One of the most effective ways to boost your home’s thermal efficiency and improve indoor air quality is by insulating your wall cavities – if you have them of course – as properties with solid wall properties don’t have cavities. The process involves adding cavity wall insulation material in the space between the inner and outer walls of a building to prevent heat from escaping.
Cavity wall insulation keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, resulting in lower energy costs and reduced carbon emissions. It can also help prevent condensation, dampness, and mould growth, making the air inside your home healthier to breathe.
A common question among homeowners is: How long does cavity wall insulation last?
Generally, cavity wall insulation is designed to last many decades. Factors such as materials used, quality of installation, and weather conditions affect the performance of your insulation. Learn all about them in this guide.
How Long Does Cavity Wall Insulation Last?
The lifespan of cavity wall insulation ranges from 20 to 100 years, with most insulation manufacturers providing a 25-year warranty for the materials.
Similarly, the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA) issues 25-year guarantees for insulation fitted by its registered installers in the United Kingdom. Its standard guarantees cover traditionally constructed residential properties.
When installed correctly, cavity wall insulation can be left for a lifetime with no need for maintenance or replacement. Within a few years, you’ll be able to recover the cost of your insulation through reduced heating costs and energy bill savings.
However, a rushed installation, poor-quality materials, and wall damage can harm the longevity and efficiency of your cavity wall insulation. Moisture can enter the cavity and damage your insulation, causing damp problems, rusting wall ties, and mould infestations.
What Factors Affect the Lifespan of Your Cavity Wall Insulation?
The following factors can influence the effectiveness of cavity wall insulation, how long it lasts whether, or not you’ll need a replacement:
1. Type of Insulation Material
Selecting the right insulation material for your home’s construction type and climate is vital to a successful and long-lasting installation. The most commonly used materials include:
- Blown mineral fibre
- Polyurethane foam (PUR)
- Polystyrene beads or granules
Breathable insulation materials are advisable if your house is made of natural materials like traditional bricks, cob, or stone. Meanwhile, houses made of concrete panels or cavity blocks can use any insulation type.
Cavity wall insulation isn’t recommended for houses that are timber or steel framed. These structural materials require sufficient airflow, and insulating your cavity can cause damp issues, wood rot, and steel corrosion.
Areas with a mild climate don’t require a specific type of insulation material, but you’ll need insulation with a high thermal resistance or “tog rating” if you live in a cold environment.
2. Quality of Installation
Another essential factor that affects the longevity of your cavity wall insulation is the expertise of your installer and the use of proper insulation techniques. Using the wrong blowing pressure or drill pattern can lead to unevenly distributed insulation, cold spots, and mould growth.
Other improper installation practices include neglecting wall vents and failure to remove rubble from inside your cavity wall. These can also result in damp issues that shorten the lifespan of your cavity wall insulation.
In most cases, wet cavity wall insulation will need to be removed, as it can transfer moisture to the inner wall of your home. This can damage wall finishes, compromise your home’s structure, and pose a health hazard to your family.
3. Weather and Building Conditions
The lifespan of your insulated cavity walls can also be affected by the weather in your area. Frequent heavy rain, harsh winds, intense sunlight, and other extreme weather conditions can cause wear and tear on your walls and the deterioration of your insulation.
Your building’s masonry or brickwork should also be in good condition, as damage to a building wall can allow rainwater to get in or insulation material to spill out. Insulation can leak through air bricks and vents as well.
Buildings with extremely narrow cavities or walls that are exposed to driving rain are unsuitable for cavity wall insulation, as these conditions can cause damp issues. The same applies to homes at risk of flooding or those with brickwork that’s in poor condition.
When Is Cavity Wall Insulation Removal Required?
A cavity barrier that’s properly installed with the right material will keep your home safe, warm, and energy-efficient without requiring any maintenance.
However, the following circumstances indicate failing wall cavity insulation or an incorrect installation, and may require removal and replacement:
- Incorrectly or unevenly installed insulation is causing cold spots
- A leaking roof or cracked exterior wall caused water damage to the insulation
- The ageing insulation is slumping in the cavity wall
- The cavity is infested by mice, squirrels, bats, or other pests
- Uncleared rubble or building works are causing damp patches
- Mould and condensation buildup on the walls
- Damp odours coming from the cavity wall insulation
- Flaking paint, stained surfaces, or detached wallpaper on the inner walls
- Draughts and sudden changes in home temperature
- Less effective insulation and unusually high heating bills
- A newer and more energy-efficient insulation type is available to replace your existing insulation
The cavity wall insulation extraction process typically involves drilling holes in strategic positions on your external wall. With the help of an extraction system, the old insulation, rubble, and other debris will be vacuumed out of the cavity.
Finding the Right Cavity Wall Insulation Installer
Insulating your home’s wall cavities brings plenty of benefits, but it should only be done by a qualified professional. A reputable cavity wall insulation installer will guarantee the longevity of your insulation, ensuring that you’ll enjoy energy savings for the years to come.
Cavity wall insulation costs will vary depending on the size of the job and the materials used. Foam insulation will typically be more expensive than a mineral wool insulation alternative. Installation cost will also be impacted whether you need cavity wall insulation removal for any previously installed failing insulation material in wall cavities.
If you need help finding the right cavity wall insulation installer for your home, Insulation Advisor can provide you with the best insulation advice and connect you with trusted installers in your area. Get your free insulation quote today.