There are various methods to insulate your house, with the primary goal of retaining warmth during cold weather and keeping cool during hot periods. A well-insulated home not only enhances living comfort but also reduces energy costs. One commonly employed insulation method is cavity wall insulation. But what exactly is it, and what represents the most sustainable approach to cavity wall insulation?
A home comprises a roof, a floor, walls, doors, and windows. Together, these elements form the shell of your residence, and each can be insulated individually. In this blog, the focus is on the walls, a crucial component of the insulating “shell.”& uwbodemisolatie.nl
Types of Walls: You might think a wall is just a wall. However, appearances can be deceiving. Most homes have an inner wall and an outer wall. Only very old houses built before 1920 have solid walls, meaning the wall is as thick as a full brick length, laid in both the length and width, akin to constructing a Lego house. Such a wall always feels cold, as stone does not provide insulation.
Slightly newer houses often feature a half-brick wall. In this case, the bricks are laid lengthwise in two layers against each other. While these walls are stronger, they still offer minimal insulation.
The majority of post-war homes have an inner and outer wall separated by a cavity, a hollow space between the walls connected by wall ties.
Is My Cavity Well (Properly) Insulated? Filling the hollow space with insulating material creates cavity wall insulation. But if the space is not visible, how do you know if your home’s cavity is insulated, and if so, with what material? Building plans often reveal whether you have a cavity wall. However, you usually cannot see what’s between your inner and outer walls. For this, you need assistance from an expert who can inspect “inside the wall.” They can also assess the condition of the insulation, checking if it’s well-filled or if contaminants like cement residues are present, which can create cold bridges, allowing heat to escape.
A second method to determine the adequacy of your cavity wall insulation is through a thermal imaging scan. This is best done in winter when temperatures hover around freezing. By heating the home, a thermal camera can identify heat escaping from the house. If there’s significant heat loss through the walls or if thermal leaks are visible in certain areas, it indicates insufficient insulation.
It’s possible that insulation in the cavity has deteriorated or settled. If the original insulation is thin, it can be topped up. If the insulation is too thin or no longer effective, improvements can be made with beads, fibers, or foam. Experts can determine if topping up is possible and recommend the best method.
Types of Cavity Wall Insulation: Cavity wall insulation often involves materials like EPS beads (polystyrene balls), glass wool, rock wool, or foam. All four provide effective insulation. For those opting for truly sustainable options, choices include wood wool, hemp, flax, recycled cotton, clay, and straw. Natural insulation materials emit less CO2 during production than conventional insulation. However, a thicker layer may be needed to achieve the same insulation value as less sustainable alternatives. They may not always be suitable for cavities and are better suited for renovations or new constructions. Not all natural variants fare well against moisture and are therefore unsuitable for damp cavities. Cork and wood wool, however, are moisture-resistant.
Unfortunately, the road to sustainable cavity wall insulation in the Netherlands hasn’t been fully explored, unlike in neighboring countries. Germany and France, for example, make more use of sustainable cavity wall insulation more info : uwbodemisolatie.nl