24 October, 2014

How to isolate thermally and acoustically your home in a simple and economical way

Insulating materials; extruded polystyrene foam in rolls
As discussed earlier in this blog, isolate housing is one of the best investments you can make today , for welfare, economy and health. 
In most of the houses in Spain and all over the world waste an incredible amount of heat due to their poor insulation; a well insulated house is heated with very little energy and keeps the temperature better. 

Most of the heat loss is caused by roofs (especially if they are lowered with insulation) first, then finally the walls and the floor, in that order. 
In this post we will see a way to isolate (isolating ceilings from acoustic and heat , so as not to be disturbed by neighbors with noise, and save energy) and also you will see how to thermally insulate a wall inside losing only between 3 and 4 cms. 

Insulation options 

Earlier we saw that it is best to fill the air chambers with a durable and inexpensive insulation and treated injectable cellulose with borax salts (the cheapest and currently effective), but sometimes there is no air space so we have to apply insulation in the interior sided, reducing some space in the local, but earning much economy, comfort and welfare, as discussed below. 

When deciding on one or other insulators we have multiple options for different needs and different prices; generally good thermal insulation is not as good sound insulation and vice versa. After evaluating different options the best choice in terms of price and effectiveness is a thermal and acoustic mixed solution. 
Thermal insulation work by limiting air movement in some way to slow heat transfer as much as possible. 
Best acoustic insulating materials are flexible (rubber and the like) that absorb noise to muffle it, and also tend to have good thermal properties. Flexible materials with air chambers inside are also good sound insulation. 
  • We chose extruded polystyrene thermal insulation that is less expensive than other materials (such as fiberglass or rock wool), with very good thermal insulation and acoustic insulation to keep in mind; about 3 € grilled 1200x600 of chovafoam M30 3 cm thick (without intent to advertise, have been acquired in Leroy Merlin ). Durability (over 100 years), strength and lightness are further advantages that will enable us to place the battens directly over the insulation.
  • Another option to consider (but I have not seen in Leroy) are wooden fibreboard , economic and good thermal and acoustic insulation, which usually come treated with flame retardants to slow combustion.
  • And acoustic insulation for its price, effectiveness and lightness we chose sponge rolls, 2 inches thick, place them between the plasterboard and thermal insulation.
  • If we have very limited budget, it is best to use rock wool or glass in rolls; has good water permeability, are nonflammable (hold up to 1000 ° C), and reduces both thermal transfer and sound, giving very good results in most cases.
  • If you have a very, very limited budget, and acoustic insulation we can use pieces of mattress, rubber, cotton or even old clothes like ... look at the Wikipedia options.
  • In this page we have a very good relationship of thermal insulators options and recommendations.
Both the polystyrene and the sponge are flammable materials, but will be protected from heat sources (not serve to isolate the sources of higher heat at 100 ° C) for plasterboard (popularly known as drywall) that it covers (in addition it also has good insulating properties), it's cheap, easy to work and very resistant to shocks.
ATTENTION: If your house is quite wet because it has a focus in the bottom soil moisture (it's a low or similar), the sponge or polystyrene would be less appropiate; these should be changed for a breathable insulating materials (such as rock wool roll or similar - without waterproof sheet -) so that moisture can escape to the outside. It depends on where the moisture comes from; if intention of the wall is to isolate the exterior source of moisture, then, yes we could use these materials as a moisture barrier. I recommend you read this post on humidity and possible solutions.
After squeeze my brain, looking for the best way to place them, I found a solution; using long Nailable Index tacos I can put on the thermal insulation floating chovafoam wooden battens where the drywall is screwed, and in the space of 25 mm. between the drywall and insulation, pieces gradually introduce bespoke acoustic insulation (you can also replace wood by metal grid).

Materials Required
Before buying the material or taking any action, you should consult your tax office how to deduct the improvement in income tax , which has increased in the Royal Decree Law 5/2011 (Spain) to 20% of the work (to encourage this type of proceedings);because such works have   aimed at improving energy efficiency, hygiene, health and environmental protection. For other cases, you can consult the  National Housing and Rehabilitation.
We will need the following equipment to perform the work; us the material for each 10m2 room cost us about 200 €.
  • Extruded polystyrene sheets of 1200x600, come in different thicknesses, which we prefer as we can lower the roof; it takes about 13 of these measures 10 m2.
  • Rolls reconstituted foams and elastomers as high density acoustic insulation (eg Copoprén), there are also plates; I've seen green and black; are very similar, just change the color. I have spent 4 rolls of 3 cm. thick by 10 m2 room, but it depends on the size.

  • Wooden battens least 10 cm wide to have room to screw the drywall (can be replaced with sheet profiles for plasterboard), and minimum thickness as having acoustic insulation; sponge was 2 cm thick, so cheap garden strips were purchased treated wood 2000 long x 120 wide x 25 mm. thick, so ensure their long-term anti-moth:

  • Plasterboard walls, to be manageable by one person we acquired from 1200x600 mm x 10 mm. in Leroy Merlin; we must bear in mind that they are cut so they have no recess on the sides to finish the joints so it is not advisable to use mesh fiberglass and then tail plasterboard to cover them, but it is better to give the tail just to cover the screws and joints and then sanded with an orbital sander or the like only where necessary excess.

  • Nailable plugs 8 mm. x 80 long (the length depends on the thickness of the insulation, (must be the same as the sum of the thickness of the boards, the insulation will be attached and add 3cm but will stuck on the roof) are very fast to use, just give a hammer blow to remain holding fixed the wooden battens Those who buy are the Index brand, but surely there are similar other brands head leading into the plastic timber prevents pass.. strain and is hitting inside, they are very comfortable if you only have two hands) and avoid tightening the screws unevenly and projections we have left on the slats:

  • Coach screws countersunk head plasterboard 25 mm long; enough to hold it to the battens. A box can reach 500 for 3 rooms.
  • Translucent silicone tubes to glue the foam core board.
Please note that your needs may be different; This is a solution for low ceilings; if you have height to spare you can apply more insulation thickness; eg 4 or 6 cm and 1.5 cm polystyrene instead of 1 cm in plasterboard, and the same with the foam; the studs have to catch Nailable as the total thickness + 2 or 3 cms that will fixed on the wall.

Tools needed

Without the tool suitable a job well done is not possible, we will need a workbench (two brackets and a wide table) which cut the material to size, Jig Saw wooden screwdriver cordless, blade (cutter) to cut the sponge one or two folding ladders to move around the room, auxiliary star screwdriver, a sander with 80 grit sandpaper with 120 or tail to finish drywall once dry, a drill with 8 wood and a long (150 mm. at least) for wall plug 8 (of vidia), hammer, gun silicone, a tape measure (autoenrrollable meter) and an extension cord if you do not have outlets nearby.


First post the extruded polystyrene, which thanks to its characteristics (strength and lightness) allow us to place the fillets on top, flat on the same, but as if they were "floating" too loosely.
This happened to us with silicone glue. The silicone may not be enough to secure them to the ceiling, so it is necessary to hold each plate with one screw; we can use the Nailable tacos countersunk head, then withdraw once placed battens.

The sheets have H-shaped joints that improve further isolation having no gaps, however small.Screwed one by one You start in one corner and we glue, place and. 

Arriving at the remaining corners have to cut pieces to length and follow the same procedure.

After placing thermal insulation, battens prepare practicing holes approx. every 30 cms which will place the Nailable tacos, starting near one of the corners. split it in small chunks holes so that the corners are secure so they do not rise to replace.
We place considering that the drywall joints remain in the center of these strips, in this case 60 cms, knowing that the table edge of roof leave less space in the center to place the acoustic insulation.
Updated 17/01/13: Professional installers recommend putting battens every 50 cms and the reverse, so that the panels are also subject in the middle. I've done well to simplify the work. However I had no problems putting plasterboard Warped 60 cms.
Thanks to Nailable tacos, we can present the battens in place, helping them to make one of the holes with the drill and long drill vidia, introducing ceiling enough to completely between the block until flush with the timber. With a couple of hammer shall be firmly, without pressing too insulation:

If the ceiling with irregularities, the battens allow us to conceal, making it convenient to acquire as straight as possible.
Atornillaremos, as seen in the pictures, the plasterboard with countersunk screws inserted until they are flush without breaking the drywall; to 2 cm. corners and about 20 or 30 cms screw screw; for it is very convenient to use a cordless drill with adjustable torque (so that the limiting jump to reach the screw head flush).
To save work, we can put the pieces of sound insulation 2 cms. increasingly thick and atornillemos to place a sheet of gypsum in the gap left between the sticking plaster and ceiling insulation. As the strips are 0.5 cms. We facilitate wider placement, cutting them to fit the space.

For the last sections where we can not introduce the insulating foam, we can always screw it carefully to thermal insulation to keep it in place to put the sheetrock:

If at any final stretch we not where the plasterboard hold, use ingenuity placing pieces table set with dowels to hold it. To finish the job, apply with a flexible spatula tail plasterboard, just enough to cover the seams and the heads of the screws; if done right you will not need much sanding afterwards. Probably you use the drywall take a recessed area on the sides;that's where you take the binding glue; in this case must be put first fiberglass mesh so as not to crack with the expansions / contractions. 
Important: If you have recessed lighting, insulation will not let heat escape, so it can melt or even ignite the high temperatures that can reach the area of focus. In that case you have to leave an area around the outbreak without placing insulation; if they are halogen bulbs (FMCG) at least 25 cms. radius around each bulb. If they are low consumption, with about 10 cms. may suffice. To make the calculation, we can get an idea knowing the watts consumed at each point, and leave a circle of that measure for security. To 50W = 50 cms diameter. to the insulation.

And this is the result after sanding and painting (to hold the lamp back in its place have placed a box of wooden battens to ensure tirafondeados fastening):

We will have isolated the roof perfectly losing only 6.5 cms. 3 cms high thermal insulation, battens 2.5 cms (and acoustic insulation) and 1 cm. plasterboard, which also has good thermal and acoustic insulation, saving a lot of energy and without fear of noise from neighbors.

Isolating a wall inside 

I will comment briefly how we have used thermofonic 7 and plasterboard to insulate a wall.

Thermofonic 7: While it is good reflective insulation is expensive; site if we can opt for other insulators although they take longer to get the same result, are more economical.
Do not want to waste a lot of space, so we chose the thermofonic 7 for isolating a wall of humidity and temperature characteristics of thickness and effectiveness; with 7 layers of aluminum foil and plastic with small bubbles have good thermal insulation characteristics as reflective, but not isolated just noise. 
However, if we had no moisture problems, it is better to resort to "chovafoam" 4 cm.similar to that used on the roof battens and batten between the drywall and then thick;lose just 5 cms. space and will cheaper and similar result (even better sound insulation).
Instead of putting camera in the wall and plasterboard termofonic and as suggested by the manufacturer, to waste less space and prevent moisture affect the battens have placed directly against the wall with the termofonic battens screwed to studs 60 Nailable , and then the plasterboard screwed documents:

To join the auction we have used duct tape; durable and waterproof.
It has been an air chamber 2 cms. between plaster and insulation. On the other hand we could have improved insulation acoustic insulation also placed in that hole, but due to budget because that side was not origin of sounds, we have not considered necessary.

To top corners we used adhesive fiberglass mesh in rolls of 50 mm. wide:

And we have relocated outlets and switches with pieces of batten leaving a gap for them and screwing the boards:

Finally the result before painting:

Another "rustic" way to insulate the roof

Example ceiling insulated with fiber wadding / hemp screwed plates

Example ceiling insulated with plates bolted vegetable fiber; good stuff if we want excess moisture to transpire outside

More information:
Insulate your home; saves between 100 and 500 per year
Index Bindings fixing
Insulate your house in Todoproductividad

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