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What is cavity wall insulation & why has mine failed?

Why has my cavity wall insulation failed

If you want to know what a cavity wall, cavity wall insulation and why it fails, then you’re in the right place! This article is waiting to enlighten you, leave no rock unturned as you become a bit of an expert on all things cavity wall insulation… Want to know more?

What is a cavity wall?

You may or may not know what a cavity wall is, or what cavity wall insulation is, not to worry, let us tell you! When your home has a cavity wall, it means the external structure of your home consists of two walls, one is external, facing the elements, the other is the internal wall, and these are called ‘skins’. These skins have a gap of about 75mm between the internal aspect and the external aspect, this is your cavity! A cavity wall provides layers to your home, keeping the heat on the inside and the cold, harsh weather out, all the while allowing your house to breathe.

If your house is cavity wall insulated, this means the little 75mm gap has been pumped with an extra material such as carbon beads, mineral wool, or polyurethane foam. Although these can be beneficial to your home, i.e., providing extra support in keeping your home warm. However more and more information is coming out about the damaging effects that cavity wall insulation can have on your home if it fails. So the question remains…

Why has your cavity wall insulation failed?

A question you may have asked so many times without actually hearing a straightforward answer. Let us provide you with one (finally). If your cavity wall insulation is in decline, here’s a few reasons as to why:-

The company performing the installation used poor material to insulate your walls

You KNOW the terrible two we’re referring to here, little Miss Polyurethane Foam and her damp older brother Mr. Mineral Wool. Polyurethane foam will break down over time and release chemicals while doing so, surely that can’t be good for you, therefore leading to its inevitable extraction from between your walls.

Quick question, what happens when you wear a wooly jumper out in the rain? It soaks up more and more water until you look like you’ve taken a fully clothed dip in your nearest local Leisure Center. The same thing goes for the mineral wool that was pumped into your wall, it would have absorbed more and more moisture over the years, until it was completely saturated, sagging on your brick ties and causing damp inside your home.

The location of your property was not appropriate for the insulation

Realistically, the company performing your installation would have known this, but done it regardless. Properties that are predisposed to be exposed to rain, like your lovely coastal home in west Wales, will gather damp far more efficiently than your detached midland city house. It’s a fact.

The structure of your property isn’t appropriate for insulation

A good example of this is if your cavity width is too small. It does make sense really, as you’ve already read, cavity walls work by allowing air to circulate and dry out to prevent damp from entering your home. If the cavity is too small and has been insulated, there will be no space for the walls to breathe and dry out if damp does enter the cavity.

Your cavity wall insulation has not been installed properly

A good example of this is, your installer has not added the bonding agent when installing the carbon beads into your cavity. So what? The bonding agents prevent these beads from migrating down your cavity, without it, they will sink to the bottom of the cavity, having no effect whatsoever on the insulation of your home. The bonding agent also provides a water-proof coating to the beads, allowing any condensation entering your cavity to cling to the beads and make its way down to the bottom of your walls and out of any vents on your external wall. Without this coating, the beads will absorb the water, causing the dreaded damp.

In these cases, let’s be real, your best option and only option really, is cavity wall insulation removal.

A quick recap...

Are you worried your cavity wall could be failing you? You may need to look out for the symptoms of a failing cavity wall, or you could book a free survey with us today. Together we can get down to the bottom of any problems you may be facing with your cavity wall.

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