Insulating a floor means adding an insulating material beneath the floorboards, thereby reducing heat escaping through the floor into the ground. Approximately 15% of heat is lost from a house via this route. Insulation also acts to prevent draughts coming up through the floorboards. In addition the household should also consider insulating the gaps between the skirting boards and the floor, which also helps in reducing draughts.
Floor insulation is most commonly done when putting a new floor in place, but most floors can be retrofitted with insulating material, and this will make a large saving to your overall heating bill. Depending on how confident you are with DIY, it is possible to install floor insulation yourself.
Filling the gap between the skirting boards and the floor can save about £25, recouped within the year (assuming a £20 material cost).
Since the insulation will slow the movement of heat through the floor, the home will feel more comfortable and warmer in the winter, but cooler in the summer months.
You can reduce your carbon footprint by about 240kg per year by installing floor insulation and almost 100kg if you fill the gaps between the floor and skirting boards.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, installing floor insulation underneath a wood surface saves about £60 per year, which would mean a payback of 2 years based on recouping the material costs (approximately £100).
Limitations of floor insulation
If you are wishing to installing the floor insulation as a DIY project, you will need to move furnishings and potentially remove carpets and floorboards.
Additional costs may add up, if once you remove the floorboards, you discover that some are rotten, therefore the overall insulation costs may be higher than previously predicted.
Cost of floor insulation
Professional installation costs start at £770, dependant on the size of the floor space installation.
DIY Cost for wooden floor insulation cost approximately £100 and it will cost about £20 to buy the materials to fill the gaps between the floor and the skirting boards.
Installing floor insulation
Interested in having floor insulation installed? We have scoured the country for the best tradespeople, so that we can make sure we only recommend those we really trust.
If you would like us to find you a local installer, just fill in the form below and we will be in touch shortly!
Think we missed something? Do you have a different opinion?
Insulating your loft is one of the best ways to improve the EPC rating of your home. If you have a virgin loft (i.e. 25mm or less of insulation) then insulating it will produce massive savings on your energy bill and the great thing is that for many of us, the energy companies offer this insulation free.
Without proper loft insulation, a lot of the warmth produced by your heating system escapes through the roof of your property; in fact, as much as 25% of the heat in an uninsulated house is lost in this way. Loft insulation acts as a barrier, slowing the movement of heat out of the property during the winter and into the property during the summer.
Even if you can’t get it installed for free, it is an incredibly easy DIY job. In the tabs above, you can find out exactly how to do it.
The first decision to make is whether you are looking to create a warm loft or cold loft. The majority of us just use the loft space for storage so normally a cold loft will more than suffice, but for some we use the loft space for a games room or a study. To be honest, insulating your loft as a cold loft is far easier than trying to produce a warm loft – mainly because you don’t need to fight gravity. The method of insulating your loft varies considerably whether you have decide to push forward for a warm loft or a cold loft, but since the vast majority go for a cold loft lets start there – at the joists.
Insulating your loft at the joists
The purpose of insulation is to produce a barrier that slows the movement of heat either in or out of the property. When you produce a cold loft, you need to lay insulation directly above the ceiling to produce this barrier to slow the movement of heat out of the home during the winter and visa versa in the summer to prevent the home overheating.
The latest building regulations stipulate you need to reach a U-value of 0.16 to conform – now for most of us who don’t talk ‘U-values’, this simply means you need a 300mm blanket of wool insulation (if you decide to use rigid insulation board like celotex or Kingspan then you can achieve this u-value with less thickness).
What materials can you use to insulate joists?
We describe the main types of wool insulation in detail here. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages, but all of them work in a similar way. The wool traps air, which provides an insulating barrier. They are all fairly easy to work with, in that they can be cut to measure, shaped to fit around immovable objects and also rolls of wool insulation are cheap.
The main issue with wool insulation is that it compresses if you put any weight on it, which lowers its insulating efficiency. If you lay wool insulation to a depth of 270mm, it is also difficult to locate the joists, which you should use as support if you are in the loft space. Never stand between the joists, otherwise you will more than likely come through the ceiling!
Wooden boards can then be laid over all the insulation if you need to make the loft usable for things like storage. The insulating mineral wool used normally comes in rolls of blanket, which is a consistent thickness and width.
Sheep wool insulation
If you are using sheep wool insulation you will get the added benefits of the material being able to absorb moisture as well. Warm air rises from the heated rooms below and condenses when it comes into contact with cold insulation materials. Unlike other wool products, sheep wool can absorb some of this moisture and protect the joist timbers from rotting, without affecting its own insulating properties.
Loose-fill loft insulation
Insulating your loft floor using loose-fill is great as a top-up process for a pre-insulated space. It tends to be light material such as recycled newspapers and mineral wool, which can be spread to cover any gaps between the joists. You simply open the bags of insulating material and pour into any spaces that were previously lacking an adequate level of insulation. This process is a fairly simple do-it-yourself job.
Rigid insulation boards
These boards, produced by companies like Celotex, are ideal for insulating loft spaces. They are more expensive than the wool, however they offer double the insulating capacity (therefore where you would normally use 270mm of wool, you would only require 135mm of the insulating board). In addition, since they are rigid it is easy to store items directly on top of them without laying board on top of them first. They can be cut to size using a saw to fit between the joists and also drilled to allow room for light fittings.
Blown fibre insulation
Another type of loft insulation is blown fibre insulation, which must be installed by a professional. An installer will use specialist equipment to blow insulation material into the gaps that require it.
Having a carpet of insulation in your roof will significantly reduce heat loss out of your home. The reason why we are such advocates of loft insulation and consider it the no.1 method of saving energy in the home is basically because the insulation is incredibly cheap to buy and the process of producing a cold loft is so easy.
Now a couple of important things to mention; while this is certainly the cheapest way to go, the loft space itself will be very cold in the winter. This means that anything you really value should be kept in the home itself, not in the loft. In addition you need to insulate any pipework and cold water tanks up in the loft as these may now be liable to freezing and the cost of repairing bursting pipes will far outweigh the energy savings produced!
For detailed instructions on how to insulate your loft to produce a cold loft please click the tab here.
Insulating your loft at the rafters
Gravity is a pain – it makes producing a warm loft that much harder. Unfortunately if one tries to insulate between the rafters by squishing in lots of wool insulation then 9 times out of 10 it will just fall out.
However if your heart is set on creating a warm loft space then it is definitely possible. There are four main ways to insulate your rafters; the first is to use netting and wool insulation. Using solid insulation board is again a really good way to minimise heat loss out of your home. The third way is simply to use reflective foil stapled to the rafters – this doesn’t produce significant energy savings but is by far the simplest way to go, requiring just reflective foil and a staple gun. You might want to use reflective foil anyway even if you do opt for a cold loft.
What materials can you use to insulate between rafters?
The materials you should use to insulate the rafter space will depend on the way you have chosen to insulate, however the products used will tend to be denser and more rigid than those used for joists.
If you are looking to insulate between the rafters you can use both wool or insulation boards.
If you are looking to insulate below the rafters then you may choose to use insulation boards or reflective foil.
Normally the process you decide on depends how deep the actual rafters are. If the depth is rather shallow the best option will be to insulate below the rafters. You can in theory increase the depth yourself by attaching planks of wood top of the rafter, but then you are giving yourself more work and adding complexity to the process.
Mineral wool for insulating between the rafters
This can be glass wool, rock or mineral wool and it comes in rolls. You will need to wear protective material, a mask and have the adequate tools to fix this to the space between the rafters. The material is then fixed to the space between the rafters, whilst ensuring there is gap to the roof membrane to avoid condensation.
The difficulty in creating a warm loft with mineral wool insulation is basically due to the thickness of wool insulation needed to hit the necessary U-value as specified by building regulations (300mm) although to be honest, if you are doing this yourself, you are not required by law to conform. The way to keep the insulation in place is to use a net that you can then staple to the rafters which acts as a hammock for the insulation.
Sheep wool for insulating between the rafters
If you are using sheep’s wool, which is not an irritant, then you can handle the material without wearing protective clothing. If you are using sheep wool insulation you will also get the added benefits of the material being able to absorb moisture. Warm air rises from the heated rooms below and condenses when it comes into contact with cold insulation materials. Sheep wool, unlike other wool products, can absorb some of this moisture and protect the rafter timbers from rot, without it affecting its own insulating properties. When insulating rafters, a more rigid form of sheep’s wool insulation can be used, which is more suited to rafter insulation.
Insulation boards for insulating between or below the rafters
Insulating board can be fitted between the rafters or below the rafters. Note: Because the material is thick, if you are going below the rafter space you will certainly lose headroom in the loft space. If your rafters are shallow then you have no choice and have to insulate below.
These boards, produced by companies like Celotex or Kingspan, are ideal for insulating loft spaces. They are more expensive than the basic mineral wool, however they offer double the insulating properties (therefore where you would normally use 200mm of wool, you would only require 100mm of the insulating board). They can be cut to size using a saw to fit between the spaces and drilled through for cabling.
Reflective foil for insulating below the rafters
A thin layer of reflective material is placed below the rafters to prevent heat escaping from the property. This is the most simple way to insulate your loft via the rafters, but obviously the insulating properties on this type of insulation are very limited compared to either mineral wool or insulating board.
As mentioned, the foil is by far the easiest way to insulate your loft; you simply staple it to the rafters. It is worth starting at the apex of the ceiling and then working down the rafters, overlapping the foil to achieve a continuous reflect surface. You can then tape over the joins.
A layer of foam is sprayed into the rafters and sets hard. This can only be installed professionally.
When professionals come in and install spray foams, they can achieve high thermal efficiency with very little depth. The two downsides of this firstly that it is very expensive compared to the other methods and also it doesn’t allow the roof to breath, locking in the water next to the timber – which as we have mentioned previously can lead to problems.
While having a warm loft space is great because you can then use the space – you are now heating an extra ‘room’ that you wouldn’t normally heat if you insulated just above the ceiling (i.e. a cold loft) – which means your heating bill will be higher.
A warmer home.
Can be done cheaply.
Potential savings on your energy bills.
CO2 saving of 210kg to 730kg p/a.
Installing loft insulation
Interested in installing loft installation? We have scoured the country for the best tradespeople, so that we can make sure we only recommend those we really trust.
If you would like us to find you a local installer, just fill in the form below and we will be in touch shortly!
A home can lose as much as 35% of its heat through uninsulated external walls. By investing in cavity wall insulation, you can significantly reduce the heat loss from your home. The concept of insulating a cavity wall is really very simple – it involves filling the cavity between the two skins of masonry bricks with an insulating material, which slows the movement of heat through the wall. Maintaining the heat inside your home keeps you warm and cosy when you need to be. It also works in reverse by keeping your house cooler in the summer months.
Installing cavity wall insulation in your home will not only help to decrease your heating bills by saving energy lost through the walls, it will also help to reduce your carbon footprint by limiting the amount of CO² and other greenhouse gases emitted from your property.
Many houses since the late 1930s were built with a cavity between the inner and outer walls. Because of this cavity, many of Britain’s homes have thermal performances which are well below the standards required by current building regulations. These properties suffer from unacceptably high levels of heat and energy loss through the walls. A system was introduced in the 1970s to inject insulation into these cavity walls.
Can I get cavity wall insulation?
There are two things you need to determine to see whether you can benefit from retrofitting cavity wall insulation in your home.
The first thing is to work out if you actually have cavity walls – this might seem stupid, but you can not inject insulation if there isn’t a cavity and they do look quite similar to solid walls!
A cavity wall is made up of two masonry brick walls running parallel to one another with a space (cavity) between them of at least 50mm. Masonry bricks are very absorbent, so moisture absorbed by the outer wall typically drains through the cavity, rather than coming into the home, helping to prevent damp issues. This type of wall construction became the norm in the 1930s superseding solid walls and as time has gone on, the size of the cavity between the two skins of brick has continued to grow – a typical cavity wall now is between 280-300mm thick.
You can easily identify a cavity wall by the pattern produced by the brickwork, which is known as stretcher bond, where are the bricks are running in the same direction as one another – there are no ‘half bricks’. This is obviously harder to do if your walls are cladded or painted and in this case you might need to call in a professional (although sometimes you can see original brickwork in the loft space). In addition cavity walls tend to be over 250mm in width, with more recent cavity walls closer to 300mm. If you can see lots of half bricks in your wall, you have a solid wall with no cavity, so unfortunately cavity wall insulation is a no-go. In this case, you could look into external wall insulation as an alternative.
Once you have established that you have cavity walls, you need to determine the size of the cavity and whether it has previously been insulated. A registered installer will need to come and carry out a boroscope inspection. This involves drilling a test hole into the wall and checking with a camera to see if the cavity has previously been filled and the size of the cavity (ideally over 50mm). If this shows the cavity is unfilled, you could indeed benefit from cavity wall insulation.
Although some builders began insulating cavity walls in the late 1970s, it only became compulsory under building regulations to do so during the 90s. As such there are many properties in the UK that currently have unfilled cavity walls. The good news it that these can be insulated very easily!
How does cavity wall insulation work?
If a hot room is partitioned from the cold by a wall, heat will move through the wall, eventually cooling the room until an equilibrium is reached, where the outside temperature is equal to the inside temperature. In reality this very rarely happens, because rooms tend to be heated. This means that as some heat escapes through the wall, more hot air is supplied, keeping it at a comfortable ambient temperature. If the thermal gradient is larger, (e.g. on a cold and wintry day), the movement of thermal energy across the wall will be accelerated.
Insulating a cavity wall helps to provide a thermal barrier, which slows the flow of heat out of a room considerably. By slowing down the rate at which heat escapes from the home, less heating is needed to keep the house at the required temperature. In the summer, the reverse happens; hot air outside the home can’t get in as easily, which means you don’t need to use energy to keep the home cool. Therefore in both summer and winter, cavity wall insulation can make an enormous difference to your energy bills. The process is relatively quick and inexpensive, so it is certainly worth considering.
How do you insulate cavity walls?
The first thing to note is that you cannot retrofit cavity wall insulation as a do-it-yourself job – it is a job that needs to be carried out by a professional.
Once the cavity has been confirmed by the boroscopic inspection, the installer will drill a series of 22mm diameter holes into the mortar between the bricks. With specialist equipment, the installer will then inject the cavity with the insulating material, through each of these holes. Once the whole of the cavity wall has been filled, the mortar will be made good either with plugs or mortar created to match the existing colour, so the job will be barely noticeable.
The insulating material pumped into the cavity is normally a type of glass wool, or in some instances insulating beads and once installed will offer insulation for the life of the building. The whole process should only take about 2 hours but obviously if the cavity wall area is especially large you will need to leave more time for the job to be completed.
What materials are used for cavity wall insulation?
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, loose polystyrene beads, or wool. EPS is the most expensive option for a reason; it is a premium product and we would always recommend spending the extra money for the best results.
Savings from cavity wall insulation
Although the savings from cavity wall insulation vary greatly from property to property, for an average size three bedroom home, the energy savings from installing cavity wall insulation should amount to £250 per year. With an installation cost of £600-1000, the savings you create from installing the cavity wall insulation should pay for the work in under 4 years.
Can I get free cavity wall insulation?
Free cavity wall insulation is now available throughout England. If you receive one of the following benefits, you could be eligible for a grant as part of the Government’s ECO scheme.
Child tax credit
Job seekers allowance
Working tax credit
Paying for cavity wall insulation yourself
Unfortunately schemes like the Green Deal have now finished, but there is still some ECO funding for cavity wall insulation. The amount of funding depends on the heat demand of the property and the savings that will be generated from installing the insulation. Over time the level of funding has decreased dramatically, so it is now quite normal that a household contribution may need to be required – for example if the cost of the job is £1000, you may be required to fund half of this so £500.
If you are interested in getting cavity wall insulation installed, we have a directory of ECO-funded cavity wall installers, so please fill in the form at the bottom of this page.
Insulating your cavity walls will help you to heat your home more efficiently, saving about £250 for a typical 3 bed home.
Cavity wall insulation will payback in 3 – 4 years for the investment giving lower heating bills .
According to the Energy Saving Trust, cavity wall installation can reduce carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) by 560kg, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
Approved cavity wall installation work is guaranteed for 25 years by the CIGA (Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency).
Cavity wall insulation may not be suitable within your home, if it has a wall exposed to strong rainy wind.
Do not undertake the installation if the home suffers from damp problems – seek an assessment from a professional surveyor first
Cavity wall insulation can cost anywhere between £600 – 1000 (however with subsidies, the cost may end up at the lower end of this estimate – speak to your Energy provider).
Installing Cavity Wall Insulation
Need cavity wall insulation? We have scoured the country for the best tradespeople, so that we can make sure we only recommend those we really trust.
If you would like us to find you a local insulation installer, just fill in the form below and we will be in touch shortly!
Draught proofing (or draught exclusion) is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to cut energy costs in the home, whether you live in a house or a flat. The concept is really simple: stop cold air coming in and prevent warm air from escaping, using things like draught excluders. Keeping the warm air inside will save you money on your utility bills as the existing heating system will need to work less hard to keep the home at the required temperature.
Draughts or gaps in the home act like unwanted ventilation shafts, allowing cold air to seep in and hot air to escape. When the household heats their home, these uncontrolled ventilation gaps let expensive hot air escape.
Although more often than not, some heat escapes regardless of the actions of a householder, additional temporary draughts occur by leaving doors, windows and letterboxes open.
Potential savings from installing draught proofing
It is estimated that installing draught proofing measures in an average UK home could save the household £60 per year on heating bills.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, if every home were to do this in the UK, the total energy savings could be worth as much as £190 million, and the energy saved would heat nearly 400,000 homes.
How do I identify a draught?
You will be able to find draughts just about anywhere in your house that links directly to the outside. You could easily be in front of one now. They are found by doors, windows, loft hatches, keyholes, electrical fittings on the ceilings, under the floorboards, piping leading outside and any drilled holes for cabling that leads outside. Remember that day when you had that cable or Sky TV installed and the drilling that took place?
The best way to deal with these draughts is to close the gaps using draught excluders and block the holes.
Some rooms in the home need natural ventilation, such as bathrooms, kitchens or rooms with an open fire. These types of rooms generate a lot of condensation and by blocking the ventilation outlets, you may also encourage damp and mould to form, which may end up being unpleasant and costing you additional money to fix.
Draught proofing – DIY vs. professional jobs
Draught proofing pays for itself in just a couple of years in most cases, by reducing your energy consumption and therefore your energy bills. Draught proofing can be a fairly simple home DIY job, although for more complex measures, help may be required.
Obviously, if you are uncomfortable carrying out the work yourself we strongly recommend getting in a professional to complete the work regardless. A professional should be able to identify draughts very quickly, and will know what to fill them with, therefore saving you a lot of time and energy.
Think we missed something? Do you have a different opinion?
Pipes and vents are areas that you may over look when considering draught proofing your home. Draught proofing these areas is easily done, affordable and effective.
How do I draught proof pipes and vents?
Gaps may be found in the area where pipes pass through walls and floorboards; draught proofing these areas is a simple but effective way of stemming the heat loss flow. Foam-based fillers are simple and great for draughting proofing irregular gaps like the ones caused by pipes. However, as with all other draught proofing measures, if you do not feel comfortable in your DIY skills, we advise getting a professional draught proofer to do it for you.
Similar to the areas around pipes, you may find sites that should be draught proofed around retrofitted vents. In these cases, foam fillers should be used, although rigid filler may also be used if a smooth finish is preferable.
Air bricks and bathroom vents
A word of caution: there are some areas that should never be blocked off or insulated. Air bricks are there for a reason – to prevent your floorboards and wooden supports from rotting. A constant flow of air is needed to prevent damp from entering the property and running havoc. When you get floor insulation done professionally, these air bricks are kept free to allow air into the area, so it is essential not to block this off.
The same goes for vents in the bathroom, as damp can easily build up in these humid rooms without adequate ventilation. So remember, draught proofing is great, but allow your home breathing space!
Even after completely draught-proofing your windows, doors and floors, you may still be left with a large area of concern in the shape of the chimney stack. A lot of heat can be lost through an uninsulated chimney. Unless your chimney is never used, you need to choose a temporary draught-proofing solution that can be removed as and when you want to light the fire.
Draught-proofing chimneys with a Chimney Sheep
For the most sustainable method of chimney draught-proofing, try a Chimney Sheep. These are made from 100% pure and natural sheep wool for the excluder and recycled plastic for the handle. Siting snuggly in the chimney, they provide the perfect barrier between the cold outside and the warm indoors. The Chimney Sheep has a strong and rigid centre, which allows it to remain in place up the chimney, and a more flexible outer circumference enabling each size to fit a wide variety of chimney shapes and sizes.
Draught proofing chimneys with chimney balloons
There is a really easy solution to prevent these draughts, which does not involve permanently boarding up your fireplace or blocking your chimney. You can use a chimney balloon.
A chimney balloon is essentially a balloon that you inflate in your chimney that creates a snug fit, thereby preventing hot air escaping up out of the chimney or cold air dropping down it, helping to prevent draughts in your home.
You position the balloon up in the lower regions of the chimney stack and then inflate it, which holds it in place. The balloon is designed to stop the majority of airflow, but it will still allow a little ventilation so you don’t have any damp issues.
The inflated balloon can then be left in position until you want to have a fire, at which point you deflate the bag and store it, ready for it to be re-inflated for future use. Chimney balloons come in lots of different sizes to ensure you get a snug fit within the chimney, helping to keep draughts at a minimum. They are also really simple to fit. As a rough guide, a chimney balloon will cost you approximately £25 give or take a few pounds depending on the size you buy, and you can also buy a handgrip extension kit £5-10 to help inflate the chimney balloon when it is out of normal reach.
Can you draught proof a chimney with anything else?
You can obviously opt to draught proof your chimney by simply stuffing plastic bags up it – the issue with this is twofold. Firstly, if you forget it is there and light the fire, you can actually cause a chimney fire. The second is that it will be far more difficult to ensure that you are stopping all the draughts. We have also come across people insulating their chimneys using tea towels and newspaper in the past – which again as flammable materials are a really bad idea. If you were to forget the chimney balloon was up the chimney when you light the fire, it would simply wilt and fall from the chimney – but it would not cause a fire – hence from a safety point of view, this is why we always advise them!
Chimney cowls are also a great way of ensuring maximum efficiency while also keeping out nesting birds and debris.
Your loft hatch can cause cold draughts to enter the living space of your home, especially if you have a cold loft space (i.e. insulated at joist level rather than rafter level).
Draught-proofing the loft hatch should be done at the same time as insulating the loft space to ensure you gain the maximum savings on your energy bills.
How to draught-proof a loft hatch
First of all: be careful. If you intend to insulate the loft and draught-proof the hatch yourself, it is imperative you take safety seriously. You must take care whenever you work up a ladder and if you feel unsafe or not entirely comfortable undertaking this then please use a certified installer.
There tend to be two types of loft hatch:
The hatch rests on the frame of the loft entrance.
The loft hatch is hinged and will swing down when opened.
To draught-proof the first of these, you can simply put a compression seal or foam strip around the perimeter of the bottom of the loft hatch. When the hatch sits in place, the seal should ensure that all draughts are stopped.
If the loft hatch is hinged, you will need to put either the compression seal or the foam strip on the outside perimeter on the top of loft hatch. You will also need to put an equivalent strip on the inside of the hatch frame so that the two strips meet, creating an airtight barrier to stop the draughts.
Insulating the top of your loft hatch
Once you have insulated your loft space and you have draught-proofed the loft hatch, creating a seal to stop cold air entering the main house and hot air escaping, it is also worth insulating the top of the loft hatch as a final step.
This is fairly simple process; essentially you just need to attach the insulating to the top of the loft hatch. Quite a neat way of doing this is gluing a plastic carrier bag to the top of the loft hatch (covering as much of the loft hatch as you can without going over any of the edges. You can then stuff the bag with insulating wool and tape it closed. Sealing the insulation within the bag prevents fibres coming apart when you open the loft hatch, so you can avoid breathing them in or getting them on your skin.
Older properties tend to have a few visible cracks in their walls. If you have any really significant cracks, we would advise booking an appointment with a building surveyor to ensure the structural integrity of the building
If they are small and don’t pose any structural threat then you can fill them to stop draughts, which will help improve the energy efficiency and thermal comfort of the property. While the amount of heat loss that may occur through these cracks is relatively small compared with that of windows and doors, the ease in which they can be draught-proofed makes them a popular focus.
Cracks can change size, depending on seasonal changes or shifting pressures on the structure. This means they need to be filled using flexible filler products that allow for a certain level of movement – if you just use Polyfilla, the crack will reopen.
If it’s a crack that will stay at a constant width, rigid filler provides a smoother, more professional finish and effectively removes any draught that may have been present previously. Once the crack is filled and the filler has dried, it can be sanded down and painted to match the rest of the wall.
For larger cracks and gaps, foam-based filler products should be used. This foam expands once it is squeezed into the crack, creating an airtight seal. Once the foam has set solid it can be sanded down and painted to match the surrounding area. It is difficult to get the same level of professional finish as with a rigid filler.
Most floors in the UK are either solid (concrete) or suspended (usually timber floorboards). Solid floors don’t really tend to have draught issues associated with them, but suspended timber floors are definitely worth tackling.
The first step is to identify which type of floor you have. You can find out by pulling up the corner of your carpet, or looking for air bricks on the outside of the property at the bottom of the walls – these will signify a suspended timber floor.
Where to look for draughts:
In between floorboards
Around skirting boards
How do I draught-proof floorboards?
The gaps in between stripped floorboards may add up to the size of a small window; therefore draught-proofing your floor is essential and can shed pounds from your energy bill, paying for itself in less than 12 months. With so many products on the market, it is important to select one that will provide you with the best outcome for your specific requirements.
The first thing to assess when considering whether to draught-proof your floorboards is what the required finish is. For example the methods used to draught-proof floorboards under a carpet are different to those used to draught-proof stripped floorboards. It should be noted that even though carpet will help with draught-proofing, it is not 100% effective, and additional measures can still help.
How do I draught-proof stripped floorboards?
There are many products that fill the gaps between the floorboards, helping to prevent draughts. These come in the form of tube-like rolls (such as DraughtEx) that are easily pushed into the spaces between floorboards, assuming that the correct and accurate diameters have previously been taken into account. This is a quick, easy and relatively cheap way of draught-proofing your floorboards effectively. However, difficulties may arise if you have an older floor with uneven gaps between the floorboards that may require you to buy additional rolls of different sizes.
Alternatives to the tube-like rolls, which are pushed into floorboard gaps, are thin V-shaped, one-size-fits-all, plastic lengths that spring apart when pushed into place using a credit card. When in position, this innovative method is invisible and effectively stops draughts. The issue here is that if they pop out they could then potentially trip you up; make sure they are fitted as per the instructions to prevent this from happening.
How do I draught-proof floorboards under a carpet?
A carpet fitted over your floorboards helps reduce draughts; however there are further steps you can take if you are searching for optimal draught-proofing. If you are on a small budget, then the traditional technique of papier-mâché may be the best option. However, while this provides a cheap and effective solution and covers the potentially draughty gaps in between the floorboards, it does take a lot more time than shop-bought fixes. For a more efficient, but costlier method of draught proofing underneath your carpet, you can apply a gunned silicone sealant to the gaps between the floorboards provided the gaps aren’t enormous!
Using thicker underlay below the carpet is also an effective way to stop the draughts and insulate the floorboards.
The most effective way to stop draughts coming up through the floorboards is unfortunately also the most costly and time consuming. This involves lifting up the floorboards and applying insulation between the joists – details of how to do this can be found on our ffloor insulation pages.
How do I draught-proof the skirting board?
Even with successfully draught-proofed floorboards, you may still lose heat through the skirting board area. In order to maximise efficiency you can draught-proof this area using wooden beadings, which can be applied to skirting boards where they meet the floor. The wooden beadings come in a variety of shapes and they help bridge the gap that allows draughts.
Draught-proofing this area may also be achieved through silicone-based gunned sealants that can equally block the gap between the floor and the wall; again you may need to use a combination of both the wooden beadings and the sealant if the gaps between the floor and the skirting board are particularly large.
Not all windows need to be draught-proofed. Double or triple glazed windows installed since 2002 should be sufficiently well-built and installed so as not to require any. Older double glazing and single glazed windows can be draught-proofed, however. If you are unsure on the age of your double glazing, you should check for either a FENSA certificate, which you will have received with any windows installed since 2002, or a stamp in the metal seal of the window.
Where to look for draughts
The gaps between the window and the frame
Caulk on the outside of the window frame
The area around any locks or catches
Although the potential for draughts to occur around the edge of one window is not equal to that of an external door, the accumulated draught from every window in your house can account for huge amounts of energy loss. Therefore it is crucial to draught-proof these areas. In order to complete a successful draught-proofing of a window, you must firstly pinpoint the gaps that require work. After locating the area that requires draught-proofing, there are a few methods to consider.
How can I draught-proof my windows?
How should I draught-proof a window that opens?
Firstly, compression seals provide a professional finish and prevent draughts, as well as dust and moisture entering the home. The seals are sometimes held by metal, plastic or wooden carriers, which are fixed onto the frames through pre-drilled fixing holes. This maintains the ‘memory’ or ‘bounce-back-ability’ of the seal, enabling it to return to its original shape even after periods of crushing, due to normal everyday use of the window. The carrier is cut to length and must be less than 25mm from the cut end to avoid any snagging on unwanted items such as clothing. However they may also be glued to the frame. While these compression seals, as well as the similar tubular seals, provide excellent performance on narrow window gaps, they are not the best option when draught-proofing sash windows on larger properties.
How should I draught-proof a window that doesn’t open?
The best method for draught-proofing a window that does not open is a silicone-based sealant. After the gaps in the framework have been located and cleaned to remove any dust that may reduce the longevity of the draught-proofing method, a gunned silicone sealant can be easily applied. This is a cheap and easy way to DIY draught proof.
How should I draught-proof a sash window?
If you are looking to draught-proof a sash window or if the gaps between the window and its frame are not consistent due to seasonal changes, brush strips may provide the best solution. While mainly used in the draught-proofing of doors, it is not rare to see this method around larger windows. This solution involves brushes or blades fixed into a carrier, which is pinned onto the frame. While they may be painted to reduce their visibility, this does decrease their efficiency. However the brushes or blades may be contained using wooden carriers, which may provide a more aesthetically-pleasing solution to window draughts.
Another method of draught-proofing your window, and common when taking the DIY approach, is low-friction seals in loose strips or carriers. This solution involves the rubbing of wipers or blades, which are fixed onto the frame, against the closing window. While they may also be fixed using an adhesive-based foam strip, this method (although cheap) does not comply with British standards and is therefore not recommended.
Using gunned silicone as a sealant
A DIY-friendly and relatively cheap solution to your window draught-proofing needs is gap-filling seals with gunned silicone sealant. In order to ensure that maximum draught-proofing is achieved, you must cover the part of the window that comes into contact with the frame in a release agent. This prevents the sealant from sticking to the window as opposed to the frame. The window is then shut to provide a temporary mould for the sealant before it sets. While it provides an efficient solution to the draught-proofing issue, if it isn’t carried out correctly, the result may look untidy.
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