Potential dangers with insulation.

Potential dangers with insulation. Courtesy of Peter Weddell, owner/operator of Qld Home Buyers Inspection Service and Queensland Building Inspection Service, QBIS.

Fatalities have occurred to some installers of silver foil (building paper). This could potentially happen to anyone that may gain access to the roof interior of a house.

Potential dangers:

  • Accumulation of insulation around electrical fittings within the roof area.
  • Silver foil (building paper) covering electrical fittings.
  • Cowlings fitted to stop accumulation must not have their tops covered.
  • Damage to electrical wiring from vermin.

Dangers with insulation arould electrical

Here is an excellent example of how to keep insulation clear of down-lights and their transformers. The plastic cowling has also been secured to the ceiling lining to avoid it from becoming dislodged.

Regular roof interior inspections (recommend using a professional, for safety):

  • Highly recommended, in particular after storms.
  • Check for any insulation that may have been accumulated around any electrical fittings.
  • If cowlings are fitted, check their securing.
  • Make sure insulation has not entered tops of the cowlings.
  • Also check the roof for consistent leaking and securings of the roof structure.
  • Look for any damaged electrical wiring and fittings, caused by vermin.

All necessary safety procedures must be followed, before entering a roof. 

Danger of insulation cover

Silver foil used as an insulation material is next to useless and potentially dangerous. Especially when it is covering electrical fittings, this may cause potential fire hazards also possibly electrocution.

Potential dangers with insulation


  • Insulation fire danger, can be alleviated by inspecting and clearing accumulation around all electrical fittings.
  • It is strongly recommended that silver foil (building paper) be removed as soon as possible.
  • Have any vermin damaged wiring or fittings checked and replaced by a qualified electrician
  • Consider replacing it with an effective insulating product that is not potentially dangerous!

Safety tips:

  • Turn off all power & light circuits before entering the interior of any roof.
  • Do not enter any roof if silver foil (building paper) has been fitted over the ceilings. This could be covering damaged electrical wires and potentially cause electrocution.

If uncertain, contact a qualified electrician.

For further information:

The risks
Prior to installation
To stay safe do the following before the installation work start:
Before you enter the roof cavity to start the installation
During installation
While installing the insulation
After installation
Where can I get more information

For independent Building Inspections Brisbane in all suburbs, Qld Home Buyers Inspection Service. qbis.com.au