Cavity Wall Insulation FAQ

What is a cavity wall?

The external wall of a house is constructed of two masonry (brick or block) walls, with a cavity (gap) of at least 50mm between. Metal ties join the two walls together.

How is cavity wall insulation installed?

The cavity wall is injected with insulating material by drilling holes in the external wall, through the mortar joint. Holes are generally of 22-25mm diameter and are ‘made good’ after injection. Each hole is injected in turn, starting at the bottom.

Is my house suitable?

Before the installation, the installing firm will undertake an assessment of your property to confirm that it is suitable for insulation. This assessment may be undertaken by a surveyor or the Technician before installation.

Do I have to do anything before the installation?

The drilling process does create some vibration – so it would be wise to remove ornaments, particularly on external walls, for their safety and your peace of mind.

The Technician will need access to all walls, so he will need to get inside attached garages, lean-to sheds, conservatories etc. The insulation can only be really effective if all walls are done. If you have a wall right on the boundary, you may like to mention to your neighbour, that the Technician will need to go onto their property.

Are all the systems of insulation the same?

There are several different types of insulation:

  • Bonded bead (white polystyrene beads)
  • Glass wool (Yellow or white in colour)
  • Rock wool (Grey/brown in colour)
  • Urea formaldehyde foam (white foam)

Note: both glass wool and rock wool are known as ‘mineral wool’.

All systems of CWI have been tested, assessed and approved by the British Board of Agrément or the British Standards Institution. All are suitable for their purpose.

Except for Urea Formaldehyde foam, the systems can be used in all parts of the UK.

All systems have a similar insulation value.

How do I know the walls are full?

Each system has a defined pattern of holes, which has been tested to verify that it results in a complete fill. Most systems have an automatic cut out, which actuates when the adjacent wall area is full. There is tolerance in the injection pattern so that the material will flow past the next injection hole.

What about the ventilators that are in the external wall?

Ventilators supplying combustion air to fuel burning appliances must be safeguarded. Similarly ventilators at ground level that ventilate below timber floors must be safeguarded. The Technician will investigate them to check they are already sleeved. If they are not, the Technician will remove them and seal around them to stop them being blocked by the insulation. Other vents, which may be redundant, such a cavity vents or vents that used to supply air to open fires in bedrooms may be closed off. The Technician should discuss these with you. Redundant airbricks may be filled.

Do I apply for the CIGA 25 Year Guarantee?

No, the installer or the agent submits the Guarantee application. The Guarantee is posted to you within days of the application being received at CIGA. - Keep it safe

CIGA is non-profit distributing; its only function, is to stand as guarantor for the promises set out in the Guarantee. It has the resources to meet the promises made in the Guarantee.

All professional approved installing firms are members of CIGA and can apply for a CIGA Guarantee, for properties built with traditional cavity walls. You should insist on a CIGA Guarantee, since nothing else can give you the level of assurance to which you are entitled.

How long will the insulation last?

For the life of the building - the British Board of Agrément say so.

Will my house be warmer?

Yes – if your heating is not controlled by a thermostat. However, if you have a thermostat, it will cut out the heating at the same temperature, so you may not notice the difference in the room with the thermostat. However, you should find that the temperature in other parts of your house improves, for example, the small bedroom on the corner.

With CWI, you should find that the house holds its temperature for longer, therefore the time between heating cycles may be longer. The result should be a more even temperature throughout the house and / or a reduced fuel bill.

If I am concerned after the installation – what should I do?

Talk to the installing firm and tell them of your worries. A contract exists between you and the installer, so they must be given the opportunity to investigate your worries.

They will help you.

External Wall Insulation FAQ

What exactly is external wall insulation?

Basically, a system of boards of thermally insulating material that are fixed to the building exterior and finished with a weather resistant, decorative render.

What quality standards are solid wall insulation systems subject to?

All manufacturers are independently audited and accredited to the ISO9001 Quality Management Standard, ensuring consistent monitoring of all manufacturing processes.

Why should I consider external wall insulation?

Up to 35% of heat lost from poorly insulated buildings escapes through the walls. External wall insulation significantly reduces this heat loss, leading to a reduction in annual fuels bills by as much as 25%. External Wall Insulation systems also protect the building structure, prevent deterioration, and overcome thermal bridging and condensation problems. Newbuild In a newbuild instance EWI systems are the most cost effective way of achieving the current & future thermal performance requirements for the building regulations, achieving an internal environment with low temperature fluctuations and low heating requirements.

Will external wall insulation be unsightly?

Far from it. External Wall Insulation systems offer a wide choice of decorative finishes that considerably enhance the visual appearance of a building. A full range of trims and accessories ensures that all detailing issues can be dealt with in an effective and visually attractive way.

What types of building are suitable for external wall insulation?

Virtually all common types of construction - new build (from steel frame to solid masonry) or refurbishment (traditional and non-traditional house types). Contact Manufacturer Technical Services for specific advice.

Is external wall insulation environmentally friendly?

Yes. A majority of solid wall insulation systems are manufactured and independently audited in accordance with ISO14001 Environmental Management Standard. External Wall Insulation systems incorporate insulation materials that are CFC and HCFC-free.

What about BBA certification?

External Wall Insulation systems, Renders and Decorative Masonry Coatings are covered by British Board of Agrément certification. A list of BBA certificates can be found in the BBA area of this website.

Loft Insulation FAQ

What is the recommended thickness for loft insulation?

The current regulations under the EEC programme states that a minimum 270mm of loft insulation is required.

I use my loft for storage but need to get it insulated, can I do this?

Once the loft has been insulated to a minimum 270mm thickness the ceiling joists will no longer be visible making the roof space hazardous to anyone attempting to enter. However it is possible to arrange for additional joists and floor boarding to be fixed via a local joiner to help maintain your storage area. If you already have a boarded area of no more than a third of the loft area the installers will work around it and leave it uncovered.

I have electrical cables in loft. Will these be a hazard in anyway?

Apart from any cables feeding a shower unit they will not. A cable, which feeds a shower unit, is usually a 30amp. The installers will identify this and make sure this cable is not covered by the insulation by either laying the cable on top if there is enough flex or leaving a gap in the insulation around the cable to ensure it does not overheat.

I have sloping areas and flat roof areas within my property. Can these be insulated?

It is not always possible to do these areas. The reason being is that the timbers within these areas need to breathe and if loft insulation is fitted in these areas it can block the airflow off altogether. Access to these areas is usually minimal if at all existent. However every property has to be treated on an individual basis and the surveyor will make an assessment when visiting the property and advise accordingly.

My roof space is not big enough for an installer to stand up in. Will this be a problem?

It is very common that roof spaces are not big enough for anyone to stand up in. This is not usually a problem as the installers are usually working in a kneeling position on walkboards. Many companies within the industry work to a 1.4m height minimum for installers to gain access. It is very rare that a roof space is less than this.

I already have some insulation in the loft but it is not very thick, will this have to be removed or can it be topped up?

Any existing insulation can be left in the loft and an additional layer added to it to bring it up to the required minimum thickness. It does not matter how long the existing insulation has been in the loft it still retains its insulant value.

Draught Proofing FAQ

What is a draught?

Draughts are most commonly identified on windy days, when the external cold air penetrates the fabric of the building, thus displacing the warmer internal air causing noticeable discomfort. On non windy days where the internal pressure of the building is higher than the external pressure the warm air escapes through the fabric of the building causing heat loss, this is less noticeable but wastes valuable energy.

Where are the most common draughts found?

The most common place for draughts are around the frames of external wooden doors and windows. This is usually caused by either poorly fitted doors or windows, or seasonal variation. Other areas where draughts can be found are between the frames of doors and windows and the brickwork, also under the window sills. They can also be found where services or waste pipes come through the walls of the building draughts can be found.

How can I tell if there is a draught?

The easiest way to identify a draught is by wetting the back of your hand and passing it over the area where you suspect a draught may be, there should be a noticeable difference in temperature when a draught is felt. Alternatively draughts can be identified by a professional who may use a smoke pencil or match.

How long will draught proofing measures last that I have installed?

Providing that the draught proofing materials are installed in accordance with manufacturers instructions it would be realistic to achieve a life expectancy of between 5 – 10 years. However it would be recommended to look for products carrying the British Standard Kite Mark BS7386 these products can last up to twenty years.

What types of draught proofing materials are there available?

There is a wide and varied selection of draught proofing materials available. It would be recommended that you first look for products manufactured to BS7386. These will take into account seasonal gap variation and give you a long life expectancy, secondly ease of installation and finally ease of maintenance. There are products available that can even be painted or stained.

Will this affect my gas fire?

Most fuel burning appliances with more than 7kw output require permanent fixed ventilation; if you are unsure consult your Corgi registered gas installer before proceeding with your draught proofing installation.

Energy Efficiency Schemes / Funding Jargon Buster

Green Deal

The Green Deal helps you make energy-saving home improvements, such as installing insulation, to make your home more comfortable. This scheme lets you pay for some or all of the improvements over time on your electricity bill. Repayments will be no more than what a typical household should save in energy costs.

Any household with an electricity meter (including prepayment meters) in England, Scotland or Wales can use the scheme.

Both the landlord and the tenant must agree to the improvements if the building is rented.

The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF)

The GDHIF is a cash back incentive from Government launched in June 2014 for householders, landlords and tenants to can claim back cash towards energy efficiency improvements such as solid wall insulation, Cavity Wall Insulation, heating and glazing. The GDHIF is only available in England & Wales.

More Information: Green Deal Home Improvement Fund

Green Homes Cashback Scheme (Scotland only)

The Scottish Government is offering owner occupiers, private and social tenants and private sector landlords grants towards energy efficiency measures that are recommended in the property’s Green Deal Advice Report.

More Information: Green Homes Cashback Scheme

Green Deal Provider

A Green Deal Provider provides the finance, arranges for the Green Deal measures to be installed and is the point of contact for customer service enquiries after the Green Deal is complete.

Green Deal Installer

Only an authorised Green Deal Installer can install energy efficiency improvements under the Green Deal finance mechanism and use the Green Deal Mark.

Green Deal Advisor/Assessor

Only a Green Deal Advisor or Assessor is authorised to carry out and produce a Green Deal Advice Report, recommendations and provide related advice on the Green Deal. A Green Deal Advisor must hold a qualification that meets the standard required by the relevant National Occupational Standards and syllabus and be a registered member of a certification body.

Green Deal Advice report

This is produced by a Green Deal advisor and consists of an EPC and occupancy assessment.

Green Deal Finance Plan

As part of the Green Deal, you can take out a loan (a Green Deal Finance Plan) to pay for energy efficient improvements to your home. The aim is to help spread payments for the upfront cost of measures such as solid wall insulation, boilers and double glazing.

A Green Deal Finance Plan works differently to a loan you take from a bank or other credit provider - it is attached to the property you live in, and not you as an individual. However, you will still have to go through a credit checking process in order to obtain a Green Deal loan.

Arbed (Wales only)

Arbed (meaning 'to save' in Welsh) is a Welsh Government project which aims to reduce the amount of energy we use in our homes, to reduce energy bills and to make homes warmer and more comfortable.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO)

The ECO is a funding stream that runs in conjunction with Green Deal. Major energy companies are obligated by Government to provide funding for energy saving installation in order to meet carbon reduction targets and help vulnerable householders reduce their fuel bills.

ECO is divided into three strands and customers will be categorised accordingly. The three ECO strands are: the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO), the Carbon Emission Reduction Obligation (CERO) and the Carbon Saving Community Obligation (CSCO).

Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO)

HHCRO Also known as 'Affordable Warmth.’ Up to 25% of ECO Funding will be invested into the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation, a system designed to tackle fuel poverty amongst private sector householders.

Carbon Reduction Obligation (CERO)

Hard to treat properties, that are unsuitable for more traditional measures (e.g. cavity wall insulation), will be the focus of the Carbon Reduction Obligation. This makes up the remaining 75% of ECO and is available to both private sector homes and social housing.

Carbon Savings Community Obligation (CSCO)

CSCO is aimed at homes in areas of high deprivation (private sector properties and social housing) and will also primarily focus on insulation and heating measures. Similar to its predecessor, the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP), CSCO operates in designated areas, referred to as Lower Supper Output Areas.

Hard to Treat Properties (HTT)

'Hard to treat' (HTT) properties are homes that, for a variety of reasons, cannot accommodate 'staple' energy efficiency measures such as standard cavity wall insulation and loft insulation.

HTT properties may include: homes with solid walls; homes with no loft space; homes without a connection to a low cost fuel such as oil or gas.

HEEPS: Loan scheme

It is an interest free loan of up to £10,000 for installing a variety of measures such as solid wall insulation, double glazing or a new boiler. The HEEPS Loan scheme is open to owner occupiers and registered private sector landlords in Scotland.

HEEPS: Cashback scheme

It allows claiming up to £5,800 through the Scottish Government’s HEEPS: Cashback scheme. 

The Scottish Government is offering owner occupiers, private and social tenants and registered private sector landlords a rebate towards installing eligible energy efficiency measures for properties that are in council tax bands A to C. The measures must be recommended in a pre-install Green Deal Advice Report for the property.

Funding is divided into categories with up to £500 available for installing a new boiler, up to £400 for insulation measures and up to £300 for other measures like draught proofing or secondary glazing.  For installations of solid wall insulation 75% of the total cost of the work, up to £4,500 is also available.  Additional premiums are also available to households which are classified as living in a remote rural area of Scotland.  Applicants who install at least one eligible measure and claim funding through the scheme are also entitled to a maximum of £100 towards the cost of their Green Deal Advice Report.

The scheme is available on a first come, first served basis and is subject to available funding.