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How to Check If You Have Cavity Wall Insulation?

Cavity wall insulation (CWI) has become one of the biggest housing scandals in recent history with millions of homes across the UK being damaged by poor installations. This means every homeowner in the country needs to know whether they have cavity wall insulation (CWI) and whether it was installed correctly – especially if you’ve moved into a property and don’t know its recent history.

On this page, we’re going to explain how you can find out whether your home already has CWI installed. This will help you determine whether you need to have your installation inspected, to make sure it was inserted correctly, or decide if cavity wall insulation is the right choice for your home.

Does your home have a cavity wall?

You can’t have CWI if you haven’t got cavity walls to begin with – so let’s start with this. Cavity walls started becoming the norm across Europe in the 1920s, so if your home was built within the last century or so, there’s a good chance it will have cavity walls.

Luckily, it’s pretty easy to check if your home has cavity walls or not.

Solid walls have two layers of bricks intertwined with an alternating pattern. So if you can see bricks stacked in length and width alternations, this means you don’t have cavity walls.

If you can’t see the brick pattern of your walls, you can also identify a cavity wall by measuring the thickness of your walls. You’ll want to do this at one of the external windows or doors of your home so you can measure the depth easily. Of your wall is more than 3000mm thick, it’s likely you’ve got cavity walls while thinner depths are usually solid.

If you’re still not sure, you’ll need to get in contact with a licensed cavity wall installer to inspect your walls.

We’ve got cavity walls but how do I know if they’re insulated?

Identifying whether you’ve got cavity walls is one thing; knowing whether they’re insulated is another challenge entirely. The good news is, if you called in an installer to check whether you have cavity walls, they’ll also be able to check whether you have insulation – job done.

If you’re not ready to call in an installer to inspect your walls, there are a few things to consider.

Some cavity walls will have been insulated earlier but the method became more popular during the 1990s. If your home was built in the last 20 years, it’s likely to have had CWI installed during construction and this should have been installed to building regulations.

Over the past 15 years, there’s been a government backed scheme to get homes fitted with cavity wall insulation installed in homes as part of a push to make properties more energy efficient. This also means, if you’ve moved into a property with cavity walls over the past 15 years, there’s an increased chance that insulation could have been injected into the walls – and this is where you need to pay particular attention. These “retrofitted” installations are the ones most likely to have been installed incorrectly, potentially causing damage to the structure of your home and putting your family’s health at risk.

Once again, if you’re in doubt, call a licensed installer to confirm whether you have cavity wall insulation.

Yes, we’ve got cavity wall insulation – now what?

Once you’ve confirmed you have cavity wall insulation in your home, it’s important you establish whether it was installed correctly. There’s no need to panic at this stage. If your walls were insulated during construction (your home was built in the last 20 years or so), it should have been fitted correctly to building regulations.

This isn’t a guarantee, but it should give you an element of reassurance.

If you’ve had CWI retrofitted, then there’s an increased chance it may have been installed incorrectly.

If this applies to you, the first thing you want to do is assess your property for internal condensation and damp. Here are the key things to look out for:

  • Condensation on the inside of your windows and doors
  • Damp patches in the corner or rooms
  • Peeling wallpaper
  • Moisture stains inside your property
  • Mould and obvious signs of water damage

Unfortunately, visible signs of damp normally appear after a certain amount of repairs are needed but your priority at this stage is to make sure your family’s health isn’t at risk. If you notice mould or obvious damp patches in any part of your home, this could mean spores are contaminating the air or pieces of furniture (including pillows or mattresses). You don’t want to be breathing this stuff in because it can lead to all kinds of repertory issues and allergies, such as asthma.

If you suspect your home has been damaged due to poorly installed CWI, get in touch with our team today.

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