I have a limited budget for insulation – which areas of the house should I prioritise first?

If you are insulating an existing house, then your options will probably be limited to ceiling insulation. Underfloor insulation may be a possibility if the floor is raised off the ground. Fortunately, insulating the ceiling will by far have the biggest thermal and economic benefit overall anyway, so this should always be first priority in any home insulation project. Most householders enjoy the benefits of their roof insulation investment straight away, both in terms of comfort and savings on energy bills. It is quite possible to save up to 45 percent of the energy consumption that is used by heating and cooling systems, and many home owners report having earned back the initial investment already within the first few years.

Think Long Term and Install Wall Insulation During a Renovation

Wall insulation is best installed at the time of construction, but can also be done during a renovation. With a limited budget it may not be feasible to install insulation in all the internal walls, but there are some rooms that should be first on the priority list. Media/TV rooms, studios, bedrooms, bathrooms and laundries all benefit from sound insulation for obvious reasons.

photo of a man installed bradford polymax polyester ceiling insulation in the roof of an existing home
Bradford Soundscreen Acoustic Wall Insulation - Sound Proof Your Home
Bradford Optimo Underfloor Insulation Batts help to save energy

Insulation Requirements for New Builds from the Building Code of Australia

The Building Code of Australia (BAC) sets out specific requirements for insulation in new homes. It is important to check these and ensure that you comply with their standards. It is important to note, however, that these requirements specify the bare minimum, and Pricewise Insulation generally recommends increasing the level of insulation by at least one R-rating, for added comfort and energy savings. The BAC doesn’t take noisy neighbours, for example, into consideration! If you suspect that excessive exposure to unwanted outside noise will be a problem for your household, consider installing high density thermal insulation in the external walls of the house. This type of insulation comes with a thermal R-value and restricts the transfer of sound.

Insulation Priorities in New Homes

Every new home requires some level of ceiling insulation, depending on the climate zone the house is located in. If you are building a new house, consider insulating the walls also. Together with the ceiling insulation, this will provide an effective ‘blanket’ around the whole house. Underfloor insulation will also reduce heat and cooling loss, and will contribute to the overall saving on power consumption. Next consider internal wall insulation. This reduces sound transmission between rooms, and is commonly installed in the walls of bedrooms, bathrooms, laundries, children’s playrooms etc.

You Can Upgrade Your Ceiling Insulation Later On

If your budget is limited, don’t put all your money into ceiling insulation, as you can always save up for it and add a layer later on. Think about areas that will be more difficult to access later on, for example walls. It’s far easier and cheaper to install wall insulation during the building construction, before the walls are lined.