Stud walls provide a fast and efficient solution to customise interior spaces, especially in commercial environments. They’re affordable, durable, and easy to install, allowing you to divide your space in no time.
Yet, timber stud walls can warp and even rot without proper insulation due to high humidity. Moreover, they might not provide enough privacy.
But don’t worry because there is a solution. We’ll explain how to insulate a stud wall, highlighting the best insulation options available.
How to Insulate a Stud Wall?
Should you insulate a stud wall? In most cases, yes. You can transform your interior area using stud walls because they’re highly versatile, yet they don’t provide enough acoustic insulation, so your rooms will be too noisy due to sound transfer.
Unlike solid walls, stud walls don’t offer any proper degree of natural insulation. so they can’t really regulate temperature, and you’ll end up paying more money to keep your room warm in winter and cool in summer.
Here are the proper steps to insulate your stud wall.
- Assess the need for insulating your stud wall.
- Choose the proper type of insulation based on the nature of your room and the area you need to insulate.
- Get a quotation on the insulation cost.
- Hire a professional to insulate your stud wall.
- Remove all existing fixtures, electric outlets, and switch plates from the wall.
- If needed, install a vapour barrier on the internal side of the wall to prevent moisture issues.
- Measure the height and width of the stud cavity to have enough insulation material to install and get all your installation tools and safety gear ready.
- Follow the proper installation steps by fitting it into the stud cavities. It’s best to leave this job to a professional, but if you handle it as a DIY project, ensure all cavities are filled.
- Use caulk to seal gaps around your insulation material edges.
- Re-install all fixtures.
When Do You Need to Insulate a Stud Wall?
Whether made of timber, metal, or plasterboard, stud walls offer versatile room partition solutions in commercial and residential buildings. Yet, they lack thermal and acoustic insulation, so you should consider installing insulation in the following cases.
- You want to improve the performance of your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, as proper insulation will trap the heat in winter and keep your room cooler in the summer.
- You can insulate a stud wall to separate two rooms with different heating needs, for example, an interior grow room for your indoor plants and an adjacent living room.
- By regulating the heat in your separate room, you can save on your energy bills. Statistics show that energy consumption is lower by 26.8% in the UK, thanks to proper insulation methods.
- Insulation will overcome external wall problems if your building lacks adequate external cavity wall insulation.
- Installing stud wall insulation reduces noise and offers good acoustic insulation to create a study room or work-from-home area.
- Use insulation when you divide space to create a music room or recording studio, as it will prevent sound leakage and improve acoustics.
- You might be obliged to install specific types of insulation according to some building codes to maintain minimum insulation requirements.
Types of Insulation for Stud Walls
Several materials can insulate your internal stud walls. Choosing the right type of insulation depends on several factors, like your budget, how long you want your insulation to last, whether you’re installing it for temperature or moisture control, and ease of installation. Luckily, there are several options to choose from.
- Glass Wool
Also known as fibreglass, glass wool is one of the most budget-friendly options to insulate a stud wall. It’s highly sustainable and is an excellent insulation solution for a large area.
The main drawback to using glass wool is that it traps moisture, so it might lead to the growth of mould and mildew. Ideally, it shouldn’t be your number one choice if you want to insulate a stud wall in a highly humid environment. It can also be a little bit tricky to install.
When Should You Use It
Use glass wool if you’re on a tight budget and want to install insulation to trap the heat in a dry environment.
- Mineral Wool
Rock wool, or stone wool, is made by melting different rocks and stones and looks more grey than glass wool. Mineral wool is stiff, so it’s easier to install, especially when you want to insulate your stud wall by yourself.
This type of insulation is highly resistant to fire and moisture and can be used to soundproof a room. Nevertheless, it might not work for you if you want to insulate a large area because it’s more expensive. Moreover, it might not fit into narrow spots because it’s thick.
When Should You Use It
Mineral wool will work for you if you want moisture-resistant and soundproof insulation in a small area.
- Rigid Foam
Rigid foam boards or sheathing are popular because they’re easy to install and provide structural support that most stud walls lack. These boards trap the air, reduce heat loss, and control moisture leakage.
However, these rigid boards might not fit in nooks and crannies, and some people might opt for flexible polystyrene beads instead. Moreover, they’re non-biodegradable and highly flammable unless specifically treated to resist fire.
When Should You Should Use It
Install rigid foam if you want to add structure to your stud wall while enhancing the thermal resistance rating to prevent energy loss.
- Cellulose Fibre
This eco-friendly and sustainable insulation material is made of recycled paper. Cellulose fibre is a non-toxic and affordable insulation that resists mould with specific treatments.
Although it can prevent heat and air leakage, it’s prone to water damage in humid areas. Moreover, it must be treated with fire-retardant chemicals because it can be highly flammable.
When Should You Use It
You want a sustainable insulation material to trap the heat and prevent air leakage in a dry environment.
- Spray Foam
Spray foam insulation is one of the fastest and easiest to apply. A professional sprays it as a liquid, and then the spray hardens to create an air-tight seal. This type of insulation creates an efficient air, sound, and heat barrier with high thermal resistance.
But due to its expensive price, this solution might not be efficient when you want to insulate a large area. The spray emits toxic fumes during installation, so applying it shouldn’t be a DIY task.
When Should You Use It
You want to install a long-lasting solution that provides maximum moisture, heat, and sound insulation, especially in a small area.
Stud walls can help you transform an interior space in no time. But without proper insulation, these partitions will allow the noise to travel from one room to another, won’t trap the cold or hot air, and won’t be able to stop a fire from spreading if it starts in your divided room.
Luckily, there are several options available to consider if you want to insulate your stud wall. Each has several pros and cons, so you should hire a professional to assess your situation and suggest the best insulation solutions.