Why Install External Wall Insulation?
External solid wall insulation is fast becoming the most popular property home improvement here in the UK. There are many reasons for this, which we will discuss below.
Before we start though – just a brief reminder on what exactly external solid wall insulation is!
If you have a property built prior to 1930, the chances are that it will be comprised of solid wall construction. Put simply, this means there is no cavity; the two skins of brick that make up the wall are built alongside one another. You can recognise a solid wall by the presence of short half bricks in the wall itself (if you look from the outside) – this is where brick has been laid at 90 degrees to the wall, tying the two skins of brick together.
Unfortunately, this makes this type of wall more difficult to insulate – but certainly not impossible!
Instead of injecting the cavity (which you would do for newer cavity walls), insulation board is added to either the outside or the inside of the property. In a way, this is good because you are not limited by the size of cavity on how much insulation you can add to the wall, but it does have other implications like changing the appearance of the outside of the property (since the external wall insulation normally gets rendered) or making rooms smaller if you attach the insulation on the inside of the property.
So why then would you look to insulate your home with solid wall insulation?
The main reason for insulating your home with solid wall insulation is to minimise heat loss, thereby reducing your heating bill.
An easy way to compare a property’s heat loss performance is to look at the u-value, which gives a measure of the thermal conductivity / heat loss through a material. Without insulation, solid wall properties have a U-Value of around 2.1, compared with around 0.27 of an insulated one – this is a huge improvement. Now for those of you who don’t speak in U-values, lets consider the financial savings.
An insulated property may save you around £150 per length of heat loss wall per year since the heating can be on less to warm the house. Therefore, if you live in a mid terrace house, you may save £300 per year after the installation of external solid wall insulation. End terrace house, £450 and a fully detached property may save as much as £600 if solid wall insulation is installed.
External Wall Insulation and the Environment
By minimising the use of your gas boiler, by having insulated the walls, you produce fewer carbon emissions as a result. Burning fossil fuels, including mains gas, is one of the major factors driving global warming. So by installing solid wall insulation, you are doing your bit for the environment too!
As many solid brick houses were constructed over 100 years ago, they have had time to visibly crumble and begin to look old and dejected. However, external wall insulation provides a brilliantly rendered finish, available in many colours, which can really rejuvenate the property.
By rendering a property, you are protecting what is underneath from the elements thereby reducing the need for up-keep over the coming years. In addition, if you have a property that has previously been rendered or pebble-dashed, then giving it a new coat can really improve the look of it!
Along with its fantastic thermal insulating qualities, external solid wall insulation can also improve acoustic insulation qualities of the property. Therefore if you live on a busy road or on a flight path, then external solid wall insulation can help keep those loud noises out helping ensure you have a restful night.
Old properties built with solid brick can often crumble and lose some of their strength over time. Installing external solid wall insulation not only gives the walls a bit of structural strength but also provides a barrier to the elements that may be damaging the brickwork underneath.
So there you have it, a brief overview of the main benefits of external solid wall insulation.