are therefore not as easily treated as modern cavity wall constructions. Sue Wheat, journalist and homeowner explains: “I wanted to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible and make our house warmer as it was freezing. We don't get much passive solar gain and the house was very draughty. As a Victorian house it is single brick and we had a lot of condensation, which has damaged the walls and caused a lot of mould and damp in the past. So, we wanted to make the house less cold and damp and more comfortable as well as more energy efficient.”
IWI systems are often the preferred alternative to upgrading properties, delivering high levels of thermal performance cost effectively and without having to alter the exterior appearance of the building – an important consideration for a period property. The system can upgrade a property to current Building Regulation thermal standards and beyond. It consists of composite thermally engineered studs (EcoStuds) and insulation slabs (Earthwool® EcoBatt), which can be combined to provide greater thicknesses of thermal insulation than achievable by using a single thickness. What’s more, by internally insulating a wall, the heating time for rooms is significantly reduced allowing comfort levels to be quickly reached.
The simplicity of IWI systems allows a competent tradesman to install and finish the system using a traditional plaster skim finish or dry lining techniques. No scaffolding is required and the system can be installed as part of a whole house refurbishment plan. IWI Systems can accommodate wall imperfections, fixings for fittings such as radiators, and can be easily adapted around openings such as windows and doors.
For areas where the system will need to be installed around internal plumbing, gas pipes and electrics, a registered gas installer or tradesman with the necessary skills will be required to install the system. “We chose a local builder, Roofing & Restoration in Chingford, London, who had an interest in learning about environmental building techniques and was happy to have half a day’s training from Knauf Insulation,” explains Sue Wheat.
The existing loft had previously been sectioned off with a partition and a chipboard floor put in without being insulated, which made the upgrade slightly more demanding. “To increase thermal efficiencies within the loft we installed 300mm Loft Roll 44. The product was easy to use, even when we had to cut it to size as the joists were particularly narrow,” said Sue, who installed the insulation herself.
“We also used Knauf Insulation’s Space Board in part of the loft as we wanted to continue to use it for storage. In these areas we just put one layer of loft roll down to the top of the joists then put the Space Board over the top.”
Space Board is especially suited for this purpose as it is a high performance polystyrene insulation board that provides an insulated storage deck within the loft. This energy saving product prevents heat loss through the roof of the property, whilst the low density glass mineral wool roll, Loft Roll 44, is lightweight, flexible, resilient and non-combustible, and is ideal for the provision of thermal insulation in lofts and also loft conversions.
Sue Wheat concludes: “The Knauf Insulation IWI system has dramatically improved our living conditions – the house feels much warmer and maintains the heat for much longer. The expert advice that was offered throughout each stage of the project has been invaluable, and combined with an effective system warranty, certainly gives me peace of mind that we have the right products for my property.”