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Insulation Jargon Explained

As with most industries ,the outside insulation industry for solid wall houses  has its own generic words and terms which sound like a foreign language at times to the typical home-owner .

Hopefully the following explanations should help:

EWI – external wall insulation

ETICS – external thermal insulation systems

SWI – solid wall insulation

CERT – carbon emissions reduction target

U values – a measure of the thermal efficiency of a wall , the lower the number the better

Part L1B – section of Building Regs governing insulation standards in walls, floors and roofs

BBA – British Board of Agrement is the independant construction industry test and accreditation body

Phenolic – a very effficient high density rigid foam insulation board

EPS – a polystyrene insulation board

Rockwool – a natural mineral wool insulation board

DPC – line where damp course starts and which must not be bridged by a coating or insulation board

Microporous – ability of a material to allow moisture evaporation whilst repelling water

Vapour Permeable – as above ie ability to let moisture pass through a material in the form of a gas

Dew Point – temperature at which water vapour condenses to a liquid when warm air hits a cold surface

Nano – a billionth of a meter !!

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Do I have solid brick walls ?

If you own a brick property built before 1930 it is highly likely your walls will have no cavity . A quick test to check the method of construction is to look at the brick pattern and if the bricks are laid both sideways and head on then the walls are solid. Sometimes this head on half brick appearance can be difficult to spot as certain bricklayers alternated the rows of bricks so check a good part of the wall to try and finf the tell tale head on half bricks.

The below picture is from the informative Energy Saving Trust and demonstrates a solid brick configuration:

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If your walls are rendered or made of stone then it can be possible to measure the width of the walls around a door or external window. If the depth is less than 24.5cm you probably will have solid walls and will be suitable for an exterior insulation system if you wish to save heating costs.
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In some early cavity walls the width of the cavity could be less than 50mm and in that case there is insufficient space to have cavity wall insulation injected and again external wall insulation should be considereed as these types of walls are very similar to a solid wall in their heat retention abilities.

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