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Total Contractor Magazine

Rafter Level THERMAL &

Rafter Level THERMAL & ACOUSTIC PROPERTIES: A MARRIAGE MADE IN HEAVEN Chris Roughneen, Technical Manager at Isover, explains the importance of finding the balance between the acoustic and thermal performance of building insulation – especially when it comes to installing it within pitched roof rafters. Over the last decade, there has been much scrutiny on the energy efficiency of homes, with the focus being placed highly on the thermal performance of insulation. However, as the agenda shifts towards achieving a deeper understanding of how our environment affects our health and well-being, the emphasis is starting to be placed on how products can actually enhance the lives of building occupants. As such, when it comes to choosing insulation for any application, you must take into account all of its properties, including its thermal conductivity and acoustic performance, as well as its ease of installation to ensure you can complete the job quickly and with minimal waste. Everyone knows that the thermal performance of insulation is important, but not many people understand the impact of installing poorly performing acoustic insulation. In fact, according to the World Health Organisation, being exposed to excessive noise can seriously harm human health and interfere with people’s daily activities at school, work and at home. Therefore, when it comes to rafter-level insulation for pitched roofs, it is important to ensure that not only is it Building Regulations compliant, but that it also enhances the general comfort of occupants. After all, a quarter of the heat in a building can be lost through an uninsulated roof, while unwanted outside noise can disturb those that use the space. For these applications, I feel a high-performance glass mineral wool is the best option as there are many benefits to installing it within the rafter zone of a pitched roof. Firstly, it is a very cost effective solution compared to other materials and some products, such as our Metac range, can provide an excellent thermal conductivity of 0.034 W/mK and possess impressive acoustic properties. What’s more, it’s also quick and easy to install, as it’s lightweight and can easily be friction-fitted between the rafters when cut accurately, which will result in no slumping or air gaps. If you do decide to install insulation within the rafters of a pitched roof, you’ll also have to install a vapour control layer. However, as many UK properties have become better insulated and more airtight, moisture management has risen as a key area of concern across the market. If not managed correctly, moisture build-up within the building fabric can give rise to damp and rot, potentially damaging the structure of the building and affecting the day-to-day comfort levels of the building’s occupants. As such, a smart vapour control layer (VCL) should be chosen. Vario XtraSafe is the latest development in airtightness and moisture management from Isover. It reacts to changes within the internal environment, allowing the membrane to permit trapped moisture to escape from the structure in summer, whilst preventing moisture accumulation over the winter months. With the above in mind, it is vital that you liaise with a reputable manufacturer to ensure that the correct insulation is chosen for pitched roofs – or any application – to not only comply with Building Regs, but to provide occupants with a warm, comfortable and peaceful environment to enjoy. A quick guide to installing Metac, a range designed specifically for pitched roof rafters: 1) Measure and record both the vertical depth of the rafters and the horizontal widths of the gap between the rafters. 2) Measure and cut the Metac roll with an insulation saw or knife to fit the horizontal width of the gap between the rafters – adding an extra 10mm width to the measurement to allow for a snug fit. 3) Slit the packaging on the cut section to allow Metac to unroll and wait for the full thickness to recover. Measure and cut the roll to the required length with a straight edge and sharp insulation knife. 4) Push and friction fit Metac between the rafters, keeping the lower face of Metac flush with the bottom edge of the rafters. Contact Isover 0800 032 2555 @IsoverUK 68 TC MARCH 2018

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