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PERFORMANCE & COST
Is RetroviveFLOOR better than upgrading windows or walls?
It may actually cost more to change the window of your room than to Retrovive your floor – especially as older properties often have beautiful sliding-sash windows which are very expensive to replace with double-glazing if they are to stay true to the original style. Yet the area of a room's windows is typically only 5-10% that of the floor. This means Retrovive can be much more effective (and cost-effective).
Similarly, adding insulation to solid external walls is very expensive, but again the area of external wall per room in m² is typically less than the floor. The ideal, of course, is to do all you can to be more comfortable and to use less heat – but in order of priority, underfloor insulation has to be near the top, after loft insulation and draught-proofing of windows and doors.
Is RetroviveFLOOR cheaper than alternative methods of insulating my floor?
The alternative approach to insulating your floor would be to take up the whole floor and probably at least some of the skirting; then to fit netting or battens beneath the joists, laboriously cut and fit slabs or rolls of insulation to get as close as possible to an airtight fill; put it all back together, and redecorate the room after the skirting goes back on.
Alternatives, then, are far more disruptive, have more chance of damage to original floorboards, take much longer, are often less effective, and can cost a lot more.
How much money will I save on my heating bills after RetroviveFLOOR?
Our customers report a very real difference in heating costs after we have insulated their floors. One person reduced his heating by 43% against the same 6-month period the previous year – despite a longer, colder winter! However, he did have his whole ground floor done.
If you have just part of the ground floor insulated, it will make less difference than this, but the cost of the installation will likely be paid back within just a few years. And, while you’re waiting to save your money back, you can enjoy the value of being much more comfortable!
How can I measure the difference RetroviveFLOOR has made?
There are two ways you can judge the effectiveness of your Retrovive. The first is to ask how much more comfortable you feel – is your home less draughty? Are you turning the heating down? Is the room quieter?
The second way is to compare heating use before and after. We encourage you to look at your heating bills to compare winter periods and invite you to send us your results, along with your comments about improved comfort. We have a chart that we can send you to help you fill in your meter readings and track the changes – please just contact us to get this.
How is cellulose fibre insulation installed?
RetroviveFLOOR is a system that uses a dry injection process to blow cellulose fibre insulation under your floor. This means a very clean process, as we simply run a flexible hose into your house rather than carrying loose insulation. The chief benefit of the RetroviveFLOOR system, however, is the resulting airtight filling of all corners of voids being insulated.
When new buildings are finished it is part of regulations to conduct an airtightness test. Where cellulose fibre insulation is used the test results are better than with alternative insulations. This makes it very popular for Passivhaus standards of building.
How long does the RetroviveFLOOR process take?
Our team can insulate a typical Victorian sitting room in just a single day. This means you could leave us to it at the start of the morning, and when you come back at the end of the day the room will look just the same: all cleaned up and tidy – but it will be much warmer!
Do I need to completely clear the rooms out before you can Retrovive them?
Yes please, more or less, but we can work round one or two larger items if we have enough space to operate. Any floor coverings, such as carpets and laminate, will have to be removed so that we can get to the floorboards underneath. If you need help to move things, we can do some of the heavy work at extra cost, but it is best for as much as possible to be cleared out before we come.
How much dust is created during the installation?
Dust is not a big problem. Cellulose fibre is similar to household dust, and is not at all harmful. There is a little dust when the material is blown in under the floor, but we minimise this coming into the room. Where needed, we cover door openings or furniture with polythene sheeting.
We also vacuum your rooms for you before we finish.
How much cleaning up is there afterwards?
None, effectively. We put the floor back and go over the rooms with a vacuum cleaner when we are finished. Any other cleaning would be no more than routine housework, dusting, etc.
Is there any damage to the floor, skirting boards or anything else?
We use very fine-bladed saws where we need to cut through floorboards, so that the gap afterwards is no more than the usual gap between boards. Where the boards are tongue-and-groove we need to cut down the length of the tongues to separate them. We may need to cut the odd board on its length, but this will look like any other join between the ends of boards. There is no need for us to disturb skirting, meaning no fixings to fill and paint over.
What happens if my floorboards are a bit fragile?
We take great care to minimise this problem. However, there are rare occasions when fragments of boards fall off, no matter how careful we are. The original nails fixing down the boards are very strong and it takes quite a bit of force to pull the boards up. Sometimes older boards have suffered a bit of woodworm and the edges crumble. We will repair these fragments by gluing them back on where we can, or by using a stainable filler. Unfortunately, though, we cannot take responsibility for the general condition of boards before we come.
What insulation material do you use in RetroviveFLOOR?
RetroviveFLOOR uses cellulose fibre insulation – a material made by recycling old newspaper and adding two inorganic salts to make it fire-proof and pest-proof, as well as being a very high-performing heat insulant.
We use cellulose fibre partly because it can be blown into small, large, and awkward-to-reach cavities. It packs in to create an airtight fill; but it is also extremely environmentally friendly, using no hazardous or allergenic chemicals – and it's actually carbon-negative (it traps more carbon in its fibres than is created during its manufacture and installation).
Is cellulose fibre fire resistant?
Cellulose fibre insulation is made from recycled newspaper and we are often asked if it will burn easily. The answer is no – it is very difficult to get it to burn because of the salts which are added to make it fire resistant. In fact, you can hold a blowtorch to it and it won’t burn!
Will RetroviveFLOOR create damp problems?
No. The materials we use are cellulose fibre and geo-textile fabric. These are ‘breathable’, which means that they will not allow damp to build up.
Can cellulose fibre go mouldy?
No, not in normal building conditions. The added salts prevent damp atmospheres developing mould in the material. If the time comes to dispose of the material it will naturally biodegrade when composted, but this would require quite different conditions.
Does RetroviveFLOOR make a difference to the sound in the room?
Retrovive insulation absorbs sound and has the effect of making the room quieter. Because the insulation is packed tightly up to the underside of the floorboards, there is less resonance from the floor and sound is slightly muted: something that is often reported back to us as a welcome added benefit, particularly where people are walking on a bare wooden floor in hard-soled shoes.
Do mice or any other creatures nest in cellulose fibre insulation?
No. Because of the added salts, vermin do not like it and will not nest in it – unlike other insulations. In fact, some countries have problems with termites in lofts and choose to insulate with cellulose fibre precisely because it is an effective deterrent.
Will my vacuum cleaner pull the material out through any gaps?
No. The fibres ‘knit’ together and block over gaps. During installation, as we gradually work the hose along under the floor there is a small puff of dust as it comes to each gap, which almost instantly stops as it blocks off. (Incidentally, this is a very good demonstration of how ‘leaky’ a traditional floor is in terms of draughts.)
How long will it last?
The materials will last the lifetime of the building, assuming normal conditions. Cellulose fibre is obtained from recycled newspaper, which originates from trees. There are many examples of timber in buildings which are many centuries old.