With all the news surrounding the “Green Homes Grant” we do not want homeowners to suffer the same property issues as others have experienced, as a direct result of previous well-meaning, but flawed energy saving insulation campaigns. Whilst the Green Homes Grant is a welcome initiative to save energy etc., there is a need to understand that retrofitting insulation can fundamentally affect the way the building copes with moisture and dampness.
Most insulation systems are designed and developed solely to limit heat loss and to avoid interstitial condensation from water vapour generated internally. They do not take account of how they affect the movement of moisture within the fabric of the existing construction. So, they can easily:
- exacerbate existing problems
- create new problems, such as the displacement of damp and the decay of timbers in contact with the walls
- create health risks for the occupants, for example from mould growth
- be affected by the moisture, reducing their performance and sometimes failing entirely
The selection and design of insulation must take account of the drying-out process, both before and after installation, and the presence of any residual damp.
What checks should I do before saying YES?
Below is a list of precautionary checks you can take to identify if you will actually benefit from any retrofit action, or if you are inviting trouble into your property.
Cavity Wall Insulation Checks
- Do you actually have cavity walls?
- Are the walls (outside and inside leaf) structurally sound and free from cracks with pointing and/or rendered brickwork in good condition?
- Are gutters and rainwater pipes in good condition with no leaks?
- Is the cavity at least 50mm wide and free of obstructions and debris?
Solid Wall Insulation Checks
- Check for evidence of dampness staining or mould
- Look for cracking or structural movement inside or out
- How is the room ventilation?
- Look at your pointing, drains, render coats, rainwater pipes.
- Check out the condition of windows and external joinery
Checking for Underfloor Insulation
- Check for evidence of dampness or standing water in the void
- Signs of rot are a red flag
- Is there any evidence of woodboring beetle activity?
- Is the subfloor ventilation adequate?
- TIP: You can lift the floorboards if you can’t fit in the crawlspace to check
Checks for Solar Thermal
- Can your roof support it?
- Is your building structurally sound?
- You may need planning permission if you live in a conservation area
- Do you have enough roof space for the panels?
Need to Upgrade Windows?
- Is there water damage on timber lintels?
- Are there any signs of rot on wooden frames?
- Condensation could be a sign of larger damp problem
Pre-installation & condition surveys
If you have performed some of the suggested checks above and feel you may have a cause for concern or would just like to seek a professional opinion, then you can always contact us and we would be happy to conduct the necessary checks for you.