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How to insulate walls

Getting insulation right is a key part of any building project. Mike Hardwick explores the main options for treating new walls
The Beco Wallform ICF system uses insulating blocks as a permanent formwork for a concrete pour – giving you built-in thermal protection

One of the common misconceptions about conventional brick and block construction is that the gap between the inner and outer leafs was designed to accommodate insulation. In fact, cavity walling was developed as a way of preventing moisture penetrating porous brick or stone and damaging the structural fabric. It does this by providing a space for water to safely drain away.

It’s only in relatively recent times we have thought about filling the cavity with insulation in order to improve thermal performance. Even as late as 1996, houses could be built without insulated cavity walls that achieved a measly U-value (a measure of heat loss) of just 0.6 W/m2K.

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About Build It

Build It magazine’s November issue is packed with detailed practical advice & inspiring projects to help you create your dream home. Here’s a taster of what’s inside: • Stunning eco renovation (page 54) • How to get loft conversions right (page 64) • What you need to know about insulating your home (page 70) • 10 design tips for wetrooms (page 85) • Save money by getting your project budget right (page 100) • How to get planning permission in the countryside (page 106) … and more!
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