Internal or external wall insulation

Priority for Completion: Medium

This recommendation is triggered if the property has solid external walls and there is no evidence of them having been insulated. The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the heating system, the cost of the fuel and the occupancy of the home together with its shape and layout. Generally, external walls account for a significant amount of heat lost from a property so the savings can be substantial. However, installing internal or external wall insulation usually requires significant investment and works. There are also other factors to be considered so expert advice should be sought. As such we have rated this as being a recommendation of medium priority for completion.

However, where appropriate we would strongly recommend that insulating solid walls is considered as part of any major home refurbishment.

What is external wall insulation?

External wall insulation is applied to the external surface of a structure. Generally it is fitted as part of an external layered system and will ultimately be covered with render or cladding.

External insulation systems can reduce heat loss from your home through the walls, particularly if they are solid. They can also improve the appearance of the property and reduce damp (only if properly fitted). However, thought may need to be given as to how other features of your home, including windows, will be accommodated.

What is internal wall insulation?

Internal wall insulation is applied to the internal surfaces of a structure. Once applied it will be covered over, usually with plasterboard and plaster. Many plasterboard panels are now available which come ready insulated on the reverse.

Obviously fitting internal insulation usually requires redecorating and will reduce room sizes. The impact of this reduction is most significant in small rooms but is not likely to be a major consideration in larger spaces. It will also require the removal and refitting of anything fitted to the walls being insulated which can be a particular consideration in rooms like kitchens.

In addition to reducing heat loss, internal insulation systems also typically reduce the thermal mass of the building. This can be beneficial in allowing your home to warm up quicker using less energy but may be an issue in hotter weather if the home often overheats.

Installing wall insulation

Insulating walls should not normally be attempted without obtaining professional expert advice. Depending on the nature of the work undertaken it may be possible for someone with very good DIY skills to complete this task.

Other considerations

Depending upon the exact nature of the work undertaken Building Control approval may be required. Changing the external appearance of your property is also likely to require planning permission.