It’s pretty much common knowledge that insulating the loft is an important part of an effective home insulation process. However, while most homeowners focus on insulating on top and between the joists, they often overlook areas like the loft hatch itself, leaving behind a cold spot which allows the warm air to funnel through it, reducing the efficacy of the installed insulation.
This guide will give you a better idea of the types of insulation you can use and the steps involved in insulating the loft hatch effectively.
The Impact of Loft Hatch Insulation
Installing loft hatch insulation prevents the loss of heat and energy. Even though you might think of it as just an entry point, a loft hatch without insulation can allow heat to escape and cause draughts.
The amount of heat and energy loss in the case of an unprotected loft hatch depends on how the loft is insulated and the size of the loft.
Although the yearly savings resulting from additional insulation on the loft hatch may not be very significant, it can pay off in improving the overall efficiency of your loft insulation and save you money in the long run.
Types of Insulation Materials for Loft Hatches
As with insulating the loft or any other part of your property, there are various options to consider when it comes to insulation material. Here are the most common ones used for insulation loft hatches:
This type of insulation is compact but highly effective. It comes in the form of boards that you cut into your preferred shapes and measurements.
Rigid foam itself is available in multiple types, which include:
- EPS (expanded polystyrene): This rigid foam option is the one with the most applications and the highest R-value (an expression of a material’s insulation ability). You can use it for your walls, roof, and floors, not just your loft space and loft hatch.
- XPS (extruded polystyrene): It has an intermediate R-value and cost; lower than EPS but higher than Polyiso.
- Polyiso (polyisocyanurate): The cheapest type but still quite popular especially in roof insulation.
A lot of homeowners opt for rigid foam thanks to its cost-effectiveness and the fact that it’s easy to work with. Your choice of board type and thickness depends on the R-value that would be enough to address your insulation needs.
Blanket insulation is easy on the wallet and straightforward to install with minimal mess involved. When deciding on the thickness of the blanket, make sure it’s at least 270mm to comply with the current UK building regulations.
This type of insulation uses aluminium foil or a similar material with a reflective side. It works by reflecting heat into the space you want to keep warm as long as the shiny face is pointed towards it.
Reflective foil sheets are thin, lightweight, and hassle-free to install. You can simply use scissors to cut the shape and size you need.
This is another popular yet affordable option among effective materials for loft hatch insulation. It consists of loose fibreglass fibres (made from recycled fibreglass) or cellulose fibres (made from recycled cardboard, newsprint, and other paper products).
Some of the advantages of choosing loose-fill insulation include quick installation. It calls for a container (for example, a carrier bag) that you can fill with the insulation material to a certain depth and then attach to the hatch.
Also known as mineral insulation, mineral wool is produced by:
- Combining raw and recycled materials.
- Heating the mixture at a high temperature until it’s molten.
- Spinning the melt and shaping it into a mat.
Mineral wool mats are customisable based on the size of the surface you want to treat. It’s a popular option among homeowners because it’s highly efficient as a thermal insulator as well as an acoustic one.
Not to mention, it’s a bit more environmentally friendly than other types of insulators. It’s also resistant to mould and fire, so you can enjoy more peace of mind when using it. When it comes to thickness, the typical range for loft hatches is from 3 to 6 inches.
Last but not least, you have the option to use more than one of the insulation material types we talked about above. For example, you can install a layer of reflective foil to your loft hatch and then reinforce a layer of mineral wool or rigid foam.
The purpose of such combinations is to further decrease heat loss and boost your insulation’s R-value.
Loft Hatch Insulation Steps
Now that you’re familiar with the different types of materials used for loft hatch insulation, here’s a step-by-step guide to getting the task done:
1. Gather the Items Required for the Job
First things first, you need to round up the necessary items to install insulation over your loft hatch. Generally, these include:
- A measuring tape
- Tape or an adhesive material
- Sturdy scissors or a utility knife
- Your choice of insulation material(s)
- Foam sealant or weather stripping
- Protective gear (such as gloves and goggles)
2. Record the Dimensions of the Loft Hatch
You can now start the insulation installation process by measuring your loft hatch after checking it has unobstructed accessibility.
Whip out your measuring tape and record the length and width of the opening from the inner edges of the hatch. Calculate the hatch opening area (and the area you’re supposed to cover with insulation) by multiplying those values.
- For example, if you find your loft hatch opening to be 2 metres long and 1 meter wide, then the area you’re working with is 2 square metres.
Additionally, you need to measure the thickness of the loft hatch.
3. Decide on a Suitable Insulation Material
Your choice of insulation material depends on the area of the hatch opening and the hatch’s thickness. We’ve explained the most common options above, and your decision should be based on the R-value appropriate for your loft as well as your budget.
4. Prepare Your Insulation Material
Generally, you’ll need to cut your choice of insulation material(s) according to the measurements you recorded in step 2.
You can use scissors, a utility knife, or even a saw depending on the material. Reflective foil and mineral wool are easy to cut whereas rigid foam is tougher.
5. Attach the Insulation Material to the Hatch
This step requires tape or a suitable adhesive material that allows you to stick the insulation material to the hatch. Place the cut piece(s) over the back of the hatch’s cover after applying tape or adhesive.
6. Seal Against the Elements
Finally, trace the outline of the hatch’s frame with foam sealant or weather stripping. This creates an air-tight closure that keeps air from escaping.
Loft hatch insulation conclusions
Loft hatch insulation ensures minimal heat loss and helps you save on your energy bills. You can choose from a variety of insulation materials and the process is usually simple and quick.
If you’re not sure you can DIY this project, contact us so we can put you in touch with a local insulation professional.