I’ve been horrified to discover some of the things that people in the building and insulation industry have been getting up to when it comes to the extraction of cavity wall insulation.
It is very rare that cavity wall insulation needs to be extracted: once it is installed it is safely in place doing its job of keeping warmth in the home for the lifetime of the wall. However, when a home is flooded the insulation must be removed and replaced as part of the insurance claim. It would appear that some builders and insurance companies are not familiar with what needs to be done, and it wouldn’t surprise me if some of them are quite startled when they see how expensive it is.
Our company recently visited some houses affected by the floods in Somerset and which are still suffering problems. We were shocked to discover that a large number of bricks had been removed and a pathetic and ineffectual attempt had been made to remove some of the insulation up to about waist height. The builder had used inappropriate tools and had not even been able to remove all the insulation from this lower level of the wall. Now, the builder might have set about this with the best of intentions, but was clearly utterly out of his depth and seemed to honestly believe that it was OK to leave the great majority of insulation in place! We have even seen jobs where the builder has attempted to remove the insulation from inside the house, with obvious disruption and mess for the occupier.
This is most certainly not OK and would have invalidated any guarantee. Furthermore, the homeowner is likely to have faced serious damp problems after the first wet autumn or winter.
It is important to understand that removal of cavity wall insulation is a time consuming, labour-intensive job that requires specialist equipment costing a great deal of money and skilled technicians to operate it. It will usually take two men working two or three eight-hour days with an extraction machine and roadside compressor to get the job done. Some jobs can even take a week. The compressor is used to blow air into the wall, which helps to dry the insulation and force it down the cavity, where it is removed by the extractor. The job can cost £2,000 or more and, if required due to flooding is covered by insurance. If you are given a quote for less then this be very suspicious.
You would presumably not employ a double glazing fitter to replace your gas boiler. You would get a qualified expert. When it comes to cavity wall insulation extraction, we are the experts. If you are a homeowner, private landlord or housing association, contact us now and we will give you a highly competitive quote for doing the job properly.