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.
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 .
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.