home CWI Issues What Can Go Wrong With Cavity Wall Insulation?

What Can Go Wrong With Cavity Wall Insulation?


Cavity wall insulation can stop being fit for purpose for a number of reasons. The most common factors that we encounter, fall into 4 main groups;

  1. Property wasn’t suitable for CWI installation
  2. CWI has degraded prematurely and is actually damaging the thermal qualities of the property.
  3. Incorrectly installed CWI (including installation of the wrong type)
  4. CWI was damaged due to external factors such as flooding, leaks or fire.

As we are already aware, once damp has entered your property, the acute and chronic effects on health can be catastrophic if not dealt with as soon as possible.

Establishing the exact cause and how to deal with it is the number one priority.

We would normally suggest you contact your original installer or CIGA.

If this fails then we can recommend professionals that deal just with this type of issue and they can provide you with an independent assessment of what has gone wrong and what is required to fix it.

Unsuitable Property

There have been many instances where cavity wall insulation has been fitted into houses which were completely unsuitable for this type of insulation.Typically, steel/ wooden framed buildings. In addition,  if a property has poor or damaged  brickwork and mortar or where the property is particularly exposed driving rain, then this would also make the property unsuitable for installing cavity wall insulation

Premature Degradation

When cavity wall insulation was in its infancy, the product which was predominately  used was  a type of foam, which  over a period of years,  degrades and can become harmful to health through a combination of gasses released from the foam and obviously, the ensuing damp.

Incorrectly Installed CWI

This is probably the main cause of failing CWI. Either due to insufficient quantities of the relevant product being used, causing gaps or pockets where moisture could be held. Blocked air vents and ventilation ducts and just not following the manufacturer’s installation guidance.

Fire/Flood damage

Pretty much self-explanatory. Insulation can either become water logged or can melt in the heat.

There an estimated 3-6 Million homes thought to be affected by one of the above scenarios.

Please see the references below for further information, regarding the potential size of this issue.

Reference Literature

The Threat of Incorrectly Installed CWI and the Future of claims

  1. The Telegraph February 2015   http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/property/advice/11411880/Could-the-cavity-wall-insulation-scandal-rival-PPI.html
  2. Parliamentary debate October 2014   http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm141029/halltext/141029h0002.htm
  3. Parliament publication October 2015 http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150203/halltext/150203h0001.htm

Dangers Of Damp on Health

  1. NHS Choices 2015    http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/Can-damp-and-mould-affect-my-health.aspx?CategoryID=87
  2. Support for people with aspergillosis    http://www.nacpatients.org.uk/damp_health_short
  3. Daily Mail    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1297862/Brittany-Murphy-Mould-home-kill-actresss-death-linked-fungus-LA-mansion.html

WHO Advice    http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/78636/Damp_Mould_Brochure.pdf