The Top 5 Problems With Cavity Wall Insulation In Your Home

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Are you fed up with your home being cold in the winter months, while being overwhelmingly hot during the summer? It may be time to invest in some cavity wall insulation.

While there are a variety of methods you can implement to make your home more energy efficient, cavity wall insulation is an invisible upgrade that can make all the difference.

Cavity wall insulation is when an insulation material is injected into the space between your outer and inner walls. The primary purpose of the insulation is to prevent air circulation between the two walls, ensuring that warm air is trapped inside your home.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, your home will lose a third of its heat through uninsulated walls. However, no method is fool-proof, and there are drawbacks to installing cavity wall insulation.

Below, we have highlighted the top five drawbacks of cavity wall insulation, as well as the measures to both avoid and fix any issues.

Top 5 Problems With Cavity Wall Insulation

1. Not All Homes Are Suitable

Not all homes are suitable for this type of insulation. If your cavities are less than 40mm wide, or greater than 12 meters high, when injected the insulation will not be able to spread easily.

This will result in cold spots in your wall, and the development of damp or black mold. If your home is not suitable for cavity wall insulation, you may want to consider fibreglass insulation instead.

Additionally, your home might not even have a cavity wall, while others may already contain insulation. A general rule, outlined by Which, states that properties built after 1920 are more likely to have a cavity wall. While properties built in the last 20 years will probably already have insulated cavity walls.

2. Incorrectly Installed Insulation Can Lead To Moisture Build-up And Black Mould

mold on a wall

Before having cavity wall insulation installed, you should hire a surveyor to complete a thorough check of your home. Their findings will indicate whether your property is suitable for cavity wall insulation.

If your cavities are uneven or too small, a surveyor would recommend not installing insulation as it could lead to ‘cold bridging’, meaning cold spots in your walls, which can lead to condensation, dampness, and black mold.

However, if they believe your home would benefit from cavity wall insulation, they will also provide recommendations relating to the material of the insulation.

3. Cavity Wall Insulation Can Damage Your Property

As we’ve previously mentioned, by hiring a surveyor to look at your property before you install cavity wall insulation, an industry professional can advise you on the type of insulation you should install in your home. This is important because if you install the wrong type of insulation, it can cause structural damage to your property.

The insulation type that is often the culprit is bead cavity wall insulation. Bead cavity wall insulation is a bonded-bead system that can add too much pressure to the walls because of the pressure blown into your wall cavity via an injection gun. This can often lead to the development of cracks, which can allow liquid from outside to pass inside.

4. Insulation Can Limit Airflow

The very aim of cavity wall insulation can also lead to problems. This is because insulation aims to limit airflow, to ensure warm air cannot escape your home.

But this can lead to damp or black mold problems if you do not have adequate ventilation methods. Simply ensure your cavity wall installer also fits additional ventilation measures to avoid this issue.

5. Beware Of Cracks In Your Walls

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If your home was built a long time ago, then you have a greater chance of your property developing exterior cracks. When cavity wall insulation is installed in homes that have cracks, there is a higher likelihood of rain and other severe weather issues damaging your insulation.

If your property features exterior cracks, this does not mean you cannot have cavity wall insulation, you should just get them fixed beforehand.

How Do I Avoid Insulation Issues?

The most effective solution to avoid cavity wall insulation issues is to hire a surveyor beforehand. Most of the problems we outlined above can be addressed by a surveyor, who will provide you with all the information and answers you require.

If your surveyor advises you to install cavity wall insulation, then you must ensure that your insulation installer has the necessary certification before you allow them to carry out any work.

One of the key certification schemes is the Cavity Wall Insulation Self Certification Scheme (CWISC). Additionally, you should also keep a lookout for the following signs that may lead to problems in the future. Such as;

  • Condensation.
  • Damaged brickwork.
  • Damp.
  • If the temperature levels inside your home do not improve following the cavity wall insulation installation.
  • Mold.

How Do I Fix My Cavity Wall Insulation Problems?

If you have noticed the development of any of the previously mentioned warning signs, then you may have an issue with your cavity wall insulation that needs fixing. While this could be a costly issue, there are a few avenues you should explore that may lessen the financial burden.

These are:

  • Is your cavity wall insulation still under warranty?
  • Does the company that installed the insulation offer protection via the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA)?
  • If your surveyor recommended the wrong type of insulation, they may be liable to cover the costs of any repairs.

Alternatively, you may need to have your insulation either topped up (to fix any cold bridging issues) or you may opt to have the insulation removed completely. Both will be costly.

While many benefits come along with the installation of cavity wall insulation, from keeping your house warmer and reducing your energy bills to limiting your carbon footprint, there are also drawbacks.

Whether it’s your home not being suitable for cavity wall insulation, your property having cracks or suffering from limited airflow, or if the wrong insulation is installed or done poorly, the results can be severe.

To avoid these issues, you should:

  • Hire a surveyor beforehand: A surveyor will recommend whether you should install cavity wall insulation or not and what materials should be used. They will also provide an in-depth analysis of your property and its cavities, disclosing any cracks or issues.
  • Ensure your insulation installer has the correct certification: Schemes like the Cavity Wall Insulation Self Certification scheme are there to provide you with greater peace of mind when hiring tradespeople. Additionally, websites like Insulation Advisor can help you find the best insulation contractors in your local area at competitive prices.

The importance of professional assessment and installation in cavity wall insulation cannot be overstated. A professional assessment ensures that your home is a suitable candidate for this type of insulation, taking into account factors like wall structure, external exposure, and existing ventilation.

Experts can identify potential issues such as dampness or structural weaknesses that might affect the insulation’s performance. Their expertise also ensures that the insulation material is compatible with your home’s specific needs, thereby maximizing energy efficiency, reducing heating and cooling costs, and enhancing overall comfort.

By relying on professionals, homeowners can avoid the pitfalls of improper installation, such as moisture problems, thermal bridging, and reduced insulation lifespan, ensuring a safe, efficient, and durable solution for their home’s insulation needs.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, please read my full affiliate disclosure here

I also use Artificial Intelligence Image generators to create some of my images. These are to show you examples of my ideas and inspiration when I cannot produce the real images myself.

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