Team removing cavity wall insulation.

Your Ultimate Guide To Cavity Wall Insulation Removal in 2022

Let’s be real, shall we? Upon looking at our article for the first time, many of us will have only one question in mind; what exactly is a cavity wall? What does it do? And after that, why do I need cavity wall insulation removal? Let us enlighten you! 

A cavity wall is actually two separate walls that have a small space between them, providing layers between your cosy home and the harsh outdoors (British weather, need we say more?). This very talented little gap (of about 75mm) in your walls acts as the bodyguard to your home, preventing moisture from entering, and allowing your house to breathe.

Now, some of us may have had our cavities insulated, yes? Providing an extra layer of warmth and security to our homes is such a good idea, however, sometimes things can go a little wrong, can’t they? Insulation can gather water and become damp, causing you problem after problem, but so what? Join us through our ultimate guide and discover the why’s, what’s, and how’s of cavity wall insulation and its removal.


What's in this article?

Is your home showing symptoms of failed cavity wall insulation?

There are many tell-tale signs of a weakening cavity wall insulation, and these could be appearing right under your nose!

Damp Walls

Discoloured or cold patches on your walls, or even a musty smell in your home, could be a sign of a failing cavity wall insulation. This is a result of moisture seeping in from the outside. This can happen because your external walls are losing their ability to repel water, or even severe weather conditions in some cases. The water is then soaked up into the cavity where your insulation lives. Your insulation then absorbs the moisture and transmits it onto your internal wall, causing the damp!


Sneezing, coughing, headache? Don’t blame a cold, blame the mould! Did you know that mould is a symptom of a failing cavity wall insulation? Well, you do now! Mould is a fungus that thrives in damp conditions, i.e., the cosy little moist top right corner of your living room where the cavity wall insulation is conveniently damp. If your house could speak, it would beg you not to paint over the mould. Instead, how about identifying the source of the mould? A borescope inspection could help with this, and once you find the source, a cavity wall insulation removal could be your home’s medicine!

Cold patches on your walls

If you find yourself feeling a little colder in a certain part of your house, give the walls a feel! Cold walls don’t always mean there’s dampness in your cavity, it could also mean your insulation is clumping, or you have saggy insulation (it’s about as nice as it sounds). An inspection of your cavity using a borescope can quickly diagnose these problems, bringing you one step closer to curing your home!

Expensive heating bills

Have you noticed you may be paying more on your heating bills? This is another symptom of your cavity wall insulation’s deteriorating health. Your boiler and radiators are working overtime to try and warm your house up, the heat wants to escape, and your insulation is allowing it!  If your insulation can’t even hold itself up, then there’s no chance of it holding your heat in. Don’t crank your radiators up, your bills will go through the roof (much like the heat). Instead, maybe it’s time to start thinking of cavity wall insulation removal.

Cracks in the render or brickwork

Imagine this symptom as your house ageing prematurely. The walls of your house are its skin, the outer and inner walls being the different membrane layers. What holds the structure of skin? Collagen, or in your house’s case, the brick ties in the cavity. If your cavity wall insulation is wet and sagging, or clumping around these brick ties, they will begin to rust and expand before their time! This will cause the render or brickwork of your house to crack, and these cracks are sooo noticeable. How about applying some moisturiser… sorry we mean some cavity wall insulation removal?

Blown plaster

Uh-oh! Is the plaster coming off your internal walls? Water may be beneficial for your health, but not much can be said for your house. You may find that the moisture your cavity wall insulation is desperately clinging to is the perfect bridge for the damp from outside to travel across and ruin your beautifully plastered kitchen, because, you see, the poor plaster on the inside of your house is vulnerable to moisture and won’t last very long when its exposed

Blocked vents

Yet ANOTHER way for failing cavity wall insulation to cause damp and mould in your home! Have you noticed your house feeling less airy than normal? This could be because your cavity wall insulation has sagged and blocked your vents. That’s not the only kind of vent it can block, it can block the vents to your suspended floor, or even block your combustion vent! This will prevent excess CO2 produced from the gas fire in your living room from leaving your home.

Can you see your own home in these symptoms?

You may be putting your family and property at risk by letting these symptoms worsen, cavity wall insulation removal could be the miracle cure your looking for, after all, you know what they say, “No insulation is better than wet insulation”.

Damp cavity wall displaying black mould

Risks of failed cavity wall insulation

Is your cavity wall insulation affecting your health? It’s not just about your house, it’s about you too! A failing cavity wall insulation isn’t any good for you or your pockets.

Is your cavity wall insulation affecting your health?

If your cavity wall insulation happens to be causing mould or damp, it can actually affect your health. As we’ve said before, don’t blame a cold, blame the mould (and damp of course, it takes two to tango!).

 A growing damp and mould in your home can leave you feeling sick and tired- to say the least! Damp and mould aren’t just hard on the eyes, its hard on your head and respiratory system too! When in their presence, they can leave you feeling wheezy and sneezy, with a hangover-worthy headache, and in some severe cases, with a respiratory infection. They may not sound too bad, right? Just think though, if it can make you sick, it’s probably toxic!

Don’t believe us? An article written on a scholarly study performed by Norbäck. D et al, 2017 studied how mould in your homes affects how well your lung’s function, as for the results, we’re not shocked, just disappointed. So, ask yourself, are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Do you think the damp and mould in your house could be affecting your family’s health? It could be time to do something about it, could cavity wall insulation removal improve your health?

Expensive damage & costly bills

If your fridge was broken, would you keep buying fresh food again and again to replace the food that was constantly rotting? Or would you just buy a new fridge?

Failing cavity wall insulation is absolutely no joke to your pockets. There are so many things to go wrong if it is just left!

Internal Damage

Are you having to constantly re-plaster, re-paint, repeat? This is because the lingering, damp, failing cavity wall insulation is making your walls moist, meaning you and your local plasterer will soon be on a first name basis!

Now, you may think it’s an easier, cheaper alternative than having cavity wall insulation removal (which would only take one or two days, then you never have to worry about it again, just saying), but think of the amount of time, money and energy spent on constantly having to re-do your lovely living room, whether if its DIY or Phil the Plasterer. This could alllll be avoided by one simple solution, hint hint. Leaving you with more time to spend with your friends, family, cat, et cetera. Not to mention your living room won’t constantly look like a construction site, your holiday savings pot will remain untouched, and Phil can just be known as ‘the Plasterer who lives down the road’.

Rising Heating Bills

You could be racking up ridiculous heating bills, with the temperatures whacked up so high you should feel like you’re sunning it out in Aus, not taking residency in a freezer. Speaking of- you may as well leave your food shopping in the middle of your kitchen, after all, its colder there than it is in your fridge!

Damaged Brick Ties

What else could possibly go wrong? Famous last words! Remember us mentioning a little thing called a cracked render? (And bricks of course). You could be forking out at least 2k for the replacement of just a few brick ties on a brick wall and its only downhill from there unfortunately. You could be faced with a rather hefty bill of £7000 to replace the brick ties of the whole face of a house with a render AND the fixing of the render itself. Ouch. Imagine spending that money on a literal wall, when instead, you could go on at least 5 holidays with that money or buy around 7000 packets of hobnobs- if they’re on offer- (it’s up to you really).

Not aesthetically pleasing

Let’s face it, you don’t want your house to look a mess, do you? The previous problems, you’ve read about, blown plaster, mould, damp and cracked renders, they’re not just hard on your health or your wealth, but they’re pretty hard on your eyes too, aren’t they?

Not having cavity wall insulation removal could mean your house will be donning a beautiful bit of scaffolding to replace the brick ties or maybe your living room wall will look like a biology students lab work until the end of time. However, cavity wall insulation removal is a minimally invasive process that takes a maximum of 2 days, leaving a tiny little scar on the outer walls of your home, it’s a no brainer, really.

Depreciation of property value

You might find it extremely difficult to find someone to take your house off your hands (for a price, of course) when there’s a structural failure that could potentially cause physical damage to your property itself, such as failing cavity wall insulation. That’s not to mention, again, about how your house looks to potential buyers. As we’ve mentioned before, if the failure of your cavity wall insulation is severe enough to cause symptoms, such as mould, damp, structural damage, such as dry or wet rot of the woodwork in your home or cracks in the external walls, it’s a massive red flag to anyone viewing your house- no one wants to buy a house that could possibly make them and their family ill, or cause physical injury… would you?

That being said, if someone, who clearly loves a challenge, purchases your house, it will likely be for far less than your property’s potential maximum value. All of the risk to your health, the money involved in rectifying the failing cavity wall insulation, and all of the damage it’s caused by your neglect will definitely depreciate the value of your property, it’s a shame really! Are you thinking of selling your house? Why not aid your home in achieving its peak resale potential and invest in cavity wall insulation removal?

Affect your home insurance

you may think your insurance could cover it! Think again! One of the conjectures you agree to when insuring your home is that your house is in good health. Unfortunately for you, a mouldy and damp house is a health condition that insurance companies cannot turn a blind eye to! Your insurance company will not cover the damage to your house caused by the failing cavity wall insulation. Think of damp and mould, not as a common cold, but as the flu, paracetamol and an apple a day won’t save your house here! You know what they say, “feed a cold, starve a fever”, so why are you feeding your feverish, fluey mould and damp problem by keeping your cavity wall insulation? Cure the illness at its source with cavity wall insulation removal!

A quick recap...

All seriousness, cavity wall insulation removal is an investment for you and your family, you think you’re saving money by not having it done? Deep down, you know that you’ll be spending more money in the long run by avoiding it, and the headaches, the sneezing and wheezing will get worse, not just for you, but for your family too! So, what are you going to choose? Health and wealth? That sounds like the right choice to First Choice!

Why has my 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 prevents 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.

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 prevents 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.

Can I remove cavity wall insulation myself?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. The removal of your cavity wall insulation must be performed by trained experts like our team at First Choice Energy!

Well, how is it removed then?

Your cavity wall insulation would be extracted as cleanly as possible using minimally invasive techniques. Our team would remove bricks at the bottom of your house as discreetly as possible and blow compressed air into the cavity, the damaged insulation will then fall to the bottom of the cavity and will be sucked out of the wall by an industrial hoover. More stubborn insulation will be removed by a hardcore method called whipping. A member of our team will then perform a borescope inspection to be absolutely certain all of the damaged cavity wall insulation (no rock shall go unturned!), lastly any bricks will be replaced as neatly as possible. You’ll never know we were there!

Has your cavity wall insulation guarantee failed you?

Now then, let’s get serious. We know better than most how much a cavity wall insulation removal can hurt your pockets, after all, it does require powerful machinery and skilled workers like our very own cavity wall insulation removal specialists here at First Choice Energy Ltd. Fear not, as luck could be on your side! Remember those people who provided you with the insulation guarantee? You can actually claim off them if the failure of your cavity wall insulation breaches the dates of the guarantee. The installer should have parted with a certificate containing the details of your provider, and from there you can begin to reclaim what’s rightfully yours.

Unfortunately, our company has discovered that many of you were not provided with this cavity wall insulation guarantee (shame on the provider!), when the install was completed. Don’t you worry, all is not lost! Another option you have is to contact the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency, aka, CIGA.

After a decision has been made, you could receive funding for your cavity wall insulation removal. If you’d like to read more on the claiming process, why not skim through our article on claiming for your failed cavity wall insulation?

We would also like to urge you to be careful! The claim you make on the guarantee may not be plausible if the providers agree the installer is at fault, and more often than not- you, the homeowner, will unfortunately catch the brunt of the blame. In your own best interest, if you are considering cavity wall insulation, please, choose happiness and security, give your boring, wordy guarantee a read, not a skim, a read, before signing, it’s for the best.

How much does cavity wall insulation removal cost?

“The best things in life are free”- you’ve heard the saying right? While the removal of your failing cavity wall insulation may not come for free, it will definitely change your home for the better!

When done correctly, i.e., by yours truly, a cavity wall extraction removal is easily worth the money spent. You must consider all things that are done in the process of removal-

  • The square meterage of your external walls
  • The material that was used to insulate your cavity wall
  • Is scaffolding required? (Although to save you money, we never use scaffolding unless absolutely necessary)
  • Is there a build-up of debris in your cavity?

So what? You may ask. To cut a long story short, the square meterage of your house- the bigger the job, the bigger the payment (fair enough, right?), the material of your cavity wall insulation- if your cavity is insulated with a more rigid material like polyurethane foam a more advanced method of removal should be used, your cavity may have a build-up of debris from past work- its removal is absolutely essential for your home, and we don’t want to cut corners, but the removal of this debris can be quite time consuming.

If you’re thinking about cavity wall insulation removal, have a look at our prices, and indulge in the fact your home is in the hands of our skillful and hard-working professionals!