Get latest news, tips & trics and useful advices

How to insulate a loft or roof: install insulation and save on heating

Loft or roof insulation

Around 25% of heat lost from an un-insulated home goes through the roof. The good news is you can easily install roof insulation.
So, how much could you save by installing loft or attic insulation in your home? This guide makes it easy to find out how to insulate your roof and save money on your energy bills.

Does the type of roof I have affect my options for insulation?

Your options for roof insulation will depend on the type of roof you have. Pitched (sloping) roofs are more straightforward and there are more options to choose from, while flat roofs and dormer roofs are more of a challenge to insulate.

What is the difference between a warm loft and a cold loft?

If you have a typical house with a sloping roof, or have the top flat in a block and are responsible for the loft space and roof above, you can either choose to have a warm loft or a cold loft:

  1. A warm loft is where you insulate immediately under the roof, which means your loft space is warm as well.
  2. A cold loft is where you insulate immediately above the ceiling of the top storey, so no heat from your home gets into your loft.
Cost-wise, there are a range of options available for roof insulation, some of which are relatively inexpensive. Some can be achieved with little DIY experience, while others require more do-it-yourself expertise. Some roof insulation options require specialist equipment and need to be carried out by a professional.
Warm roof solutions are generally more expensive, but they can provide a greater level of heat retention. Also, you can more easily use the loft to store temperature-sensitive items, as a 'cold roof' can get very hot in the summer.

What type of loft insulation is easiest to install?

The simplest and cheapest loft insulation solution is the classic cold loft option. This involves insulating between and over the wooden joists immediately above the ceiling of your top floor. This is generally the only grant-funded option, although it is also fairly easy to do as a DIY project.
If you use your loft for storage, you will need to clear it before any grant-assisted work can be done, as grants, whether partial or 100%, will not cover the cost of clearing a loft. It could also be the perfect opportunity to sort through the items you're storing to see if you still need them.

What depth of roof insulation should I install?

If you already have insulation, but it was put in some time ago, it is worth checking the depth, as only a few years ago the recommended depth of insulation was 200mm, and before that it was as low as 100mm.

What if there is already some insulation in my loft?

If you do have existing roof insulation, the first thing to do is to check the depth. If there is only 25mm of insulating material, then this is likely to date back to the 1970s, as this type of insulation was subsidised then. In fact, any insulation that is less then 100mm is likely to be old and is worth disposing of; it is also difficult to top-up older insulation to the recommended depth as modern insulation is sold in standard depths of 100mm and 170mm.
Most typically, especially where insulation has been put in since the 1980s, this will fill the approximately 100mm depth of the joists, and this is easy to top-up. The commonly available, low cost and subsidised products tend to come in either 100mm depth, to go between the joists, and 170mm to be laid (at right angles) over and across the joists, to take the depth up to the recommended 270 mm.

Are there any other jobs that need to be done in my loft to complete the insulation work?

If you are having your insulation installed professionally or under a grant, there are a number of additional tasks that are normally carried out. If you are doing a DIY installation, you mustn't ignore them.

  1. Remember to cover the pipes with pipe insulation. Your loft will be colder due to the insulation keeping the warmth in the floors below, so you're more likely to get burst pipes in freezing weather.
  2. Insulation should go up the side and over any tanks, or special tank insulation can be used, but you mustn't insulate under any tanks, as without some heat flowing up from below, these are also likely to freeze.
  3. If your tank is in a raised position (at least 10cms above the uppermost layer of insulation) then you can insulate the underside of the tank.
  4. If there are electric cables in the loft, try to leave these exposed so they can remain cool. If there is enough slack, they can be gently raised and the insulation put underneath. In practice, lighting cables are unlikely to be a problem, especially if you use low energy lightbulbs.
    Shower cables are most likely to need attention, although the fire risk is fairly minimal as showers tend to only be used for short periods. If you see any cables or junction boxes that appear to be in a poor state, you will need to get an electrician to put them right, anyway.
  5. If you have recessed halogen lights in a room below the loft, they must be protected before they are covered in insulation. Halogen lights give off a lot of heat that is concentrated in a small area, and they pose a serious fire risk if insulation is placed directly against them. Protective cylindrically shaped fire protectors, which are called loft caps or loft covers, are available and it is essential to invest in these before you install your insulation.
  6. Don't forget to insulate the loft hatch. This usually involves attaching a block of polystyrene insulation to its upper side, and ensuring any gaps around the side of it are sealed by applying draught proofing strips around the frame

Can I still use my loft for storage once the roof insulation is in place?

If you have the recommended level of loft insulation, you will no longer be able to store items by resting them on the joists. Putting items on insulation weighs it down and reduces its effectiveness, and you won't be able to put boards onto the joists either.
There are a couple of options you can consider though, although these wouldn't be included in any grant funding. You could put in some cross-joists so that any boarding will be able to accommodate the full 270mm of insulation. This is probably a job for a professional joiner. There are some firms which specialise in providing a fully (raised) boarded loft, along with a loft ladder and suitable loft lighting, providing a very convenient storage space.
Alternatively, and probably more cheaply and easily, if you already have insulation in up to 100mm, you can add one of an increasing number of insulation products that have a polystyrene or a wooden layer on top of them. Those with a polystyrene top layer will not be as hard wearing as those with a wood finish, but polystyrene provides the best insulation performance. In theory you won't be able to achieve the performance of 270mm of mineral or glass wool, but you will come close to it. If you want to match or exceed the performance of 270mm of a wool product, then you could consider a warm roof solution.

How does a warm roof solution work?

For a warm roof solution you will need to install insulation in the plane of the roof pitch, that is, immediately below the sloping roof. This will help to avoid your roof-space becoming excessively hot in summer or cold in winter, and will reduce heat losses from your roof. Assuming you don't have a room in the roof, and it is just a 'loft', then you should also implement all the 'cold-roof' insulation measures described above, including any raised boarding as appropriate.

How to insulate a loft

One important point to remember with a warm roof solution is the need for ventilation immediately below the roof tiles. This is to prevent any condensation build up, or water getting in through or around the tiles. You need to create a space for air to flow parallel to the rafters and immediately under the tiles from one side of the roof (the eaves) to the apex and down to the other side, otherwise the roof structure may begin to rot.

What types of insulation can be used for a warm roof solution?

The materials used to insulate under the roof include batts of mineral or glass wool insulation , held in place by 'battens' of wood attached to and across the rafters. Alternatively, polystyrene slabs , which are sometimes supplied foil-covered, can be fitted. These usually have to be cut to size. Another option is EPS (expanded polystyrene) 'squeeze' products; these are manufactured with a 'concertina' shape and spring-like effect and can be pushed into place.
There is an exception to the ventilation rule, and that's when applying polyurethane spray foams. These solutions, mainly professionally installed but also now available as a DIY measure, can generally only be applied where the underside of the tiles is bare and there is no roofing felt. Spray foam may also provide additional physical strength where a roof is not in the best condition, by holding the structure together. However missing or slipped tiles must be attended to prior to applying the foam insulation.

What insulation solutions are available for a flat roof?

There are three types of insulation solution if you have a flat roof:

  1. Warm deck or warm roof refers to a situation where the 'deck' of the roof, which is usually made of wood, is below the insulation.
  2. Cold deck or cold roof is where the insulation is below the roof deck (and the associated joists). Typically a gap will have to be left for ventilation - because this is a 'cold' area, condensation may form which can lead to rot. In both these cases the weather membrane, typically formed of roofing felt and bitumen, will be the topmost layer, protecting against rain.
  3. Inverted roof is where the insulation goes above the weather membrane, effectively protecting it from heat and cold which can shorten its life and that of the roof deck - it can even protect against wear and tear if there is access to the roof. With an inverted roof, the top-most layer is generally gravel or similar.

The lowest layer with any of these solutions - especially with the cold deck solution - is likely to be a vapour membrane, which is used to stop warm air rising and bringing moisture that will condense somewhere in the roof structure.
The insulation of flat roofs nearly always requires professional assistance, and there are no associated energy-saving grants. A good time to insulate a roof is when it is being replaced, although in many cases a roof that is in good condition can be retro-fitted with insulation.

Do dormer bungalows and houses with attics in the roof space need a different approach to insulation?

Dormer roofs are roofs that contain rooms and can present considerable challenges when it comes to insulation. Dormer bungalows, also known as Dutch bungalows, were built quite widely in the UK, particularly in the 1960s and 70s. They have a conventional lower storey, along with an upper storey, with a smaller floor area, in the roof.
Three storey town and detached houses have been built in the last few years, as builders attempt to build bigger houses in limited plots of land. Their top storey is often 'in the roof', like an attic. However, due to modern building regulations, they are well insulated. But if you have an older property of this type, Victorian or Edwardian, many of which had attics, you'll need to install insulation; this may not be as straightforward as in a modern house.

How do I insulate the dormer window area of my dormer roof?

Dormer roofs nearly always have 'dormer windows' which are not flush with the pitched roof, but instead have window structures that protrude from the roof. These structures have a front containing the window, triangular shaped side walls (which generally don't have a cavity) and a flat roof (or occasionally a miniature pitched roof). So the advice that applies to insulating windows, walls and flat roofs applies . However, if the window is the full width of the structure, insulated dry lining of the walls may be difficult as it will narrow the area. If this is the case, you may want to explore external cladding, or creatively use curtains to provide insulation.

How do I insulate the 'voids' behind the dwarf walls in my dormer roof?

Perhaps the most unusual aspect of a dormer bungalow is the triangular roofspaces or voids between the edges of the main roof and the walls at the ends of the rooms (these semi-internal walls are known as dwarf walls, because they are often not the full height of the room, on account of the pitched ceiling). With these voids, if there is no existing access, it may be worth putting in a hatch or door because the void is likely to provide a good storage area. If there is access, or access is created, there are two broad options. You can either insulate the pitched roof , or you can insulate the void side of the dwarf wall and the 'floor' of the area within the void.
Insulating the 'floor' of the void (or, the ceiling of the storey below, depending which way you look at it, is straightforward, with a number of options available, and is in effect the same as creating a cold roof solution. If space allows, you can even add raised boarding to create a storage area.
However, in order to insulate the dwarf wall with the same materials, you will need to support the mineral or glass wool, without compressing it. One solution is to use hooks and rot-proof nylon string, but it may be easier to use polystyrene, urethane or another rigid product, in which case insulating the pitched roof is probably going to be the simpler option anyway.
The most challenging aspect of a dormer roof is likely to be pitched (sloping) ceilings. The same challenge will apply to providing better insulation to any loft rooms put in before the current building regulations.
Part of the solution is similar to creating a 'warm roof' (as discussed earlier). But this will be slightly complicated by the need to take down the ceiling to gain access. A vapour membrane is also a likely requirement, to stop moisture, which is naturally generated in an occupied room; without a membrane, the vapour would rise and penetrate into the roof and insulation structure, where condensation could occur, resulting in rot.


The News List

21 February 2023

Rooftop solar panels are a popular and increasingly common way of generating electricity from the sun. They are mounted on the roofs of homes and businesses, and their [...] - Read More »

14 February 2023

Commercial production of asbestos insulation began in 1879, and the first case of asbestos-related disease, described as "curious bodies" in the lungs was detected in 1899. - Read More »

2 February 2023

A cherry picker is a type of aerial work platform that is commonly used for reaching elevated heights for maintenance, construction, and other types of work [...] - Read More »

26 January 2023

There are several popular residential roofing trends for both residential and commercial buildings, with some of the most popular options including metal, asphalt, and tile. [...] - Read More »

20 January 2023

Periodic roof maintenance is essential to ensure the longevity and integrity of your roof. This type of maintenance should be done at least once a year, preferably [...] - Read More »

11 December 2022

If you want to know "What is a cherry picker", "How to prepare my house for winter" or "What do you mean by green roof and solar roof" please read the followings [...] - Read More »

30 July 2022

Portable vs Rooftop Solar – there’s never been a better time to invest in solar power for an RV or travel trailer. With so many people venturing farther off-grid for extended [...] - Read More »

15 June 2022

Houses regardless of location, will soon be able to install solar panels on their roofs without any requirement for planning permission. Read more about this draft [...] - Read More »

18 February 2022

Storm Eunice made landfall in Ireland overnight, with severe winds, heavy rain and snow reported in parts of the country. Thousands of homes and businesses are without [...] - Read More »

8 December 2021

Storm Barra is the second named storm this season, and came just 10 days after Storm Arwen struck on 26 November, causing disruption and three fatalities [...] - Read More »

3 September 2021

The roof over your head is literally what protects you from the elements. Up there at the top of the building, it is also the most exposed part of any building. Battered by [...] - Read More »

11 June 2021

A retractable roof is a roof system designed to roll back the roof on tracks so that the interior of the facility is open to the outdoors. Retractable roofs are sometimes referred [...] - Read More »

4 June 2021

Cherry pickers can be hired for a multitude of uses, with or without an operator. They’re an extremely useful and often essential piece of machinery for working at height [...] - Read More »

14 February 2021

If your roof is in need of some repairs and you’re looking to save a little money, you may want to look into doing some of the work yourself. While not a replacement for a [...] - Read More »

1 February 2021

Cherry pickers can be extremely beneficial for a number of different jobs and tasks, from cleaning out gutters to putting up new signage. As a growing business or company [...] - Read More »

3 January 2021

Fascias and soffits are the boards that cover the ends of the roof rafters where they sit on top of the outer wall of a house. Fascia and soffit gives your eaves a professional [...] - Read More »

27 December 2020

A status yellow snow and ice warning has been issued for Donegal and Leitrim while hundreds of homes are without power after Storm Bella hit Ireland. Parts of the country [...] - Read More »

20 December 2020

A roof garden is a garden on the roof oa a building. Besides the decorative benefit, roof plantings may provide food, temperature control, hydrological benefits, architectural [...] - Read More »

13 December 2020

Cold weather in the winter can severely hamper fibreglass roof installation. But though it may be more technically challenging to apply this roof coating in the winter [...] - Read More »

6 December 2020

It’s that magical time of year again, when bells will be jingling and stockings hung by the chimney with care. If you’re planning on decorating your roof, it’s important to [...] - Read More »

29 November 2020

When temperatures warm up after plunging below freezing for a few days, a lot of homeowners notice what seems to be evidence of water infiltration on their ceilings and walls [...] - Read More »

22 November 2020

There’s nothing more frustrating than getting all the way up to the roof and finding out that your lights aren’t working, or even worse, getting [...] - Read More »

15 November 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic may have disrupted our everyday lives, but the fact remains that, with or without the coronavirus, things at home are bound to require some [...] - Read More »

8 November 2020

As Governments, Media and Industries struggle to evaluate the potential consequences of COVID-19 for Economies, both national and global, EIC will [...] - Read More »

1 November 2020

The cherry picker has a diverse number of uses and is an integral part of many construction and engineering environments. Originally designed to be used in [...] - Read More »

20 October 2020

For the first time since June, the Republic of Ireland will tomorrow move to its highest level of lockdown, but construction work has been allowed to continue. Under [...] - Read More »

18 October 2020

Can you get a new roof or roof repair during COVID-19? In most cases, the answer is yes – although it depends on where you live because the coronavirus restrictions [...] - Read More »

11 October 2020

Whether you’re cleaning the windows on a building with several storeys or you need to reach an awkward part of a roof, a cherry picker can be hugely beneficial. Perfect [...] - Read More »

20 September 2020

Roof repairs and replacements can be costly if you don’t maintain your roof and prepare it for the harsh weather it may face at each time of year. When Autumn comes [...] - Read More »

6 September 2020

Both lifts can take construction workers to high, hard-to-reach spots, but not necessarily the same ones. Aerial work platforms are essential when workers must [...] - Read More »

23 August 2020

Knowing how to operate and handle a Telescopic boom lift will make a difference in how efficiently, safely and profitably you complete the task. Aerial lift equipment is used in [...] - Read More »

15 August 2020

The first version of the bucket truck was known as a "cherry picker" and came out during the early 1900’s, just about the same time as the use of internal combustion [...] - Read More »

9 August 2020

One of the biggest challenges in the construction industry is working with heights. Cherry pickers, also known as bucket trucks, are the vehicles best-suited to perform the [...] - Read More »

22 March 2020

A roofer, roof mechanic, or roofing contractor is a tradesperson who specializes in roof construction. Roofers replace, repair, and install the roofs of buildings, using [...] - Read More »

18 January 2020

Winter can bring some extra wear and tear to your roof. To help prevent costly damage, check out these roof maintenance tips for this winter [...] - Read More »

14 December 2019

An aerial work platform (AWP), also known as an aerial device, cherry picker, elevating work platform (EWP), bucket truck or mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) [...] - Read More »

5 October 2019

Roof cleaning is the process of removing algae, mold, mildew, lichen and moss from roofs. Also cleaning oxidation on metal roofs. Cleaning can extend the [...] - Read More »

30 September 2019

Every day your roof is exposed to weather hazards and other elements, all of which contribute to its damage and deterioration. The primary cause of roof problems is [...] - Read More »

15 September 2019

The Cherry Picker is a well-established piece of machinery that can be seen up and down the country being used across a number of industries [...] - Read More »

1 September 2019

These beautiful Summer days won't last forever. The days are getting shorter and colder, which means Jack Frost is at your door [...] - Read More »

14 August 2019

Cherry pickers are pieces of machinery easily identified by their long, extendible arm (or boom) with a cradle attached on the end. They are also known as telehandlers [...] - Read More »

29 June 2019

Cherry pickers are one of those things we take for granted. They can be intimidating (especially if you're scared of heights). They have a pretty name that [...] - Read More »

18 May 2019

You can reduce heat loss and save money by insulating your home. The type and thickness of the insulating material determines the thermal performance [...] - Read More »

17 April 2019

Cherry pickers are pieces of machinery easily identified by their long, extendible arm (or boom) with a cradle attached on the end. They are also known as telehandlers [...] - Read More »

11 March 2019

Gutters and downspouts collect and carry away rainwater that would otherwise run off the roof, splash down and erode the soil and stain the siding. More important [...] - Read More »

8 December 2018

Around 25% of heat lost from an un-insulated home goes through the roof. The good news is you can easily install roof insulation. So, how much could you save by installing loft [...] - Read More »

15 September 2018

In its broadest sense, ‘shingle’ is a catch-all term used for any roof covering consisting of discrete overlapping elements. However, the term is often used more specifically to refer [...] - Read More »

9 September 2018

Asbestos is a type of building material that was used in homes from the 1950s – 1990s. It is no longer used to build homes because it is considered unsafe. Worldwide [...] - Read More »

1 September 2018

Whether you are considering investing in solar panels, solar water heating, heat pumps or any other green source of energy for your home, the first step you should take [...] - Read More »

25 August 2018

Good quality roofing materials are essential to protect the roof from water leaks and weather damage, providing a sturdy roof structure for your home. Tiles and slates are [...] - Read More »

16 June 2018

If you are looking for the most budget-friendly way to install insulation in your home, consider fiberglass insulation installation. It comes in sheets that are applied to walls [...] - Read More »

18 May 2018

The handling of asbestos must be done with great care due to the toxic properties of this substance and its classification as a known carcinogen. It’s important to know that when [...] - Read More »

22 April 2018

No matter what kind of roof you have, you may have noticed that it has a build up of moss on it after a while. The older the roof is, the more likely it is to have moss present [...] - Read More »

21 April 2018

Do you know the difference between tiles and slates? Chances are you think both very similar, but in reality, they have subtle differences [...] - Read More »

14 April 2018

The type of insulation you should choose will depend on the type of roof you have. Pitched roof - there are two options: warm or cold loft insulation. Flat roof - there are three [...] - Read More »

16 February 2018

We'll help you work out what type of roof or loft insulation to go for, how much it will cost, if you can get it for free, and how much you could save by insulating your roof [...]
- Read More »

5 February 2018

Insulating your loft, attic or flat roof is a simple and effective way to reduce heat loss and reduce your heating bills. Loft insulation is effective for at least 40 years and it should [...] - Read More »

22 November 2017

With the latest roofing innovations, numerous manufacturers continue to provide prospective customers with the most advanced, high-quality, and state-of-the [...] - Read More »

6 November 2017

People want new technology as per the changing time and many technologies have also emerged which have fulfilled the expectations of people. Firstly it was only wood or [...] - Read More »

10 September 2017

Most roofs are fitted with fascia boards, which are the timbers fixed onto the edges of rafters, hiding them from view. Roofs and roof timbers overhang the walls of a house [...]
- Read More »

19 August 2017

Maintenance is an essential part of preserving the integrity of a flat roofing system. Generally roofs should be inspected twice a year — once in the spring and then again in the [...] - Read More »

22 July 2017

Your building's roof is an important component in the protection of the people, investments and things you care about most. Building a relationship with your roofing [...] - Read More »

3 July 2017

Here we look in depth at practical steps to consider with the actual repair and replacement of individual roof tiles. Individual tiles or slates that are damaged during or [...] - Read More »

26 June 2017

A rain gutter or surface water collection channel is a component of water discharge system for a building. Water from a pitched roof flows down into a valley gutter [...] - Read More »

19 June 2017

Attic and Roof insulation is vitally important when it comes to keeping your home warm. It is the largest area of heat loss in a house, a poorly insulated roof could allow up [...] - Read More »

11 June 2017

Roof insulation is the provision of insulation in the roof space in order to prevent heat loss through the ceilings of the living spaces below. The method and type of [...] - Read More »

5 June 2017

Thermoplastic materials are distinguished from thermoset materials in that there is no chemical crosslinking. These membranes can be repeatedly softened by heating [...] - Read More »

28 May 2017

Thermoset membranes incorporate principal polymers that are chemically cross linked or vulcanized. Membranes that are vulcanized also may be referred to as "cured". One [...] - Read More »

21 May 2017

Single-ply membranes are factory-manufactured sheet membranes. They generally are categorized as either thermoplastic or thermoset. Thermoplastic materials [...] - Read More »

23 April 2017

Roofing problems seem to show up at the worst possible times and, often, in the worst possible places. They also can quickly turn from small drips into large, costly headaches [...] - Read More »

26 March 2017

When determining the right type of insulation for your space, it is best to look at faced insulation versus unfaced insulation. The only main difference between [...] - Read More »

18 March 2017

Roof leaks are often a nuisance for a building owner or property manager. Often difficult to track down, leaks can cause damage to interior finishes and [...] - Read More »

26 February 2017

Any roof inspection should look at the roof, of course, but the roof surface is only one item that should be checked. The first thing to look at [...] - Read More »

18 February 2017

Flat roofs and sloped roofs both are used frequently in modern constructions. Before choosing flat or sloped roof, you should know the advantages and disadvantages [...] - Read More »

29 January 2017

You are aging. Don't deny it. Every day takes its toll on you little by little. Because nobody wants to get old, we do things to delay the inevitable [...] - Read More »

16 December 2016

We are fast approaching the most wonderful time of the year and it's time to dig out the hats, gloves and scarves to keep warm [...] - Read More »

8 December 2016

You might be one of those people who hates going to the dentist. You want to put it off, it could be painfully expensive and the idea of it fills you with dread [...] - Read More »

1 December 2016

There are many home improvements that we look forward to completing - like a gorgeous kitchen update or planting a lovely garden [...] - Read More »

High Quality Projects Completed In Dublin

Each image opens a new page of detailed high resolution images of our projects in Dublin. Please feel free to ask any questions regarding these high quality projects completed in Dublin - 087-183.4279.