Why Remove Cavity Wall Insulation?

Cavity wall insulation removal is becoming more and more common here in the UK. Of the 27 million properties in the UK, approximately 19 million have cavity walls. For the vast majority cavity wall insulation works perfectly, helping protect their home against the cold during the winter months – Cavity wall insulation can be a really cost effective way to save on your heating bill.

However, there are a large number of cases where cavity wall insulation doesn’t work out for the occupant and that is where we step in!

Extraction4Homes – the independent cavity wall extraction company!

Extraction4homes is an independent cavity wall insulation removal specialist. Our team of engineers use the latest techniques to clear faulty cavities in a cost effective manner. Our teams can clear the 3 main types of insulation – EPS beads, Mineral wool (white and Rockwool) as well as foam insulation.

So what causes the issues in the first place?

Removal ToolThere are 4 main reasons why cavity wall insulation might cause issues:

  1. The insulation material used was unsuitable
  2. The insulation was installed incorrectly
  3. Cavity wall insulation is unsuitable
  4. Allergies caused by the existing insulation

In the following section we are going to look at a couple of examples of each of the issues above.

Cavity Wall Insulation material was unsuitable

The insulation material being unsuitable refers to the actual type of insulation used – for example urea-formaldehyde has been used extensively in the past. This type of insulation unfortunately breaks down over 15-20 years releasing formaldehyde, which is carcinogenic. In addition, as the insulation breaks down, it can slip down to the bottom of the cavity – meaning that walls higher up no longer have any insulation within them, meaning the rooms enveloped by them get colder.

Another example of where an unsuitable insulation material is used is in older properties with thinner cavity walls (less than 50mm) only specialist hard to treat (HTT) insulation products should be used (e.g bonded beads or closed cell polyurethane foam). Unfortunately in some cases other unsuitable products have been used. These unsuitable products can produce artificial bridges across the cavity, which encourages water ingress.

The cavity wall insulation was installed incorrectly

In terms of the insulation being installed incorrectly – this is normally down to the installer. The first example of this is when beads are used to insulate the cavity wall. 99 times out of 100 these are injected with an adhesive, which binds the beds together making a waterproof barrier and a really stable insulation layer. Unfortunately it takes considerably longer for installers to inject the beads with this adhesive, where as a typical property can be insulated in just a couple of hours if the adhesive is neglected. The result is that the beads will settle over time (much like the urea-formaldehyde breaking down), so the top of the property is no longer insulated. Another issue is that the beads can very easily fall out via airbricks and other ventilation points.

Cavity Wall insulation coming out of a ventThe second example is when wool is injected into the cavity. In order to retrospectively insulate a cavity wall property, holes are drilled across the wall and then the wool is literally injected into the cavity under high pressure. The problem is that if these holes are not in the correct place, you don’t get an even spread of insulation – i.e. the insulation injected from one hole doesn’t meet the insulation injected from the other hole. Once the entire wall is insulated, there will be pockets of un-insulated walls leading to cold spots in the property where condensation can become a problem.

Cavity wall insulation is unsuitable

Cavity wall insulation is a fantastic insulation solution provided it is done correctly with the right products in the right place, but there are times when cavity wall insulation is just not suitable – however it has been installed anyway.

Cavity wall insulation should never be installed in areas of the UK that are exposed to wind and rain – this covers the entire West coast of the UK and explains why so many properties in wales are currently having the cavity wall insulation extracted. The insulation may have been installed perfectly, but it simply shouldn’t have been done in the first place. A solid wall insulation system should be the only option on this type of property – otherwise there is a elevated risk of damp.

There are also many building fabrics that are unsuitable – despite the fact they are ‘cavity walls’ in the truest sense of the word. Timber framed properties for example should never be insulated with cavity wall insulation as it can lead to damp. We get many phone calls from people looking to sell / buy houses saying they can’t sell / get mortgages because their timber frame property has had cavity wall insulation installed.

Allergies caused by the existing insulation

Some people are allergic to the insulation materials used in cavity wall insulation, so if you move into a property where this is the case, it makes sense to get it removed!

Do any of these issues apply to you?

So there you have it – this is just a few of the reasons you might want to get the cavity wall insulation removed. If you are effected by any of the issues above and you would like Extraction4Homes to help then call us on 0208 8199152 – if you would like to learn more about the process then please click on the link below:

>>> How is cavity wall insulation extracted? <<<