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Insulating Roofs

As warm air rises the roof is a good place to start with insulation. It is also one of the easiest places to add insulation in most buildings.

Photograph illustrating the English Heritage web page on Saving Energy, Insulating roofs.

© Oxley Conservation

For most roofs placing insulation above the ceiling of the top floor can be cheaply and easily achieved.  

Read more about insulating roofs at ceiling level:

  • Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings: Insulating pitched roofs at ceiling level-cold roofs
    Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings: Insulating pitched roofs at ceiling level-cold roofs
    Publication Date: 30 Mar 2012
    This guidance notes provides advice on the principles, risks, materials and methods for insulating pitched roofs at ceiling level. When insulation is placed at this position the roof is often referred to as a cold roof.
    More info

For buildings with rooms in the roof, insulation can be added either above between or beneath the sloping rafters. However, the building might pose certain constraints which may mean not all these options are possible.

Read more about insulating roofs at rafter level:

  • Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings: Insulating pitched roofs at rafter level-warm roofs
    Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings: Insulating pitched roofs at rafter level-warm roofs
    Publication Date: 30 Mar 2012
    This guidance note provides advice on the principles, risks, materials and methods for insulating pitched roofs at rafter level. When insulation is placed at this position the roof is often referred to as a 'warm roof'.
    More info

Many older buildings have areas of flat roof, typically over extensions or porches. Insulating these areas can in many cases be quite difficult so care is needed to make sure the work is effective and does not cause technical problems.

Read more about insulating flat roofs:

  • Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings: Insulating flat roofs
    Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings: Insulating flat roofs
    Publication Date: 30 Mar 2012
    This guidance note provides advice on the principles, risks, materials and methods for improving the thermal performance of flat roofs by the addition or upgrading of insulation.
    More info

Older buildings often have dormer windows which come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. If the main roof is being insulated then it would be advisable to consider insulating any dormer windows as well.

If a roof has thatch as a roofing material you may not need to add any insulation as the thatch if well maintained will already have good insulation properties.

Read more about insulating dormer windows and insulating thatched roofs:

  • Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings: Insulating dormer windows
    Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings: Insulating dormer windows
    Publication Date: 30 Mar 2012
    This guidance note provides advice on the principles, risks, materials and methods for insulating dormer windows. Dormers come in a large variety of shapes, sizes and materials and can be a difficult area to insulate.
    More info
  • Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings: Insulating thatched roofs
    Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings: Insulating thatched roofs
    Publication Date: 30 Mar 2012
    This guidance provides advice on the principles,risks, materials and methods for improving the energy efficiency of thatched roofs.
    More info