Underfloor insulation makes a huge difference in the comfort of your home during winter, and believe it or not, in the summertime, too. An insulating layer keeps your expensive heating and cooling where you need it the most. It keeps your energy bills down, while you enjoy a home that’s cozy in winter and a cool haven in summer.
We’re going to share with you the ecoMasters unique installation technique, where the polyester is stapled into place at ten-centimeter intervals to ensure perfect coverage. You’ll need a small plastic tub, a headlamp, extension cords, a portable residual-current device or RCD, enough tarps to run the full length of the space, safety glasses, a dust mask, coveralls or clothing you don’t mind getting dirty, two or three electric staplers, and staples. You will need just about two hundred staples per roll of insulation, and you don’t need gloves, as the insulating material is safe to touch.
Step one is to prepare your equipment. Your plastic tub goes underneath the floor with you. You’ll need your safety gear, extension cords, light, staplers, and staples.
We recommend taking a few staplers under the floor at a time, because that means if one becomes jammed while you’re working, you can just reach for the other one rather than crawling all the way out and back again.
It’s important to use electric staplers because they’re double-insulated, and you can’t be electrocuted if you staple a wire under the floor. This is extremely important, as there is a very real risk of electrocution when working around live wiring. Also, you won’t be turning off the electricity since you’ll need it for the staplers. So, why leave the electricity connected? Leaving the electricity connected means that if the power goes out, it’s a signal that you’ve hit a wire. If you leave the power off, you won’t know if it happens.
If you do hit a wire, call an electrician. Do not attempt to fix it yourself. If you don’t have a safety switch in your home, don’t worry. Your portable RCD is effectively an add-on safety switch that will switch off your electricity if there’s a fault of any kind. So, since we’re leaving the power on, you can use the lights fitted under your floor to help you see while you work.
Preparing the Site
Step two is to prepare your site. To keep your insulation as clean as possible while you work, lay out your tarps under the floor, starting closest to the doorway and working your way in. Remember to overlap the tarps in such a way that the insulation won’t catch when dragging over the top.
Take a moment to feel the surface of your insulation. You’ll find that one side is slightly more dense than the other. This is usually the side facing outwards on the roll. This denser side will be the exposed side of the insulation when fitted, so remember to have it face down when taking it underfloor.
With your overalls and safety gear on, it’s time to take your equipment tub and installation underfloor. Drag the insulation over the tarp all the way to the furthest point with the dense side facing down. You may need someone to unroll insulation for you at the door and feed it in.
Installing the Insulation
Step three is stapling the insulation between the joists. At the furthest point under your floor, position yourself underneath the insulation, pulling the material up and over to fit it between the joists. Feed the insulation under the bottom plate to ensure full coverage. When you reach the bearer, measure and tear the insulation. Polyester insulation tears in one direction.
Make sure you tuck the insulation in so that it meets the insulation on the other side. Take your stapler and staple about every ten centimeters to the lower edge of the joist. The staplers are more reliable, with fewer jams, when you put in only a half a clip of staples at a time.
Any time that two pieces of insulation are butted together, staple the ends of both pieces to the floor, pulling the bulk of it aside and stapling through about two or three centimeters of its thickness. This ensures that the joint does not sag or leave space for rodents to nest inside. We pull the insulation aside for two reasons. The first is that the full thickness of the material is too thick to staple all the way through, and the second is that stapling it this way would compress the insulation and thus reduce its effectiveness.
When you come to a section that has wiring on the side of the joist, you shouldn’t staple into the joist because you will risk stapling the wire. You may choose to mark the wires with chalk before you begin installing. In this case, we’re going to staple into the floor. Pull aside the material and staple through about two or three centimeters into the floor, just as you would when you’re joining two pieces of material together. Don’t worry when you let go of it – the material can sit safely against the wiring.
Sometimes, the joist width will be too wide or too narrow for the material to fit comfortably. In that case, we’re going to go sideways, so turn the material sideways, put it into the joist in one end, measure about a width more than you need, and tear across the material. Friction fit it into place and staple the sides as you would normally. Then, staple the butt join as you would normally to join two pieces together and continue that process until you’ve filled up the whole space.
So, there you have it: a perfectly insulated underfloor that will stand the test of time, making your home much more comfortable to live in, cheaper to heat and cool, and better for the environment, too.