After double/triple window glazing, cavity wall insulation is one of the most popular energy-efficiency investments. If installed correctly, cavity wall insulation (CWI) can be an effective and efficient means of improving a home’s thermal efficiency. But it can go wrong. The short-lived UK Government Green Deal initiative sparked a mini-explosion of cavity wall insulation and associated problems. The forthcoming Great British Insulation Scheme is designed to help millions of homeowners with insulating home improvements. Get prepared for the next boom by being aware of how cavity wall insulation can fail and what homeowners can do to prevent it, thanks to Safeguard Europe…
There are three simple steps any homeowner should take before commissioning cavity wall insulation improvements. Make sure you do your due diligence to ensure these steps are taken prior to cavity wall insulation installation.
CWI is necessary for the UK’s heat-leaky housing stock. In order for it to work at maximum efficiency, the house it is being installed in must be ready. Take a look at this list of defects that must be fixed before CWI installation can be carried out.
This list is not exhaustive and a chartered surveyor should always be consulted prior to insulation works being carried out:
– Properties without a DPC, or where the DPC has already failed
– Properties with a non-standard cavity wall (under 50mm or over 150mm)
– Cavities that are filled with rubble, mortar or other excess building materials
– Exposed elevation buildings (such as those atop hills and on seafronts)
– Non-Traditional (System Built) buildings
– Buildings with defective gutters, pipes or inadequate drip grooves
– Houses already suffering from penetrating damp
Taking the time to inspect the conditions of external walls is vital. Most of these problems can be easily rectified once found. Rarer situations where cavity wall insulation is never suitable usually involve the house’s construction type or its location. In these rare cases, alternative insulation measures can and should be explored.
Bricks are naturally porous, which means that even perfect brickwork with immaculate pointing absorbs rain and introduces moisture into the cavity wall. Walls of all types need protection against rain and other moisture sources. It’s important to remember that cavity walls were initially invented to ‘trap’ moisture within the void, where it can condense and escape the building. Be aware that for homes where full-fill cavity wall insulation is planned, any introduced moisture may make the insulation damp and ineffective as an insulator.
Stormdry Masonry Protection Cream is a breathable waterproofing brick cream. Stormdry Cream stops rain and water from entering brickwork while letting water vapour pass through. It protects cavity walls to keep insulation working at maximum efficiency.
If worst comes to worst, it can even be safely applied to walls with damp cavity wall insulation to dry them out. Affected cavity wall insulation can then comfortably dry out while being protected from getting any wetter.
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