In the early days of cavity wall insulation, a product called “urea formaldehyde” was commonly used as insulation, which is a type of foam injected into the cavity. Over a number of years, urea formaldehyde undergoes degradation and can become harmful to health through a combination of gas released from the degrading foam and damp that breaches the cavity.
There have been a number of instances where cavity wall insulation has been fitted into houses that are structurally unsuitable – there properties are often steel or wooden framed properties. Additionally it can be argued that, if a property is constructed from brick and the condition of the mortar or brickwork is in a poor state of repair or the property is exposed to wind driven rain, then these cases are also seen as inappropriate properties from the perspective of installing cavity wall insulation.
There are a considerable number of instances where the cavity wall insulation has been poorly installed. This can be due to an insufficient amount of product being used, leading to gaps and cold spots, which in turn can cause areas of interstitial damp and random patches of condensation. Not following the product installation guidelines can also lead to gaps and cold spots. Over time there may also be incidences of slumping, where gravity encourages the product to drop and this leads to cold spots on the upper floors of the property.
When a property suffers from flooding due to water infiltrating the home from external sources, such as a river or seawater ingress, the cavity wall insulation will become water logged and this is likely to cause damp within the walls of your home. Similarly, if a property suffers an internal flood as a result of a burst water tank, pipes or damage from the large amount of water used to extinguish a house fire, then this too can lead to the cavity wall insulation becoming wet. Additionally, in relation to a house fire, the extreme heat experienced during the fire will also negatively affect the cavity wall insulation. This often melts the insulation, which affects both its thermal properties and the likelihood of it being able to cause damp.