Prior to having increased levels of insulation in our lofts, flooring the loft was simply a case of laying floor boards across the joists. With the Government grants over the years for free insulation, many homes have insulation cross laid over the tops of the wooden joists. Insulation depth often reaches or surpasses the minimum recommendations of 270mm. The increased insulation has resulted in a considerable loss of storage facilities in many homes across Scotland. Entering a fully insulated loft can be dangerous, more dangerous than before the insulation covered the joists. Only the wooden joists are load bearing, raising the risk of people falling through the fragile roof plasterboard in between. Warning signs should be in place advising against entering an insulated loft. Items should not be stored on top of loft insulation as it reduces the effectiveness dramatically. Equally, boards should not be laid across the joists as compressing the insulation is completely counterproductive and reduces the energy savings beyond what they were previous to the upgraded insulation being installed. The reason for this is that part of the insulating properties of the fibre glass is gained from trapped air within the fibreglass. Joists are typically 75mm or 100mm, reducing 270mm or 300mm of fibre glass insulation to 100mm compresses the insulation, reducing the trapped air, to such an extent that it is virtually rendered useless. Understanding insulation, air flow and condensation is important when making changes to insulation in your home. Incorrect or badly fit insulation often causes condensation in the loft, as warm damp air comes in contact with cold surfaces. This can even happen within the insulation itself, creating a damp layer within the insulation. Condensation left unchecked can cause serious harm to your home, and if you are affected please feel free to speak to one of our experts to have the problem resolved. Another known risk from badly fitted or moved insulation is the potential risk of fire from ceiling down lighters becoming covered by insulation. Halogen down lighters can reach very high temperatures, and if they are insulated these can pose a serious risk of fire. We can supply and install down lighter covers to allow sufficient air flow and to prevent insulation from causing overheating of the lights. There are a number of possible solutions to restoring your loft to its former storage capacity:
- Installing loft flooring above the insulation.
We can supply and installed cost effective raised flooring solutions to virtually any loft. We would ensure the loft insulation maintains its energy efficiency by ensuring the flooring is raised to above the insulation level. As much or as little of the loft can be floored to provide the much needed storage space you had before. We can even go one step further and install some shelving to further increase valuable loft storage space where needed. Before we install any loft flooring solutions we need to carry out a free survey to ensure suitability, insulation depth, area to be floored and also that there is suitable access. We would always recommend installing a loft ladder with a handrail to further increase safety. If required, we can fit a balustrade around the loft hatch to provide more protection from accidental falls. These solutions are surprisingly cost effective and there is no charge for our survey and quotation service.
- Creating a warm loft with rafter insulation.
An alternative solution to raised loft flooring is to change the insulation to rafter insulation, referred to as a warm loft. The insulation level is reduced to rafter level by removing the cross laid insulation. The roof is then insulated up at rafter level using Kingspan ridged insulation boards, or the latest foil insulation, leaving sufficient air flow space. Loft flooring is then laid across the joists, as it has been traditionally. This allows more heat to enter the loft, and is not as efficient as having 270mm ceiling insulation. However, there are a number of benefits mostly suited to those who would like more regular access of the loft area. The loft is warmer as a result, resulting in a more pleasant environment, and flooring is easier to install over larger areas. We can supply a quote to floor the loft, or if you prefer this can be done yourself. Again, we would recommend installing one of our range of loft ladders to increase safety, and possibly a balustrade to reduce risk to as little as possible. To find out more, please do not hesitate to Contact Us and we will respond as soon as possible.