Heating and Insulation: The Difference Between Solid and Cavity Wall Insulation

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As the world turns its attention to the current climate emergency, there’s never been a better time to ensure your walls are fully insulated. Beforehand, however, you’ll need to understand the key difference between solid and cavity walls because their insulation methods are quite different based on these differences.

Building a cavity wall

Solid Walls

Solid walls were the traditional way to build walls for houses before the 1930s. They would usually entail a two brick wide system where no gap is left between the two bricklayers that interlock to form a 9-inch thick brick wall.

They can be identified via their brickwork as the bricks in the wall alternate between header and stretchers (short and long sides) to create a sturdy wall. Another good way to check if your wall is a solid wall is to measure the width of the wall from its external face to its internal face. If the width is less than 260mm then it’s likely to be a solid wall.

Solid wall built house

Cavity Walls

Cavity walls started to become popular in the UK particularly after the Second World War. They were developed as a way to avoid excessive damp, especially in our British climate.

The core difference between cavity walls and their solid counterparts is that they have a gap between the two layers of brickwork. This gap makes cavity walls thicker than solid walls as the gap can be anything from 20mm to 100mm wide. The brickwork is more regular, only using the stretcher sides of the bricks (the longer side). If the width of your wall is over 270mm then your home likely uses this type of wall.

Differences in Insulation

Insulating a solid wall is a complex, and thus expensive, process. Ths is because a layer of thermal material is added to the existing inside wall layer, and then the two layers are combined once more. Yet, it’ll save you around 25% on your home’s heating bill.

Cavity wall insulation, on the other hand, is a cheaper process. This is because the gap between the two wall layers is filled with a material. Foam is generally regarded as the best option, although there are also vermiculite, mineral wool and expanded polystyrene bead options to choose from. It’s worth noting that almost all cavity wall insulations are eligible for eco grants so you’ll be able to have the insulation heavily subsidised, or even free in some cases.

Here at UK Energy Management (NE) Ltd, our priority is ensuring our clients opt for the most appropriate insulation option and then executing this to the highest standards. If you have any further questions about insulation options, or if you’d like to hear about our other services that include heating and grants, then don’t hesitate to contact us on 0191 466 1185 today!

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