When things go wrong with retrofit insulation

We do not want to spoil the party, but with all the news surrounding the ‘Green Homes Grant‘, we just do not want homeowners to suffer the same property issues as others have experienced, as a direct result of previous well-meaning, but flawed energy saving insulation campaigns.

Firstly, we would like to be clear that at the Property Care Association, we are pleased that the Green Homes Grant will take steps to stimulate the construction sector, will help homeowners save valuable cash on their energy bills and will take steps to reduce the country’s carbon emissions, all whilst (hopefully) improving the housing stock. Undoubtedly these are admirable and worthy causes.

The sheer scale of the project however, and the incredibly fast turnaround (announced late July, rolled out in September 2020 and finishing before Easter 2021) gives us cause for concern. It is precisely another reason to look at and remind all homeowners of the consequences of poorly checked and installed insulation measures, and how we can avoid them this time around.

Cavity wall and retrofit insulation fails

Cavity wall insulation has been a subject that successive Governments over the past 30 years have attempted to promote. Previous Government drives such as ‘Eco’ & ‘Warmfront’ have made it readily apparent that in a large number of homes, instead of creating energy saving conditions, the process instead locked dampness and humidity into many homes. This lead to potentially expensive damp and rot repairs and in some cases, structural problems.

Quite simply, cavity walls exist for good reason and that is to provide a barrier against rainwater penetration. The problem is that a great many of these cavity voids are either simply unsuitable for cavity wall insulation, or unqualified specialists have overpacked the cavity with insulation resulting in rainwater travelling through the insulation and reaching the internal wall. Thus creating problems with penetrating damp, mould, condensation and rot.

Why does this happen? Retrofit insulation installers may have the best of intentions, but these Government backed subsidies have always attracted a number of suppliers who are not sufficiently skilled. On top of that, as skilled as a retrofit insulation specialist might be, they do not necessarily have the skills and knowledge to identify the potential ‘ripple effects’ from the work they are doing.

To find out more, click to play the video below on the impact of poorly installed retrofit insulation.

How to avoid these property disasters


From a PCA perspective, we are pleased to see that unlike the mistakes of the past, the new ‘Green Homes Grant’ requires that contractors are TrustMark registered to safeguard quality. However, the simple fact is that insulation installers will not have the level of expertise and knowledge of dampness, condensation, hole house ventilation, and how to spot and fix problems associated with cavity wall tie failure that PCA specialists have..

If you suspect or have identified a potential defects in the walls floors or roof of your property or you think that insulation work delivered by ‘Green Homes Grant’ may impact your property in an adverse way, then do the proper checks! If you are doing it through the new scheme and potential issues have been identified, it does not even have to cost you lots of money. The cost of an additional damp related survey and essential structural repairs can be claimed as part of the Green Homes Grant

The cost of the insulation may be subsidised by the government. The cost of repairs caused or made more expensive by the presence of the insulation may not be. Our advice…it’s not worth the risk or cost – get it checked properly!

Whats covered under the scheme >>

Contact a PCA TrustMark accredited member

To find a local PCA and TrustMark Accredited Specialist that can provide a thorough check of the property and ensure that you will actually benefit from an insulation installation in the long run, then use the button below to find a PCA member near you.

Find a PCA member near you >>

Related info about the Green Homes Grant

At the PCA we are doing our best to provide you with all the information and resources you need to know about the Green Homes Grant. Take a look at some of our related articles:

Green Home Grant Hub Scheme Info for Homeowners Scheme Info for PCA Members


Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter