About a quarter of heat loss happens through a poorly insulated roof. Losing heat may be ideal during the hot summer months, but as winter approaches, heat loss from homes can mean turning up your heating appliances and for longer periods of time. This will not only result in more heat loss, but it will also increase your heating costs.

 With the rise in energy prices in 2022, it becomes even more crucial to reduce our energy consumption at home, and for the planet. Hence, insulating a pitched roof between rafters can be an effective, long-term solution to retain heat in your home while saving money on energy bills. Besides, fitting good insulation can also keep your home cool during the summer months, while also having to deal with fewer condensation issues.

There are many roofing types, although in the UK, a pitched roof is more common in residential properties since its down-facing slopes make it easier for water to drain compared to a flat structure. A pitched roof has a central ridge attached to rafters on both sides at a downward-facing angle. The rafters are a series of structural components that hold the roof together and provide a base for roof coverings, such as roof tiles, roof shingles, roof slates and roof insulation.

How to insulate a pitched roof home?

When it comes to insulating pitched roofs between rafters, there are many different types of loft insulation you can choose from depending on your preference for a warm or cold roof, and also your budget. The type of loft insulation and material used for a pitched roofing house ranges from foam sheet, plasterboard, glass rock and mineral wool to loose-fill insulation. Also, if your loft is easily accessible and has no damp conditions or condensation issues, insulating a pitched roof can, in most cases, be done by yourself.

Insulating above and between the rafters.

This is referred to as ‘warm pitched roof’ where the loft area stays close to the ambient temperature as the rest of the house since the thermal insulation is fitted above and between the rafters. It is often the best way to insulate a pitched roof house because it doesn’t require a ventilation system and can also help to keep out unwanted drafts. Besides, fitting a ‘warm roof’ can keep your home cosy and energy-efficient, helping you save money on your heating bills. If you plan to turn your loft into a room, you should opt for a ‘warm roof’ as it provides more headroom and usable space since there is no insulation below the rafters.

Insulating between or between and below the rafters.

This is referred to as ‘cold pitched roof’ where the temperature of the loft area is usually similar to outside temperature since the thermal insulation is placed below the rafters at the ceiling area. The loft area with a cold pitched roof is often used for storage space rather than a room since its temperature is dependent on the outside weather conditions, and condensation can also become an issue.

Hence, if you plan to use the loft for more than a storage space, setting up cold pitched roofing may require proper thermal insulation, good ventilation and vapour barrier such as a breathable sarking felt, as well as meeting building regulations and requirements. Also, you will need to leave a gap of at least 50mm (2 inches) between the inside of the roof covering and insulation to allow for proper air circulation and avoid condensation, mould growth and damping.

Whether you opt to insulate using a warm or cold pitched roofing, there are certain advantages and disadvantages to using different insulation methods. So, it is important to plan ahead and correctly identify the type of insulation that meets your housing needs. This will not only save you a lot of headache, but it will also help you save energy and money in the long run.