Since the 1980s, building regulations stipulated that effective insulation should be installed during the construction of new buildings. It soon became clear that there was a huge number of older properties that would benefit from cavity wall insulation, but the only way to install it would be to inject it.

However, incorrect installations, unsuitable materials and poor installation in conjunction with defects in the external envelope of the property have led to many issues of damp arising from this energy-saving process. While cavity wall insulation can save you a lot of money by increasing your property’s energy efficiency, when moisture enters the cavity wall, the insulation can become saturated which can cause a number of property issues. When the insulation becomes damp it may be necessary for the cavity wall insulation to be removed.

In this article we will look at some of the reasons why you may need to think about cavity wall extraction, how cavity wall insulation removal works, and the first steps you need to take if you think this is something your property requires.

  • Damp – if you start to notice damp patches or cold spots on your walls it is likely that your insulation has been affected by damp, meaning that a bridge is created for damp to cross from the out-er to inner wall of the cavity wall construction. Damp can also be an indicator that your exterior wall requires repair or masonry protection.
  • Poor installation – people do not always hire the most credible specialists to complete jobs and when insulation is not installed correctly it can cause various problems. The only way to rectify this issue is to extract the insulation and reinstall it using new and improved insulation materials.

If you start to notice a change in energy efficiency, damp or cold patches, mould growth or cracks in your walls, you should organise a property survey and find out if the damp problem affecting your property is caused by faulty cavity wall insulation.

The insulation prevents warm air from escaping through the walls and also prevents cold air from entering the property. After loft insulation, cavity wall insulation is the second-most cost-effective energy-saving solution. With this in mind, if you start to notice any damp or cold patches on the surface of your walls inside your property, it is best to check your cavity insulation as the solution could be to organise a cavity wall extraction as soon as you can to prevent further problems.

The most common method to install cavity wall insulation is by drilling 22 mm diameter holes, one metre apart in the external surface of your perimeter walls and injecting the insulation material. The holes are then sealed with cement. The materials used include polystyrene beads and mineral wool; sometimes, polyurethane foam is used instead.

Damp is the most common reason for cavity wall insulation removal and can be caused by defects in exterior masonry or render, severe exposure to wind and rain, unsuitable insulation material being used or all of the above. These can all lead to the ingress of water into the walls of a property, causing penetrating damp.

If rainwater is able to penetrate the outer wall of a building it can bridge the cavity via the insulation, allowing the transfer of moisture from the outer to the inner wall of the cavity wall construction. Cold patches on internal walls, a build-up of condensation and mould, stained decorative surfaces, flaking paint and the smell of damp can all be signs that you have a penetrating damp issue and defective cavity wall insulation might be the main cause.

cavity wall insulation damp issues

Before you arrange a cavity wall extraction you will need to organise a survey to assess the insulation in the cavity and the cause of the damp. Our specialist team provide these surveys and will carry out the cavity wall insulation removal with the correct risk assessments in place.

The original injection holes are preferably used, or pockets may be required in the brickwork to allow effective access to the cavity for removal of the insulation. Extraction holes are also created just above damp proof course level to allow removal of the existing cavity insulation material. Com-pressed air is pumped through the injection holes using a rubber agitating whip and directional nozzle. This drives the insulation down and out through the exit points where an industrial vacuum is used to collect the material. On occasion, for stubborn cavity insulation, further access holes may be required to remove the insulation. It is important that all existing insulation is removed.

Borescope examinations are completed by our PCA accredited team before, during and after cavity wall ex-traction, and photographs are taken at every stage to ensure that all existing insulation has been re-moved.

cavity wall insulation removal

Trusted & Reviewed Damp Proofing Specialists

If you are concerned about your property’s insulation, the first step is to organise a survey to deter-mine if your cavity wall insulation requires to be extracted.

At Richardson & Starling, our specialist team of surveyors are fully certified by the Property Care Association, and are Certified Surveyors in Remedial Treatment, meaning they are highly trained in providing solutions to all forms of damp issues that could be affecting your property.

Once a survey has been conducted, we will provide a report on any damp found and the appropriate remedial specification for cavity wall extraction if this is required. Contact your local team today to organise a property survey.

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