What is floor insulation and why it is important?

01/12/2020 By Roy Off

What is floor insulation?

Insulating a floor means adding an insulating material beneath the floorboards, thereby reducing heat escaping through the floor into the ground. Approximately 15% of heat is lost from a house via this route. Insulation also acts to prevent draughts coming up through the floorboards. In addition the household should also consider insulating the gaps between the skirting boards and the floor, which also helps in reducing draughts.

Floor insulation is most commonly done when putting a new floor in place, but most floors can be retrofitted with insulating material, and this will make a large saving to your overall heating bill. Depending on how confident you are with DIY, it is possible to install floor insulation yourself.

 Here are 4 reasons why underfloor insulation may be right for you:

1. It Eliminates Drafts

Underfloor insulation will help eliminate drafts in homes that are raised above the ground (those that have a crawlspace or are set on piers). Insulating under the floor will prevent drafts from entering via the gap between the floor and the ground. One tactic is to place rigid insulation panels between the floor joists. The contractor would need to cut the panels to fit tightly, and caulk the spaces in between the insulation and joists. The caulking is necessary because the wood expands and contracts based on temperature and moisture.

2. It Will Prevent Heat Loss

According to the experts at This Old House, underfloor insulation will help the house retain heat, but it will not necessarily make the floor warmer by itself. Homeowners expecting to have a heated-floor effect after they insulate beneath the surface will be disappointed. Hot air rises, therefore, the cold air outside the house will actually make the insulation colder than the interior. This natural phenomenon will not make the floor colder, nor will it create a warming sensation.

3. It Will Create a Vapor Barrier and Reduce Moisture

Wood floors are especially vulnerable to moisture. A layer of insulation between the floor and crawl space helps create a vapor barrier, preventing moisture from creeping in and soaking the wood floor (which could eventually stain or warp the wood). Panels or insulation with rigid corners is the best option for creating a complete barrier. In some houses, drainage and ventilation in the crawlspace can also play a role in combating moisture.

4. It Will Help Keep Pipes From Freezing

In homes with piping beneath the floor, insulation provides extra protection. In climates with freezing winters, pipes are prone to cracking and bursting if the water inside of them freezes. Since pipes often run near the floor, they are placed in areas that residents do not usually inspect. Sections of pipe could be located in incredibly cold areas near or under the floor, and the homeowner would never recognize the risk of pipes freezing. A layer of insulation between the pipes and a home’s exterior could lower the risk of wintertime pipe bursts.