There are a number of design criteria that may be considered in deciding the location and extent of floor insulation. For example, a room with good northern solar access for most of the year may not need floor insulation while a south facing space may be cold and in need of insulation.
The following generally apply when determining the extent of insulation:
- Define which spaces are cold in winter. Insulate these floors;
- Define which spaces are warm in winter. Donít insulate these floors;
- Define which spaces are hot in summer. Donít insulate these floors; and
- Define which spaces are cool in summer. Whether to insulate or not will depend on how these spaces perform in winter.
Consideration should also be given to the surrounding site and building features effecting thermal performance. Factors that effect light, shade and air movement also effect temperature and include:
- Local topography and terrain.
- The proximity of other buildings and foliage.
- Architectural elements such as pergolas, carports, awnings and the like.
The impact of these factors also varies seasonally depending on sun angles, wind direction, humidity and temperature. As a result, users may wish to trial new buildings over adequate seasonal variations before committing to insulation. One fact to consider here is that it is generally more difficult to install floor insulation after construction.
The use of artificial heating also bears on the decision to insulate or not. A space which is artificially heated will benefit from floor insulation as less energy will be required to heat the space and result in cost savings.
One possible disadvantage of improving the insulation of a timber floor is that it may lessen the floorís ability to stay cool in summer.