Polystyrene is a synthetic aromatic polymer made from the monomer styrene. Polystyrene can be solid or foamed. Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a rigid and tough, closed-cell foam. It is usually white and made of pre-expanded polystyrene beads. Polystyrene is one of the most widely used plastics, the scale of its production being several billion kilograms per year.
Polystyrene foams are produced using blowing agents that form bubbles and expand the foam. In expanded polystyrene, these are usually hydrocarbons such as pentane
Extruded polystyrene (XPS)
Extruded polystyrene foam (XPS) consists of closed cells, offers improved surface roughness and higher stiffness and reduced thermal conductivity. It is slightly denser and therefore slightly stronger than EPS.
Water vapour diffusion resistance (μ) of XPS is very low - making it suitable for application in wetter environments.
Phenolic foam insulation is made from a resole resin in the presence of an acid catalyst, blowing agents (such as pentane) and surfactants.
Polyisocyanurate/ Polyurethane foam (PIR/PUR)
Polyurethane (PUR and PU) is a polymer composed of organic units joined by carbamate (urethane) links. Polyurethane can be made in a variety of densities and hardnesses by varying the isocyanate, polyol or additives.
Polyisocyanurate, also referred to as PIR, is a thermoset plastic typically produced as a foam and used as rigid thermal insulation. Its chemistry is similar to polyurethane (PUR) except that the proportion of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) is higher and a polyester-derived polyol is used in the reaction instead of a polyether polyol. Catalysts and additives used in PIR formulations also differ from those used in PUR.
Glass mineral wool
Made from molten glass, usually with 20% to 30% recycled industrial waste and post-consumer content. The material is formed from fibres of glass arranged using a binder into a texture similar to wool. The process traps many small pockets of air between the glass, and these small air pockets result in high thermal insulation properties. The density of the material can be varied through pressure and binder content.
Rock mineral wool
Rock (Stone) mineral wool is a furnace product of molten rock at a temperature of about 1600 °C, through which a stream of air or steam is blown. More advanced production techniques are based on spinning molten rock in high-speed spinning heads somewhat like the process used to produce candy floss. The final product is a mass of fine, intertwined fibres with a typical diameter of 2 to 6 micrometers. Mineral wool may contain a binder, often a Ter-polymer, and an oil to reduce dusting
Largely manufactured from recycled glass (e.g. windscreens) and mineral base materials such as sand and without the use of binding agents. The ingredients are melted into molten glass, which is cooled and crushed into a fine powder. The powdered glass is poured into molds and heated (below the melting point) in a "sintering" process that causes the particles to adhere to one another. Next, a small amount of finely ground carbon-black is added and the material is heated in a "cellulation" process. Here, the carbon reacts with oxygen, creating carbon dioxide, which creates the insulating bubbles in the (material). CO2 accounts for more than 99% of the gas in the cellular spaces.
Wool insulation is made from sheep wool fibres that are either mechanically held together or bonded using between 5% and 15% recycled polyester adhesive to form insulating batts and rolls. Sheep are no longer farmed primarily for their wool; however, they need to be clipped annually to protect the health of the animal. The wool used to manufacture insulation is the wool discarded as waste by other industries due to its colour or grade
Cellulose insulation is a material made from recycled newspaper. The paper is shredded and inorganic salts, such as boric acid, are added for resistance to fire, mould, insects and vermin. The insulation is installed either blown or damp-sprayed depending on application.
The success of wood fibre insulation derives from an attractive environmental profile combined with a whole bag of functions including rigid insulation, sheathing and sarking for timber frames, roofs and flooring as well as flexible insulation for studs and rafters.
Wood of course is renewable, it sequesters carbon during its growth and product production is relatively free from pollution. The insulation value of wood fibre boards is not as dimensionally efficient as some of the orthodox petro-chemical materials - but it's no slouch either - typically coming in with a 'k value' range of between 0.038-0.043 W/mK depending on format.
Hemp fibres are produced from hemp straw of the hemp plant. Most hemp is imported, but an increasing amount of home-grown crop is becoming available. Hemp grows up to a height of nearly 4 metres within a period of 100-120 days. Because the plants shade the soil, no chemical protection or toxic additives are required for hemp cultivation. The product is composed of, usually, 85% hemp fibre with the ballance made up of polyester binding and 3-5% soda added for fire proofing.
Straw is an agricultural by-product, the dry stalks of cereal plants, after the grain and chaff have been removed. Straw makes up about half of the yield of cereal crops such asbarley, oats, rice, rye and wheat.
Floor insulation is one of the best forms of building insulation due to the fact that as much as 20-30% of heat, escapes through floor elements. Moreover, it is building material maintenance-free once installed. By installing floor insulation, you not only improve the thermal envelope of the building but also you create a complete seal around the building. At the same time you reduce the potential for heat to escape. As well as reducing heat loss, installing floor insulation can also help to minimise sounds created by floorboards, reduce drafts and create a warmer floor surface. For information on how to cut PIR click here. To find out what is the best floor insulation click here.
FLOOR INSULATION THICKNESSES
The building regulations require that floors achieve minimum thermal performance U-values and this affects the amount of insulation required. Achieving a U-value of 0.25 W/m2K or less would require at least 70mm of Phenolic high-performance foam insulation called Kingspan® K103, 150mm of Knauf® or Rockwool® Mineral Wool and 200mm ofEPS100 polystyrene. In the case of PIR Rigid Insulation Boards, thickness of 120mm is normally used. In terms of XPS boards such as Soprema SL or STS, 50mm thickness is sufficient for the floor insulation.In order to undertake a U-value calculation to determine the appropriate thickness of Cellcore HX Plus, we will require the following information relating to the proposed floor slab: floor area, exposed perimeter distance, floor build-up including any finishes (with dimensions) and wall build-up (with dimensions). However, the most commonly used thicknesses are 225mm ǀ 230mm. If you are concern about compressive strength of the floor insulation material, you should consider buying XPS extruded polystyrene board with the highest compressive strength ranging from 300kPa to 800kPa, followed by PIR rigid insulation boards (150kPa) manufactured either by Kingspan, Celotex, Xtratherm, Iko-Enertherm, Ecotherm or Recticel GP.
TIMBER FLOOR INSULATING
If your floor is above an unheated cellar or basement you will need to fit the insulation snugly between the joists and secure in place with netting if required. Solid insulation boards or rolls of mineral fibre can be fitted between the flooring joists. Plasterboard should then be fixed to the ceiling of the basement to provide fire resistance. If you have a suspended floor, with a small cavity below that is hard to access, you would normally have to take up the floorboards in order to fit the insulation. By correctly insulating suspended timber floors you can save money. As you keep more heat inside your home with floor insulation you’ll reduce the amount of energy you use whilst keeping your house snug. Where old floorboards are relayed or new ones installed, careful attention is needed to ensure that all joints between boards are adequately sealed.
CONCRETE FLOOR INSULATING
If your home is newer then it is likely you have a ground floor made of concrete. You can still insulate them by laying a new layer of rigid foam insulation on top. Insulating your floor underneath the concrete slab can help regulate the temperature and prevent over-heating in rooms that are south-facing or occupied for long periods of the day due to the thermal mass of the concrete. The damp proof membrane can be placed above or below the concrete slab, depending on the particular product. If the membrane is placed above the slab an additional membrane may be required to protect the insulation from ground contaminants. In this case insulation can be added over the existing concrete slab or underneath a new one. Where insulation is placed above the slab, the rooms will warm up more quickly when the heating is switched on. High performance insulation panels or boards are often the best materials to insulate an existing concrete slab floor as they provide the best thermal performance at any given thickness. Keeping the thickness of your insulation to a minimum will reduce the likelihood of having to make costly alterations to door openings, stairs and other fixtures as a result of the increase in floor height. It is a good idea to lay a damp-proof membrane underneath the insulation. When insulating above the concrete slab, the floor finish over the insulation can be either screed or boarding. It is argued that a screed finish is more durable and can offer some thermal mass otherwise absent. Board finishes, on the other hand, can be quickly installed and provide a quicker thermal response time. To find out more on how to insulate concrete floor click here.
FLOOR INSULATING COST | UNDERFLOOR INSULATING | UK
The total floor insulation cost has two parts. The cost of materials and the cost of installation. As of 2023, the average cost for suspended floor insulation is £155 per m2. Floating floor insulation costs are typically one of the cheaper floor insulation options. Naturally, costs will vary depending on the size of the room and the type of floor. As far as home improvement jobs go, this one is relatively reasonable regarding pricing. Prices depend on whether you do it yourself or get the professionals in. Having a timber floor insulated professionally, including filling the gaps between the floorboards and around the skirting, depends on the size and shape of the room and the insulation material used, but typically costs as of 2023 around £950. The cost of insulating a concrete floor can vary greatly, especially if the concrete is removed or additional works are done, but costs will probably start around £1,450 as of 2023. According to the Energy Saving Trust you could save between £40-£65 per month on your energy bill through floor insulation.
TYPES OF FLOOR INSULATION
There are 6 main types of floor insulation, with different production technologies and compositions. Some boards rely more on thermal insulation values, and some more on compressive strength, but in the end they all aim to maximize the temperature reduction on the cold side. The UK floor boards come in standard sizes: 1200mm x 600mm and 2400mm x 1200mm (8'x4'). For more information on types of floor insulation click here.
EPS sheet is one of the best-known floor insulation materials because expanded polystyrene board is a easy to install and have a high insulation value. Either Jabfloor or Kay-Metzeler range of insulation boards have been manufactured specifically for use with flooring. While EPS70 polystyrene is used to insulate floors between joists, EPS 100 is recommended to use under concrete, because it is a much denser material offering 100kPA compressive strength.
While EPS boards are budget friendly insulation boards, PIR Rigid Insulation Boards are most popular in the UK. Since the blowing agent evaporates during this reaction a rigid closed cell middle density insulation product is created. PIR boards offer compressive strength of 150kPa and are used to insulate the floor, because they come as rigid which means they are easy to cut into the shapes required. Additionally, PIR insulation boards are incredibly lightweight and relatively thin, whilst still providing high levels of insulation. There are a number of ranges of floor insulation boards available to choose from. Either Celotex, Kingspan or Xtratherm brands are the most popular polyisocyanurate boards used to insulate floors. Celotex offers TB4000, GA4000 and XR4000 PIR Boards range with compressive strength of 120kPa, followed by Xtratherm Thin-R PIR Insulation Boards with 150kPa, Kingspan offers ThermaFloor TF70 Floor Insulation Board with 140kPA compressive strength.
Xps insulation board is specifically designed for use with underfloor heating systems on concrete & wooden floors. In fact, it is a high strength (usually 300kPa) extruded polystyrene board suitable for any floor construction including below a concrete slab, below a screed and below chipboard. It is significantly denser than other types of insulation, which gives it a greater compressive strength. Its closed cell structure also resists both moisture and water vapour ingress. Due to its compressive strength, XPS is regularly used in applications where it is going to be under some strain, such as car park decks. It’s also great for use in basements. These boards are available in 30mm, 50mm, 80mm and 100mm thickness. Among widely available insulation materials, extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation offers one of the broadest range of compressive strengths of 300, 500 or 800kPa. It is also one of the few floor products where manufacturers invest the time to test and declare compressive creep. There are a few main manufacturers offering XPS products. While Soprema offers an SL version with compressive strength of 300kPa, Kingspan with its Greenguard GG offers either 300kPa, 500kPa or 700kPa. On other hand Polyfoam offers square edged xps standard board that has a middle class compressive strength of 200kPa.
Phenolic board is a top shelf panel that can be used to insulate floors in both new build and refurbishment of residential, commercial and industrial buildings. As a part of Kooltherm range, Kingspan K103 Floorboard offers fibre-free rigid thermoset phenolic core with thermal conductivity of just 0.018 W/mK across all thicknesses. In fact, K103 is a premium product in terms of floor insulation. Product has been developed by Kingspan as a premium floor insulation board, providing high performing insulation with a thinner material than was possible before. K103 Kooltherm can be used on both solid concrete and suspending floors. Kingspan is followed by Xtratherm brand with SR/UF Safe-R Phenolic Floor Insulation Board. Xtratherm phenolic board offers thermal conductivity of 0.020W/mK and compressive strength of 150 (kPa).
UNDER CONCRETE INSULATION
Cordek have created a wide range of Cellcore HX Plus void formers with an extra added insulation. This two in one solution is designed for use beneath reinforced concrete floor slabs to protect against the potential effects of ground heave with the additional Filcor EPS100 insulation layer protected by a ultra thin polypropylene sheet on top. HX Plus under slab is a combination product. In fact, it has a range of cellular legs with different depths of insulation glued onto the top of those cellular legs dependent upon the target U-value that you need to hit. It incorporates an integral layer of EPS insulation available in various thicknesses to meet thermal performance requirements.HX Plus is made in 25mm increments, which means insulation material ( Filcor) is added.
In terms of floor insulation, Rockwool and Knauf are the most recognised brands in the UK due to the fact they can be installed through simple friction fitting. Mineral wool is an insulating material made of natural raw materials. The raw materials from which mineral wool is produced are non-flammable. Due to the mechanical effect of fibres, Mineral wool is an excellent insulating material because there is "trapped" air between the basalt or glass fibers. The fibrous structure of wool causes the sound waves passing through it to be scattered and suppressed. The higher density (heavier) product is used as higher mechanical insulation parameters are required. Rockwool Acoustic insulation RWA45 is a particular favourite with customers, providing thermal insulation and fireproofing on top of its acoustic dampening credentials. On other hand Rockwool with its HARDROCK® Multi-Fix (DD) offers an outstanding density of 160kg/m3 .
We offer a wide variety of floor insulation (maybe not as much as in B&Q), but we keep most common insulation thickensses like: 50mm, 80mm, 100mm, 150mm, 200mm,
Novia VC2T is an innovative waterproof and flame resistant synthetic HDPE scrim reinforced laminate for use in temporary protection applications.
It is cheaper, lighter and more practical to use than the old-style paper versions.
Protecting heavily trafficked areas, new surfaces and finishes ..
Lightweight but strong, scrim-reinforced material
Flame-resistant to EN 13501 Class E - Fully waterproof
HDPE scrim reinforced - Recyclable
Roll weight of only 9kg - Lightweight
Suitable for a wide range of temporary applications
100mm Unilin ECO/MA 360 Floor Insulation is a bio-enhanced, superior performance PIR rigid foam insulation board suitable for underfloor heating, solid and suspended floors.
It is lightweight, easy to install and combines high compressive strength with low thermal conductivity, providing a high p..
Unilin ECO/MA 360 Premium Floor PIR Insulation Board (Floorboard)
High performance - Thermal conductivity (lambda value) of 0.020 W/mK
100mm Unilin ECO360 meets U-Values specified in the Building Regulations
RIBA/RIAI Climate Challenge 2030, LETI Standards, Future Homes Hub targets
Bio-enhanced board will significantly improve the U-Value of new and existing floors
100x225x1200mm Hyfloor Strip Foundation System Unilin XT/HYF is an engineered floor insulation used to achieve Future Homes Standard and passive floor performance.
The Hyfloor Strip Foundation System provides effective insulation that has been detailed and installed professionally at the initial ..
100x225x1200mm Hyfloor Strip Foundation System Unilin XT/HYF
Engineered floor insulation with high performance foundation riser panels
Used to achieve Future Homes Standard and passive floor performance
Hyfloor System that provides thermal performance and robust detailing
Suitable for use with built-in full fill and partial fill wall insulation
10mm Fermacell Firepanel is a homogeneous fibre-reinforced gypsum based dry lining fire protection board reinforced with non-flammable fibres for superior fire protection.
Firepanel A1 is a new dimension in fire protection for dry linings, an innovative development of the original Fermacell Gyps..
10mm Fermacell Firepanel Class A1 Non Combustible Fire Protection Board
Homogeneous fibre-reinforced gypsum based dry lining fire protection board
Firepanel is reinforced with non-flammable fibres for superior fire protection
Fully complies with construction building materials class A1 non-combustible
Firepanel partition system to EN 1364-1 provides 60 minutes fire rated lining
10mm x 25mm Acoustic Isolation Strip is specially designed for joists and studs, a cross linked Isopoli foam with a self adhesive layer backing allows easier installation of the strip to be held in position.
Isolation Strip is used for upgrades when looking to increase impact sound insulation fro..
10x25mm Isocheck Acoustic Isolation Strip Self Adhesive 10m Roll
Made from a cross linked Isopoli foam and a self adhesive layer backing
Increase impact sound insulation and reduce structure-borne noise
Self Adhesive Isolation Strip for easy application to the studs or joists
Noise reduction system used for partition/separating walls and floors
110mm Celotex XR4000 PIR Insulation Board (XR4110) is an easy to cut and install multi-purpose polyisocyanurate rigid foam insulation board featuring a low emissivity foil facings that is suitable for floor, wall, roof and ceiling cut-to-fit applications.
Celotex Insulation Board is an excellent ..
12mm Celotex TB4000 PIR Insulation Board (TB4012) is an easy to cut and install multi-purpose polyisocyanurate rigid foam insulation board featuring a low emissivity foil facings that is suitable for floor, wall, ceiling and roof cut-to-fit applications.
Celotex Board is an excellent high-perform..
12mm Fillcrete Fillaboard 8x4 Sheet is a special type of bitumen impregnated fibreboard used for concrete expansion, movement joints and as a general purpose expansion joint filler to reduce the risk of cracking.
FILLABOARD is an ideal solution for use in expansion joints for concrete in such app..
12mm Fillcrete Fillaboard 8x4 Sheet 2440mm x 1220mm - 2.98m²
Bitumen impregnated fibre-board used for concrete expansion
General purpose expansion joint filler to reduce the risk of cracking
FILLABOARD meets the requirements of the British Specification 033
Highly resistant to moisture penetration and ice formation in joints
Euro Accessories Fillerboard Expansion Joint Strip 12mm x 100mm x 2440mm is a multi purpose bituminous wood fibre strip used as an expansion joint filler for concrete slab and wall construction to reduce the risk of cracking.
12mm thick by 100mm wide Fillerboard Jointing Strips packed in 20 str..
Euro Accessories Fillerboard Expansion Joint Strip 12x100x2440mm
135mm Cellcore Cellvent HX Grade 7/10 combines the benefits of the Cellcore HX range with Ventform to alleviate the effects of ground heave whilst also providing an excellent gas venting medium.
Cellvent HX is available in a range of specifications and can be used in conjunction with gas membrane..
135mm Cordek Cellcore Cellvent HX Cellular EPS Void Former
Cellvent HX Grade 7/10 Maximum Concrete Depth 220mm
Reinforced ground floor slabs where subsidence is not expected
Used to alleviate the effects of ground heave and gas venting
Combined ground heave protection and passive gas venting system
14mm Isocheck 14C Floorboard is an acoustic overlay floor system specially designed for concrete floors to reduce impact sound transmission, suitable for new build projects, refurbishments and conversions.
Acoustic Overlay Isocheck 14C system does not need the additional protection of a moisture ..
14mm Isocheck 14C Acoustic Overlay Platform System (Floorboard)
Acoustic overlay floor system specially designed for concrete floors
14C is suitable for new build projects, refurbishments and conversions
Meet the sound transmission standards of Approved Document E 2003
May also be installed in conjunction with underfloor heating systems
155mm Cordek Cellcore HX B Under Beam 7/10 is a concrete ground beam protection EPS block designed for use beneath reinforced concrete ground beams and pile caps to protect against the potential effects of ground heave.
Cellcore HX B Grade 7/10 is calculated and calibrated for concrete thickness..
155x450x450mm Claymaster Pile Collars are compressible low density Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) products, used when foundations need to be protected against ground heave.
The Heaveguard (Claymaster) pile collar is an engineered material in green or pink color designed to safeguard piles against upl..
15mm ISO Foam (diameter 12mm) Piling and Debonding Foam is a polyethylene based closed cell sleeve, used to debond the reinforcement from the concrete and for insulating heating and plumbing pipes.
ISO Foam has low thermal conductivity of 0.036W/mK at 0 °C therefore its reduces the loss of heat f..
15mm Isofoam (diameter 12mm) 2000mm length
Piling and Debonding Foam Polyethylene Sleeve
Used also for insulating heating and plumbing pipes
Used to prevent the concrete adhering to the reinforcing bars
Sound absorbing properties, reducing pop and flow noises in pipes
15mm Isocheck 15T is an acoustic overlay board designed for traditional joisted timber floors used over existing floorboards to reduce impact sound transmission for new build, refurbishments or conversions.
Acoustic Overlay Platform System for Timber Floors Isocheck 15T 1200mm x 600mm x 15mm cons..
15mm Novia Double-Sided Butyl Tape is a high-quality sealing tape designed for Vapour Control Layer (VCL) installation.
This 22.5m long polyisobutylene based tape is economical and non-toxic solution.
Butyl tape is easy to install, tools are not required for application.
For use in applicat..
Vital for airtight installations
Very good adhesion properties
for Vapour Control Layer installation
Use in conjunction with Novia Metallised BOPP tape