Insulation for Between and Over Rafters
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The benefits of insulating a building around the outside, protecting the structure and effectively creating a ‘tea cosy’ effect, are well publicised. When it comes to pitched roofs, however, adding a thick layer of insulation to the rafters can result in a depth of roof construction that may not suit every site, meaning over-rafter insulation (sarking) only is not a viable option. Internal restrictions, like maintaining sufficient head height, can mean that fixing the insulation between and under the rafters is not an option either.
Where the benefits of over-rafter insulation want to be enjoyed while still creating a useable room in the roof space, it’s possible to insulate over and between the rafters. Due to the thermal bridging effect of the timbers, the overall thickness of insulation used to achieve a low U-value is not as efficient as over-rafter insulation only, but it remains a useful compromise solution.
To protect the roof from the potential of condensation occurring unseen within the construction, it’s important to remember that the layer of insulation installed over the rafters should, as general rule, be double the thickness of the insulation layer between the rafters.
An over and between rafter insulation solution can be a feature of a new-build project. It is also suitable for retrofit with a substantial renovation of the roof. The loft space can be used as a habitable room.
Rigid polyisocyanurate (PIR) foam insulation boards (such as Celotex GA4000 and XR4000) are easy to cut and handle. Once up at roof level, the between-rafter boards can be cut accurately to fit the rafter spacings. Being lightweight, they do not impose significant additional loads on existing structures. Where the insulation does not fill the total rafter depth, the low-emissivity foil facings can gain additional thermal benefit from the air spaces they face into.
ISOVER glass mineral wool (GMW) is another option for the between-rafter insulation as a roll or batt. The flexible nature of GMW means that the roll or batts can be accurately-cut and friction-fitted between the rafters – thereby minimising air gaps and maximising thermal performance.
ISOVER Metac can be considered for this application. It is supplied in a range of thicknesses to suit typical rafter dimensions and the 1200mm wide rolls can be cut to suit the exact space available horizontally rafter-to-rafter (typically cut oversize by 10mm to allow for a friction-fit between the rafters). In addition, it has inherent acoustic benefits, helping to reduce the transmission of external noise.
When using Celotex or ISOVER products, you need to satisfy yourself that use of the product meets all relevant national Building Regulations and guidance as well as local, national and other applicable standards relevant for your construction or application, including requirements in relation to fire and applicable height restrictions. In addition to the product datasheet, please refer to the following product documents:
- BBA certificates - where applicable to the application
- Declarations of Performance
- Health & safety datasheets
The building detail is for illustrative purposes only. It does not constitute advice and should not be relied upon.
|Product Name||Thickness Range||Sizes||Lambda|
|Celotex GA4000||50-100mm||Width 1200mm, Length 2400mm||0.022|
|Celotex XR4000||110-200mm||Width 1200mm, Length 2400mm||0.022|
|ISOVER Metac||50-200mm||Width 1.2m, Length 3.2 - 9.3m||0.034|