Major Issues with Cavity Wall Insulation in Non-Traditionally Constructed Homes

Major Issues with Cavity Wall Insulationin Non-Traditionally Constructed Homes

As the lid is slowly coming off the failed but seemingly well intentioned Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation schemes to provide cavity wall insulation in Britain’s housing stock, the fall out and problems unfold on a daily basis. Every day, more and more people are making the link between having cavity wall insulation and the persistent damp issues in their home after the installation.

There really is only one answer to this growing epidemic in the UK! The failed and now defective insulation must be extracted and a full cavity extraction carried out.

What does this really mean for those who have been sold the benefit of subsidised cavity wall insulation?

In recent times it has come to light that any construction type, other than traditional construction should not under any circumstances have full fill cavity wall insulation installed.

So, what is traditional construction you ask. Let us explain.

The term ‘traditional build’ is usually used to describe a home where the internal load bearing leaf is masonry construction and tied with wall ties to an outer leaf of either block or brick.

Although there are many modern methods of construction taking building practices into the future, traditional brick and block methods still remain one of the most widely used build types in the UK and are the only suitable forms of construction to receive cavity wall insulation.

The next question is, what if you live in a non-traditional construction and have had cavity wall insulation?

The vast majority of us do not have a building or construction background. It’s on this basis that many of our clients come to Cavity Wall Doctor and ask us to identify the type of construction of their home and determine if the house was suitable to receive cavity wall insulation in the first place and find out more about cavity wall extraction and cavity clearance.

Wall Cavity Claims are innovators in providing compliant surveying services to help consumers with independent witness reports for their damp, condensation and cavity wall problems. We work with a panel of specialist Solicitors who specialise in cavity claims, cost recovery, repair and compensation cases.

It’s free to find out if you have grounds for a case, so leave us your contact details and a member of the team will contact you to discuss your case.

Or call us FREEPHONE – from landlines & mobiles – call 0800-8-654321

Damaged cavity wall insulation is costing you more than you think

So not only will damaged cavity wall insulation cause (and this list is not exhaustive)Increased risk of chest infections and asthma, eczema, allergies weakened immune system (especially in high risk groups i.e. the old and the young)

Here’s a list of some of the issues that arise from damaged cavity wall insulation:

  • Damage to the inside walls / plastering
  • Damage to the inside wood work
  • Damage to clothes and bedding
  • Damage to furniture
  • Damage to carpets
  • Damage to joists and floorboards (can cause rotting)
  • Damage to wall ties

But also, it’s not really doing the job it was supposed to do… it’s a fact that wet insulation will not have the u-values (heat retention) that it would when dry. So if your ignoring all the signs that you have damaged cavity wall insulation and continue to ignore the fact that it needs taking out then be prepared to spend more money on re-decorating, internal plastering, internal wood work, furniture, carpets.  And look forward to the chesty coughs, bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, recurrent respiratory infections, eczema, allergies, weakened immune system, fatigue, rhinitis, itchy eyes, joint pain and the list goes on…

Also, your CIGA guarantee is valid for 25 years, but finding a solicitor to represent your matter can be affected by when it was installed, many solicitors currently only accepting claims where the installation was done less than 15 years ago.

If you have or you think you have damp, condensation and or mould problems at home, we want to hear from you.

Had shocking discovery’s like this in your home?

Have you seen patches like this at home?

Wall Cavity Claims can help you with a free, no obligation cavity inspection surveyor, who will check all areas of your home, internal, external and most importantly your cavity walls and what is happening there which we cannot see without specialist tools and industry knowledge.

If the cavity inspection surveyor does find faults, these can be reviewed by a specialist panel solicitor who will represent your claim on a full No Win No Fee service.

Start your enquiry today and let the experts help you protect your house, your family, your home.

Or call us FREEPHONE – from landlines & mobiles – call 0800-8-654321

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Effects of Climate Change

Effects of Climate Change

Since the early 1990’s the effects of climate change on cavity walls has been predicted that we will experience periods of considerably more adverse weather and increased periods of heavy rainfall than we had been used to. This has now become a much talked about point in recent years and well reported that weather conditions are becoming increasingly worse from one year to the next.

Properties within the blue areas should never have had the cavity walls filled using wool products. This is now causing a big problem for local authorities, housing associations and private home owners. Bead insulation can allow moisture to travel downwards and out of the insulation and wall cavity if it is installed correctly.

It’s only now, years later that the relationship between having cavity wall insulation in high exposure zone is being linked to damp, mould and health problems across the UK.


Rainfall clearly shown in reports for the UK, now shows more of the country to be in high exposure zones, typically wind-driven rain, where the amount of rain is far greater than previously reported or expected.

Buildings in these areas are now facing the growing issues of more driving rain that we have never experienced before. This has led to failure of insulation materials used, due to the wrong product being installed, the incorrect installation or simply the product was used when it should not have been, and causing wide spread damp, mould and health problems.



A further point to the failure of cavity wall insulation is due to buildings not being correctly maintained and modern day weather having an ongoing degradation to buildings, leading to the breakdown and failure of the cavity wall insulation.

The major issues buildings are now facing stem from the practices detailed above, along with dated insulation techniques that has led to water penetration causing the insulation to become saturated. This breaks down the fabric and purpose of the insulation leading to the thermal properties and function becoming defective. The simple fact is water penetrates the outer wall, seeps into the insulation and through to the inner walls of our homes.

Property’s suffering from problems of damp, mould, condensation and water ingress can be remedied by completely removing the old defective insulation material and obstructions of rubble and debris and installing the correct insulation product for the property, such as External / Internal Wall Insulation.



Decorating over damp and mould patches

And so it begins… the decorating ritual.

It’s that time of year again where the nights draw in even quicker and you start to spend more and more time in your home.  It’s at this time of year we start to look around and start thinking about those little jobs that need doing we’ve been putting off all summer. Indeed, because of the warmer weather over summer, this can help ‘hide’ serious matters until the cold and wet autumn and winter draw in.

Christmas is fast approaching and we start to think about having our homes in tip top shape ready for the annual visits from friends and family. Is it time to redecorate, redo the living room or even spruce up the hallway with a quick lick of paint?

We’re guessing this is a yearly occurrence for many people living in homes that have received the free energy company grants for insulation.  As many of our clients have told us, it’s when the autumn comes the colour charts come out and the trips to the DIY stores start. It’s the beginning of the annual process of dealing with the damp and mould that is an after effect of having cavity wall insulation. A good clean will sort it out, right?

Many of our clients have being living with these unwanted issues when the weather turns and going through the motions of buying the damp paints, treating mould patches with the sprays that just don’t seem to keep the mould at bay. It’s no surprise that this starts in the autumn every year. Unfortunately, the paints and sprays are only masking these unwelcome effects in our homes, you can persevere with this ritual, hiding the issues or you can deal with the issue head on, once and for all and take back your home, making it the happy place you always wanted and expected it to be.

At Wall Cavity Claims, we specialise in seeking out the root cause of these damp and mould problems and providing you with the answers if the cause is anything attributed to the cavity wall insulation.

If you or someone you know are dealing with these symptoms, take a few moments to send your contact details to us and a member of the team will contact you to arrange a surveyor visit to discuss how to take back your home and remove these problems once and for all.

Visit the website at or give us a call free on 0800-8-654321


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The ultimate guide to cavity wall insulation

The ultimate guide to cavity wall insulation

If your home was built after the 1920s, the chances are that it’s got cavity walls. And unless it was built within the last 10 years, those cavities are probably empty. If so, filling them with wall insulation could be a very cost-effective way to retain heat in your home and save on your energy bills.Bottom of Form

Around one third of the heat loss from most homes is through the walls, so cavity insulation could save you up to £160 a year in heating bills. In fact, according to these figures from the Energy Saving Trust website it could pay for itself within less than 5 years.

Type of property Detached Semi detached Mid terrace Bungalow Flat
Energy bill savings (£ pa) £275 £160 £105 £110 £90
Average payback period £720 £475 £370 £430 £330
CO2 savings per year 32 months 36 months 43 months 47 months 45 months
CO2 savings per year 1,100 kg 650 kg 430 kg 450 kg 360 kg


These are estimated figures for England, Scotland and Wales, based on insulating a gas-heated home. The actual payback time will depend on the date when the insulation is installed, as the amount saved each month will vary between winter and summer. The average installation cost shown here is unsubsidised.

What is a cavity wall?

A cavity wall is one made out of two separate thin walls (usually built of brick, and known as ‘skins’ or ‘leaves’) with a gap (or cavity) between them. They are held together by metal wall ties.

How can I tell if I have cavity walls?

As we mentioned above, the age of your home is the first clue. However, if you’re not sure how old it is, or you reckon it was built around 1930 so could be either a cavity or a solid wall, have a look at any exposed brickwork. If your home has cavity walls, the bricks will all look the same size, like this:


… but if the walls are solid, every other brick will probably have been placed end-on, like this:


If all the brickwork in your home has been rendered or cladded so you can’t see any actual bricks, you may be able to tell from the thickness of the outer walls. Check the windows and doorways: if a brick wall is more than 10 inches thick, it’s probably a cavity wall. However, solid stone walls can also be very thick.

My home doesn’t have brick walls – can I insulate it?

  • If your house has stone walls, they’re most likely to be solid, with no cavities to insulate. See our Ultimate guide to solid wall insulation <link to new guide> for alternative ideas.
  • If you live in a timber- or steel-framed building, or your home is built of pre-fab concrete, they won’t have cavity walls, but you may be able to insulate them in another way. To find a suitable local installer, get in touch with the National Insulation Association.
  • If a contractor suggests injecting wall cavity insulation between the outer brick leaf and the inner frame of your timber-framed home, don’t accept this as it can cause serious damage.

Is cavity wall insulation suitable for my home?

You should only consider cavity wall insulation if:

  • Your home has unfilled cavity walls made of brick.
  • The cavities are at least 2 inches / 50 millimetres wide.
  • The brickwork or masonry is in good condition.
  • Your external walls are accessible. If some are joined to a neighbouring house, the installer will need to insert a cavity barrier, (brushing off) which could add to the costs. Installers may also be reluctant to work around garages, conservatories or extensions.
  • Your home is less than 12 metres (about 4 storeys) high.
  • Your internal walls are dry. Wet wall insulation is worse than no wall insulation, so if you have any damp patches, you’ll need to get the cause sorted out before installing insulation. For the same reason, cavity insulation is not suitable if the walls are regularly exposed to driving rain.
  • There are no areas of steel- or timber-framed construction.

Cavity wall insulation is only suitable for your home if you can answer ‘yes’ to all these points,

Some timber-framed homes look exactly as though they’re built of brick – but of course they’re not. These buildings are not suitable for cavity wall insulation, as they need the cavity to allow moisture to escape. If you’re not sure whether your home is built in this style, check up in the attic. If your party or gable walls are made of timber instead of brick, you’ve got a timber-framed house.

How can I tell if my walls have already been insulated?

If your home was built in the last 20 years, the walls were probably insulated when it was built. If not, or if you want to make sure, you can:

  • Ask a registered installer to drill a small hole in the wall and let you know whether the wall is empty or insulated. This is called a borescope inspection.
  • Check with the building control department of your local authority. They should have records if your walls have already been insulated.

There are also a couple of clues to look out for that could save you the trouble of a borescope inspection:

  • Installers will have drilled 1-inch holes at regular intervals when inserting the wall cavity insulation. Although they’ll have filled these in, you should still be able to see faint marks – but don’t confuse them with the marks left by an injected damp proof course.
  • Check in your attic – the cavity insulation material may be spilling out at the top of the wall. However, this is not a good thing, so you should probably get a professional to clear it up and seal off the wall.

Can I install wall cavity insulation myself?

Only if you’re a trained and qualified wall insulation installer.

What does the work involve?

Your installer should start by checking the walls are suitable, in good condition and free from damp. They will then drill a series of small holes, blow the insulation into the cavity with special equipment and fill in the holes with mortar afterwards.

A professional installer should be able to complete the work in around 2 hours for an average-sized house with easy-to-access walls. They should ‘make good’ when they’ve finished and make sure you’re not left with any mess.

They should not need to enter your house for work purposes at all (although of course they may need to use your loo).

Not long after the work is complete, you should be sent a guarantee issued by the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA), and your installer should give you written confirmation that the work complies with building regulations. Your local authority or CIGA may also come around to carry out a spot check to make sure the work is of an acceptable standard.

What kind of cavity insulation will they install?


Cavity wall insulation can be mineral fibre wool, polystyrene granules (also known as beads) or polyurethane foam. They should all be manufactured to British standards.

Mineral woolBeads and granulesFoam
 is used most often. It’s like the mineral ‘quilt’ insulation used in lofts but broken up into small tufts so it can be blown into the walls. It must be kept absolutely dry, or it loses its ability to insulate, and it may settle over time, creating air pockets at the top of the walls.
are also popular, as they trap heat very efficiently and create gap-free wall insulation. However, loose granules have been known to escape through airbricks and can gush out if you ever need to have work done that involves drilling or cutting into the wall. This type of insulation can let bits of moisture drain through and to the ground so it doesn’t get retained in the wall cavity and cause damp issues.
offers thermal cavity wall insulation, but installation is tricky and needs expert attention, and some foams have been known to degrade in the long term. This is not a popular product used by installers.


How do I find a good installer?

Visit one of these websites:

  • The British Board of Agrèment (BBA) – click on ‘installer search’.
  • The Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA) – click on ‘find an installer’.
  • The National Insulation Association (NIA) – click on ‘find your nearest installer’.

Remember, work like this only qualifies for a guarantee if it’s carried out by a fully qualified professional who has signed up to appropriate codes of practice.

So before you confirm the booking, make sure that:

  • A careless installer could block flues or airbricks.
  • They might blow insulation materials out of the top of the walls into your loft, or even into next door.
  • If they fail to distribute the material evenly, it could create air pockets. These can lead to cold areas on your internal walls, causing patches of condensation and mould.
  • The cavity insulation might cause the wall ties holding your walls together to rust. However, this should only happen if damp gets in because your brickwork is crumbling or is often exposed to torrential rain such as in wind driven rain areas – so you really shouldn’t have chosen cavity wall insulation to start with.

There’s a whole host of positive reasons to have cavity wall insulation installed, as long as your property is the correct type of property and the contractor doing the work is qualified and professional and follows the BBA guidelines.

If you suspect foul play has happened with your installation, if you have signs of mould or damp or condensation, blocked air vents, bad brickwork or pointing, then there’s a high chance your insulation is causing problems. You might not have signs of damp or mould, you might have a damp smell around the house, or you might not have any of these signs yet, ‘yet’ being the main word to focus here.

It is best to enquire with Wall Cavity Claims about a free, no obligation cavity inspection surveyor to visit your property and undertake a full review and report their findings to us. If we feel there are grounds there which can cause issues, we can recommend a specialist panel solicitor who works on a No Win No Fee service.

Or call us FREEPHONE – from landlines & mobiles – call 0800-8-654321

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    Toxic Black Mould

    Black mould, Stachybotrys, Aspergillus, toxic black mould…whatever you want to call it, internal damp problems can cause serious damage, not only to the appearance of home but to the structure of the property and your health.


    Internal damp problems can lead to the deterioration of masonry, cause plaster to crumble, wooden beams and floorboards to decay and leave bubbling on your plaster work and wallpaper. Some people think a spot of paint or some wall paper is going to fix the problem… unfortunately not.


    As a society we are people that will live with certain conditions by “putting a plaster over it”. How many times have you tried to clean damp on walls with bleach or other chemicals thinking that spending £2 is going to solve all your problems? If you have had cavity wall insulation carried out and you are suffering with damp spots in your house, then you owe it to yourself to get it checked.

    Your home is the most expensive asset you will ever purchase, so keeping it healthy and in good condition will pay off in the long run. Should there be a time where you want to sell your home, future purchasers will be more aware of damp problems that damaged cavity wall insulation can cause, and be less interested in buying properties that have these issues, needless to say can reduce the value of your home.

    If you’ve had wall cavity insulation installed in your home in the last 15 years, call us Freephone and enquire about our free, no obligation qualified cavity insulation surveyors. And if they identify faults, our panel of specialist solicitors can represent you on a full  No Win No Fee service .

     Wall Cavity Claims – WE work for YOU – Tel: 0800-8-654321 

    You might not have any issues showing currently, but that doesn’t mean your cavity insulation has been fitted correctly or isn’t causing unseen damage. Without specialist equipment to view your cavity and know what you are looking for, you won’t know until it starts to show the damage.