Getting your roof insulation right can make an enormous difference to the efficacy of your home’s heating system. You lose extraordinary amounts of heat through a badly-insulated roof, especially in the winter months. So investing carefully in the right sort is a great way to reduce both heating and cooling bills, and ensure your family’s comfort. It also helps protect the contents of your attic, especially vulnerable or important fittings like your boiler tank.
Further, having the correct roof insulation reduces noise coming in from outside and adds support to the structure of your property. It can even help keep you and your family healthy, as it acts as a barrier to many external pollutants and dust that could exacerbate medical conditions, such as asthma or bronchitis.
Insulation quality is measured by its R-value, or how well it stops the flow of heat passing through it. The more heat the insulation stops, the higher its R-value, or thermal resistance. Different materials have different R-values. For instance, spray foam insulation has a very high R-value at a given thickness – two inches will insulate your roof better than the equivalent amount of fibreglass.
R-value is, however, not the only measure of quality that you need to consider. For example, materials that can repel condensation and moisture are more advantageous, as are those that can fit or be sprayed into smaller gaps and so reduce the chance of holes or gaps appearing anywhere. Heat can escape through the smallest of holes very quickly, and compromised areas can become more prone to damage and age-related wear and tear. Also, there is the question of what impact the chosen materials might have on the environment. It’s no good sorting out your roof at the cost of the rest of the world – there is enough choice available nowadays for us all to be able make an informed, responsible roof insulation choice.
While fibreglass has traditionally been the material of choice for roof insulation, other options are becoming more popular. Spray foam insulation is not affected by moisture. It can also prevent pollutants and other airborne irritants from getting through. It costs around the same amount as other, more traditional forms of insulation and is safe and convenient to apply.
Newspapers are also becoming more widely used to make fibre, or cellulose insulation, which offers a cheap, environmentally-friendly solution and an almost inexhaustible supply. The paper is shredded and then treated with acrylic binders to hold it together. Chemicals are added to make it fire resistant for optimum safety. The resultant product comes in a loose fill form, which is blown into cavities that require insulation, so that a tight seal is achieved for maximum heat-retaining performance.