Cost of Energy on the Rise
With today's skyrocketing energy costs, homeowners more than ever are seeking energy saving home improvements such as installing adequate insulation. Adding adequate home insulation can cut heating energy costs by as much as 50 to 80%, quickly offsetting the cost of installation.
Types of Insulation
There are various types of house insulation available which, as long as proper insulation R value requirements are met, will promote substantial energy savings.
The most popular type is fiberglass insulation. Rolled insulation, also known as blanket insulation, comes in one long piece; in 16 inch or 24 inch width. Fiberglass batt insulation normally comes in 8-foot long pieces, 16 or 24-inches wide, with several packaged in one bag.
Blown insulation is the next most popular type;, either as loose fiberglass or cellulose. Cellulose is most commonly shredded newspaper treated with flame retardant. Although cellulose has been widely used, loose fiberglass has quickly become the preferred choice, because it is more flame resistant. Blown insulation is widely used as attic insulation for several reasons.
A professional insulation contractor can quickly blow in one continuous blanket at the proper depth to achieve the recommended insulation R49 value for attics. Many contractors offer pricing that includes the insulation itself and installation; usually less than the retail price homeowners would have to pay for the insulation alone.
In addition, a properly installed continuous blanket of blown insulation does a better job at stopping air leaks and subsequent heat loss. Blanket or batt insulation meticulously installed will rival a continuous blanket of blown insulation. However, any flaws or errors during installation will hinder performance.
Another notable fact is most building supply outlets do not have fiberglass blanket or batt insulation available with R values higher than R38, which is inadequate for recommended attic insulation in most winter climates.
Other types of insulation available include spray foam insulation, high density or hard board Styrofoam insulation, and reflective insulation with foil on one side. More about these choices later.
Important Areas to Insulate in a Structure
There are four important areas of a home or structure that should have adequate insulation:
- The roof or attic - the single most important area of any structure to insulate. The fact that heat rises attributes to the fact that over 60% of all structural heat loss is through the roof.
- Exterior walls - to discourage heat transfer through exterior walls, an insulation R value of R18 to R28 is recommended, depending on North American location.
- Floors/crawlspaces - blanket or batt insulation installed underneath a floor between joists will help prevent heat loss through floor. R25 or greater is recommended for most areas of North America.
- Garages/garage doors - a frequently overlooked culprit of considerable heat loss. Garage doors should be insulated with proper gaskets between panels; frame walls and ceiling joists should also have adequate insulation.
Insulation Choices for Specialized Buildings
Many homeowners in Canada utilize a metal building as garages, work space, or business purposes. Metal pole buildings are difficult to insulate; even heavy gauge metal walls are poor insulators. For applications utilizing these buildings which have frame walls added to the interior, fiberglass batt insulation can be installed in the framing.
Other agricultural or industrial applications commonly use spray foam insulation to accomplish a workable level of metal building insulation. However, spray foam insulation is expensive, and may not be as durable as other insulation types.
Foam board insulation is another type commonly used, with sheets glued in place on interior metal walls or the ceiling. Reflective insulation is yet another choice; rolled out in large sheets and used as wall or roof insulation.
DIY Insulation Projects
Homeowners or building owners who want to insulate but are not sure how to install insulation can be relieved that it is a relatively easy DIY project. Installing fiberglass blanket insulation or batt insulation requires no special tools other than a sharp utility knife or large shears, and a stapler to secure paper facing to framing stud faces once insulation is in place. Unfaced insulation is simply wedged into place, or stapled.
When plastic sheeting is used as a vapor barrier, unfaced insulation is held in place as sheeting is stapled over framing studs.
Note: Fiberglass insulation causes severe irritation to exposed skin; be sure to wear protective clothing and goggles at all times when handling any type of fiberglass insulation.
For DIY homeowners who are determined to insulate their own attic, blown insulation is installed using a special blower machine and hose. Loose insulation is dumped from bags into the hopper, blown through the hose, and applied in a continuous layer. Loose fiberglass must be blown to a layer of about 19 ½ -inches thick to attain the recommended R49 insulation value for attics.
To get the job done quickly and easily, be sure to have a second pair of hands to tend the machine and add insulation to the hopper as needed. Another tip for DIY attic insulation is to put plywood sheets over ceiling joists to stand on while working; move them as you go.
While blown insulation is preferred for attics, it is also an excellent option for older homes with inadequate wall insulation. Blown insulation can be installed in exterior exposure walls without tearing out plaster or drywall interior walls to access framing studs. However, this is tricky to do properly, and should be done only by a professional insulation contractor.
Hiring a Professional
To locate a reliable local insulation contractor or residential contractor, homeowners all across Canada are turning to TrustedPros.ca, where finding specialized contractors is a snap.
Whether looking for service providers to install insulation in Canada, or a Toronto spray foam insulation specialist, homeowners sign up absolutely FREE, and post their insulation project online. Contractor members in their locality view project details, and provide competitive bids; even in just hours after project posting.
Homeowners can view contractor profiles, references, licensing and insurance credentials, customer feedback, and peruse photos of recently completed projects. Then contact only the contractor of choice, or hire no one at all. There is no obligation, whatsoever.Posted by: TrustedPros