Loft insulation is becoming increasingly popular as more and more homeowners start to see the benefits – reduced energy bills, a smaller carbon footprint, and a house that retains the optimum temperature all year round. If you’re new to loft insulation, however, and you’re wondering which material to use, it can be a minefield.
In this guide, we’ll break down the best materials to use, and which are best suited to your type of property in particular. Let’s get into it.
Why Insulate My Loft Space?
There are several reasons why loft insulation has exploded into popularity over the last decade or so, including improved thermal and acoustic insulation performance.
Improved Energy Efficiency
Probably the biggest benefit enjoyed by people installing loft insulation is increased thermal efficiency.
The more energy efficient, or thermally efficient, your home, the less energy you need to use to heat it or cool it down. Not only does this allow your home to retain a more pleasant temperature throughout all the seasons, but it also helps you to keep energy costs and your carbon footprint low.
Lower Your Carbon Footprint
You’ll lower your carbon footprint naturally with loft insulation because the better your home is able to moderate its own temperature, the less time you’ll spend with the heating, air-con, or fans switched on. And since we tend to use fossil fuels to heat our homes, a win for your pocket is a win for the planet, too, as cutting down on energy use means slashing your carbon footprint.
Other advantages to some types of loft insulation include acoustic insulation, which helps to reduce sound if you hear noise excessively through your walls, loft space, or ceilings. You might also find that insulating your loft helps you sell it for a higher price later down the line as an already-insulated property is an attractive prospect for many buyers.
Are There Any Downsides to Installing Loft Insulation?
On the whole, loft insulation is hugely beneficial to your home, but there can be some disadvantages.
If your roof space insulation isn’t properly installed, then you might run into a few issues. Some types of loft insulation are prone to damp, while others can settle or move around your loft, making them less effective.
Depending on the type of insulating material you choose and the size of your loft space, installing loft insulation can sometimes cost several thousands of pounds. Options like spray foam can be more expensive than other insulating materials such as blanket loft insulation, mineral wool insulation, or even rigid insulation boards, yet it is a highly effective insulating material. The good news is, whatever the cost of insulating your home, you will more than make that amount back over the lifespan of your insulation through the money you save on energy bills.
In fact, the Energy Saving Trust estimates that loft insulation can save households around £330 to £590 per year on energy bills, meaning in just a few years’ time, you’ll enjoy a return on investment from your insulation. Over the course of its lifetime, you can expect your loft insulation to pay for itself multiple times over in term of the heating bill savings.
Different Types of Loft Insulation: Which is Best for You?
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to loft insulation – there are different materials, each with its own advantages and downsides. Let’s explore some of the most popular forms of insulation, their pros and cons, and which type of property they’re best for, so you can find the best loft insulation for you.
Loose-fill insulation does what it says on the tin – it comprises loosely poured or compacted materials which are blown into tight spaces by professionals.
You can get loose-fill insulation in various colours and materials, with the following types being the main forms of loose-fill you can get your hands on.
- Fibreglass loose-fill: created from glass that’s been spun into fibres.
- Cellulose loose-fill: created from a blend of chemicals and various recycled materials such as wood and paper.
- Rock wool insulation: created by spinning molten rock.
Sometimes, loose-fill insulation is made from recycled materials, so if eco credentials are at the top of your must-have list for your insulation material of choice, loose-fill is a good option.
- It’s often made from recycled materials
- It fits into small, tight spaces
- Certain varieties are pest, mould, and fire-resistant.
- It requires professional installation
- It can be messy to install
- It’s susceptible to the absorption of water
- It’s prone to settling and compression.
- Homes prioritising eco-friendliness
- Hard-to-access loft spaces
- Homeowners looking for a high level of fire and pest resistance.
Less suitable for:
- Spaces prone to damp
- Homeowners looking to install loft insulation as a DIY project.
Spray foam insulation
Spray foam insulation is a blend of chemicals that, once sprayed, create a foam that fills the area of your loft that you need to insulate. The foam sets into a hard insulating layer, and it will fill all available space making it perfect for getting into nooks and crannies.
There are two types of spray foam – closed cell and open cell. Open cell is softer, cheaper, and more flexible, while closed cell doubles up as acoustic insulation, but has a heftier price tag to show for it.
- Insulates hard-to-reach areas and tight spaces
- Prevents draughts
- Has sound-proofing qualities
- Effectively improves the energy efficiency of your home.
- Must be installed by a professional
- Can reduce ventilation
- Is more expensive than many other types of loft insulation
- Can negatively impact the value of your property.
- Homeowners with hard-to-reach loft space
- Homeowners wanting to reduce noise pollution with sound-proofing
- Draughty homes.
Less suitable for:
- Homes that are prone to damp and mould
- Homes with inadequate ventilation
- Homeowners with a tight budget.
It’s worth bearing in mind that some homeowners come up against issues when they try to sell a home that contains spray foam insulation. In general, insulation is seen as increasing the value of your home because buyers will look out for ways to save money and having pre-installed insulation means you don’t have to install it yourself.
Thanks to the money saved on bills, insulation is generally looked at as a financially beneficial prospect. Unfortunately, the situation is a little more complicated regarding spray foam insulation.
According to surveyors, if they encounter spray foam insulation during a house survey, they might reduce the value of the property. Mortgage lenders might also be reluctant to lend money on a property with spray foam insulation.
Luckily, the spray foam insulation industry is in conversation with surveyors and lenders to try and resolve this issue. If you plan on having spray foam insulation installed but you’re nervous about repercussions, work with a trustworthy installer and ask for the relevant paperwork in case a dispute crops up.
The government’s current advice to those who want to install spray foam insulation is to work with a member of the National Insulation Association to do so.
At Insulation Advisor, we can help you find the best loft insulation experts in your area who specialise in spray foam insulation if you think it’s right for your property. All you need to do is fill out our quick form and get a free quote today, and we’ll guide you towards loft insulation installers in your area.
Blanket insulation is as it sounds – you add a ‘blanket’ of insulation within the joist of your loft’s floor. This type of insulation tends to come in rolls or batts, which are then cut to size and fitted within your loft.
The plus of blanket insulation is that it’s both fire and water-resistant, so it’s great for fire safety and for ensuring that your insulation doesn’t become damp. It’s easy to install, too, so if you’re looking for a way to save money on labour costs, install blanket insulation as a DIY project.
While you can install blanket insulation yourself, it is irritating to come into direct contact with, so take necessary precautions during the installation process.
- You can install it as a DIY project
- It’s cheaper than other types of insulation
- It’s an effective form of insulation.
- You can add it to existing insulation
- It can be irritating to skin and eyes if you come into direct contact with it.
- You’ll need a depth of around 270mm minimum and if this takes the insulation above the height of your loft joists, you’ll have to use loft legs to install a floor above the insulation.
- Homeowners looking to save money
- DIY installers
- Homeowners concerned with fire safety.
Less suitable for:
- People with skin sensitivity who are looking to install insulation as a DIY project (due to the irritating effect of blanket insulation).
Blown-fibre insulation comprises mineral fibres that are blown around the joists of your loft or your roof joist. When these fibres stick together, they produce a foam-like effect which insulates your home against heat loss.
Like with loose-fill, this type of insulation is ideal for hard-to-reach spaces and corners. Also like loose-fill, it must be installed by a professional installer using specialist equipment, so it’s not a suitable DIY project.
- It tends to be made with recycled materials.
- It’s ideal for small, hard-to-reach spaces.
- It’s expensive
- It must be installed by a professional.
- Homes with small, hard-to-reach lofts
- Eco-conscious homeowners.
Less suitable for:
- Homeowners on a budget.
Solid insulation boards can either be installed over or in between your roof joists. In order to fit them properly, you’ll need to leave adequate space for ventilation between the rafters and the boards.
One of the reasons for insulation boards’ popularity is that they’re ideal for moisture control. They’re also great for loft conversions because you can cover them with plasterboard for a more aesthetically-pleasing finish.
- Great for moisture control.
- Provides effective and efficient insulation.
- It must be properly installed, preferably by a professional
- It’s sensitive to UV light.
- Loft conversions
- Homeowners looking for moisture control.
Less suitable for:
- People looking for a DIY installation project.
How Much Does Loft Insulation Cost?
If cost is a significant concern for you, then the best loft insulation for you may be the cheapest type of loft insulation or one that can be installed as a DIY project to save the money you would have spent on labour costs.
You can use the table below to estimate how much the materials alone would cost you.
|Type of Loft Insulation||Cost per m2 for the material only|
Blown-fibre and spray foam insulation are the most expensive, while blanket insulation is by far the cheapest. When it comes to labour costs, they’ll depend in part on which part of the country you’re based in, with residents of the South East and London being likely to pay more, for example.
On average, loft insulation doesn’t take more than a day to install, and you can expect to pay a daily call-out fee of between £150 and £300.
If you are eligible for certain benefits, you may be able to get your loft insulation installed either free of charge or at a heavily discounted rate. To find out whether you can get money off your loft insulation, consult the ECO4 scheme’s page here.
Which Type of Loft Insulation is Best for You?
There’s no one particular type of loft insulation that wins every category. Instead, you have to consider the needs of your individual property and your priorities.
If installing the insulation yourself and keeping costs low is a priority, for example, blanket insulation will probably be the best option for you. If you’re insulating a small space that’s difficult to access, your loft will be better suited to loose-fill or blown-fibre.
Both insulation boards and loose-fill are reasonably priced, so if blanket insulation isn’t suitable for your needs but you don’t have the budget for blown-fibre or spray foam, it’s another good option. In part, how long your insulation lasts and how effectively it keeps your home warm is based on how well it’s installed.
The easiest and most effective way to figure out which type of loft insulation is most suited to your property is to make a list of your priorities, such as fire safety, acoustic insulation, or low cost. With your ‘shopping list’ you can then match your priorities with types of insulation that boast these features.
How To Find An Expert Loft Insulation Installer In Your Area
Convinced that installing loft insulation would benefit your property? You’ll need to find the right person for the job. Having loft insulation properly installed is half the battle to enjoying a long lifespan. Poorly-installed insulation can lead to problems such as damp and mould, so don’t take the decision of your loft insulation installer lightly.
Enquire with Insulation Advisor today, and you can access competitive quotes from trusted insulation installers that provide loft insulation in your area.