Of course, a warm, dry and well-ventilated house will be better for the environment, as well as healthier for its occupants, than one that is cold and damp.
New Zealand’s Building Code is well known as being a good deal below the standard of that of the rest of the OECD, with very low insulation rates, a lack of consideration for thermal bridging, low ventilation requirements and no requirements when it comes to water efficiency and overheating. This has resulted in the vast majority of New Zealand’s housing stock being unhealthy to live in.
Thankfully there are low cost options to improve the health of your home and the first place to start is always insulation. There are many options for home insulation, some of which utilise recycled and sustainable materials. When deciding on insulation improvements to your home always consider the following:
- Product suitability for your home
- Long term performance and future proofing
- Product material type and environmental credentials
- Installed performance
- Provider experience
The great thing about insulation is once installed, it has no further running costs. The impact of well installed insulation is often immediately obvious and last a life time.
For advice on your insulation solution CONTACT the team at Safe-R Insulation and let our team help you achieve a healthier home. Our network of insulation experts cover all major regions in New Zealand including: Whangarei, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Manawatu, New Plymouth, Wellington, Nelson, Christchuch, Central Otago and Dunedin.
If you can access the underfloor area in your home, grab a torch and have a quick look for the presence of underfloor insulation. There are typically 3 things you might find:
Bulk insulation – this includes rigid polystyrene sheets, or softer products like polyester, wool and fibreglass. Most of the time bulk insulation will be held securely in place and won’t need fixing or replacing. However to be sure it’s performing at an optimum level check to see that it is tightly fitted against the underside of the floorboards with no gaps or pieces missing. If any has slipped or fallen out, you should replace it or re-secure. You may need some clips or staples to hold it in place. If it looks a shambles it might be best to have a professional take a look.
Foil-based product – Foil is typically a dull silver colour and is usually looped between the joists. Some retrofit solutions may also be stapled to the underside of the joist. If you suspect you have foil under insulation don’t touch it. There’s an electrocution risk if the staples have pierced electrical wires and the whole lot might be live. Most foil insulation products are proven to not preform long term. Checking or removing existing foil insulation should be done by a professional, who will turn off the power supply to the house and follow the Electrical Code of Practice ECP 55, which provides guidance for managing electrical safety risks of foil insulation. Most underfloor insulation foil is typically ripped, parts of the foil are missing or there are often gaps allowing airflow into the spaces above the foil. Usually it will need to be replaced with bulk insulation. Retrofitting or repairing foil insulation in residential buildings is now banned under section 26 of the Building Act 2004.
Bare floorboards = no insulation – In this case you need to get some fitted. Between 10 – 15% of heat can be lost through an un-insulated underfloor. It’s a dirty job but a determined DIY’er can usually complete you average home in 1 – 2 days. Otherwise get in touch and we can provide you a ‘free quote’ to replace or install new underfloor insulation
Safe-R is the Auckland Insulation company behind CosyWall Insulation. Safe-R was established in 1987 to develop and distribute innovative thermal and acoustical insulation systems throughout New Zealand.
Our insulation systems are designed to deliver excellent INSTALLED performance, rather than just stating misleading ‘bale’ R-values. At Safe-R Insulation, we select the best worldwide material manufacturer for a particular type, thoroughly investigate and test the material’s suitability for local conditions, and provide a specification for the finished system including obtaining building code approvals. As an innovative company our successes include several different insulation systems. However our most unique is CosyWall Insulation.
CosyWall is an external wall cavity insulation system (EWCIS) and uses water repellent insulation made from specialist glasswool. CosyWall is installed dry (not wet spray insulation foam ) when retrofitted to older homes via a series of small holes in the internal linings or external cladding. This eliminates the need to remove wall linings or cladding to insulate walls.
Safe-R Insulation is a member of IAONZ (Insulation Association of New Zealand) and a current board representative.
Our offices are based in Auckland but we have a nationwide distribution network of licensed installers who can provide a free quote for even the most remote regions around New Zealand.
Please visit our ‘FREE QUOTE’ page and provide some basic contact details and one of our distributors will be in touch within 24 hours.
Ceiling Insulation Options
There are two common types of ceiling insulation: bulk, which fits between or rolls over ceiling joists, and loose-fill, which is blown in or sprayed. Bulk ceiling insulation comes in two types – segments (batts), which fit between the joists above your ceiling, and blanket which is rolled out across the top of the ceiling.
Bulk Ceiling Insulation
Blanket ceiling insulation needs to be installed with no gaps between the blankets or between the insulation and the ceiling. Otherwise the insulation performance will drop due to heat circulating and escaping the insulation. When you’re topping up existing insulation, it can be easier to install blanket insulation than segments.
Segments are installed between joists, so you need to put in higher R-value insulation to make up for the heat that gets lost through the timber. It is important the insulation is well fitted with no gaps, and the r-value is at least 15%-20% higher than required to allow for performance drop via thermal bridging.
Loose-fill ceiling Insulation
Loose-fill insulation is blown onto the ceiling. It is a versatile ceiling insulation option that will suit most situations. It is also a great option if there’s not enough space in your roof to move around and install bulk insulation. Loose-fill should be installed by experienced installer’s using specialised equipment and the correct training.
Minimum R-values (insulation performance) for existing homes
|Minimum recommended R-Values for existing homes
||North Island (excluding Central Plateau)
||South Island and Central Plateau
|Ceilings with no insulation, or up to 70mm of existing insulation
|| R2.9 blanket or R3.4 segment insulation
||R3.3 blanket or R4.0 segment insulation
|Ceilings with 70-120mm of existing insulation
|| R1.8 blanket insulation
||R2.4 blanket insulation
Checklist for choosing ceiling insulation
To get a suitable, effective ceiling insulation product choose one that is:
- Has a high R-value – R-value is a measurement of the insulation’s effectiveness, the higher the R-value the better
- The correct width – you need the correct width for the spacing of ceiling joists, roof trusses or rafters, if you’re going to insulate in between – unless using blow-in which suits most situations
- The correct thickness – to make sure you need to keep at least a 25mm gap between the insulation and the roof underlay
- Compliant with Standard AS/NZS 4859.1 – so you know the product works as stated.
- Correctly Installed – in accordance with NZ standards such as NZS4246:2016
For a free ceiling insulation assessment call our team on 0800 267 992 or contact us here
Underfloor insulation options
New Zealand homes typically have two main types of underfloor insulation installed, these being bulk and foil underfloor insulation. However retrofitting or repairing foil insulation in residential buildings is now banned so any new installations are done with bulk underfloor insulation.
Bulk underfloor insulation can be made from polyester, wool, polystyrene, fibreglass or a range of other materials. Underfloor insulation products are fitted in various different methods depending upon product type. They may be friction-fitted between the floor joists, stapled in place or use clips, or other fixings such as strapping. Use our checklist below to help choose the right underfloor insulation for your home:
Underfloor Insulation Checklist
To get a suitable, effective bulk insulation product, choose one that is:
- Securely held in place – preferably by mechanical fixing such as staples
- Has an R-value of at least R1.3 – R-value is a measurement of the insulation’s effectiveness,
- The correct width – for your floor joist spacing
- Compliant with the Standard AS/NZS 4859.1 – check the label on the insulation packaging
- installed hard against the underside of the floor – there should be no air gap between the bottom of the floor and the top of the insulation
- Installed to NZ standards – such as NZS4246:2016
Notes on Foil Insulation
Foil was the most common material used for underfloor insulation in New Zealand. Because of safety concerns, retrofitting foil insulation and repairing foil insulation in residential buildings is now banned under section 26 of the Building Act 2004. If you install or repair foil insulation under an existing house you face serious risk of electrocution.
When checking or removing existing foil insulation, always turn off the power supply to the house and follow the Electrical Code of Practice ECP 55 which provides guidance for managing electrical safety risks of foil insulation.
If you’d like a free quote for new underfloor insulation or have concerns about your exisiting insulation please give one of our team a call on 0800 267 992 or request a free quote here