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Under Floor Insulation in Canberra?

By cranky - 25 June 2009 34

Renovated Chateau Cranky a couple of years ago, incorporating insulation (batts) in all walls and roof areas. The certifier was fullsome in his praise of the installers work.

The place has always since seemed to require more heating and cooling than I would have expected from the insulation installed.

We do have some uncurtained glass, so in an attempt to track down heat loss/gain, I used one of those infrared temperature measuring guns. I was suprised to find that virtually all surfaces were similar temperature, but that the floor was several degrees cooler.

The floor is wood, 19mm thick floorboards, layed on top of the existing 19mm pine floor. I would expect 38mm of wood to be a fairly good insulator, but this appears not to be the case.

How does one increase the insulating abilities of a wooden floor? Access underneath is relatively easy.

What’s Your opinion?


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34 Responses to
Under Floor Insulation in Canberra?
AG Canberra 1:34 pm 25 Jun 09

Floors will almost always be cold in Canberra – that’s why most of us don’t have polished floorboards in our bedrooms – too blood cold!

The best thing you can do is heat the place properly, seal up all draughts and use efficient insulation where required.

We are currently having our ceiling insulation replaced (Thanks K Rudd. Everyone should get this done – it’s free!) and I asked about the floor insulation. The guys said it takes many many years to recoup your costs putting batts under the floor. They advised using floor rugs in winter and packing them away in summer when you want to walk on cool timber.

SheepGroper 12:46 pm 25 Jun 09

TheScientist said :

My parents house (in nz) used to be bad for heat loss through the floor. Dad got some polystyrene sheeting from scrap from a project he was managing, and simply put that in between all of the joists.

Polystyrene – wouldn’t that be bad if it caught fire? I put ceiling bats under my floor, I didn’t think of wire mesh to hold them up, just wound wire around nails to support them. The batts are fire resistant.

deezagood 11:42 am 25 Jun 09

sepi said :

PS – another cause of cold drafts can be downlights and tastics. (We have zillions of downlights too.)

You can buy covers for these, to put up in the roofspace, but they are hard to find.

Also gaps around the front and back doors can drag a draft right thru the house. You can buy sticky foam to put around the doorway.

I hadn’t thought about the drafts from downlights! Great tips Sepi – I’m onto it…

RandomPoster 11:27 am 25 Jun 09

I have looked a couple of different products, and they have all had a similar rating.

If you know of something that is better I would like to know before I buy this stuff!

housebound said :

RandomPoster said :

Expol Under Floor Insulation might be worth a look.
http://www.expol.com.au/ I have not tried it, but I am planning to install it at some point soon.

The R-rating is pretty low at 1.4 – not sure this product is a good idea for Canberra.

We’ve had the same idea. Our tiled floor (over chipboard) gets a bit chilly underfoot in the middle of a cold winter night.

TheScientist 11:22 am 25 Jun 09

My parents house (in nz) used to be bad for heat loss through the floor. Dad got some polystyrene sheeting from scrap from a project he was managing, and simply put that in between all of the joists.

each sheet was maybe 1.5cm-2cm thick and he used a couple of layers all around, but it made a huge difference to heat retention overnight in winter.

so it might be worth finding out if you can get off cuts from somewhere in canberra if you want to DIY and cheaply, otherwise, i think that expol stuff is where he got his inspiration (at the time they just started heavily advertising on tv)

housebound 11:22 am 25 Jun 09

RandomPoster said :

Expol Under Floor Insulation might be worth a look.
http://www.expol.com.au/ I have not tried it, but I am planning to install it at some point soon.

The R-rating is pretty low at 1.4 – not sure this product is a good idea for Canberra.

We’ve had the same idea. Our tiled floor (over chipboard) gets a bit chilly underfoot in the middle of a cold winter night.

Hells_Bells74 10:53 am 25 Jun 09

Yes thank you Astrojax, I had to go for a drive after I said that and realised while picking brains in cold air that I was right the first time. Someone’s gotta be the wally.

dtc 10:51 am 25 Jun 09

My house has underfloor batts – its just normal ceiling insulation (from what I can tell) and held in place by chicken wire/mesh nailed to the underside of the floor/the support beams. Unlikely to be an enjoyable job to do but not particularly complicated.

Having said that, I also have 19mm hardwood laid over pine, with batts underneath, and my floor is still definitely cold (the carpeted floors are much warmer). So I’m going to guess that wood isn’t a good insulator or simply doesnt retain heat or something. I suspect the heat rising thing might be a factor as well. I’m sure the batts help but a floor isn’t going to be as warm as double brick plus plasterboard etc.

astrojax 10:39 am 25 Jun 09

i think the draughts come in from behind the dishwasher, which was built from plans which were, no doubt, once drafts…

RandomPoster 10:24 am 25 Jun 09

Expol Under Floor Insulation might be worth a look.
http://www.expol.com.au/

I have not tried it, but I am planning to install it at some point soon.

Hells_Bells74 10:23 am 25 Jun 09

oh now I’m now confused!

Hells_Bells74 10:19 am 25 Jun 09

oops drafts.

Hells_Bells74 10:14 am 25 Jun 09

Sepi – great tips and that’s a really a cool thing to have batts under the wooden floor and why haven’t I heard of this? Wish they’d do it for my house, it’s just an icebox fronting as a house. I do what I can to prevent draughts is about the best you can do.

sepi 10:03 am 25 Jun 09

PS – another cause of cold drafts can be downlights and tastics. (We have zillions of downlights too.)

You can buy covers for these, to put up in the roofspace, but they are hard to find.

Also gaps around the front and back doors can drag a draft right thru the house. You can buy sticky foam to put around the doorway.

sepi 9:59 am 25 Jun 09

We have under-floor insulation. It came with the house, so I don’t know who does it. It looks like batts stuck to the floor.

You could also try blue-tacking bubble wrap on your uncurtained glass for 24 hours, to test whether curtains or double glazing would make a difference.

Our house is freezing despite all manner of insulation – partly due to huge south facing frontage and I’m sure the whole block is in a little frost hollow. We also have bad drafts coming from behind the dishwasher, and the oven flu, and around some of our old windows.

ACT govt will do a H.E.A.T. test on your house for 30.00 and suggest improvements to insulation etc – might be worth booking them in. We’ve done it on two houses – one was great, one was ok – it depends who you get on the day I think.

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