Ceiling and Underfloor Insulation for Comfort and Savings

There are many benefits of installing home insulation. Insulating your home will create a healthier home environment, add to your comfort, reduce your energy bills and have a positive effect on the environment. These days insulation is installed in all new houses, but a few decades ago this wasn’t common practice. Consequently, many old houses don’t have an adequate level of ceiling or underfloor insulation according to today’s standards.

Installing Ceiling and Underfloor Insulation in Existing Homes

Whether your home is completely uninsulated or only has a very thin layer of insulation, adding fresh insulation to your house is a great way of increasing the comfort of your home. Adding ceiling and underfloor insulation to an old home will help to create a more stable indoor temperature and create a more enjoyable living environment, especially during the coldest and hottest months of the year.

Blocking Out Unwanted Sounds with Insulation

Adding wall insulation to the new home design will also help you to manage the acoustics. Insulation creates a sound barrier, preventing unwanted noise from penetrating your home and conversely increasing the privacy of your home. Acoustic insulation within the four walls is gaining popularity in New Zealand homes. Rather than allowing sound from one end of the house travel freely to the other, where it very possibly will disturb someone trying to sleep or study, home owners are choosing to install high density insulation in the internal walls. This reduces the need for the whole family to move about the house on tiptoe and also gives people in the living room (or separate theatre) an opportunity to appreciate what their recently purchased sound system is capable of producing.

Real Savings by Insulating Your Home

Added ceiling and underfloor insulation makes your home much more energy efficient and as such the investment also has cost benefits to you as homeowner. Insulation will keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. This will reduce the reliance on heating and cooling systems to maintain a comfortable temperature. Not only will this reduce your energy bills, but the HVAC systems themselves will be subject to less wear and tear and can be expected to last for longer. As such, home insulation will reduce the costs of cooling and heating your home.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint with Home Insulation

Installing thermal insulation in homes also has global benefits. Homes with a nice thick layer of insulation end up using less energy to heat and cool them. Reducing your energy consumption helps to reduce carbon emissions and the more homes that engage actively in this way of thinking, the bigger the impact on the environment.

Professional Insulation Installation Services

Installing insulation isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Many people find glasswool insulation unpleasant to handle while others aren’t physically able to climb into their roof cavity and install the insulation themselves. If you are not able to install the insulation yourself, you can engage professional installers to do the job for you.

Note: From 1st July 2019 all rental homes in New Zealand will be required to have an adequate level of ceiling and underfloor insulation as stated in the Residential Tenancies Act.


Does Underfloor Insulation Heat Up the Floor?

Does underfloor insulation heat up the floor

Does Underfloor Insulation Make a Difference?

Out of all the heat that is lost during the cold winter months, most of it escapes through the ceilings and walls. A small portion, however, will also inevitably make its way through the floor. Is it enough to warrant an insulation investment? Does floor insulation make a difference? These are questions that many home owners are faced with at the time of construction, particularly if they are trying to make ends meet and come up with a viable and balanced building proposal and budget. People living in homes with a raised timber floor may also find themselves wondering the same thing, especially if they’ve been through a few hard winters.

Underfloor Insulation Undoubtedly Has Its Place

As far as thermal efficiency goes, wall and roof insulation are by far the most popular home insulation products, and not without good reason – combined, the roof and wall areas probably account for over 70% of a building’s heat loss. But underfloor insulation also has an important role to play. These days many new homes will have a layer of polystyrene insulation lying underneath the slab. The reason this is often used under concrete slabs is because it has an exceptional compressive strength. Homes with raised timber floors may have layer of bulk underfloor insulation.

Honest Feedback from Recent Pink Batts Insulation Customer

Pricewise Insulation recently sold Pink Batts underfloor insulation to a customer, to be installed by a professional insulation installer. Interested in some honest feedback on the outcome, Pricewise conducted an interview on the whole experience. Following is a summary of the interview:

Q: What made you decide to invest in underfloor insulation?

A: The house we’d moved into had a raised underfloor, and it was quite chilly to walk on even when the rooms were warm. That, together with the fact that we’d done some research and knew that underfloor insulation can help to reduce our energy costs resulted in our decision to go for it.

Q: How did you experience the process of getting the insulation delivered and installed?

A:  This was actually quite easy. We knew a good insulation installer, so we measured up the floor area, ordered the insulation to be delivered to our door, and booked the installer for the following day. It took him less than a day to insulate the entire underfloor area.

Q: Did the underfloor insulation make a difference?

A:  Definitely. Most of the internal heating in our home comes from the wood combustion heater in the living room. This creates a lot of heat and the lounge room and adjoining rooms are comfortably warm while it’s on. But what was interesting to note was the difference in floor temperature from close to the heater and further throughout the house. Close to the wood combustion heater, the floor quickly warmed up and remained warm. However, in the rooms furthers from the source of heat, the floor was noticeably cooler, despite the insulation. Presumably, if we had heaters running in those rooms also we would have noticed a similar effect to the main living area.

So, How Much Difference Does Underfloor Insulation Make?

Underfloor insulation does make a difference. Although it is not a replacement for a heater, where heaters are in use, it definitely helps to ensure that as little heat as possible escapes through the floor. The table below shows the effect underfloor insulation and heat sources may have on the temperature of the floor.

The Potential Effect of Underfloor Insulation and a Heat Source on the Floor Temperature

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As you can see, it’s the combination of underfloor insulation and a heat source within the room that creates a floor that is comfortably warm. The absence of either of these will result in a floor that is cool to touch, and without either of them the floor will be uncomfortably cold.

There is no doubt that if other areas of the room – walls, doors, windows, ceiling – are uninsulated, this will have a further impact on the temperature of the floor.


12 Most Common Questions About Underfloor Insulation

At Pricewise Insulation we get a lot of questions about underfloor insulation. We’ve collated the most common ones and created a go to page where all your questions about underfloor insulation are answered.

1. Does Underfloor Insulation Work?

Yes, underfloor insulation definitely works and is commonly used under raised timber floors. Regardless of whether you’ve got carpet above the floorboards, underfloor insulation is still necessary to reduce heat loss and to maintain a comfortable floor temperature.

2. Is it Worth Insulating Under Floorboards?

Yes, it is. Underfloor insulation reduces heat loss, keeping you warmer in winter. Underfloor insulation makes a noticeable difference, particularly when you’re not wearing shoes inside, and in areas where you spend a lot of time sitting or standing. As underfloor insulation reduces heat loss, it also contributes to reducing energy consumption in the home.

3. How Effective is Underfloor Insulation?

If you currently have no insulation under your floor, then even putting a minimum R-value of thermal underfloor insulation will effectively reduce the transfer of heat. The extent to which the underfloor insulation reduces heat loss will depend on the following factors:

  1. The r-value of the underfloor insulation.
  2. How correctly it’s installed. The performance of even the best underfloor insulation will be greatly reduced if it is installed with gaps throughout. Similarly, insulation which is compressed beyond its optimal thickness won’t perform as well as correctly installed insulation.

4. Can you Use Ceiling Insulation Under the Floor?

This is not an uncommon scenario. Similarly, you might want to know if you can use wall insulation in the under floor. Maybe you’ve finished installing the ceiling or wall insulation and you’ve got some leftover bags. You’re justified in thinking that they can be used in the underfloor, rather than spending money on officially branded underfloor insulation. Perhaps you weren’t even thinking to insulate the underfloor, but now that you have some leftover bags, why not?

Technically there is no reason why ceiling and/or wall insulation cannot be installed underneath the floorboards between the floor joists. However, this is not to be recommended. Both a standard glasswool and polyester ceiling and wall insulation segment is a lot less rigid than the corresponding floor insulation product. This means that a lot more effort (and strapping/tape) will be required in order to keep the insulation in place and get a satisfactory result. Even then it will be difficult to get a tidy finish especially if the underfloor is exposed to wind and weather.

5. Do you Insulate Floors?

Is floor insulation necessary? Yes, in New Zealand underfloor insulation in rental properties, where it is reasonably practicable to install, is a requirement under the Residential Tenancies Act.

6. Should I Insulate Between Floors?

Insulating between floors, ie the midfloor, has two key benefits. One is sound reduction. Without insulation, the sound of conversations, music, tv etc. will easily be heard between floors. The typical gap between the lower floor ceiling and the upper floor floorboards is more than adequate to fit a good layer of thermal insulation, or even better, high density acoustic insulation, which results in the above-mentioned household sounds becoming barely audible.
The other benefit is climate control. By insulating between floors, you’re better able to isolate heating or cooling to either level of the home, helping to reduce energy costs.

7. What is Underfloor Insulation?

Underfloor insulation is thermal and/or acoustic insulation which is typically installed between the joists of raised timber floors. It can be made of polyester, glasswool or other materials with insulating properties.

8. How Does Floor Insulation Work?

Floor insulation works by providing a thermal barrier between the room above the floor and the outside air. This is necessary because the materials used in common flooring – timber floorboards, ceramic tiles, laminate etc – usually have very poor insulating properties.

9. How Much Heat is Lost Through the Floor?

Heat loss is difficult to quantify, but energy savings are definitely measurable, and obviously there is a correlation between heat loss and energy consumption. As a rough guide, in a fully insulated home, the total energy savings can be attributed approximately as follows:

Ceiling: 40-50%
Walls: 20-30%
Underfloor: 10-20%

10. How Much Does Underfloor Insulation Cost?

Underfloor insulation costs between $7.88/m² and $17.32/m², depending on the brand, type and R-value. Visit our insulation calculator page to work out how much insulation you’ll need.

11. What is the Best Underfloor Insulation?

Autex Greenstuf underfloor insulation is one of the best insulation brands on the market. It is entirely itch free and contains no breathable particles. It is easy to install and can be expected to last as long as your home.

12. How is Underfloor Insulation Installed?

Greenstuf underfloor insulation is fixed up to the floor joists and stapled to the side of the joists to ensure that it remains in place.

Earthwool, Pink Batts and Bradford underfloor insulation is also installed between the floor joists. However, strapping or taping is used to keep it in place. Check out our DIY Home Insulation Tips for more details on how to install underfloor insulation.

Spring is Here – Install Pink Batts Ceiling Insulation

Install Pink Batts Ceiling Insulation

Spring is Here – Install Pink Batts Ceiling Insulation

The days are getting longer and warmer, the birds are singing and four-year-old Grace is excited because as she puts it, “my birthday is when the flowers come”. And she’s right. The warm weather is just around the corner and it’s time to open up the blinds, let in the light and welcome spring into our homes! Everywhere you look people seem to be in good spirits and some of us have already started on those “we’ll wait until the weather’s warmer” projects. It’s also no surprise that the term spring cleaning is a common phenomenon for many. With renewed energy, jobs around the house that have been piling up in the too hard basket suddenly become manageable.

Jobs Around the House Aren’t That Hard, After All

It’s almost like your perceptiveness is sharpened by the change in the air and it becomes obvious what is to be thrown out and where the odds and ends actually belong. You spend less time thinking and dreading, and more time doing. Jobs around the house that seemed so impossible are actually not that hard, and you wonder why you put them off for so long. Take the draught that blew through your house all winter that meant your feet were always cold. Now a quick online search inspires you to head down to the nearest hardware store, purchase a draught stopper and install it. Simple.

Inspect Your Ceiling Insulation

Then you’ve had this nagging feeling for ages that there’s something not quite right about your energy bills. Nothing drastic, but you just seem to be paying a lot to heat your house and yet it seems to escape a bit too quickly when you turned the heating off. You get into some old clothes and spend a few minutes climbing up into your roof space. Your sneaking suspicion was spot on. While the insulation is there, some of it has moved and created gaps, allowing much of your heat to escape. Not only that, but it appears that a good portion of the insulation has possibly been wet at some point, rendering it useless.

Install Pink Batts and Save on your Energy Bills

After another quick google search, you pick up the phone and contact the team at Pricewise Insulation. You explain the situation and they give you some expert advice along with a suggested insulation solution. They also tell you that if you order Pink Batts, you may be eligible for a free delivery. A week later you’ve removed all your old ceiling insulation and replaced it with thick, brand new Pink Batts. In one way it’s a pity you didn’t do it earlier. But then again, summer will be here before you know it and at least you’ll be turning on your air conditioning unit, confident that the energy is well spent.


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Requirements for Ceiling and Underfloor Insulation in New Zealand

Requirements for Ceiling and Underfloor Insulation in New Zealand

Requirements for Ceiling and Underfloor Insulation

Concerns that a lot of rental housing in New Zealand was not providing accommodation that was warm or dry enough, led among other things to reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act in 2015. The updated Residential Tenancies Act now requires all landlords to make sure that their rentals meet minimum insulation standards.

From 1 July 2019, ceiling and underfloor insulation will be compulsory in all rental homes where it is reasonably practicable to install. In other words, landlords now have just under ten months to ensure that their rental properties are adequately insulated.

The law states that “A landlord who fails to comply with the regulations will be committing an unlawful act and may be liable for a penalty of up to $4,000.”

Defining What is Reasonably Practicable

It could seem like the term “reasonably practicable” could be open to interpretation, but even here there are clear guidelines that specify what is reasonable and what is not when it concerns installing ceiling and underfloor insulation in existing homes. One of the scenarios where it would not be reasonably practicable to install insulation and where installation would not be mandatory is when the ceiling or underfloor space is either unsafe or impracticable to access.

Underfloor or Ceiling Space Unsafe or Impracticable to Access

So what does this mean? This particular exemption refers to areas of homes that would be unsafe or impracticable to access for a number of reasons. It might be limited access, their design, potential for substantial damage, or healthy and safety reasons. One thing that is important to note, is that the area must be unsafe or impracticable for professional insulation installers, not just the landlords themselves or some other unqualified people. For example, an eighty-year-old landlord who has just undergone a hip replacement is not exempt from installing insulation in his rental property because it is impracticable for him to climb up into the roof cavity himself. So when would the exceptions apply? There are three typical scenarios where an insulation exemption would be considered.

#1. Substantial Building Work or Damage Required

An experienced professional insulation installer is not able to access the area without causing considerable damage to the property or without requiring significant building work.

#2. Risk to Health and Safety

An experienced professional insulation installer is not able to fit insulation in specific areas without posing a risk to the health and safety of any person (usually the insulation installer). In any insulation installation job there would be an element of risk, but the risk referred to in this case must be more serious than the ones that are generally considered acceptable for professional installers.

#3. The Installation is Simply Impracticable

It is just not reasonably practicable to install insulation in a particular area. The classic example would be in the case where there is just not enough space between the ceiling and the roof to install ceiling insulation, or under the house to be able to install underfloor insulation. Here it is important to note that insulation must still be installed in other areas of the same house where it is practicable to do so. In other words, just because one part of the roof cavity is inaccessible, it doesn’t mean that no ceiling insulation is required for the parts that it is both possible and safe to access.


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Reducing Excessive Noise in a Pergola Café

Reducing Excessive Noise in a Pergola Café - Sound Insulation Panels

For years a 17m x 12m pergola in Wellington had served as multipurpose dining area/café. It was initially made up of steel posts, a concrete floor and a metal roof sloping from approximately 3.5m on the sides and up towards 4.5m towards the centre. At the very centre of the roof was a Perspex dome, allowing light to come through. Plastic tables and chairs were typically used at the different functions.

Exposed to the Elements

One challenge with the pergola was that the building was exposed to the weather (rain in particular). On rainy days, if there was a bit of wind in the mix, it wasn’t at all uncommon for the rain to make it all the way to the centre of the cafe, rendering the area useless. An unusually large storm provided the catalyst for the management board to invest in the installation of some quality outdoor blinds. This enabled the entire pergola to be closed in during windy weather with the additional benefit of also being able to heat it up on chilly evenings.

Going from Bad to Worse

The pergola had always been a noisy place, prone to excess noise, but with the installation of the blinds it became clear that this problem had now become a lot worse. Noise travels from its source and when it hits a hard surface it will deflect and continue on its trajectory until it eventually dissipates. The absence of any soft sound absorbing material in both the building itself and the furnishings, is just about the worst combination possible.

It was agreed by the board to contact an acoustic engineer who quoted a significant sum to come out, conduct some noise tests on site and to provide a comprehensive acoustic solution to the problem. This was considered excessive and a team was assigned to see if there was a cheaper and easier way to resolve the problem without engaging an expensive professional for a seemingly simple problem.

Hard Surfaces All Around

For the team of non-experts, it wasn’t difficult to understand where the problem lay. With a concrete floor and a metal roof, all sound ranging from the scraping of a plastic chair to an animated conversation, was always going to reverberate excessively. Lining even one of these large surfaces with acoustic sound absorbing material should be expected to at least do something to improve the situation. One of the options discussed was to carpet the entire floor, but this was decided against from a cleanliness point of view.

The Autex Acoustic Insulation Solution

The other large surface was of course the metal ceiling and it was agreed to invest in Autex acoustic insulation panels that would be fitted to an area of the roof. The high-density panels were 50mm thick, the type which is commonly used behind slat walls. These were fitted in a rectangle shape on the inside of the ceiling bordering the large dome. The effect of these were immediately noticeable and the total cost of this solution, with volunteer labour in the mix, came to just over half the fee that the acoustic engineer would have charged to come out and inspect the site.

Different building interiors are designed in many different ways and are constructed from many different materials. There is no doubt that acoustic engineers and consultants have their place in recommending the ultimate solution for various environments. If, however, you’re dealing with a simple noise echo problem in a large space, you can be quite sure that applying a dense sound absorbing material to an adequate area will greatly assist in reducing the unwanted noise of reverb in that space.


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Effective Sound Insulation in NZ Classrooms

Effective Sound Insulation in NZ School Classrooms - Acoustic Insulation Panels

It hasn’t always been the case that the acoustic considerations have been taken into account during the design of school classrooms. In recent years, however it has become more and more common knowledge that an acoustically healthy atmosphere facilitates learning.

Range of Acoustic Needs in the Classroom

Classrooms have unique acoustic requirements. Noise created by a large group of chattering children should ideally be absorbed, while the voice of the teacher should carry across the whole room, so that it can be heard by the students clearly and easily. Fortunately, from an acoustic management point of view, the nature of the situation is such that the teacher will generally be sitting or standing in the same place every day as she delivers her lesson. This means that the room can be set up with acoustic panels and other measures in place for a consistently pleasing acoustic result.

Distorted Sound with Poor Acoustics

If, for example, the wall at the back of the room is a hard surface, this can create a chaotic sound situation, making it difficult for students to concentrate. The voice of the teacher practically bounces off the hard surface at the back and starts moving back across the room. These sound waves subsequently get mixed up with the teacher’s next instructions. The solution is often to line the rear wall with thick acoustic insulation panels specially designed to absorb sound, enabling the next sentence to be received without undue distraction.

Whole Class and Small Group Instruction

Following the whole class introduction, the teacher often moves to a different part of the room. She may move to the floor to work with a small group of children or she might need to monitor students at their tables. If the rest of the acoustics are set up optimally, she is then able to provide assistance to individual and small groups of students, without disturbing the other children as they complete their work.

Impact of Fittings and Furnishings

The materials used to line walls and ceilings have a big impact on the acoustics of the room as does the absence or presence of carpet on the floor. The nature of the furniture also impacts acoustic reverb. Any soft absorbing materials on chairs will help to absorb echos, (although the impact is minimal) whereas hard plastic chairs will exacerbate the problem.

Teachers working in old classrooms lined with polished floorboards often find that several small group discussions among students can quickly escalate to a noise level that is unbearable as children end up shouting to be heard. Some are more creative than others and end up hanging up their own acoustic insulation in the form of curtains, fabrics and tapestries, and lining the floor with rugs to reduce the noise that is reverberated across the room.

One of the considerations of teachers taking outdoor lessons, on the other hand, is ensuring that they can be heard, as there are fewer surfaces to echo or amplify their instructions, and the sound easily dissipates into thin air.

Considerations for the Best Acoustic Insulation Solutions

In modern day teaching, interaction between students and teachers often happens in more informal settings. Educational acoustic designers and consultants should take into consideration the facets of the room, along with its intended use before recommending the amount, type and positioning of sound insulation in NZ schools.


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Two Simple Ways To Save Energy In The Home

Two Simple Ways To Save Energy In The Home - Install Ceiling Insulation and LED Lights

With all the talk about sustainability and reducing carbon emissions, it can be easy to think, how much difference will I actually make? And it’s hard to know for sure if all the measures taken have in fact had any noticeable impact the electricity bill. For renters, the motivation to be energy wise is often lower, especially if utility bills are included in the rent. There are, however a few simple steps you can take, that you can be sure will reduce your overall energy consumption.

LED Light Bulbs Use Far Less Energy

As with many innovations, when LED light bulbs were first introduced to the market, they were priced significantly higher than the existing household globes. It was hard to convince the regular householder of the value of the new globe, both in terms of reduced energy consumption and life of the globe itself, especially since many illuminated a very bright, white and unnatural light.

Improved Quality of Light in Recent Years

In recent years, however, the price of LED light bulbs has come down and the quality of the light has gone up. Many LEDs can be expected to last up to 50,000 hours, meaning that with moderate use it is likely to last more than ten years. The light itself now closely resembles that of incandescent globes, but extraordinarily uses 70-80% less energy. When you then consider how many light bulbs are used in a home, you start to see the light.

Install Ceiling Insulation For Big Savings

Installing ceiling insulation, however, is by far the most effective way to save energy. Today it is taken for granted that houses are built with adequate levels of insulation. In fact, the Building Code specifies the minimum R-rating that new homes must comply with. This includes the R-value of the insulation itself, but also takes into account the insulating properties of the other building materials.

Significant Heat Losses and Gains Without Insulation

However, going back a few decades, it was quite common for homes to be built without any form of thermal insulation. Whether it came down to cutting costs, low energy prices, less focus on sustainability and carbon emission, or a combination of these, is hard to know for sure. What we do know, is that uninsulated ceilings can account for nearly half of all the heat gained in summer and account for up to 40 percent of heat lost in winter.

Calculating How Much to Install Insulation

While it does take a bit of effort and organising, the beauty of installing ceiling insulation is that when the job is done it’s done. The manhole is closed and the insulation can be expected to last for the life of the home. Many brands come with either a life time guarantee or at least 50 to 70 years, which effectively is the life of the home. This means that a once off investment will yield savings on energy bills year after year. When you are working with your budget and figuring out how much to install insulation, you can reasonably expect to earn back the money spent over the first few years on reduced energy bills.


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Common Misconceptions About Cold Floors

Common Misconceptions About Cold Floors - Why to Install Underfloor Insulation

Understanding the factors that contribute to a cold floor can help you resolve the problem and lead to added comfort and savings on your energy bills. This article explores some common myths about cold floors and details one of the most effective way to address the issue.

Myth #1: If the Floor is Sealed, it Won’t Get Cold

Let’s say that someone has been putting up with a cold floor for quite some time. While it hasn’t really been an issue in summer, it is always noticeable during the colder months of the year. Then one day they discover that there are several gaps in their flooring. At this point in time it would be a fair assumption for the home owner to make that this must be why the floor is cold, so they set out to address the issue and seal up all the gaps in the floor. However, the truth is that while cracks in the floor do exacerbate problem, and sealing gaps will improve the situation to a small extent, it won’t actually solve the problem.

Myth #2: The Floor is Cold Because Hot Air Rises

Yes, hot air rises, but this does not explain why the floor is cold. Materials lose their heat when they come into contact with something that is colder than themselves and which is conducive to heat transfer. Underfloor insulation provides the necessary barrier between the floor and the cold air underneath, so that it is not in direct contact with cold air. Insulation is a poor conductor of heat, and it will be difficult for the heat in the flooring to be transferred to the insulation itself, let alone pass through it. This will cause the flooring material to retain its heat, making it more comfortable during cold weather.

How Can Underfloor Insulation Reduce Energy Bills?Reasons to Install Underfloor Insulation

In winter, we generate warmth inside the home. Our thermostat recognises when the house has reached a set temperature and the heater is automatically switched off. The warmth stays in a well-insulated house even after the heater has turned itself off. However, up to 20% of heat can be lost through an uninsulated floor in winter. This means that the heating system has to keep on generating heat to maintain the desired temperature. The result is a higher energy bill. Some of the heat is lost through cracks or gaps and some is lost through the actually flooring material. By sealing the gaps and installing insulation directly under your floor, you address both of these “leaks”.

Professional Advice with Pricewise Insulation

Installing underfloor insulation can be somewhat of a challenge, depending on a number of factors. The most obvious is the space underneath the floor of the house which is quite often limited, sometimes to the extent that you will be forced to move around whilst lying on your back and install insulation over your head. While it may be possible to do it yourself, there is always the option of booking in a profession installer to do the job for you. Pricewise Insulation has years of experience and can provide expert advice on your insulation project.


The Worst Retrofit Ceiling Insulation Jobs

The Worst Retrofit Ceiling Insulation Jobs

Ignoring the more trivial issues that can be associated with a retrofit insulation job, such as protruding nails, sharp, which are typically present and can take you by surprise (by the way, it pays to scan the area for these before you get stuck right into it), there are some circumstances that have the potential to either make or break the insulation installer.

It Starts with Sweltering Conditions Inside the Roof Space

The installer checks the weather forecast, and automatically braces himself for what will be a hot, tough day. He starts early in the morning and things don’t seem too bad, but he knows from experience that it’s coming. The sun comes out and starts beating down on the roof, making it more and more uncomfortable to work. It is then in the best interest of the installer to get the job over and done with as quickly as possible. The question may eventually be raised of whether or not it’s safe to even be inside the roof, as it can quickly heat up well beyond the outside temperature.

Photo of a man installing retrofit ceiling insulation batts

Some retrofit ceiling insulation jobs are easy, especially when there is enough room to move.

Can’t Fit the Bags Through the Manhole

Unfortunately, there are several more circumstances out of the installer’s control that will slow down the process considerably. The first is the question of the manhole. Roof insulation comes in bags which normally fit through easily enough, but some manholes are just too small for the insulation bags to fit through. Even if they barely do fit through the opening, low hanging rafters can make the job of pushing the bags into the ceiling space impossible. Then the installer often has no choice but to split open the bag and feed the insulation batts through the hole manually. This is not a pleasant task, especially if he is on his own.

Low Pitched Roofs You Can Hardly Sit Up In

Low pitched roof can easily be spotted from the outside. In the worst cases, installers are barely able to sit up on their knees whilst installing the ceiling insulation. The outer corners or edges are entirely out of reach and the insulation for these parts will only be able to be fitted using a long installer’s stick (which is usually nothing more than a broom stick or similar with a nail sticking out at the end) from an awkward crouching position.

Uneven Spacing in Retrofit Ceiling Insulation

You could possibly survive all of the above without the final nail on the coffin: uneven spacing between the ceiling joists. This basically means that all the roof insulation segments will either need to be cut to size, or have additional small pieces of insulation fitted into the gaps to adequately secure them into place and to achieve a satisfactory performance r-value. Considering the areas that are out of reach and must be accessed with a mere stick and nail, this can be quite the juggling act.

As you may well understand, the worst retrofit ceiling insulation jobs are not for the faint hearted.

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Buy Pink Batts and Install Them Yourself

Buy Pink Batts and Install Them Yourself

Roof insulation can be installed before or after plaster. Often the insulation installers will find it easier to install before plaster. The roof insulation segments are simply pushed up into place between the ceiling joists with long sticks. The insulation is precut to ensure a snug fit between the ceiling joists assuming that the joists are spaced at the industry standard; 450mm or 600mm. If the spacing is excessive or uneven it can make it difficult for the installers to insert the roof insulation from underneath and the decision may be made to preload the roof with unopened bags of insulation and install them from above.

Calculating the Amount When You Buy Pink Batts

The number of bags required is easily calculated by dividing the number of square metres in the roof space by the number of square metres of insulation in the bags and then deducting 10 percent to allow for the timber framing itself. R2.5 segments are on the thinner end of the scale and less rigid, making them more difficult to install from underneath, even if the joist spacing is optimal. This may also provide a reason to opt for installing the insulation after plaster, from within the roof cavity.  Installing roof insulation in the cavity of a new home is usually a much more pleasant experience compared to older homes. Unlike old houses, new buildings haven’t had time to accumulate the layers of dirt and dust that an old roof will inevitably accumulate over a number of decades.

Install Pink Batts Insulation - Buy OnlineThe Retrofit Installation Process

While it is fully possible for someone to install the insulation on their own, installers will often choose to work a fellow team member. Working as a team of two has several benefits. Apart from the social element of doing a tough job together with a friend, working as a team of two can use less than half the time one installer would need on their own. Benefits are especially felt when loading bags through the manhole which can be quite tedious and time consuming to do alone.

Installing Insulation from Within the Roof Cavity

Roof cavities are typically quite hot, so installers usually prefer to start early, before the temperature inside the roof cavity becomes too high to work in safely. Installers often bring a couple of extra bags of insulation with them “just in case”. Up in the ceiling space the installers will split one bag open at a time and, using their installer sticks, (this might be as simple as a broom handle with a nail fixed to the end), will get to work deftly fitting the insulation batts between the ceiling joists, starting in the furthest corner. Once the roof insulation installation is complete installers can be expected to clean up any leftover scraps before fitting the final piece of insulation over the manhole cover.

Roof insulation is by far the most cost-effective way towards keeping your electricity bills down and maintaining a pleasant indoor temperature all year round. Buy Pink Batts this winter and get a free delivery anywhere in New Zealand!

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