Floor Insulation Methods To Save Money

A lot can be done in the way ot insulation to reduce the amount of heat lost through a floor. A very simple way to insulate all types of floors is to lay aluminium foil or foil-backed building paper under a heavy rubber foam-backed carpet.

Solid floors

A solid floor that feels cold is quite likely to be damp, so put in a damp-proof membrane at the time of installing floor insulation. Take off the skirting boards so the d.p. Membrane can be linked with the damp-proof course in the wall. The membrane can be brushed on to the floor as a thick bituminous solution which dries to form a

rubbery layer. Alternatively, a sheet of thick polythene can be used. This is laid on floor surface and turned up the wall behind the skirting.

Lay 13 to 50mm thick slabs of expanded polystyrene over the d.p. Membrane and then slot together panels of tongued and grooved flooring-grade chipboard on top of the polystyrene to form a floating floor. Lay the panels in brickwork fashion so the joints in the chipboard and polystyrene do not align. The method will take up slight

Lining behind radiators

With both solid walls and cavity walls, a good way of reducing the amount of direct heat lost from radiators on external walls is to line the wall behind each radiator with reflective foil. Ordinary aluminium cooking foil tends to tarnish after a short time, but special coated radiator foil is available for this purpose. The foil may be self-adhesive, or fixed with double-sided sticky pads, and it is simply smoothed on to the wall behind the radiator using a T-shaped applicator which is usually supplied.

A radiator shelf fixed above a radiator also helps to deflect heat into the room. However, do not overload the shelf with magazines and books.

Irregularities in the surface so it is useful on old quarry-tiled floors.

Another method is to fix sheets of insulation fibreboard to the floor using bituminous flooring adhesive and then surface the fibreboard by gluing down sheets of hardboard. The method is similar to that described below for timber floors.

Of course, both methods raise the floor level, and if this is not desired, the only alternative is to dig out the old floor, lay a new polythene d.p.m., cover this with slabs of expanded polystyrene, and then lay at least 75mm of concrete on top.

Timber floors

The methods described here will also draughtproof the floor while insulating it at the same time.

An effective method is to cover the floor with sheets of insulation fibreboard covered with sheets of hardboard. Both the insulation board and the hardboard should be conditioned by standing them on edge for 48 hours in the room where they will be laid, using spacers between the boards so the air can circulate around them.

The insulation board should be cut into sheets measuring about 1200 x 600mm and fixed to the floor using nails or bituminous adhesive. Lay the sheets so the joints are staggered. The hardboard should also be cut into small sheets and laid at 90 degrees to the insulation boards so that none of the joints align. Again, the hardboard should be fixed by nailing or gluing with bituminous flooring adhesive.

This method raises the floor level, and where this is not desired the insulation must be fixed under the floor. If there is sufficient headroom it may be possible to lift a few boards and crawl under the floor joists to lay the insulation. Otherwise, the floor must be lifted so that expanded polystyrene slabs can be laid on battens between the floor joists, or polythene-backed glass fibre matting can be stapled between the joists.

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