Finding the right insulation

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Finding the right insulation is quite an adventure these days – so many more options out there. And I get to explore them all because we’re finally working on our bedroom. Previously left out of the thermal envelope so we could keep opening the window at night, we decided to do a bit of future proofing. A freezing cold bedroom is just about manageable right now, but what about as we get older? Time to accept the inevitable and get cracking.  

For a relatively small job I have to organise an amazing mix of trades: electrician, plumber, carpenter, brickie, labourer, plasterer – and we’ll probably end up doing some of it ourselves.

Reviewing our options 

The first step has been to explore developments in the world of insulation. We are very familiar with the materials we used in the retrofit – wood fibre batts in a timber framework and diathonite where that was too bulky.  But I’ve discovered that already there are improvements.

 – First stop, the website for Ecological Building Systems (EBS). Their technical department has always been extremely helpful, so I called up to talk through our challenge.

Once the chimney breast has been removed and the space bricked in, we’ll have the beginnings of a flat wall, so in theory it should be straightforward. However, given the fitted wardrobe needs to go back into place and we want to put in as much insulation as possible, I needed to understand our options. A timber framework takes up quite a bit of space, so we were considering the wood fibre version of plasterboard used elsewhere.

Wood fibre insulation board

I discovered a wood fibre board – Gutex Multitherm from EBS – that can be attached directly onto the wall, bypassing the need for a timber frame. It comes with the option for tongue and groove is even better in terms of airtightness and it will allow us to use material of 80mm which with plaster etc will give us 100mm of insulation .

.The process we’ve been advised to do is:

  • Level the wall with a 15mm skim of Diathonite – an insulating plaster we’ve used before. This provides the smooth surface required for the insulation board, as well as a bit more insulation.
  • Apply the special adhesive to the insulation board and attach to the wall. For us this means in the ensuite shower room, behind the wardrobe and on the front wall.
  • Seal up around the edges – top, bottom, and sides with airtightness tape. We’ll use Contega since we have some over from before 
  • Plaster with one coat lime finishing plaster – in the ensuite, so there is a smooth surface for the tiles, plus on the front wall.

Sounds simple enough – fingers crossed!

Sweet moment

There was one other item I needed to order – the mesh the final lime plaster is bedded into. Just as I was about to press go, John remembered holding onto a bit that was left from last time. He is definitely the hoarder of the family – his shed is a veritable treasure trove for our grandson – and those moments when the long held item becomes useful are so sweet. And this was just such a time. The amount left is just a few cm’s short of what we need – and we’ll find a way to manage that. So one less thing in landfill – brilliant!

We’re on the way

The order is in, the bill paid and delivery is in 10 days. So we’re on the way at last. Feels a bit sad to say I’m excited – but who cares – I’m excited! I haven’t told John yet that I think we should do the actual insulation ourselves – not sure how that will go down. But we’ve done it before when it was much more complex.

So watch this space


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