The Vale of Glamorgan Council is now stripping-out glass-fibre cavity-wall insulation which it originally installed in a number of current or former council-owned properties in Penarth.
It’s an operation which appears to prove that yesterday’s energy-saving environmental fad can easily turn out to be today’s major maintenance headache.
One of the operations now under way is on a terrace of pre-war two-storey properties in Clive Place and involves drilling through the outer brickwork and sucking out the glass-fibre with powerful vacuum systems.
This two-week project is being undertaken by a specialist firm by ECT Cavity Wall Clearances of Risca who are busy not only in Penarth but are stripping-out unwanted wall insulation from properties across South Wales.
Once all the old fibreglass insulation has been extracted and building rubble removed from within the walls, all the cavity wall ties (metal fittings which keep the two walls-skins together) have to be checked by surveyors with endoscopes to ensure they’re clear of any extraneous material.
The cavity wall insulation craze began in the 1970s and by the 1990s it even became compulsory in Government building regulations but it wasn’t long before many householders found that rather than making their homes warmer, the insulation could make interior walls damp as the insulation bridged the cavityÃâÃÂ and allowed moisture to travel from the outer wall to the inner wall thereby destroying the whole point of having a cavity wall at all.
The Vale Council however says cavity wall insulation can save 30% of a building’s heat loss and is now planning to install new cavity wall insulation in its properties and is no doubt hoping that it won’t be necessary to strip that new insulation out all over again in 20 years time.