Studies show that 25-30% (uSwitch) of heat is lost throughout the roof, so one of the easiest ways to reduce heat loss and carbon emissions, improve home energy efficiency, increase home value, and significantly reduce heating bills is to insulate roof and attic. In addition, roof and attic that is insulated has its own advantages in the summer season as well, as they protect the interior from heat.
Roof and loft insulation depends largely on the type of roof. If the house has a flat or low pitch roof, it is more difficult to insulate it, as the attic space is often very small and difficult to access. However, depending on whether you want warm or cold attics, houses with a medium pitch roof has more possibilities of insulation. In terms of cost, there are a variety of roof insulation options available, some of which can be done by yourself, while others require specialized equipment and highly qualified professionals.
Cold or warm attic?
The simplest and cheapest solution for attic insulation is the so-called cold attic. By choosing this type of insulation, the material is laid directly between the ceiling of the living room’s upper floor and the attic floor, thus preventing heat from entering the attic space. By choosing this method, only the attic floor is insulated and almost all heat insulation materials can be used. If the attic will be used as a living space or storage space, the best solution is to insulate the roof, which requires insulation materials to be installed beneath or inside the roof. This method is similar to the method of insulating a timber frame house in the aspect that the insulation material is inserted between the roof framing. This is a slightly more expensive option but will help keep the attic room warm and cozy.
Roof and attic insulation materials
There are various roof and loft insulation materials to choose from. The choice of thermal insulation materials in recent years has expanded, but most importantly, it should be made so that the materials selected correspond to the conditions of construction and construction type.
Mineral wool blankets
Mineral wool is probably one of the most common types of thermal insulation, which is widely used not only for floor and wall insulation but also for roof and attic insulation. Mineral wool consists of artificially made fibres made from fused silicate and usually contains a small amount of synthetic resin, water repellent and various refined mineral oils for dust reduction. Different mineral wools (glass wool, rock wool, slag or slag wool) with different specific properties but similar thermal insulation properties are manufactured. Mineral wool products are fireproof and do not rot, but also do not absorb moisture and is resistant to bacteria and mould. Mineral wool sheets are very durable material with low thermal conductivity and high sound insulation.
Loose-Fill and Blown-In Insulation
Loose-Fill and Blown-In Insulation materials – such as loose eco-wool or loose mineral wool – are the most suitable for insulating flat roofs and attics, as they form a very dense layer of insulation compared to roll or slab materials. Blown-In insulation is a cost-effective material because it is laid using dry blasting, thus eliminating material waste and reducing installation costs by about 30%. In addition this method will fill small and unreachable gaps, thanks to the dry blowing method.
Foam Board or Rigid Foam
Polystyrene sheets, commonly known as poly-foam, are high heat-insulating material in relation to its thickness. Most often such material is used for wall insulation, but it is also possible to insulate the roof. Polystyrene boards are lightweight material and do not require complicated installation. One of the biggest advantages of polystyrene sheets is its resistance to mold.
Sprayed-Foam and Foamed-In-Place Insulation
Polyurethane foam (PPU) is one of the newest thermal insulation methods, but not the cheapest. Due to its high noise insulation, low thermal conductivity and vapour permeability, polyurethane foam has become a very popular insulation material in recent years. One of the biggest benefits of using polyurethane foam for roof insulation is that you don’t need to disassemble your old roof, as it uses wet spraying and the foam easily covers all forms and fills cracks and gaps to form a seamless surface. This is the ideal method for insulating the roof of an old building, but it should be taken into account that, like Loose-Fill foam, this work cannot be done by yourself and requires specialized equipment and professional insulator.