Will thermally insulating my floor really help reduce my energy bills?
As winter sets in, the temperature drops and our energy bills rise, we’re all thinking about how to make our homes more energy efficient. So, let’s explore the benefits of thermally insulating your draughty wooden floors. Here’s our advice on what can be done to reduce your energy bills and improve the cosiness of your home.
We all want a warm, cosy home especially at Christmas time.
Read our advice to reduce your energy bills and improve the cosiness of your home.
Are you thinking about how to make your home more energy efficient?
There are many benefits to thermally insulating your wooden floors.
Should I thermally insulate my floor for a warmer home?
The floors in older homes often allow heat to easily escape, and yes effective floor insulation can make a huge difference. Older homes are most likely to have suspended timber floors. In a nutshell, suspended timber floors are insulated by lifting the floorboards and laying mineral wool insulation supported by netting between the joists. We’re often asked what is the best thermal insulating material to use. We highly recommend the insulating properties of mineral wool. If you suffer from allergies then sheep wool is a very effective natural insulator. Another notable benefit of thermal insulation is that cleaning out under the floorboards and suspending the mineral wool helps to reduce the risk of rising damp.
We highly recommend the insulating properties of mineral wool.
Suspended timber floors are insulated by lifting the floorboards and laying mineral wool insulation.
The mineral wool is supported by netting between the joists.
Cleaning out under the floorboards and suspending the mineral wool helps to reduce the risk of rising damp.
Can floors in period homes be insulated?
As mentioned earlier, older homes are most likely to have suspended timber floors. Suspended timber floors consist of floorboards nailed to the joists, often carried on ‘sleeper’ walls of brick. This means under the floorboards there is a lot of circulating air and it’s important that the underside of a suspended floor is ventilated to avoid the build up of moisture. Good ventilation prevents the subfloor from accumulating moisture which leads to rot and woodworm. Besides this great advantage, the downside is that, especially in the cold seasons, it brings cold air under the subfloor which creates a chilly room. There are great gains to be made by insulating suspended timber floors and reducing this problem.
Air bricks bring cold air under the subfloor which can create a chilly room.
Air circulates under the floorboards and prevents the subfloor from accumulating moisture which leads to rot and woodworm.
Can I thermally insulate and keep my original floor boards?
Technically it can be done but in most cases, for many reasons, it is not a profitable investment. First of all it requires significant preparatory work such as removing skirting boards to provide access to the boards underneath. Secondly it’s wise to expect some loss of boards. Bear in mind that original pine floor boards can be over 150 years old, there will inevitably be some damage as these are lifted up. Thirdly, sanding Victorian floorboards further reduces the thickness and affects its structural integrity. Find out more in the article on soundproofing original pine floors.
These original pine boards were sanded and restored to a good condition.
The restored boards were painted white with Farrow and Ball wood paint.
Our recommendation is to extract these pine floorboards, insert the mineral wool insulation and then reconstruct the subfloor with hardwood plywood which will give more strength and stability. Over this improved and insulated subfloor a new wooden floor can be installed. Browse our beautiful wood flooring collection online or visit our showroom.
One of our recent projects had a new elegant grey herringbone parquet fitted.
These customers opted for a bespoke herringbone parquet in a custom made shade of grey.
How much does it cost?
Each wood flooring project is different so an individual approach is essential. We've created a project cost calculator to help you have a better idea of what thermally insulating your floor would cost. Generally speaking, you only need to insulate the ground floor. If you’re on an upper floor, you don’t usually need to insulate your floor space. However, you should consider insulating any floors that are above unheated spaces such as garages, as you could be losing a lot of heat through those.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, insulating under the floorboards on the ground floor could save you about £110 a year in an average property, or up to £180 if you live in a detached house.