Introduction to under carpet insulation
Millions of frugal Brits are doing everything they can to insulate their homes. With electricity and gas prices reaching record highs, reducing heat loss is key, and savvy homeowners could be saving themselves money and improving their comfort in the process.
Insulation has always been key when it comes to energy efficiency in the home and the UK is no different in this respect, with insulating measures such loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and double glazing all popular and cost-effective ways of insulating. But what about your flooring, though?
Having the appropriate flooring installed in your home has numerous advantages such as making rooms much warmer, lowering energy costs and minimising heat loss, although upgrading your flooring is sometimes disregarded completely. However, upgrading what’s underneath your carpet or flooring should be one your list of things to do, especially if you are in the market for new carpets or flooring.
If your home is losing significant heat then it is imperative, now more than ever, that we consider high energy costs and aim to do something about it.
In this article, we will look at how adding insulation under your carpet might just be one of the key factors to keeping your home nice and cosy over the colder months and help you reduce energy bills.
Heat loss through your floor can be significant
As we have already mentioned you lose a LOT of heat through the floor in your home – anything between 10-20% is typical – especially if it is a wooden or concrete floor, yet many people don’t even consider upgrading their flooring to conserve the heat they are generating. Plush, thick carpets, especially those made from wool are useful for insulating a room and can help to minimise heat loss to some extent.
However, there is something else that would in fact have a much greater impact, and that is under carpet insulation (not to be confused with carpet underlay – the two are slightly different things, although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably).
What Is Under Carpet Insulation?
Under carpet insulation is designed to keep the room temperature as regulated as possible and is a specially manufactured material that is laid under a carpet. Laying the undercarpet insulation material the correct way will not only absorb heat from the warm air in the room but will also absorb any shocks in the floor.
Consumers aren’t the only ones going green these days, manufacturers are tending to use more and more recycled materials such as floor foam or sponges, and many add an additional insulation layer on top for more protection against cold surfaces and floors.
This results in the insulation keeping the room cold when it is hot outside and warm when it is cold outside.
What Is Thermal Insulation Underlay?
It is worth noting that thermal insulation underlay and under carpet insulation aren’t really the same thing. Of course, you could argue that, long as it serves the same purpose, any material that is laid underneath a carpet constitutes under carpet insulation.
However, Thermal insulation underlay is purely one kind of under carpet insulation that can be manufactured with synthetic and natural materials. The composition, thickness, and density of Thermal Insulation Underlay all play a part in how much insulation this product can offer.
What Materials Are Used to Insulate Flooring?
There are various materials you can use to insulate flooring, each having its own advantages and disadvantages.
We will look at each type in turn below.
Synthetic insulation is lightweight, relatively cheap, and easy to use and usually comes in the form of roll-out sheets, pads, and batts. These are often made of materials like high density polyester foam or foil. A common example is Ecotec floor foam which is designed for use below carpet underlay, laminate flooring and vinyl floors to prevent cold bridging from the floor below.
Although synthetic insulation isn’t typically ecologically friendly, much of the synthetic materials used in insulation come from recycled by-products from recycling facilities.
Organic insulation is purely organic and is non-toxic, sustainable, and biodegradable. Usually made from cellulose or plant fibres, organic insulation can be made from cotton, coconut husks, hemp, sheep’s wool and even spinach, all offering excellent thermal and acoustic performance.
When you compare synthetic insulation to organic insulation you will find that is far less common, which drastically affects the cost.
Additionally, because of the added material, installing organic insulation is much more difficult. Nonetheless, organic insulation is still a viable option for anyone looking to keep their house warm in the chilly months, while saving money on their energy bills.
Because of its ability to keep its form and because of its strength, Bamboo fibre is quite often used in organic insulation and is a great option.
Why Should I Insulate My Flooring?
The majority of carpets aren’t very good insulators unless you opt for a particularly thick carpet with a deep pile, which is why carpet insulation is usually crucial.
Carpets, by design, are there to create a warm and soft feeling on your feet when you walk on them, and other than the aesthetics, that’s pretty much their one purpose. Although carpets are warmer than hard floors, they won’t do much to keep a room warm by themselves.
Newly constructed properties always come with floor insulation as standard prior to laying carpet, whereas older properties, often with concrete or timber floors, often aren’t well insulated and tend not to hold heat well. This is why it is so important to have adequate insulation installed in the property, as well as insulating under any carpet or flooring areas.
What Are the Benefits of Under Carpet Insulation?
Installing under carpet insulation comes with numerous benefits. Let’s have a look at some of the main ones:
#1 Under carpet insulation forms a damp proof membrane and helps to prevent moisture, reducing the likelihood of mould, odours, and mildew build-ups. It also helps to prevent rising damp and can also warm a room enough to dry it out before mould can grow.
#2 Another advantage of under carpet insulation is its environmental benefits. Energy conservation is a top priority for energy efficiency and by improving the problem of a warm floor by installing under-carpet insulation, homeowners can get one step closer to achieving it.
#3 Much like underlay, installing under carpet insulation will add a bouncy layer of comfort to your flooring. Carpets aren’t usually manufactured with a cushioned backing, and although a carpet is softer than a wooden floor, adding a layer of under carpet insulation beneath will give you that lovely bouncy feel each time you walk on it.
Do I Need Under Carpet Insulation?
Natural flooring is decidedly hard and cold and comes as standard in many older properties. If this is the case, then installing under carpet insulation is highly recommended as it will prevent cold air penetrating rooms. Not only will your floors be more comfortable to walk on, but with the added insulation you could actually save £100s a year on your bills, so it is definitely worth looking into.
If you are not sure whether you need under carpet insulation, the best thing to do is check your floors by lifting potions of carpet and seeing if there are any noticeable draughts. If you have a lot of draught issues then insulated underlay may be the right option for you.
Insulating carpet underlay is just one of many ways to improve your home’s efficiency
There are numerous other ways you can reduce your energy bills and help to insulate your home, it all depends on the type of property you live in and of course your budget. Installing double or even triple-glazed windows is a surefire way to prevent cold air coming in and reduce the amount of heat you lose from your home.
Ensuring that your loft is insulated is also essential. Heat rises and you would be surprised at the amount of heat the average home loses through its loft space.
Again, if you live in an older-style house you may not have any wall insulation. If you think this is the case then installing wall and loft insulation will ensure that your energy bills are kept as low as possible all year.