Archives for posts with tag: insulation

So the first part of the sloping insulation is up in the office and it’s such a dynamic photo I had to upload it.

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Classic stuff. It’s held up by massive screws into the sloping beams and penny washers to displace the weight a little. Next is a layer of plaster.

Now that I’ve installed that, there is just this pile to work through.

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I have been laying the insulation over the spare room and building a framework for boards. It’s been quite fun except for the large number of scratches I’ve got on my baldy head. It looks like I’ve been chewed on by a miffed tiger. Most of the scratches have come from the nails holding the slates into the roof. I’ve got some particularly bad ones from cracking my head on rafters and other large beams.

More than one person has suggested a hard hat, but if I wore one of them, I’d run out of space to move around. You can see it’s fairly cramped as it is. I actually considered using a bike helmet the other day. I’ll see if I remember next time I go up there.

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The photo shows all the stages of the project. The insulation is laid in three layers, two between the joists and one perpendicular to the joists. I’d attached posts to the ceiling joists to hold the framework for the boards above the top layer of insulation. The white sheet is a breathable membrane, which will keep dust and debris out of the insulation.

With the roof works almost finished, we’re thinking about insulation. I recently discovered that the spare room/lounge part of the house, which sticks out from the main part of the house, was not insulated at all. This explains why the spare room is noticeably colder than the rest of the house. It’s also the first bit of the roof that’s finished properly, so that’s where we’ll start with the insulation.

I read up on insulating an old house using a Historic England document called Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings: Insulating pitched roofs at ceiling level-cold roofs. A snappy title for a very interesting read if insulation is your new obsession. It was clear that we needed a breathable insulation that wasn’t the existing pink fluff. Enter sheep’s wool.

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There are a few places that make sheep’s wool insulation and we went for CosyWool by Thermafleece, made in Cumbria. We got three pallet loads of it to insulate to 300mm depth, which is the biggest, thickest blanket I will have ever seen.

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To insulate the sloping ceilings at the front and back of the house (where the slope of the roof cuts into the upstairs rooms) we have some wood fibre sheets to apply from the inside. They are 60mm deep, which will give some benefit and still be relatively easy to handle.

The Historic England document has lots of excellent diagrams showing how we’re going to install the insulation.

When considering the alcove we thought it would be a shame not to insulate it, considering there would be a stove in it. However, modern insulation is often unsuitable for older houses. It messes about with the dew point (the part of the wall where condensation occurs) and doesn’t allow walls to breathe (the ventilation system in older houses). I started to research if it would be possible to apply some kind of lime-based insulation and came up with a couple of options. There is a ready-mixed product available and there is a firm in Cumbria called Eden Lime Mortar¬†that has come up with their own mix following some customer requests.

So I phoned them up and the chap was very patient and gave me a price based on pallet delivery. A third of the price was delivery, so we decided to go and get the stuff and visit friends in Penrith on the way. Cumbria is right next to D&G after all. This was a fine decision because the lime man took us through the whole process, showed us the finished result, and even lent us a proper mixer.

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The insulation goes on in 25mm layers, a week apart. It’s made up of hemp shiv, natural hydraulic lime, and perlite. After a couple of coats, it gets a thin coat of finer render made up of similar ingredients, in smaller pieces, and a bit of sand. Below is the first coat starting.
P1030925 (Large)It’s just a case of starting at the top right and working into what you’ve applied already. The first coat took me a day.

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A close-up of the hearth shows the gaps around the back filled in with the insulation.

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