The Vale Council is stripping wall-insulation out of this terrace in Penarth

The Vale Council is stripping cavity-wall insulation out of this terrace in Penarth

The Vale of Glamorgan Council  is now stripping-out glass-fibre cavity-wall insulation which it originally installed in a number of current or former council-owned properties in Penarth .

It’s an operation which appears to prove  that yesterday’s “energy-saving” environmental fad can easily turn out to be today’s major maintenance headache.

The glass-fibre cavity wall insulation is being sucked out of the walls and piped into refuse bags to be dumped as landfill

The glass-fibre cavity wall insulation is being sucked out of the walls and piped into white refuse bags to be dumped as landfill

One of the operations now under way  is on a terrace of pre-war two-storey properties in Clive Place and involves drilling through the outer brickwork and sucking out the glass-fibre with powerful vacuum systems.

This two-week project is being undertaken by a specialist firm by ECT Cavity Wall Clearances of Risca who are busy not only in Penarth but are stripping-out unwanted wall insulation from properties across South Wales .

These experts in cavity-wall insulation are based in Risca but are serving householders across South Wales getting rid of their insulation

These experts in cavity-wall clearance  are based in Risca but are serving householders across South Wales who are getting rid of their insulation

Once all the “old” fibreglass insulation has been extracted and building rubble removed from within the walls, all the cavity wall ties (metal fittings which keep the two walls-skins together) have to be checked by surveyors with endoscopes to ensure they’re clear of any extraneous material .

The cavity wall insulation craze began in the 1970s and by the 1990s it even became compulsory in Government building regulations  – but it wasn’t long before many householders found that rather than making their homes warmer, the insulation could  make interior walls damp – as the insulation “bridged the cavity“,  and allowed moisture to travel from the outer wall to the inner wall – thereby destroying the whole point of having a cavity wall at all.

The Vale Council however says cavity wall insulation can save 30% of a building’s heat loss and is now planning to install new cavity wall insulation in its properties – and is no doubt hoping that it won’t be necessary to strip that new insulation out all over again in 20 years’ time.




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  1. Mary says:

    How stupid of the .Council to remove something shown not to be successful and then replace with similar. Daft. Daft and Dafter

    • sjleworthy says:

      It’s still regulation to meet a heat loss value through walls, 99% of the time with cavity insulation of some kind. materials and testing are a lot more ‘forward’ than they were some time ago, why are you assuming the council are pumping (if at all they are pumping) similar stuff back in, which they wouldn’t be allowed to do?

      correctly installed cavity wall insulation is a damn good (and vital) thing. a very normal thing.
      Another problem might have been poor building methods at the time as the article eluded too. Builders throwing in rubble, chip papers, building waste etc etc. All these factors easily make a cavity fail.

  2. Ian Perry says:

    Insulating walls was and is no “environmental fad”.

    What we have is a case of people being fed up of hearing from ‘experts’ for decades, and ignoring their warnings… And now we see the consequences.

    The cavity wall ties are to be inspected for extraneous material. This material is likely to be mortar that has dropped onto the wall ties whist the wall was being constructed, forming “snots”. These snots carry moisture to the internal wall. Due to the insulation in the cavity, water within the snots cannot evaporate.

    Before the cavity wall insulation was installed, the council should have checked that the wall ties and the cavity were clear from debris, etc. From the information presented in the article above, it seems that snots are the suspected problem in this case.

    There are other potential problems with cavity wall insulation, such as slumping, and reducing the life span of some types of wall ties. However, these problems are usually outweighed by the benefits. The problems are less likely to surface when those installing the insulation have sufficient knowledge and make good decisions – including installing alternative wall insulation methods to cavity filling. We need to start valuing expertise, knowledge and facts.

    Sadly, large companies and councils “green-wash”, claiming that their services and products will deliver environmental benefits that they will not, whilst sustainable building expertise is ignored or attacked by vested interests and/or those opposed to better ideas…

  3. Nincompoop says:

    This sounds like similar experience to a friend who lives in Cardiff and who paid to have this process done in the belief it would save energy costs. To his cost he has since discovered it was never suitable for his particular construction house . At least these residents won’t be out of pocket as the council will sort this out. Unfortunately because my friend owns his property he will have to pay for remedial works. What is frustrating as a tax payer is that it was known at the time that this work would not be suitable for all properties and yet the council went ahead anyway. Guess who we’ll be footing the bill!

  4. Pauline Saunders - CIVALLI says:

    CIVALLI – Cavity Insulation Victims Alliance was sent up by volunteers who suffered badly at the hands of the scandalously bad insulation industry.

    We provide free help and support for victims along with a shoulder to cry on. or email

  5. Pleased to see that a OSCAR Approved Company, ECT are completing the extraction

  6. Barry Robertson says:

    Nationwide issue doesn’t stop in Wales. Successfully we have extracted wet damp fibre and refilled properly using EPS bead. Result is damp cold homes unrentable now collecting good consistent rents whilst providing warm cosy homes for LA.

  7. and their panel of solicitors are actively claiming against the Installers of Cavity wall insulation (those that are still trading) and their guarantors.
    No way should homeowners suffer or pay the cost of repairing the damages caused.


  8. Nincompoop says:

    I have just noticed the helpful websites mentioned and thank you for mentioning them. I will pass these on to my friend. It’s only when looking at these websites you realise there are so many people’s homes affected. Many thanks.

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