To conserve electricity in summer and winter, heat insulation is often used. The insulation of the roof of the house is not only necessary to maintain a constant temperature inside, but it is also useful for improving the living comfort through the reduction of external noise.
Hot air goes upward. In a house without thermal insulation this means losing 1/4 of the heat from the roof. Insulating the roof or the attic is an effective and rapid way to reduce heat loss and gas bills. This type of insulation has an average life span of 42 years and what you save will undoubtedly make you fall in costs. But we proceed with order, starting from the definition of insulation and the actual benefits, concluding with a roundup of materials suitable for thermal insulation.
What is Insulation?
Insulation is a technique used to isolate two environments with different thermal conditions and different temperatures, so that they do not exchange heat or sound vibrations between them. In the first case, you will enjoy a thermal insulation, while in the second, acoustic: //energy.gov/energysaver/weatherize/insulation/where-insulate-home.
To you, given the nature of this article, it concerns the part related to thermal insulation. But I promise that I will also deepen the aspects related to sound insulation.
Having clarified the meaning of insulation, it is better to understand a little better what it means to thermally insulate a roof. Briefly, insulating the roof of your house, (as well as all the walls) you will have significant advantages both in winter and during the warmer seasons.
In winter, you will reduce heat loss, which physically tends to get out of the indoor environment, keeping your apartment warm. Conversely, in summer, adequate insulation will prevent the heat from entering the environment in which we live, guaranteeing a comfortable living. In essence, thermally insulating a roof means avoiding unnecessary dispersion and maintaining an optimal temperature throughout the year. Is it cold outside? At home you will be fine. Whatever the case, you’ll stay cool inside your house.
NB → The insulation can be done either on the roof of your house or in the attic, the choice is almost indifferent. If you do not have an attic and the roof is not habitable or accessible, instead, you will need to make a false ceiling inside the building.
What are the Advantages of Thermal Insulation?
The three main advantages of thermal insulation include living comfort, energy saving (and consumption) and revaluation of the building. This is a nice investment and you will blessed every single penny spent, I assure you. If we talk about living comfortably, the benefits will be palpable immediately, especially for those who would not like to live in a well-aired environment.
On the contrary, if we tighten the argument to a mere economic factor, the savings will be perceived in the long term.
Consider this scenario: You have a house of about 200 square meters, in the north and without thermal insulation. To heat (and cool), a similar apartment needs a lot of energy. Without making too many calculations, we estimate an average consumption of about 2,000 euros. With an adequate thermal insulation system, consumption is considerably reduced, bringing annual consumption to around 800 euros.
This happens because having a home without an insulation system, the heat (or the cold air produced by your air conditioner) will dissipate more easily, making your apartment cold in winter and hot in summer, forcing you to use more stoves, air conditioners, fans and other energy-saving systems to regulate the temperature in your home.
And consider that I have not, in the slightest hint about the environmental impact that the classic air conditioning systems cause to our dear Earth. Yes, choosing to insulate your apartment will reduce pollution. If we all cared about the environment and we changed our habits and our way of thinking, our planet would be a really be a better place to live in and raise our children.
Choose thermal insulation for your roof. You can take advantage of tax breaks up to 65% for the Eco bonus and “energetically” redevelop your home.
The Best Materials to Isolate the Roof of Your Home
To better understand which materials are suitable for the thermal insulation of your roof, you need to know the characteristics of each one, so you can make a more careful choice. First of all, let’s start with the characteristic common to all insulating materials, i.e. a low thermal conductivity. Each material, in fact, has a certain value that serves to measure conductivity. This technical parameter is called transmittance.
That said, let us analyze the main insulating materials.
Cork and Wood Fiber – Two Vegetable Insulation
Cork panels (toasted or expanded) are one of the best choices to insulate your roof. This is due to the low transmittance typical of cork. However, attention is needed to the quality of the latter. If the panels have been made of bark pulp contaminated by external agents or poorly ventilated, all its properties will suffer a strong backlash and vice versa, where you will have a roof with a high insulation power, waterproof, breathable and immune to attack by rodents and insects.
Wood fiber, on the other hand, is a substance derived from waste produced by sawmills. These materials are made of excellent insulation panels, absolutely biodegradable and recyclable. Ideal both for thermally insulating an apartment and for isolating it acoustically.
Sheep Wool – an Animal Insulator
Another very high performance material in terms of insulation is sheep’s wool. Furthermore, its particular microstructure makes sheep’s wool a perfectly insulating and breathable material, but also hygroscopic, that is, able to absorb water, but without getting damp. Basically, it will only absorb water and release it slowly, rebalancing the moisture content in the home.
Rock Wool, Glass Wool and Asbestos – Three Mineral Insulating Materials
Finally, I would like to talk to you about the two sources of mineral origin that have often been the cause of real crusades, even though microfibers are dangerous is a fact (I talk about the asbestos above all). Still, they both have very performing insulation properties.
The rock wool, thanks to the process with which it is obtained (melting and spinning of natural rocks), has excellent thermo-chemical characteristics. Furthermore, it is not subject to rotting and is very resistant to high temperatures.
Glass wool, on the other hand, is composed of glass residues that are sintered (joined by heat treatment) with powdered coal. The result is an extremely fire-resistant, non-combustible material that is perfect for acoustically isolating a building. Why are they on this list? Both play their respective role well, that’s why!
Now that you know the best insulation materials, here are some technical aspects you should consider.
Insulation blocks heat in the habitable areas of the home. This will make the attic consequently colder and could aggravate moisture problems. If you know you are having similar problems, it is best to contact a professional to be sure to solve the problems at the root.
If you do not have any mold problems or accessibility to the attic, then you might think about doing it all by yourself. You must, first of all, use appropriate materials. Not all insulation are the same and the choice depends on what other materials make up your home. By doing so, you will be sure to do a job that will not ruin your current home.
PS → The installation of insulation on flat roofs always requires the intervention of an expert and the same applies in cases where there are problems with humidity.
Pipes, Water Silo and Hatches in the Attics
As already mentioned, the insulation will make your home warmer, but the attic tends to be coldest. Chances are, the pipes and silo are possible for water risk freezing, if not isolated properly. If you also have a trapdoor, watch out for drafts that could make the house lose heat. You can install an insulated trapdoor with seals at the edges to prevent the problem.
Improve Your Living Comfort
Now, I think you have a more detailed overall picture on insulation and thermal insulation that you will (maybe) do in your house. I recommend you to rely on a specialized company and not to improvise what you cannot be: a DIY expert. If at home, you have never seen either a plumber or an electrician, instead, I raise my hands. Maybe I was the wrong person. 😉
Whatever the scenario, remember one fundamental thing: The ladder to access the roof has to be connected to the hatch as I mentioned in the previous paragraph. This will make it easier for you to install and maintain your thermal insulation system.