Floor Insulation

About 10% of heat loss from an average home is through the ground floor.
If your floor isn’t already insulated, this could be a good move to help you cut your energy bills.
Not sure whether you already have floor insulation, or want to install it but don’t know how? Read on to find out more about floor insulation and what’s the right option for your home.

Do you need to insulate your floor?

There’s no point in investing in floor insulation if you don’t need it, or if it’s unsuitable for your home, but how do you know one way or the other?
Whether you need floor insulation or not depends on your home and what kind of floors it has:

  • Houses with ‘suspended floors’, which are in effect above a void, are likely to lose more heat through the floor.
  • Houses with ‘Concrete floors’. tend to incorporate slabs of polystyrene insulation a few inches below the concrete floor surface, effectively reducing this type of heat loss.

Whatever your home, there’s still some kind of measure you can take to insulate your floor.

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Ways to insulate your floor:

  • A rug – it’s not going to solve all your problems, but in the short term putting a rug on top of bare floorboards will help to block some draughts and keep your toes warm.
  • Underfloor insulation – if you have access that allows you to get into the space below the floorboards, this is a relatively easy process. Insultech can install or supply you a range of products including: Polystyrene, Glasswool or Polyester floor insulation.

Its always easier to use polyester blanket insulation rather than sheet or segment style insulation. Polyesters typically also have the advantage of having a slightly higher installed R-value then polystyrene – the higher the R-value, the greater the insulator’s effectiveness.
One thing to remember, however, is the need for ventilation. The void (or crawlspace) below the floorboards will have ventilation grills and these should not be blocked up, as floorboards may otherwise become damp and start to rot.

Floor page photo

What else should you insulate in the home?

While floor insulation is a great way to save money, it is by no means the first form of insulation you should look at around your home.
Roof insulation
If your property has a roof with attic space then Roof insulation is the first thing you should look at, particularly since an estimated 40% of the heat in your home is lost through the roof space.

Roof insulation is cheap to buy, easy to install (you can even do it yourself) and can save you serious amounts of money over the years.

Even if you already have roof insulation in place it may be worth checking whether you have the recommended levels installed. The recommended depth for insulation is approximately 120mm – 180mm depending on where in New Zealand you live. If your roof insulation was installed some time ago there’s a good chance it’s less than that and may need a top up.

Wall insulation
While significantly more expensive to install than loft insulation, Wall insulation could save you even more money over the long term.
Wall insulation is typically divided into two types, depending on what type of home you have or what you are looking at doing. Retro-fitted Cavity wall insulation, typically suitable for older homes built before 1990, consists of pumping / blowing insulation into the space between the inner and the outer walls. Segment type wall insulation, for homes that don’t have the inner or outer lining in place. (new builds or major renovations)

If your home was built more recently still there’s a good chance you will already have cavity wall insulation in place but now know about it.

The problem with this form of insulation is that you will usually need help getting it installed. For retro-fitted cavity wall insulation, holes have to be drilled into your wall through which the insulation material is pumped or blown.