Any residential insulation installation should focus on the amount of heat energy that is lost through the ceiling. Although window insulation and upgrades to double-glazed units can be beneficial for keeping warm air trapped inside a residence, home insulation should prioritise preventing losses through the loft. After all, hot air rises so any home insulation replacement you opt for ought to be primarily focussed on this part of the building first. What are the main options when it comes to residential insulation installations today?
Also sometimes referred to as rock wool or slag wool, this material is one of the most popular choices for lofts and attic spaces in Australia. Manufactured from a blend of basalt rock and blast furnace-derived slag, mineral wool provides excellent insulation. Even better, it is sound-absorbent, which makes it preferred in many residential insulation installations nowadays because it cuts out noises from overhead pipes and water tanks. On top of this, mineral wool is fire-resistant. Furthermore, it is able to withstand the sort of high temperatures that can be found in Australian lofts during the summer without losing its insulating properties.
Known for its excellent thermal properties, expanded polystyrene is usually simply called EPS. Worth considering for new builds and retro-fits alike, this is a lightweight insulation material that provides excellent thermal retention. Unlike mineral wool, it is rigid so any residential insulation installation using EPS cannot simply involve rolling it out so it can take a little longer to fit. That said, it offers a high degree of moisture resistance, an important consideration for lofts that are prone to dampness or which have suffered from mildew in the past.
This is a technologically advanced choice where high performance is the major consideration of the property owner. Made from several layers of thin, reflective foil, the idea of multi-foil insulation isn't so much to trap warm air as to reflect radiated heat back down into the property. In residential loft installations, multi-foil insulation will double up as a water vapour control layer, reducing condensation that might form in your loft from bathrooms and en-suites on the upper floor.
A natural and sustainable option, sheep's wool is sometimes overlooked for loft insulation. However, it has a high thermal retention value that makes it ideal for a wide variety of insulation jobs. In residential insulation installations, it just needs to be laid down evenly, much like mineral wool. Even better, it will absorb moisture in the air without compromising on any of its thermal properties. Sheep's wool is a green choice since it is both biodegradable and renewable.