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Posted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:08am

Post Subject: Polystyrene Insulation

I am interested in buying a 2004 Traditional Liverpool built boat this has polystyrene insulation, is thsi going to be suitable during the winter to keep out draughts and keep in heat.


Posted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:08pm

Post Subject: Polystyrene Insulation

First of all insulation's job is not to keep draughts out. On a typical narrowboat you would need to fit draught proofing to the outer doors & rear access roof slide and use secondary double glazing in the windows. If I were living aboard I would probably use thin but ridged clear plastic on a magnetic frame. I think this type of system is available commercially. However I doubt that would totally stop draughts because you must not block the Boat safety Scheme vents but typical live-aboard boaters use solid fuel stoves and the problem is usually how to keep them cool enough. Now the insulation. I am afraid you miss the most important pieces of information, how thick is it and how tightly is it fitted between the hull strengtheners. I would suggest that if its is 2" and fitted tightly so there are no air gaps it would be nearly as good as 2" spray foam. If it is 3mm polystyrene veneer then it would be no good at all as serious insulation. 1" is better than nothing but I would suggest not ideal. The major problems with polystyrene are it is flammable, even self extinguishing polystyrene would burn in a major boat fire and it then produces horrible fumes. The other problem is that it can attack PVC insulated electrical cables so any cables in contact with it should ideally be in trunking. My boat is polystyrene insulated, just like most of those of similar ages,and when I refitted the back cabin found no damage to the cables but just to be sure I stuck duct tape on the polystyrene to separate it from the odd cable.

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