We insulate our homes to prevent the heat from transferring through the roof, walls and floors to the outside. It is much most cost and energy effective to insulate the home than to have to reheat the place all the time. As much as thirty percent of heat inside the building can escape through the roof and even more can go through the ceiling, but the floors must also be insulated as up to fifteen percent of household heat can be lost this way. During cold winter months, the ground beneath the house also gets colder, and this cold travels up into the building trough the floor.
Floor insulation is normally fitted under the floor, and is very effective in homes with timber flooring, as most timber has gaps in between the slats, which allows heat to escape the cold to come in. In addition to preventing heat from escaping, under floor insulation in the floor also prevents the cold from travelling into the home and also stops damp from rising. When insulation is used in the floors (and the rest of the building) it makes the place much cheaper and energy efficient to keep warm.
A few different kinds of insulation can be used under floors with great effect. These mostly consist of reflective foils, fibre and polystyrene fillers. The fibre and plastic fillers can be used to fill vacuous spaces from where heat would typically escape. All three these insulation types have their own characteristics and advantages of use.
Foil insulation are made in sheets of foil covering, and serves mostly as a blockage and can be really effective at reflecting heat back into the home. Historically these were not very popular, but lately there are various foil products on the market which are very successful. Foil insulation is good at blocking damp and is easy to install in small spaces. They can however be an electrical hazard due to the metals contained in the material.
Fibre insulation works in a similar manner to wearing clothing – the thicker the insulation, the more it insulates. Polyester is a very common underfloor fibre insulation as it allows air to circulate around the floor while still providing adequate insulation from both cold and heat. Fibre sheeting is usually cut to fit the sizes of the floor and inserted in the intervals between floor beams, or can even be attached to the underside of the beams. Wind tends to damage these and severe damp can also affect them adversely.