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  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - To insulate or not insulate? That is the question

    To insulate or not insulate? That is the question

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  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - To insulate or not insulate? That is the question
    To insulate or not insulate? That is the question

To insulate or not insulate? That is the question

Mar 2023

By Jack Merriott-McMillan-Duncan, Managing Director

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Hello again folks and thank you in advance for continuing to read my blogs. I always try to find topics that are of general interest to everyone but it does get difficult sometimes to write about some of the topics as they are not always the most riveting of subjects. That being said, let’s talk about insulation (yawn, yawn and another yawn).

We have all seen the adverts on the television with regards to all forms of property insulation. They all claim to be great investments in your property that will, in the end, save you money and add value to your property, THIS IS NOT ALWAYS TRUE, in fact quite the opposite, some forms of insulation can in fact damage your property, down value your property and quite possibly make you property un-mortgageable.

The first form of insulation is the external type that is attached to the outside of your property. If your property is listed this will not be an option for you. There are some forms of this external insulation that are subject to EWS1.

An EWS1 certificate is an External Wall System Fire Review certificate. They come into play when a leaseholder is buying or selling or re-mortgaging an apartment in a multi-storey multi-occupied residential building. It is not a building safety certificate or a legal requirement. It is a mortgage valuation tool  –  An EWS1 survey is only required if: buildings over 6-storeys where there is cladding, curtain wall glazing or vertically stacked balconies. buildings of 5 or 6-storeys where there is a significant amount of cladding (25% plus of the whole of one elevation).

As with anything in life, these issues are here for the greater good, but seem to have a huge negative impact for home owners that fall into this category, as their properties are either un-mortgageable or they usually have to bare a huge cost to have this cladding removed. Not all forms of insulation are covered by this “Lenders Law” but there really is a large amount out there that fall prey to this new condition for lending.

The other adverts that are becoming increasingly irritating are the ones for “Spray Foam” loft insulation. The claims that they can add value to your home by reducing your heating bills are FALSE, they might well indeed reduce your heating bill whilst you are living at the property but the negatives far outweigh the small financial gain.

The installation process for this spray foam seems to be very easy but even if your roof has a physical membrane between the rafters and the roof tiles, spraying this expanding foam shifts and lifts the tiles and allows for water ingress as the foam itself is not waterproof.

Secondly, again we look at mortgage lenders, applying this spray foam insulation renders your property un-mortgageable. The foam itself also forms a barrier to the roof timbers and has led to some of these timbers beginning to rot due to the moisture that either comes in through the newly formed gaps in the tiles or comes from the foam solution itself. Currently, there are many hundreds of cases going through the law courts for these very reasons and also now include cases where it has been proven that the fumes given off by some types of this foam insulation materials can be seriously hazardous to your health.

A claims management company (CMC) is in the process of helping with more than 500 claims from homeowners to get refunds for inappropriately installed spray foam installation. This law firm, which helps recover money paid for mis-sold home improvements, said it is helping people on a no-win-no-fee basis who have had mortgage offers withdrawn and lost sales after surveyors spotted spray foam insulation.

The chief executive of this law firm said homeowners think they have done the right thing by opting for spray foam insulation in the roof, as it is often sold as saving more energy than traditional ways to insulate the home. He also said “Spray foam insulation is the cancer of home improvements”.

There are several hundred claims for homeowners who have been refused equity release, mortgages or that have had mortgage offers (AIP, Agreement In Principle) retracted after the surveyors spotted spray foam insulation in the loft areas.

There may be as many as 250,000 homes with spray foam insulation in the loft, and the guidance being offered is to adopt a highly cautious approach. The final recommendation is the removal of the spray foam in almost every case.

Now I am guessing that after reading this you may be feeling very conflicted about how to insulate your property but if you ask me, the original, tried and tested, way is to use the rolls of insulation that you can buy from your local DIY stores. Loft insulation is typically sold in batts or rolls, made from mineral wool, fibreglass, or sheep’s wool. All three of these products are non-flammable, requiring a high temperature to melt. Mineral wool, sometimes sold as rock wool, will only melt at temperatures hotter than a house fire, making it safe to use.

The only reason that I am writing this blog is because, here, at Cross Keys Estates, we have had a few properties that have fallen foul to this new negative and we just want to bring it to our clients’ and friends’ attention alike.

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