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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Knauf Insulation Ticks All the Boxes

Knauf Earthwool Insulation Ticks All the Boxes

Pricewise Insulation is one of New Zealand’s popular retailers of thermal and acoustic insulation. One of their most popular brands is Knauf Earthwool. Earthwool segments are made from fiberglass, similar to most other brands of bulk insulation. However, this German brand of insulation has gained significant popularity due to several distinct features which helped to set it apart from other recognized brands.

An Industry First – Low Itch Glasswool

Since its invention, fiberglass insulation has been associated with itching and discomfort. While some have been worse than others all were more or less itchy to work with. Knauf developed Earthwool to be the least itchy glasswool insulation on the market. In addition to the total absence of any nasty chemicals, Knauf insulation segments contain longer and softer strands compared to other types of glasswool. Fewer strands means fewer ends, which are the primary cause of discomfort when handling glasswool.

Knauf Insulation Logo

More Segments Per Pack = Savings For All

Insulation segments of all makes come in polybags and the amount of square metre coverage in the bag largely depends on the r-value (and thickness) of the insulation in the bag. Earthwool is packaged using advanced compression packaging technology, meaning one bag of Earthwool may contain over twice as much insulation as other brands of the same r-value. This is a real cost saver for suppliers, builders and installers alike. Earthwool insulation retailers can thus store far more Earthwool insulation than any other brand in the same warehousing situation, reducing the overall cost of storage. Builders and DIY renovators inevitably save on transport costs as a smaller delivery vehicle may suffice. Insulation installers themselves also benefit as there are fewer bags to carry around on building sites and into roof cavities, fewer bags to open and fewer bags to dispose of.

Environmentally Friendly and Safe to Work With

In addition to the above-mentioned features, Earthwool shares all the benefits generally associated with glasswool insulation. Fire safety considerations are a key component of good building design. Earthwool is completely non-combustible, meaning that it won’t burn in the event of a fire. Knauf Insulation contains no added formaldehyde and is non-hydroscopic, meaning it doesn’t adsorb airborne moisture.  It is safe to handle and install and requires no special protective equipment. It is, however, always recommended to use protective glasses and a dust mask, especially if working in very dusty environments, ie. old roof cavities, or when installing insulation above your head.

Savings on Energy Bills Far Exceed Initial Cost

If you decide to install Knauf Insulation yourself in your home, use common sense and follow basic safety procedures and recommendations which are available on the manufacturer’s website. Alternatively, if you’re not the DIY type, you might be better off booking in a professional insulation installer to do the job for you. Earthwool insulation is a quality glasswool product and comes with a 50-year manufacturer’s warranty. Over the course of the life of the home you can expect your initial investment in Knauf insulation to be saved back many times over.

Premium Sound Solutions with Greenstuf Insulation

Premium Sound Solutions with Greenstuf Insulation

Autex has a made a name for itself in the market for dealing with acoustic sound insulation products. Autex manufactures insulation from polyester and specialises in both thermal and acoustic insulation and a range of specialty carpets and decorative peel and stick panels.

Photo of a man installing retrofit ceiling insulation battsGreenstuf Insulation an Itch Free Alternative

The thermal and bulk insulation is branded as Greenstuf. Greenstuf insulation has grown in popularity over the years as the no itch alternative to the traditional glass wool insulation. This is particularly relevant to allergy sufferers but has also proven to be a favourite with retired insulation installers who, for example, might want to insulate their own house and who handled more than enough glass wool in their life.

Out of all the types of bulk insulation polyester is the most pleasant to work with. It is important to note, however, that today’s glass wool insulation is much improved to what was commonly sold on the market several decades ago.

Being such a large product, bulk insulation is quite costly to store and to transport. This is also the case with Autex’s Greenstuf insulation. Greenstuf is therefore commonly manufactured to order, shipped directly out of the nearest factory to the home or building site where it will be installed.

Wide Range of Acoustic Panels

Autex Insulation manufactures an impressive range of acoustic sound panels, designed specifically for use in libraries, commercial businesses and any other place where reduced noise level and a stylish design are important considerations. The peel and stick panels come in a huge variety of classic and modern colours. They can be mixed and matched to fit in with almost any building’s interior design.

Acoustic Insulation for Internal Walls

Autex Insulation’s range wouldn’t be complete without its Greenstuf Sound Solution. These acoustic insulation segments are manufactured for internal wall cavities. They fit snugly between the wall studs and are very effective at reducing the amount of noise which is transferred throughout the house interior and also between the external walls of the house.

Reduce Cold Spots with Underfloor Insulation

The popular underfloor insulation comes in long rolls which can be conveniently stapled to the floor joists immediately below the exposed floor boards. If you’re installing insulation it’s important to avoid unduly compressing the insulation as the performance r value of all bulk insulation will always be most optimal when it is allowed to expand to its full width. Any compression will reduce the effects of insulation.

About Pricewise Insulation New Zealand

Autex Insulation is one of a number of several insulation brands sold by New Zealand retailer Pricewise Insulation. Pricewise sells insulation segments and related products to builders, insulation installers and home renovators in all of New Zealand’s major cities and throughout most regional areas. Their other popular brands include Pink Batts, Knauf Insulation (known for their soft handling and “don’t miss the itch”) and CSR Bradford. Bulk orders are delivered typically within 1-3 business days at a reasonable cost.