The superinsulation 

There was a question about the insulation I used in the house. Just now I found a piece of it, so I thought I’d show it to you.

As you can see, it packs way down but can expand. I don’t know whether it insulates better when it opens up than when it is mashed flat. I don’t think the guys let it expand very much.


I was told that the materials were developed to insulate space capsules, then adapted for buildings. So the black plastic layer is quite stiff and tough. The layers of foil are no thicker than the stuff you cook with but are much stronger. The wooly stuff in between might be wool, I don’t know. I know the guys like working with this because it is not fiberglass. They don’t have to worry about what they are breathing and their skin doesn’t itch.


And finally you can see that one side is black plastic and the other is foil.

These photos are not protected in any way. You can probably download them if you like, to take to your favorite building supply store.

The stuff wasn’t cheap. I can’t quote a price because I didn’t buy it myself but my contractor kept saying it cost a bundle. However I believe it to be well worth the money. It insulates extremely well. I don’t have to worry about the guys getting some horrible disease from breathing fiberglass. It packs down thin enough that we were able to retain the original cove moldings, with just the tiniest trim piece to disguise the new wall. As with most of the money that went into this house, now that it is done, you would never know. 

11 thoughts on “The superinsulation 

  1. Excellent that this helped you preserve that lovely moulding. In that scenario it sounds ideal.

    You will no doubt find out this winter !! with your ground source heat pump and all that lovely underfloor heating you will all hopefully be snug as the proverbial bugs in rugs. We still have two roofs to insulate so cannot comment on full efficacy of our recylcled plastic bottle insulation as yet.

    I have a very cheeky question but will send it “off-blog”

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  2. I am fascinated. We are going to have to replace the who-knows-how-old insulation in our house. Mostly because we put a spare bedroom upstairs and it’s hot as Hades in summer and freezing in winter. The rest of the house is great thanks to those 2-foot-thick walls. We also have a heat pump, just using air exchange, which is adequate in the south, where it rarely freezes. I’m going to pin your photos!

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    1. I’m glad you like them.

      As for your upstairs room, the heat will still rise. If you don’t have a skylight you might want to get one, if only to vent the space. I think you can get them with light-reducing shades to keep the sun and heat from coming in. In the attic I open the skylights and run a fan. One day I’ll learn not to leave the doors wide open in summer. It’s not the best strategy for keeping the heat out in the first place.

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        1. I can’t wait to find out how it works. I am not as big a believer in stone walls as a lot of people but I didn’t spend enough time in this house before work started to have a point of comparison. I’d like to know what you think.

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          1. Use your shutters in summer! They are the key to making stone walls work. Let the cool air in at night and in the morning, then close the shutters on the east, and all the windows, too. In the afternoon, open on the east and close on the west. It’s a bit of a hassle but only 2 minutes for us to open/shut around the house. Completely environmentally friendly, so I’m willing to make the effort. Yesterday, it was 35 outside and 25 inside. With no A/C.
            BTW, sorry for the typos above! I was on my tablet.

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          2. Yes, I love my shutters. They are great for security and climate control.

            I have two spots with no shutters. The big skylights at the top face NNE, roughly. Depending on the time of the year they get more or less morning sun. The front door faces, no surprise, SSW. It gets full sun much of the day. Great in winter, not so great in summer.

            I think I can go back to Velux for something to cover the skylights. I wouldn’t use a cover very often so that is not a high priority.

            A tougher challenge is getting lockable shutters for the front door. It has never had shutters. So where to attach them, how to make them look right, that’s not going to be easy. Again, I have metal grills covering the doors, an alarm system and it’s cooling down now. I think I’ll want my house to be a worker-free zone for just a little while. I am so tired of construction.

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  3. Fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing this …. I’ll poke it under Two Brains nose for consideration but it looks like a no brainer to me given the nature of our house as it is beginning to reveal 🙂

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    1. Yeah, I want to use it everywhere. In the apartment they saved money by using the old-fashioned fat stuff. I’d have paid! I miss that space like you cannot believe. In a small room 20 cm., which is what I lost in each room, makes a huge difference.

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