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Specified: Insulation

Eight ideas to keep us warm this winter

Optim-R panels

As the holiday season draws to a close, temperatures fall and wind speeds rise, turning our thoughts to insulation for the winter ahead. Only a spread of holiday snaps remain to conjure memories of that week in Bognor. As luck would have it, this balcony with a sea view and the pool below combines both considerations, fitted as it is with Kingspan’s OPTIM-R balcony and terrace system, which offers a U-value of 0.19 W/m2.K without imposing a step or lowering the ceiling on the room below. Ah, peace of mind on the recliner with Danielle Steel and a marguerita...



Summer isn’t all about vacations of course, and this poor headless chap is sweating away in the heatwave manhanding Perinsul HL – a high density block made of recycled glass which eliminates structural thermal bridging and rising damp at the floor-wall base. He’s obviously had his hols – looks more of a surfer than a sunbather – and now he’s paying off the bar bills ensuring his project is rot, insect and vermin resistant with Foamglas’s blocks. But if his mind is on the future, he could have a care for now – I wouldn’t want to be there when he takes off those boots at the end of a the day.


Gypsum fibreboard

On a more sober note, the season was blighted by a fire in a Plymouth home that was being refurbished. The blaze was contained by Fermacell boards which prevented it spreading to other properties. Gypsum fibreboard had been selected for its fire resistance and light weight, and the story only goes to show that the ‘silly season’ as Fleet Street calls it, is by no means guaranteed to be all fun and frolics. Hopefully the family that fortunately escaped unscathed are holed up somewhere safe, while Fermacell and the contractor restore the shine to their home.


Breather membrane

If wandering round the inside of old churches, camera in hand, is your ideal R’n’R when on leave, then St Mary’s in Walkley, Sheffield, has had some added excitement with a tricky re-roofing project. TLX Gold, a 2-in-1 breather membrane, slipped into the 40mm gap beneath the new tile battens to keep worshippers, and tourists, warm on the pews while they contemplate their sins or the internally-exposed wooden rafters above. I say, Mr Hatch, did you enjoy last night’s evensong? Altogether now: ‘Breather me, breath of God...’



Britain may have been at play in our ever warmer climate, but work went on for Dow, whose latest flame retarded, XPS roof insulation product is making its mark. XEnergy, set to replace the firm’s Styrofoam Roofmate SL-A, has a Global Warming Potential of less than five and Hyde Park’s luxury Riverwalk residential development will use 3500m2 of the product. Looking at the publicity shot, either someone’s working very hard in the cellar or Herman Munster’s celebrating the end of the holiday season by cutting everyone a slice of Morticia Adams’ slab cake.


ArmWin calculator

Bearing in mind the sad fact that the family holiday – not just at Christmas – is also noted for its prevalence of fallouts, those parents who are absolutely sick-and-tired of the teenagers being glued to their handsets 24/7 can get their own back with Armacell’s ArmWin. Available for all phone types, Thing here is showing the updated professional insulation thickness calculator app – surely much more interesting than the kids’ Snapchat etc. And as it can be accessed anytime, any place, anywhere, you’ll get that Martini frisson too to remind you that you’re enjoying yourself.


Hybrid insulation

At last! A snap of this summer’s holiday cottage on the Isle of Wight – sea view, rural tranquillity... Well, it looks idyllic now but when Phil Clabburn was self-building his low-cost-living home there would have been no port in the storm. But now he’s done, his serotonin levels are high, largely thanks to Actis’ Hybrid insulation. More than 70 rolls were delivered to line the timber home, and with the bedrooms dropping no more than one degree without heating, all Phil needs is some jungle wallpaper and a UV lamp for that year-round holiday feel.


Walltite spray foam

So we’ve reached the end of our reminiscences of summer vacations, and the office calls us back to the reluctant trudge along the rat race rut. But for those who really want to live the dream, this floating office in Penryn, Cornwall, offers some hope. Built on a ferro-concrete barge tethered by the quay, the rooms have been insulated  with BASF’s Walltite spray foam to keep occupants snug all year round. Not quite sea spray but a hell of a lot warmer, and with views of the sun dappled Carrick Roads in any season, they’ll be living in clover. For us though, it’s ‘adios, amigos’.



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