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Thermal Insulation: The Complete Guide

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Between everyday comfort, the price of energy and protection of the environment, there are many reasons to favor quality thermal insulation.

What is thermal insulation from the outside?

Thermal insulation from the outside (ITE) refers to the creation of a thermal envelope around an already constructed building, in order to improve its energy performance. ITE techniques are particularly suitable for buildings requiring renovation; for new buildings, it is more obvious to directly achieve thermal insulation from the inside (ITI).


The practice of ITE is certainly far from new, but its use has been growing in popularity in recent years. If until the end of the last century, sustainable development was not the number one concern of architects, for three years the famous law "RT 2012" (Thermal Regulation 2012) requires all new buildings to respect a minimum of energetic efficiency. So rather than destroying and rebuilding, the ITE appears to be the welcome remedy in the face of the new legislation, with the key saving time and money.

Against cold and heat, good insulation

Good thermal insulation conditions your daily well-being. Frosty ground in winter, sweltering bedrooms in summer… thermal insulation attenuated - even erases - the downsides of seasonal temperatures by limiting heat exchange.
Apart from day-to-day comfort, good insulation is linked to moderate energy consumption , so it is more economical and more ecological.
Whatever your heating system, heat loss in winter, poor temperature distribution and heat inputs in summer push to increase the power of your heating or your air conditioner, therefore energy consumption: nothing is useful from overheating, your comfort depends on insulation!
By reducing the bill, you will also reduce your ecological impact: less heating or air conditioning means less greenhouse gas emissions, and less consumption of fossil fuels, which are difficult to renew.

The principles of good insulation

Throughout the home, insulation involves airtightness, the thermal resistance of the materials used, as well as the quality of ventilation.
Between the walls, between the windows and the walls, by the door frames, by the pipes, the pipes and the conduits… the air circulates everywhere, and with it the heat, the cold, the dust and external pollution. Moisture can also be confined to certain areas, and accelerate the degradation of the building. A first condition for good insulation is to limit these air flows as much as possible, to make the house “airtight”.
The quality of the junctions must be considered from the design of the building, with great care in the finishes. In renovation, it is important to locate the flows well, with the help of a specialist, to better insulate thanks to caulking, spraying solutions, sealants, etc.
On the other hand, the materials used for the walls, the roof, the floors will themselves play a role in insulation, through their thermal resistance. This is a measure of the performance of the material, denoted "R", and corresponds to the ratio between thickness and conductivity. "R = 2", "R = 3", "R = 5" ... the higher the resistance, the more insulating the material. Likewise, the lower the conductivity, the more insulating the material.
Finally, a well-insulated house is not necessarily a completely airtight house: air flows must be ensured by good ventilation. This is what helps evacuate water vapor, smoke and humidity, circulate warm air in winter and cool air in summer, for a healthy and comfortable home.

Areas to be isolated

Walls, roofs, floors and attics can be insulated from the inside by installing sheets of insulating materials - mineral or vegetable wool, cellulose, aluminum, etc. -.
On the ground, an insulating layer - EPS panels (expanded polystyrene), polyurethane foam, etc. - is placed between the concrete slab and the chosen coating.
In addition to these solutions, there is external insulation, which consists of wrapping the building in insulation to avoid as many thermal bridges as possible. On condition of respecting local town planning rules and on condition of being compatible with the architectural constraints of the building, it is indicated in the case of renovations and renovations. More expensive and more restrictive than interior solutions, exterior insulation remains very efficient.
After the roof and before the walls and floors, doors and windows are among the main sources of heat loss: also think about the quality of your frames.

Winning tradeoffs: legal compliance, reduced carbon footprint and savings

Thermal insulation from the outside consists of placing several levels of materials on the walls of the building to be renovated, typically composed of a layer of thermal insulation covered with a decorative layer (stone, facing plaster, wood, transparent materials …). Different types of insulation, well known for their thermal properties, are used, such as expanded polystyrene, resolic foam and more and more often glass and rock wool.

The practice of ITE offers three major benefits, of varying interests according to the considerations and priorities of each: action in favor of sustainable development, compliance with the law, and significant savings. In fact, in addition to offering excellent airtightness in summer and winter, as well as good sound insulation, the ITE considerably reduces the energy bill. In addition, the work can be carried out most often without hindering the comfort of the occupants.

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