Too many homes in the UK are poorly insulated, meaning heat (and money) is constantly escaping from your home. Insulating your home will help cut your heating bills, reduce noise and carbon footprint. Plus improve the comfort of your interior spaces.
If your home was built before the 1920s, its external walls are probably solid walls rather than cavity walls.
Solid walls can be insulated though - either from the inside or the outside. This will cost more than insulating a standard cavity wall, but the savings on your heating bills will be greater too.
If you have solid walls, then they're almost certainly not insulated - but the first thing you need to find out is what sort of walls you have.
If you can see the brickwork on the outside of the house, look at the pattern of the bricks as this can show how the wall has been constructed.
If you home has solid walls, the bricks will have an alternating pattern, with some bricks laid across the wall so you can see the smaller ends from the outside.
If your home has cavity walls, the bricks will usually have an even pattern with all the bricks laid lengthways.
If the brickwork has been covered, you can also tell by measuring the width of the wall. Examine a window or door on one of your external walls. If a brick wall is greater than 260mm then the wall is likely to be a cavity wall. A narrower wall is most likely a solid wall.
If you live in a house that has a non-traditional construction such as a concrete, steel or timber-framed building, you will need a specialist installer with insulating experience to identify and advise you on your insulation options.
External Wall insulation involves fixing a layer of insulation material to the wall, the covering it with a special type of render (plasterwork) or cladding.
The finish can be smooth, textured, painted, tiled, panelled, pebble-dashed, or finished with brick slips.
Internal wall insulation is done by fitting rigid insulation boards to the wall, or by building a stud wall filled in with insulation material such as mineral wool fibre.
Many cavity walls can be insulated by injecting insulation material into the cavity from the outside. A specialist company will drill holes in the outside walls, inject insulation through the holes and then seal them with cement. The insulation material is usually either mineral wool or polystyrene beads, but polyurethane foam may sometimes be used instead.
To insulate your cavity walls, the installer drills small holes around 22mm in size at intervals of around 1m in the outside wall of your home. The installer then blows insulation into the cavity using special equipment. Once all the insulation is in, the installer fills the holes in the brickwork so you’ll barely notice them.
Filling cavity walls is not a job you can do yourself, you will need to employ a registered installer. A professional can do the job in around two hours for an average house with easily accessible walls. It shouldn’t make any mess.