Building insulation into your raised floors

Insulation may not be the first thing most of us think about when considering installing or upgrading our flooring – particularly when it comes to raised flooring too. However, it is important, especially in the UK’s damp, often cold climate. We explore insulation a little more this month, the reasons why it’s important, how it can be integrated – or retrofitted – into your raised flooring, and why it’s a good investment to make.

Why insulate floors?

Flooring, specifically floors at ground level, is either in direct contact with the colder ground, or has colder air circulating below if it is a raised floor. Higher floors, such as those over a void, garage, or unheated space, are also worth insulating. Adding that layer of insulating material will help to seal the heat in, offering greater energy efficiency to your space, reducing heating bills, and ultimately saving you and your business money.

Where to insulate

There are two options when it comes to raised, or suspended, floors:

  • Above the floor joints
  • Below the floor joints

The decision will depend on your access to the floor joists.

Level of insulation

The precise level of insulation will depend on your location and the use of your space. Things to consider will include:

  • Point of insulation: ground or upper floor.
  • Location, such as closer to waterbodies or the coast which are more likely to be damper than mid-city.
  • U-value requirements. These will depend on a number of factors, including the type of sub-flooring and the perimeter to area ratio.
  • Any other requirements, such as sound proofing.

Key points for installing insulation boards

Regardless of whether you insulate above or below the floor joints, there are a number of things that are common to both methods. These include the following:

  • Insulation boards must be cut to fit snugly between the joists. This is where the old adage ‘measure twice, cut once’ applies to make sure it is exactly right.
  • If two layers are to be fitted, then they should be horizontally offset relative to one another to avoid having two layers in the exact same place.
  • Boards must be flush with the joist surfaces to avoid any unevenness.
  • Where there are any gaps remaining, they should be filled with an expanding sealant.
  • For those gaps between insulation boards and walls, specially cut pieces will help to seal them effectively. For any remaining spaces smaller than 25mm, an expanding sealant can be used.

Alternatively, foam insulation may be an option for you. It will depend on the type of flooring you have and how you intend to use your raised floor cavity space – for instance, are you likely to need frequent access and are you insulating above the floor joists?

When to insulate

Ideally, insulation will be done at the same time as the installation of your raised flooring. However, if a raised floor was installed first and you are now looking to add insulation, or replace what was there before, it can be done at a later date. Similarly, insulation can be installed for both new builds as well as refurbishment projects. Be sure to discuss what you need with your flooring designer to ensure it is right for your space and use of it.

Get the ball rolling with an initial chat to explore your needs and requirements. Our staff at Fieldmans Access Floors are experienced and knowledgeable and need just a few key bits of information from you to get started. Give us a call on 020 8462 7100 and once we have enough details we can give you an accurate quote.