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​Insulation for a house—materials and costs

Sucheta Mehra Sucheta Mehra
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How to make a country house warmer? Wrapping yourself in extra layers due to poorly insulated house can lead to a large amount of utility bills. While choosing home insulation, the first thing to determine is that whether you already have insulation or not. To confirm it, you can consult a professional. Secondly, what type of environment you live in because you have to plan the insulation according to the climate. Your house must be sealed and insulated so that the humidity and heat surrounding the house can be kept away. Other things are material and their cost, etc. To overcome the increasing energy bills, you can also opt for some simple ways to warm up your house such as closing the curtains at night, using screens, covering the walls and front doors, etc. You can cut your energy bills as much as 50% or more with the help of proper insulation that is possible with already built homes. To help you choose best of the materials, here are some tips that will help.

What characteristics do the materials need to have?

Proper insulation is necessary to build an energy-efficient house that must contain both an air barrier and a thermal barrier. Some of the general types of insulation are rigid boards (such as glass fibre or plastic foams), loose fill (such as glass fibres, cellulose or mineral), expanding sprays and batts (such as cotton, fibreglass and wools). The two most important parts of your home that needs proper insulation are loft and walls. You should remember that each material has its own environmental characteristics and health impacts. While in loose fill chemicals and fibres can be irritants it should be avoided from interior space. If you have chemical sensitivity then rigid boards can become a concern for you. The insulation material must have these characteristics such as resistant to chemicals, water and solvents, easy to install and handle, light weight, should be durable and long-lasting, cost-effective and stable. Moreover, the material should not absorb odours, should be installed with ordinary tools and with any choice of adhesive.

Mineral wool and Styrofoam

 Houses by Casas Cube
Casas Cube

Casa prefabricada Cube 75 m2—Fachada y porche

Casas Cube

There are different kinds of insulation systems however; Styrofoam and mineral wool are the two most popular types these days. Styrofoam contains trapped gas bubbles that hinder heat conduction. It has some unique properties such as water-resistant, light weight and has a higher R – value. It is strong and resists heat transfer during both winter and summer. Mineral wool is a fire resistant option that is of two type rock wool and slag wool. It is commonly available as loose-fill and blanket insulation and doesn’t require additional chemicals. Mineral wool is a highly versatile product that has thermal properties that combat climate change, save energy and has a higher R-value. It can be used for both commercial and residential purposes however; the price of installation will be a little higher than others. The quality of these two materials surpasses other materials such as fibreglass but, to save energy and cost in the long run they are a good choice. The unique house shown in the picture above has been designed by Casas Cube, home builders in spain. 

Insulation of the walls inside the house

Before considering interior wall insulation you have to determine a few things. First is the construction of your house, whether your house is built from solid wall or cavity walls. Internal wall insulation means attaching insulation to the interior walls. Insulation of the walls inside the house is an energy-saving method and is easy to do. The most common method of installing insulation in the interior wall is to construct a wall stud of 100mm thickness with a cavity of 50mm between the two. The cost of wall insulation inside the house will vary with the type of insulation material used and the condition of your wall. However, the thickness of insulation installed and the cost of labour are the two things where you have to invest. It is true that internal wall insulation is up to 50% cheaper than the external wall insulation but is not so much effective as the latter. However, it has a payback than external insulation.

Insulation of the floor inside the house

For either a concrete floor, tiled or a wooden floor there is a type of insulation available. Some of the materials to insulate under floor are Hemcrete, cellulose, woodfire batts, mineral wool batts, cork board, etc. But, why is insulating the floor necessary? Floor insulation can save energy and make your home warm in winter and cool in summer. There are many forms of floor insulation available such as polystyrene, foil and fibre. One of the most popular types of flooring these days is polystyrene insulation, which is used in under floors. It restricts the loss of heat and is easy to cut and install. Foil floor insulation can restrict the airflow and moisture and is a bit tricky to install. Foil floor insulation’s U value performance is not good. Fibre insulation such as steel wool, rock wool and polyester is easy to install but the moisture can seep through into your house.

Insulation of the ceiling

Ceiling insulation is easy to install especially if your home has an attic with pitched roof where the insulation can be placed between the joists. You can do it yourself or hire a professional to install ceiling insulation. Only sufficient amount of batts is required to insulate. To fully insulate the ceiling bulk insulation is economical because it is fibrous and lightweight. Ceiling insulation can make your home energy-efficient and is a great home improvement option. It also reduces the green house gas emissions from your home. Ceiling insulation works as an isotherm and aerolite and become the heat flow barrier between your ceilings and roof tiles that prevent heat from passing make your house warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Thickness and appropriate level of insulation depends on the climatic condition of your country. Avoid leaving any gaps when it comes to roof insulation. Moreover, do not compress roof insulation as it can reduce the ability to insulate properly.

Insulation of the walls outside the house

To manage the energy utilization of the house external wall insulation is necessary. Insulation of the walls outside the house has many benefits such as it saves energy, money, protect your brick work, fill the cracks in your brickwork and others. To insulate the external wall of your house a layer of insulating material is fixed to your walls with the help of adhesive or any mechanical fixing. Compared to interior wall insulation, exterior wall insulation is cost-effective. While choosing the material make sure that the material will retain its R-value and properties. Therefore, opt for a material that is water-resistant such as foam or fibreglass. However, the price of these two materials is higher but provides long-term benefits. The thermal resistant of a material depends on the climate of the country you live. The R-values actually ranges from zero to 40. While the smaller R-value is suitable for warm weather, higher R-value is suitable for chilly climates.

Do you love luxurious homes? Here's an architecture ideabook you just cannot afford to miss : A modern penthouse filled with luxury

Do you have more ideas to insulate a country house? Feel free to discuss with us in the comments below. 
 Houses by Casas inHAUS

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