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Question vermiculite for insulation?

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Hi

My builder has suggested pouring Vermiculite down into the cavity walls for insulation. I'm not sure whether this would be a good idea given that there should be free flow of air in there and I'm not sure whether, if it got damp, it would then 'stick' to the steel frame and increase the risk of corrosion. The alternative would be fixing insulation board to the original plasterboard as Marc has suggested. before we go ahead I just wondered whether anyone had an opinion on this

many thanks 

Jane

Hi Jane, can you confirm your construction type please? 

2 Answers
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Topic starter

Hi

its a Trusteel MKll bungalow.

currently there is no insulation in the front and back walls. 

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Hello Jane, thank you for clarifying your build type.

Marc is away this week but I can still help you with your query.

Unfortunately, vermiculite or any form of cavity wall insulation that completely fills the void between the inner wall and outer leaf is not recommended by the Building Research Establishment, for the exact reasons that you mention. 

It is critical to allow for the free flow of air with the cavity and unfortunately if vermiculite was introduced inside the cavity, the airflow would become blocked.

You may also experience significant difficulties in the future should you wish to sell the property at a later date, simply because the cavities have been filled.

I am aware of a number of cases where Trusteel and other steel framed houses have had cavity wall insulation installed but upon attempting to sell their homes, the buyers surveyors and lenders have demanded that the material be removed and the steel frame fully inspected before any consideration of sale could be made.

In many cases this had caused the buyer or seller to simply pull out of the sale. It should also be known that CWI when incorrectly installed to a steel framed property can reduce the properties value by over £80k and more in some cases.

Here's one extract from a Northwich Guardian article, regarding such a case:

All is not lost for steel framed home owners

In last week’s Guardian we reported that owners of steel framed houses in the town centre took advantage of a Cheshire County Council insulation scheme about five years ago but have since discovered this is not recommended for their homes.

Chris Harris, of London Road, is one of the residents affected and said he only found out the potential problem when his neighbour was on the verge of selling his house.

The lender refused to offer a mortgage when a survey revealed that the house, which is steel framed so it can be jacked up in case of subsidence, had cavity wall insulation.

Some of the properties have been issued with 25-year guarantee certificates from the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA), which plans to carry out inspections this month.

A statement from CIGA said: “The Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA) is aware of Mr Harris’s concern and an appointment convenient to Mr Harris has been arranged to visit the property for an inspection by our technical manager and the installer on August 20.

“This chap lost his buyer and went to a solicitor who contacted me and I had a word with the people who put in the insulation,” John said.

“They immediately said ‘right, we’ll take it out’ because what they’re meant to do is inspect the property to see if it’s suitable for cavity wall insulation – they either didn’t or ignored the fact that the house was steel framed.”

John monitored the company as they removed the insulation, inspected the cavity to ensure it was done properly and wrote a report which could be provided ready for a future sale.

He said: “The people who installed it paid the solicitors’ fees, paid my fees and paid compensation to the homeowner because of the disruption and loss of purchaser.

“I would advise anyone with concerns to go to a solicitor, who would hopefully contact someone similar to me and follow the same route.”

“Our technical manager will also be inspecting two other properties in the area on the same day.

“CIGA will provide an update upon receipt of our technical manager’s findings.”

Cavity wall insulation is not recommended for steel framed houses because they need a well ventilated cavity to prevent moisture from building up and corroding the steel.

If insulation were to get damp it would hold the moisture against the steel frame, particularly towards the bottom of the structure, and make it more likely to corrode.

But building surveyor John Wright, from Plumley, got in touch with the Guardian to say that all is not lost for residents.

He helped a Hayhurst Close resident who was in a similar situation when a buyer pulled out of a sale because the lender was advised against providing a mortgage.

“This chap lost his buyer and went to a solicitor who contacted me and I had a word with the people who put in the insulation,” John said.

“They immediately said ‘right, we’ll take it out’ because what they’re meant to do is inspect the property to see if it’s suitable for cavity wall insulation – they either didn’t or ignored the fact that the house was steel framed.”

John monitored the company as they removed the insulation, inspected the cavity to ensure it was done properly and wrote a report which could be provided ready for a future sale.

He said: “The people who installed it paid the solicitors’ fees, paid my fees and paid compensation to the homeowner because of the disruption and loss of purchaser.

“I would advise anyone with concerns to go to a solicitor, who would hopefully contact someone similar to me and follow the same route.”

 
It is situations such as that mentioned above, that has fuelled a rise in claims specialists willing to take on this type of case.
One such example is Wallcavityclaims.co.uk
 
I hope this has clarified your question but please feel free to let us know if we can assist you further.
We're always happy to assist whenever we can.
 
David
 
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