With energy costs rising through the roof it makes sense to improve the insulation of your home. Preventing heat loss through walls and ceilings will undoubtedly yield a significant saving over the medium to long-term.
Obvious ways to achieve this will be with addition of cavity wall insulation, if it isn’t already present, and the installation, or upgrading, of insulation material in your loft.
If you don’t have cavity walls there are a range of options which include the fixing of insulating panels to exterior facing walls. The use of a thermal lining paper is another, albeit less effective, option.
All of this, of course, involves a fair degree of expense and disruption so if you were presented with a miracle paint product which claimed to reduce heat loss of up to 25% you may be tempted to give it a try. But are these claims in any way accurate or is it just a con?
How does insulating paint work?
Just like most other forms of thermal insulating material, insulating paints work on the principle of trapped air which reduces the speed of heat transfer.
This is achieved with the addition of tiny hollow beads (known technically as Hollow Ceramic Microspheres) to standard paints, either in the production process or, later, as an additive which can be bought in powdered form.
These so-called miracle paints have been widely criticised and, especially in the US, where they have been marketed as a space age product developed in association with NASA.
Some critics have compared, with incredulity, the thickness of a coat of paint to accepted forms of insulation which are required to be 1000’s of times more dense in order to be effective.
The fact that some of these paints are said to include a reflective additive has also been a source of criticism in that all light coloured paints will reflect heat to a certain degree and are probably just as effective.
A Grain of Truth
However, there is some evidence that some heat insulating paints developed in the space industry have found their way into more common use. For example, a Texas-based coatings company have developed an insulating paint in collaboration with NASA called Insuladd.
Gaina is another such product, developed in association with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and is being widely used throughout East Asia.
Whilst companies in the UK marketing these kinds of paints are tight-lipped as to the formulation of their products it is reasonable to assume that they are either selling these same products under another name or using a very similar ingredient.
A Note of Caution
However, just because there is a basis of truth to some of the claims made it does not necessarily mean that you should believe everything they say. A coating which has proved its worth in an industrial environment doesn’t always mean these benefits are transferable to a domestic setting.
Furthermore, there is no recognised standard, either International, European, or British, to measure the insulating properties of a paint coating so you are being asked to take all the claims made on trust. You may see testimonials from satisfied customers saying they were impressed but how do you know these are genuine?
What you will not see is any scientific proof that the products work because, to date, there have been no officially recognised studies.
Pay Your Money and Take Your Chances
If the idea of an insulating paint still appeals to you then, by all means, give it a try; just don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t work.
- Ecos paints sell an insulating interior wall paint which is marketed as an Anti Condensation Paint but works on the same principle.
- You can also buy a product called InsOpaint which is available in the UK via wallinsulationpaint.co.uk
I’m not endorsing any of these products but if you have used any of them please add a comment below to let us know how you got on?
‘Insulating’ Paint Merchants Dupe Gullible Homeowners – GreenBuildingAdvisor.com
Cover Story – Technological Spin Offs (pdf) – Background to the development of Gaina