5 Questions - 5 Answers: Beat Wants to Insulate the Attic of His House

April 1, 2021

In our new '5 questions - 5 answers' section, Houzy users ask our experts questions. Beat from Oberwinterthur is the first. This is his story, which he wrote for us:

"I recently inherited my grandparents' family home. I have wonderful memories of my childhood associated with the house. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents on weekends and during summer holidays. I spent hours playing hide-and-seek in the garden with the neighbourhood children, or playing cops and robbers in the attic.
The house is more than 50 years old. I have to renovate many things. I want to start with the attic. I want to renovate it to make it more energy efficient and use it as a home office, maybe later as a children's room. I know exactly what I want, but I have no idea what to do. There is literally a big question mark on my forehead. Help Houzy!"

Beat's 5 questions for attic insulation

  1. How is the attic/loft insulated?
  2. Is it sufficient to insulate only the roof or must the attic floor also be insulated?
  3. Do double-glazed skylights have to be replaced?
  4. Approximately how much does it cost to have the roof insulated?
  5. Are there subsidies for this type of measure?

Expert's advice - Max's answers

L'isolamento del tetto: Max Ziegler esperto di energia

Max Ziegler

Energy consultant and building analyst

Max has been working in the field of energy efficiency since 2008 and is one of the most experienced experts in Switzerland. As a GEAK expert and PEIK energy consultant, he was the official energy consultant for the cantons of Obwalden, Nidwalden and Uri for 12 years.

Dear Beat

This is a very good idea. If you insulate the roof, you gain a lot of valuable living space. Moreover, the attics of old houses have a special charm. In fact, the attic is probably big enough for a home office or children's room. It would be a shame if you had to give up that beautiful office in a few years, wouldn't it? As for your questions ...

1. How is the attic/loft insulated?

If the attic is to be lived in, the roof must be completely renovated. This means that thermal insulation measures are required so that it is not too cold in winter and too hot in summer under the roof. Such measures are usually subject to the law. In addition, all legal requirements for the energy sector must be complied with. If you have questions about this, the energy office of your canton of residence or area can certainly help.

2. Is it sufficient to insulate only the roof or must the attic floor also be insulated?

The roof is sufficient. But all external walls enclosing the room must be insulated. Whether from the inside or the outside, this must be determined in an overall picture for the insulation work on one's own roof. An expert can be crucial in such cases.

3. Should double-glazed skylights be replaced?

Integrating old skylights into a new living area is not a good idea. I recommend getting new triple glazing. Otherwise, some of the heat will be lost through the old skylights.

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4. Approximately how much does it cost to have the roof insulated?

For a complete roof renovation, approximately CHF 350-400 per square metre of roof area must be calculated. In addition, there are additional services, such as scaffolding, plumbing, painting, etc. It is best to ask for a quote for all services before placing the order. It makes sense to compare several offers and not choose the first one that comes along.

5. Are there any subsidies for this type of measure?

Yes, there are, if the project meets the requirements of the cantonal funding programmes. A good overview of subsidies for energy efficiency measures in buildings can be found on the website of The Buildings Programme.

I hope my answers are helpful, Beat. As a next step, I recommend a GEAK building analysis with an independent expert. Then you can plan the roof insulation with an expert who will consolidate your detailed requirements into the overall plan before work begins. I wish you all the best.

In the Houzy network, you will find certified craftsmen in your region who will provide you with expert advice on your project and carry out all the work in a professional manner.

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