Solid walls: Thermal insulation. Internal insulation.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Thermal insulation.
A requirement of the Building Regulations is that measures be taken, in new buildings, for the conservation of fuel and power. There is no requirement for particular forms of construction to meet the requirement. The practical guidance to the regulation, contained in Approved Document L for dwellings, is based on assumed levels of heating to meet the expectation of indoor comfort of the majority of the largely urban population of this country who are engaged in sedentary occupations.

The advice in the Approved Document is based on an assumption that walls will be of cavity construction with the insulation in the cavity, which is the optimum position for insulation. In consequence it is likely that insulated cavity wall construction will be the first choice for the walls of dwellings for some time to come.

The regulations do make allowance for the use of any form of construction providing the calculated energy use of such buildings is no greater than that of a similar building with recommended insulated construction.
To provide the insulation required to meet the standard for conservation with a solid wall it is necessary to fix a layer of some lightweight insulating material to either the external or the internal face of the wall.

For external insulation it is necessary to cover the insulation material with either rendering, tile, slate or some sheet metal covering as protection against weather. Internal insulation has to be protected with plasterboard or some other solid material to provide an acceptable finish. The cost of the additional materials and the very considerable labour involved is so great that it is an unacceptable alternative to the more straightforward, less expensive and more satisfactory use of cavity wall insulation for new buildings.

Internal insulation.
Internal insulation may be fixed to the solid brick walls of existing buildings where, for example, there is to be a change of use from warehouse to dwelling to enhance the thermal insulation of the external walls. 

Insulating materials are lightweight and do not generally have a smooth hard finish and are not, therefore, suitable as the inside face of the walls of most buildings. It is usual to cover the insulating layer with a lining of plasterboard or plaster so that the combined thickness of the inner lining and the wall have a U value of 0.45 W/m2K, or less.

Internal linings for thermal insulation are either of preformed, laminated panels that combine a wall lining of plasterboard glued to an insulation board or of separate insulation material that is fixed to the wall and then covered with plasterboard or wet plaster. The method of fixing the lining to the inside wall surface depends on the surface to which it is applied.

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