Watch this video to get a glimpse into one of our current home improvement projects: adding extra insulation and a new raised floor to the attic above our kitchen.
We live in the beautiful Scottish countryside, in an old Victorian house, built with high ceilings and thick stone walls. This attic is the smaller of two, and is only used to store wood, old furniture and other things we do not access often. This means head room is not very important.
Our home is very cold. Without the heating turned on, we are talking an average internal temperature in our kitchen of 9C - 10C during the winter months. As you can imagine, this is brutal (our Alaskan Malamutes however seem pretty happy with this).
Why is it so cold?
Well, firstly this is due to the orientation of this part of the building. Our home is L shaped, with most of the rooms making up one part of the L, and the kitchen, study, mud room and garage forming the other. Facing due north, this wing of the house is considerably colder than the south-facing aspect.
Secondly, the kitchen has two external walls with huge (double glazed) windows, as well as four doorways coming off it. Three out of four of these doors are almost always kept open because of our pets.
Thirdly, the central heating radiators are inadequate to heat this size room. We do also have a wood burning stove but we do not use it a huge amount because it is time-consuming and requires a lot of attention, which is often impractical.
Lastly, and most importantly, there is NO insulation in the kitchen walls whatsoever, and a totally insufficient amount of insulation in the attic space above.
Heat is lost through walls, doors, windows and above all, through the ceiling, as heat rises. So it does no good to crank up the central heating if there is inadequate insulation to prevent this heat escaping. Our windows and the external doors are double glazed but that still leaves the issue of there being inadequate insulation in the kitchen walls and ceiling.
Increasing the insulation in the attic will not only greatly improve the heat retention in the kitchen below, but this in turn will save us money, as the room will heat up quicker and cool down slower.
We had our kitchen surveyed by a professional to find out why it was so cold, and what we could do about it. When he pointed out the facts above, we were initially shocked by his findings, but at least now we knew what was wrong. He told us that there needs to be 12 inches of insulation in the attic above, but ours had less than a third of that. So, we set about figuring out how we could add extra insulation to this attic without losing it as a storage space.
This attic is long and very low. It is also partially floored, but mostly only in the area that runs above the garage and mud room. The insulation beneath this flooring is just 4 inches, but for now, we are happy to leave that as is. It is the unfloored area running above the kitchen that we are focusing on at present.
After spending hours upon hours reading all about the different products available on the market, I settled on ordering a dozen boxes of Loft Lifters. These are cleverly designed plastic supports which you affix to the roof rafters in your attic, and on top of which you can then build a raised floor. The Loft Lifters create an extra 7 inches of space below your new raised floor. This is perfect for us to add extra insulation on top of the existing insulation, without losing the storage space we need.
Watch the video to see Tim in action as he begins the unenviable task of insulating our kitchen attic, and building a new raised floor, using Loft Lifters!