Floor Insulation: The Different Types and How It Works

The insulation of a building can be carried out in a large number of different ways. A handful of these methods include roof, loft, cavity wall and external wall. One of the most common and indeed effective forms of home insulation is carried out on a floor… or more to the point, beneath it.

There are many distinct forms of floor isolation including (but not limited to) foil, fiber and polystyrene sorts. Each offers different advantages and disadvantages in performance, installation and cost. The article that follows will provide a brief overview of each insulation system in the context of floor insulation.

Foil Floor Insulation

Foil floor insulation can in some ways be a very tricky system to install in a home. Acting as a direct barrier by reflecting heat back into a building (e.g. from an underfloor heating system), foil insulation will also restrict airflow and the passage of moisture due to its tight fit to floorboards etc. Nevertheless, despite its inherent benefits and recent progressions in technology, foil floor insulation does not offer particularly spectacular U-value performance.

Fiber Based Floor Insulation

Fiber insulation (such as polyester, rock wool and steel wool) is pretty straightforward in its use within a home. Imagine a huge blanket being cast over a building’s floor and you’re halfway there. Unlike foil floor insulation, the fit isn’t tight and therefore moisture can seep through into a building. As this is a side advantage of floor insulation however, it’s not a deal breaker.

Polystyrene Floor Insulation

Polystyrene insulation has been rapidly gaining in popularity in recent years and one of its key applications is underfloor. As with a takeaway coffee cup, polystyrene works due to trapped air bubbles within the material that restricts the loss of heat within a building. Sold in beads and foam, it’s most commonly available as sheets which are easy to cut and install. Other advantages include it being lightweight, resistant to moisture, having a very long lifespan and offering sound proofing qualities which make it very attractive in certain builds.

There’s little doubt that insulating a building can be an expensive project, and it’s a good idea to investigate the various schemes in your region for potential financial assistance. For instance, the UK’s Green Deal aims to provide low interest loans that will enable homeowners to make improvements to their building’s energy efficiency and therefore lower the country’s carbon footprint.

Choosing the right method of insulation and getting it professionally installed could make the difference between a warm home and a cold one… and indeed a healthy bank balance. You could even contribute towards our planet’s survival. What are you waiting for? Insulate your home today.