In autumn, once the shell of the house has been completed (i.e. when the house has windows, doors and a roof), insulation work is usually postponed until spring. However, as technology advances in the construction industry, many builders are considering whether to speed up the work and insulate the house in winter. Sometimes it is also the case that we have to finish the insulation work when the temperature drops below +5°C. What to do in such a situation?

Whether to insulate a building in winter

When insulating the exterior of a building using the so-called light-wet method, insulation work can only be carried out when the temperature of the air and the ground do not fall below zero, and preferably between +5 and +25 °C. What is the reason that we most often recommend holding off on heat insulation work until spring. Why?

Firstly, most adhesive mortars and plasters have to be mixed with water, and the frost makes it difficult for these mixtures to set. Secondly, it is very difficult to carry out the reinforcement or finishing layer correctly in such adverse conditions. Even if the insulation work is carried out in spite of unfavourable weather conditions, numerous defects and faults often come to light in spring and have to be repaired.

Sometimes, however, we need to insulate a building, even when the temperature falls below +5°C. In such a situation, materials with suitable physical and chemical properties, designed specifically for use in low temperatures, should be used. We need to pay attention to the manufacturer’s stated temperature range in which we can use particular materials, especially as the difference between a standard and a ‘winter’ product is most often a reduction in the temperature of its application to 0°C . Note that this range applies both at the time of laying and a few hours afterwards. This means that we should not carry out insulation work at the end of the day, when the temperature may drop below 0°C. At the same time, so-called ‘winter’ materials tend to become resistant to precipitation more quickly and require shorter technological breaks between individual operations.

It is also of great importance to adequately protect the façade during and after the insulation work. This can be done by using nets or tarpaulins on the scaffolding to cover the walls. In some situations, it may be necessary to reheat the air inside the scaffolding area with heaters. Once the work is complete, the walls must remain covered with either tarpaulins or plastic sheeting to protect the fresh plaster and mortar from frost.

When insulating a building using the light-dry method, work can be carried out even in sub-zero temperatures. In this situation, a drop in temperature will not interrupt the work, as long as it does not fall below a level acceptable to the contractors. Here, the insulation is attached mechanically and the façade cladding is nailed, hooked or screwed on.

But even in this situation, it is important to remember to store all insulation materials properly, protecting them from moisture, which significantly reduces the insulation performance of insulation systems. In addition, every stage of the work must be protected from snow, rain or dew so that moisture does not get between the individual layers of insulation.

What conditions must be met to insulate a building in winter

There are times when we have no other choice but to carry out wall insulation in winter. The influence of weather conditions on the physical and chemical properties of building materials is undeniable. Lowering the temperature and increasing the humidity of the air directly affect the setting process of mortars and plasters, extending it considerably and often even making it impossible.

When deciding to carry out external insulation work during the winter, care should be taken:

  • use suitable materials designed for use at lower temperatures;
  • only work under the temperature conditions recommended by the manufacturers of the construction materials;
  • select insulating materials with low water absorption (e.g. Crossin® Insulations polyurethane panels,);
  • ensure appropriate storage conditions for adhesives, plasters, mortars and insulation materials;
  • ensure that the surface to be insulated and the completed façade are protected against adverse weather conditions.

Winter insulation inside the building

When the building is brought to the shell of the building, any interior insulation work can be carried out during the cold weather, including:

  • insulate attic slants;
  • install insulation on concrete floors and between beams of wooden floors;
  • insulate the walls from the inside;
  • insulate floors;
  • make sound insulation in interior frame walls.

Even with interior work, care must be taken to ensure that building materials are properly stored and protected from moisture. Depending on the purpose and use of the insulation, it is worth choosing the right insulation method. The fastest and most effective method of insulating a roof or attic will be polyurethane spray foam insulation. Using open-cell spray foam systems, such as Crossin® Attic Soft, you can provide both thermal and acoustic insulation for your loft. In addition, if the interiors are heated, finishing work can also be carried out – plastering, floors on the ground, floor screeding and plastering.