Energy efficient homes are fast becoming a very important consideration for many people. The recent energy crisis, coupled with the urgent need for us all to take charge of our future and save our planet means that whatever changes we can make at home, should be made sooner rather than later. Reducing the amount of energy we use to heat our homes by insulating them more effectively, is a great place to start.
Barn conversions however, are by their very nature poorly insulated and are not as straightforward as your regular 3 bed semi to rectify! Barns are generally older buildings that past owners would not have wanted (or needed) to spend money on insulating. Typical problems encountered include:
- The builder will want to use methods and materials he or she is familiar with rather than what may be required.
- Building control will inspect is as a new build and will want it to comply with current Building Regulations.
- Meanwhile, the homeowner wants to retain the look, feel, character and charm of a barn – the whole reason they bought it in the first place.
- Plus, the age and construction of a barn will undoubtedly mean the project needs extra time, thought and care.
As you can see the concoction of considerations can make barn conversions a challenging project.
When converting a barn, the layout, design, style are important considerations, but the insulation is just as important. There is no point living in a beautiful barn conversion if it is freezing cold is there?
For us, there are three target areas of focus when insulating a modern barn conversion – the roof, the walls and the glazing.
Barn conversion roof insulation:
Typically, barns are tall structures that do not have separate floors. If you stand on the ground floor, you can usually see the underside of the roof. This means that if you were to try and heat the area, all the heat would travel upwards and leave the lower floors cooler. The roof is one of the main areas where heat can be lost in any home, particularly a barn conversion. The roof of a barn may be a lovely feature, with its 100+ year old exposed beams, but they do tend to allow heat to seep through if the right insulation is not used and fitted properly. It is important to work with an expert company (we work with Southstreet builders) to find a solution. We will find the solution you need to ensure the barn conversion roof is insulated and meets with building regulation requirements, while the features you love are still on show.
Barn conversion wall insulation:
The unique character of a barn means that their construction can vary greatly. From one with shallow, irregular rafters and a timber frame to one with thick solid walls. This means that they are not conducive to a fully efficient insulating system.
Again, an expert company can help in ensuring your property is insulated and ticking building control boxes, but still retains the rustic charm of a barn.
Barn conversion glazing:
Barns (pre-conversion) are notoriously cold and that is often because the doors and windows are ill fitting. If you visualise an old barn door, you would imagine that it has a huge gap underneath and all around, letting cold air in.
The height of a barn is part of its appeal because it provides the opportunity for floor to roof windows, light open areas between mezzanine floors and the like, but it is also part of its downfall if the right installation is not installed efficiently. Glazing is another important element in retaining heat. Because barns are not originally built for human habitation, they tend to have few openings with the few openings they do possess being either massive (to get large machinery or animals through) or tiny (for ventilation). Installing large, double-glazed units in the larger sections helps lock in tons of heat.
Having huge floor to roof windows is one of the features that draws many people to take on a barn conversion project – both in terms of flooding the property with natural light and sealing in heat. Ensure you buy the right products and that they are high quality because you really don’t want to be replacing them!
If you are thinking of undertaking a barn conversion project and would like some advice and guidance on insulation or some tips on retaining the character of a barn conversion, our experienced team would be happy to chat things through with you.