Loft insulation -Now what?

  SparkyJack 10:57 29 May 2011

The topic has been discussed here previously I think though a trawl revealed nothing of import.

Having had the installer here on Thursday last to put in Free insulation[for the over 70's]

I had to remove pile of material before it could be carried out.

Much of it disposable one way or another - some to the dump other given away via Freecycle/Fregle- I still have a small amount to put back up there.

Before the new installation I had a number of boards across joists as storage platforms- These the installer would not move or replace they simply went over them.

So do I try to retrieve them and relay them over the new insulation and restore that which I wish to retain? Or is using the space not now advised?

You experiences/comments please*strong text*

  Forum Editor 11:11 29 May 2011

Use the space as before - no reason why you shouldn't. You can remove the storage boards anmd replace if you like, but a quicker, simpler way is just to cut the insulation material with a pair or large, sharp scissors, or a sharp knife, and tuck it under the boards.

Doing that will not detract from the insulating properties of the material in any way.

  spuds 11:13 29 May 2011

I would have thought that the insulation should have gone under the boards. But as these people are on a bonus scheme, it would be hardly likely that they would remove the boards, especially if they are fixed down. They possibly suggested that you removed 'all items' before they started the work!.

If you are really concerned, then contact the company that did the work,or the grant provider and get their opinion. Whether it is grant work or otherwise, they would need to meet the acceptable regulations regarding this type of work.

Perhaps as a point of interest, we had cavity wall insulation a number of years ago, and we obtained the use of a thermal imager. Surprising how many void cold area points can show up around the property, and perhaps more so if the crews are on a per job bonus scheme!.

  johndrew 11:13 29 May 2011

The fact the installer simply put the insulation over the boards fails to give me a great deal of confidence as it is possible that an airspace exists beneath the boards which may allow air to circulate and reduce the effect of the insulation material.

Are the boards secured to the joists? If so the job is bigger. Either way I would recover the boards and reinstall them over the insulation. The insulation can easily be cut as required and repositioned between the joists to allow the boards to be laid directly on the joists.

Be aware that fibreglass is dusty and causes irritation to skin, eyes and lungs. You would be wise to wear overalls that secure to the neck, a mask and possibly goggles; the latter may not be practical if you wear glasses. When you have finished the job, the overalls can go in the washing machine (if they are not the disposable variety) and a good shower is always a good move, paying particular attention to hair and exposed skin around the eyes.

  Forum Editor 11:26 29 May 2011

"Be aware that fibreglass is dusty and causes irritation to skin, eyes and lungs."

It does, but I would be surprised if fibreglass is the material used. Nowadays loft insulation is more commonly of the rock-wool variety, or increasingly made from recycled plastic bottles, which is far less of a problem.

Nevertheless, it is a sensible precaution to wear a face mask when handling it in a confined space, and most lofts are dusty places.

While you're up there, check to make sure that the insulation hasn't been stuffed into the eaves, and resist the temptation to do that yourself. There is always a degree of natural air movement via the eaves, and this is essential. You do not want a loft that is hermetically sealed - there must be air movement across the roof timbers at all times.

  Diemmess 12:03 29 May 2011

When I had the freebie insulation in the roof space I was specifically warned NOT to put the Sterling board back again. The new insulation is so thick and the joists are only 4x2, there is a real risk that the ceiling below could be forced down.

In my humble abode, part of the roof space was left with existing mineral wool and Sterling board cover for storage of "might be useful" junk. About 1/3 of available area was accessible only by an escapee's cat crawl, so this was readily abandoned to the pillowy mineral wool which now covers that area.

  Forum Editor 12:14 29 May 2011


Thick insulation blankets can be a problem in this respect. Many people overcome the problem by fixing 50x50mm battens on the joist tops, effectively increasing the space for the insulation. It's a quick and easy solution.

  SparkyJack 13:38 29 May 2011

Thank you all for your comments so far. The boards are not 'fastened down' so I can pull back the covering insulation 'roll' the board out and relay- piece by piece.

As regards the eves- as the electrician who rewired the place earlier dscovered to his chagrin when he thought he was going to cut a hole in the 'sofit' for the shower vent- they are in fact concrete[Finlock gutter] so he had to leave the trucking loose in the loft - that too has been 'buried' so will need fishing out. Your are right about the dust - much vacuuming to do and possibly a wash down for the painted stair wall--- Oh hum will house work ever end. I much admired the Quentin Crisp sentiment - 'After seven years things don't get any dustier'

  Colonel Graham 13:51 29 May 2011

Since having my loft done, I have decided to not put anything up there again.

  oresome 15:33 29 May 2011

Current standard thickness for loft insulation is 270mm, almost a foot in old money.

It's difficult to lay boards over this thickness of insulation without raising the boards substantially above the existing joists, or compressing the insulation which in turn puts pressure on the fragile plaster board ceiling below and reduces the effectiveness of the insulation.

The boards themselves will offer some insulation, particularly when loaded with junk, so it may be as well to forgo the insulation in a small area where storage is needed. The danger with the added insulation is that you can't see where you are putting your feet, due to both it's thickness and the fact it is cross layed, so great care is needed when attempting to walk in the loft.

  wiz-king 15:47 29 May 2011

"I had to remove pile of material before it could be carried out."

I have a loft full of stuff - all useful - an army mule pack saddle with machine gun mount and panniers left over from the Burma campaign, two tea chests of darkroom equipment (I think some of the chemicals and paper might have gone off), two sets of saucepans (wedding presents - Mrs Wiz's first marriage, about 35 years old-unused) several packs of wine & spririts glasses ditto. All good useful stuff just a bit dusty from having all the roof slates replaced a decade a go - must suggest to 'she who must be obeyed' that it needs dusting up there.

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