If you live in an older house with big draughts and inadequate floor insulation, this could result into low temperatures and increased heating bills. By installing underfloor insulation you can address these problems and also get an excellent return on investment within five years. This article discusses the options for insulating suspended timber floors and the costs of installation.
Many homeowners are concerned about floor insulation. They always want to know about the costs of heating and cooling their home. According to Department of Energy just under half (44%) of the energy used in homes goes toward either their heating or cooling. But energy bills can be reduced by 10%-15% by using proper insulation as insulation prevents heat from moving toward cold areas. During the winter good insulation prevents cold to enter the house and similarly in summer heat can be prevented by using good insulation.
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Why Insulate A Suspended Timber Floor?
There are two main reasons why would you want to insulate a suspended timber floor.
- heat loss from the fabric of the building (walls, ceilings, floors. closed windows and doors).
- heat loss from draughts (gaps in floors, windows, doors, open chimneys and loft hatches).
Suspended timber floor insulation will help you keep the desired temperature in your house all year round, saving it against cold in winter season and excess heat in summer season. A well-insulated house is very energy efficient and it will require very little additional heating and cooling according to requirement.
Keeping Your House Warm In Winter & Cool In Summer
There is one very important thing to know about insulating suspended timber floor. It will help remove the drafts but it is not going to make the room much warmer by itself. Insulation works in one of two ways, by keeping the heat away from the room, as it does in a refrigerator, or by keeping the heat inside the room, as it does when it prevents warm air from moving through the walls. So, the better the insulation, the colder your refrigerator can stay, and the warmer your house can be.
The amount of energy and money you will save by implementing suspended timber insulation will also depend on how old your property is and the size of your house. The good news is that you generally don’t need any planning permission for fitting insulation measures and they will eventually pay back so it is a wise investment on your house.
Modern Houses & Insulation
Generally modern houses are built to very good insulation standards, but old houses in the United Kingdom need a lot of work to be done on their insulation. In the last case, there are so many options to improve the energy efficiency of your house. When too cold, heat can be lost in all directions, so you should think of integral insulation to keep the heat in your house. You can choose to insulate your roof, floors, walls, windows and doors. Well maintained insulated floor is considered as the most important part of modern life style.
How Suspended Timber Flooring Works
Suspended timber floors consists of floorboards made up of timber attached to flooring joints which are then ‘suspended’ above building foundations. The best way to minimise air leakage and heat loss is suspended timber flooring.
The people of United Kingdom have a traditional way of building homes that uses the different methods using footing and stumps for making suspended timber flooring. Suspended flooring helps to prevent any timber from coming in contact with any form of moisture.
The floor consists of a series of joists organised in such a way that they are parallel to each other. During the manufacturing of timber suspended floor, it is supported at its ends on small sleeper walls and at different intervals along its length on honeycomb sleeper walls.
The honeycomb walls are constructed in such a way as it never restricts passage of air to flow beneath the suspended joists. To give access to this air, bricks are built into the outer structural walls of the building. These bricks are commonly known as Air Bricks. The main purpose of this air flow is that it keeps the timber dry and prevents the possibility of dryness or wetness not occurring in the timber wood.
For supporting the joists the sleeper walls are made to carry the weight of floor itself. The self weight of floor is commonly known as dead weight and any live loads which include human and furniture etc are likely to be imposed on the floor. If placed correctly, the sleeper walls will also save the joists from bouncing when anyone moves on the floor. The main elements during construction of the suspended timber floor are loading of joists, positioning of joists, the spacing of Joists, evenly spaced joists and sizes of joists.
Materials For Suspended Timber Floor Insulation
There are a variety of options for the material used in suspended timber floor insulation. Their detail includes:
- Celotex / Kingspan type PIR thermal insulation board. It is available in various thickness (50mm and 100mm are the most easily available) and in a variety of sizes commonly in the size of 2.4 x 1.2m.
- Mineral wool insulation rolls consists of mineral wool in slab form.
- Natural materials obtained from animals such as sheep wool.
All the available materials have their own benefits selecting the balanced material is the main goal in the flooring installation. The material should have the following properties:
- the thickness of material required to deliver the desired U-value
- ease of handling
- ability to cope with damp
A U-value is a measure of the thermal insulation of a material with lower U-values being more effective insulators. For a material which is a worse insulator you need a greater thickness of the material to achieve the same U-value as a better insulator.
Why Use Suspended Timber Floor
A suspended timber floor is the chosen way for many builders and consumers because of the following facts:
- It has simply the best construction way for sloping sites, low-lying areas or sites with bad climatically conditions.
- It is more cost effective in residential areas.
- It gives easy installation of under floor ducted heating systems
- Timber has a minimal environmental impact: low CO2 emissions and a construction method which sits lightly on the land.
Since the insulation will slow the movement of heat through the floor, the home will feel more comfortable and warmer in the winter, but cooler in the summer months. You can reduce your carbon footprint by about 240kg per year by installing timber floor insulation. If we want to improve insulation of suspended timber floor we can fill the insulation between the joists, beneath the deck.
In this way suspended timber floors insulation will ensure proper heating and cooling in the home. It also guarantees quality, reduced carbon foot print, cost effectiveness and easy installation.
Cost of suspended floor insulation
- Professional suspended floor installation costs range between £30 t0 £40.
- A detached house will cost between £750-£900.
- DIY Cost for wooden floor insulation cost approximately £100.
- The material needed to fill the gaps between the floor and the skirting boards cost around £20.