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Building Products January 2018

INSULATION AND ACOUSTICS | RECTICEL | ADVERTORIAL RAISING THE ROOF With the ‘improve, not move’ trend seeing increasing numbers of householders embarking on expansive home improvement projects, Paul Forrester, technical services manager at Recticel Insulation, looks at ways homeowners can create new living space without leaving home. The housing shortage continues to drive up prices, with higher stamp duty rates also acting as a deterrent to would-be movers. Extra space is the most common requirement of homeowners, who also perceive older properties to have more generous room sizes than new houses, while the cost premium of a house with just one extra room, added to the fees associated with moving, is significantly outweighed by the possible cost of creating that extra room with an extension. There is also a wider issue at play here that some buyers might not be aware of: shortfalls in the build quality and energy efficiency of new homes means they will need to undergo a retrofit of their own by 2030, if the UK is to meet carbon reduction targets – is it any wonder, then, that improving an older property is more attractive? Of course, even the most ingenious architect will struggle to design an extension where there is no land available – mid-terraced properties being a good example – so it’s little surprise that loft conversions and ‘room in a roof’ solutions find favour as home improvement projects. Converting the loft can add 10% to the value of a property, so extending up rather than out represents an attractive option. Up in the roof For older properties, if the roof covering is reaching the natural end of its service life, 48 BUILDING PRODUCTS | JANUARY 2018 introducing extra accommodation in the loft is a good opportunity to also bring the roof up to modern standards. That means adding insulation and replacing traditional sarking felt with a breathable sarking membrane – assuming the roof has a sarking layer at all, in which case, repair and refurbishment is likely to be all the more critical. In an old roof, the timber rafters may be no more than 75mm deep, increasing the difficulty of applying modern insulation options. Of course, for the roof to be effective, the timbers must also be in good condition, which might necessitate the replacement of structural timbers – leading to an extensive programme of works. Rafter replacement, fitting a new sarking and covering, cutting and fitting insulation, and finishing the ceiling internally are all tasks to be carried out sequentially, rather than concurrently. What if there was a solution that could combine a number of these steps in one timesaving product? All-in-one roof panel A pitched roof product by Recticel Insulation, LMents features high performance rigid insulation foamed around timber rafters. Craning the panels into position avoids the need for insulation boards to be carried up to the roof, cut and installed. As well as the insulation, the panels arrive on-site complete with a breather membrane and counterbattens on the external side, further reducing the purchase of materials and storage on-site. On the internal side, an aluminium foil facing simply requires the application of foil tape down each panel joint to provide a vapour control layer. At the same time as the roof covering is being fixed, the ceiling can be finished as preferred, incorporating a service void for cables and light fittings. L-Ments is particularly well suited to simple roof forms like the aforementioned terraced houses, and can accommodate roof windows for natural light into the loft. It sits on a purlin, which is already likely to be present if the original roof timbers were the smaller variety mentioned earlier, or which can be introduced into the building if necessary. The product fulfills many functions: replacing existing timbers, providing a wellinsulated room in the roof, and minimising changes to the roof height. As a means of making home improvement as cost-effective and stressfree as possible, there is nothing else that ticks quite so many boxes. www.recticelinsulation.co.uk Converting the loft can add 10% to the value of a property


Building Products January 2018
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