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Do you live in a timber framed property with cavity wall insulation?

24th April 2018

If you live in a modern timber framed house that has cavity wall insulation, you may be concerned about its prospects when it comes to selling your house.

Julie Tomasik, director and residential conveyancing lawyer at Ansons Solicitors in Staffordshire explains the issues surrounding cavity wall insulation on timer framed houses and advises what you can do if you are buying a house or selling a house that is affected.

What is timber frame construction?

Not to be confused with traditional timber framed houses, modern timber frame construction is the cutting and preparing of the frame and joists off-site, before bringing them on-site to be assembled.

In the 1980’s timber frame construction of domestic houses became increasingly popular in the UK. There were a number of benefits to timber frame construction, such as the speed with which a house could be built, and it was greeted with much enthusiasm within the industry. However, it quickly became apparent that there were a few issues with this new method of framing.

What are the issues?

One of the main issues with this method of framing became apparent once the properties were insulated. The popular method of cavity wall insulation, where the space between the brickwork and the timber frame is filled with insulation, caused a number of problems. At the time, this was so severe that timber frame construction completely stopped, it took almost a decade for the industry to recover.

Timber, like all wood, requires free air circulation in order to prevent rot and corrosion. Once open wall cavities are filled with insulation, air circulation is drastically restricted, and the risk of condensation increases. Once condensation is formed and trapped against a timber frame, wood rot may form. This can cause serious structural damage to the property which is difficult to remedy.

However, timber frame construction is not completely flawed, and there are ways to safely and effectively insulate such a property. External wall insulation and internal wall insulation are both methods which have proved to be successful.

What can I do?

If you live in a timber framed property which is insulated with cavity wall insulation we strongly recommend that you get it removed or seek professional advice as a matter of urgency. If left unattended this may cause severe structural damage to the property.

When it comes to buying or selling a timber framed property, you may need to have specialist surveys to determine if it has been affected. If you are having a mortgage, your lender may also have certain requirements that you will need to fulfil.

“Cavity wall insulation in a modern timber framed property is not a barrier to sale, but some mortgage lenders can be reticent. A good conveyancer will have local contacts with specialists who can help you find a remedy to the problem if necessary,” says Julie.

For advice on selling a house or buying a house, or any other residential property matter, contact Julie Tomasik on 01543 267988 or email jtomasik@ansonssolicitors.com or matthewbuttery@ansonssolicitors.com.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.  Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.