Mind the Gap

When insulation doesn’t do what it says on the tin? What next?

Anyone who has ever travelled on the London Underground will be familiar with the phrase Mind the Gap. It is used to warn travellers to be careful when stepping across the space between the platform and the carriage.

It was introduced in 1969 and is now part and parcel of everyday life in the underground, along with chilling drafts and sudden rushes of air.

Problems with Insulation

For us, the phrase brings to mind the difference between what some of the traditional insulation materials are supposed to do and what they actually deliver. In trying to explain this to one of our customers one of our staff thought of the London Underground he’d been on the previous week.

For many homeowners the gap in performance between what your insulation says on the tin and what it actually does is a serious problem. It is a problem that costs money in lost heat, costly repairs and replacement insulation. It is a serious problem, and is recognised as such by experts worldwide [See download: Gap Insulation report: Airtightness in Buildings]

Liam Brown of Enviroform explains: “The performance gap is when designed insulation designs don’t perform when installed. Designs are based on full walls and don’t consider the details – e.g. extracting out the insulation you have paid for to insert socket boxes.”

“At Enviroform we make insulation performance better by clever design and innovative products. From experience we know that the Devil Is In The Detail when it comes to fitting insulation as a 1mm gap in your insulation layer makes huge differences to the performance of your Retrofit upgrade.”

Liam continued: “Vapour is water in a gas form so if it can get to the cold side of the insulation it will condense and cause problems like damp and mould. A 1mm gap seems small but to a gas molecule it is like being on the the M1 into Belfast at rush hour if all the rest of the roads were blocked. So there’s masses of vapour rushing through this gap at joints, because each side of the joint has a vapour control layer: there’s only one way in and you have to get there in a hurry!

“The vapour is attracted here because of the lower pressure at the reverse side of the insulation and the gap is the only way in. if there was no vapour control them all the roads into Belfast would be open and there would be a uniform vapour transfer but in insulation terms this would be a vapour open system not vapour tight.”

Insulation Upgrade

For us here at Enviroform Solutions, these fine details and building specific solutions are an essential part of our customer service. For example, cold or thermal bridging is a key consideration in retrofit insulation upgrades – we have the solutions and from a human perspective we quite simple add your “Hat, Scarf, Gloves and Socks” to enhance the performance of your jacket and trousers.

A cold bridge is a gap or weakness in a building’s insulation. Typically it is found:

o   In reveals around doors and windows

o   Where cables and pipes penetrate walls

o   At junctions of walls, floors and roofs

If you have cold bridges in your property you are losing heat; you are wasting money on heating and your insulation is not effective. Many people willingly spend good money on thick insulation and the benefit is lost because of cold bridges that are not treated properly.

If you want to Mind the Gap, you can call us to discuss your insulation needs. We make it perform better.

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