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What is the Best Insulation for Floors?

Summertime is a good time to add insulation to your home if you want to feel more comfortable and lower your heating and cooling bills (energy bills). Floor insulation is the process of insulating a floor by adding an insulating material beneath the house’s floorboards/floor joists. Adding insulation to your floors reduces heat loss from the floor into the ground and helps your home become more energy-efficient.

What is the Best Insulation for Floors?

Insulation regulates floor temperatures, which helps control room temperatures during the summer, and is also great for keeping warm once the winter season rolls in. Floor Insulation is also the perfect solution to prevent droughts that may come through the house’s floorboards. At this point, you might be asking yourself – what’s the best insulation for under floors? Read on to find out!

Types of Insulation Floors

Insulation Boards

Insulation boards or EPS sheets are a material that is an expanded polystyrene sheet. It is one of the best-known floor insulation materials because EPS sheets are easy to install and have a high insulation value. It is evenly fixed on the ground when installed and is pressure-resistant, making sure that the floor will not crack or collapse.

Polyurethane Spray

Polyurethane spray has one of the best thermal conductivity values out of all the floor insulation materials. It has an excellent solid seal and usually excludes holes or irregularities. The advantage of this is that Polyurethane spray is a free choice of floor insulation and has a quick installation.

Insulating Screed

Insulating screed is a combination of cement and insulation material. The insulation material exists because of polystyrene granules that have a diameter of 0.10 to 0.25 inches. An insulation screed is usually combined with another form of insulation material to get a good insulation value.


Fiberglass insulation is a popular choice for homeowners and builders when it comes to flooring insulation. The main benefits of fiberglass insulation include:

  • Cost-effective – half the price of rigid foam insulation
  • Lightweight
  • Cutting the fiberglass is a relatively easy process

Rigid Foam Insulation

Unlike fiberglass insulation for floors, rigid foam insulation won’t compress or warp over time. Also, rigid foam insulation rejects moisture and acts as a vapor barrier, making it the ideal insulation for underneath hardwood floor coverings, that could warp, or be ruined by mold or mildew. Lastly, rigid foam insulation can be used with a radiant heat floor system, making it the perfect warm flooring solution.

Advantages of Floor Insulation

Floor insulation ensures that you will have the average comfort temperature (20 degrees Celsius/68 Fahrenheit) in your home. A non-insulated floor usually has a temperature of around 11 degrees, while an insulated floor can make the temperature rise to a good 20 degrees.

A study showed that the combination of ambient temperature and floor temperature affects comfortability. The research showed that a mismatch between floor temperature (14 degrees( and ambient temperature (24 degrees) can make people uncomfortable, while similar temperatures (20 degrees and 21 degrees) between the two make people feel the most comfortable.

Process of installing insulation under floors

Before installing floor insulation in your home, you must thoroughly observe the floor type you currently have because this will significantly influence what kind of insulation will be best for your house. There are two main ways to determine what kind of floor you have.

If you have a basement or cellar in your house, you might consider taking a look at the ceiling and seeing if you have joists and undersides of the floorboards. If it does, then you might have a suspended timber floor. Suspended timber floors are common if you have ventilation bricks on the outside of your house below the floor level.

If ever you cannot access the space underneath the floors, then try lifting the corner of your carpet and underlay of the house for more access and observation regarding the floor type.

After determining the type of floor you have, you can have a conversation with a flooring expert about how flooring insulation will be added, as well as what type of insulation is perfect for the type of floor, and its building regulations.

Here are the following layers that are processed when installing floor insulation:

Concrete slab

If you want to have a qualitative floor, then the concrete slab method is for you. It is a reinforced concrete slab at least 4 inches thick. The concrete floor will hold back dampness and stabilize the floor, preventing vermin from attacking the insulation.

Construction foil and Insulation

This is done when a foil is placed directly onto the concrete and will offer extra protection against dampness. After that, the insulation is applied onto the construction foil loosely.

Pipes and screed

The pipes are required to be in central heating or floor heating before the screed can be put into place. The whole part can be finished with a screed layer that usually has a thickness of at least 3.15 inches in size.

Additional Considerations

Cost Analysis

When evaluating floor insulation options, it’s crucial to consider both upfront costs and long-term savings. Material costs vary among insulation types, with fiberglass typically being more budget-friendly compared to spray foam or rigid foam board. However, factors such as R-value and installation method can influence overall expenses.

While higher-quality insulation may have a higher initial cost, it often leads to significant energy savings over time, making it a wise investment. Calculating the return on investment (ROI) helps assess the payback period for each option, considering energy efficiency improvements and potential reductions in heating and cooling expenses.

Striking a balance between cost and quality ensures optimal performance and efficiency, ultimately resulting in financial savings and enhanced comfort for the building’s occupants.

Maintenance and Durability

Maintaining floor insulation’s longevity involves regular inspection and moisture control measures to prevent damage and ensure optimal performance.

Periodically check for signs of damage, moisture buildup, or pest infestation, addressing issues promptly to safeguard the insulation and underlying structure.

Implement moisture control strategies like proper ventilation and vapor barriers to mitigate the risk of mold growth and structural deterioration. Additionally, consider the durability of insulation materials during selection, opting for materials resistant to wear and tear to prolong their lifespan.

Following manufacturer guidelines for maintenance and seeking professional inspections when necessary helps maintain insulation effectiveness and identify potential issues early, ensuring a comfortable and energy-efficient indoor environment for years to come.

Additional Reading:

What Is the Warmest Flooring Material?

7 Cold Floor Solutions

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