Insulating Your Home From Top To Bottom
Determining the extent of insulation removal
In most cases, insulation removal is initiated when recommended by a professional. In the attic, poorly performing insulation may simply be old and/or deteriorating. In the basement, the insulation may have been inadequate and poorly installed. In some homes, insulation removal may be necessary because of the harmful materials that were uses, like vermiculite or asbestos. Whatever the situation, removal must be initiated by a professional, with the right tools and equipment, and with proper safety measures.
Removing insulation during a home renovation can be very cost-efficient. In this way, old materials can be completely disposed, and upgraded insulation can be properly installed. Insulation removal is not a simple “cleanup” job. It has to be done right, using special equipment, and discarding waste material in a safe manner. It’s also important not to leave debris, and to properly prepare the space for air sealing, new insulation, and appropriate ventilation. This will ensure optimum performance for years to come.
For some, a do-it-yourself approach to removal may be tempting. But simply put, this is work for an expert - work that could take twice the time for an amateur to complete. As well, there may be risks of contamination. In the attic, for example, there may be mold, animal remains, vermiculite or asbestos. Professionals have the necessary experience and project know-how to handle the process from start to finish. Not to mention the required expertise when it comes to troubleshooting or dealing with hazards.
Removing insulation is only the first step. Once the space has been cleared, it may be necessary to install an air barrier, vapour barrier, or both. There may also be a need to enhance air ventilation, something that is key in the attic. And probably the most important is to air seal the space. In short, total air sealing, high performance insulation, and enhanced ventilation will deliver the best overall results. Airflow in the home will be better managed; moisture will be controlled, and R-Values will be maximized.
From removal to installation, it’s vital to do the work right from the start – abiding by the building code and installing according to manufacturer’s product specifications. This is the best way to ensure long-term performance and realize meaningful savings on heating and cooling costs throughout the year. For most homeowners, the annual dollar savings will easily make original project investment worthwhile.
Properly insulating the attic will ensure energy efficiency
When insulating the attic insulation, product choice is going to be key in terms of outcomes. Today more and more professionals are recommending spray foam insulation for the attic space. It’s applied as thick foam, and hardens as a dense “blanket” throughout the space. Spray foam will seal and insulate at one time. The entire attic is completely “blanketed”, including the support beams, electric wires, plumbing, and ductwork. The finished space is effectively an air barrier, vapour barrier, and insulator in one.
For professionals, the attic and roof cavity is viewed as a “system”. It means that airflow, moisture, and ventilation function together. With attic insulation, the “system” performs best when the space is sealed, ventilated, and suitably insulated. However, even with the best product, only a quality installation will ensure maximum performance. This is particularly true with spray foam, because the install requires a high degree of experience and expertise. Anything short will compromise product performance.
For homeowners who choose spray foam for the attic, the benefits will exceed most other products. Spray foam meets (and exceeds) the established standards of Canada’s National Building Code, and is recognized by the Canadian Construction Material Centre. Spray foam installations have proven to be the most energy-efficient of all installations. When expertly handled, this product ensures the optimum in energy efficiency and the ultimate home comfort – nothing can quite compare with spray foam.
As a premium product, spray foam insulation will not suit every project budget. Here, blown insulation might be the next best option. In the attic, blown insulation serves as an effective thermal blanket with satisfactory levels of R-Value. Professionally installed, it will provide long-term performance, within a cost-effective budget. This product is commonly available in cellulose or fiberglass composition, but will still require air sealing in the installation space. This can be achieved with the spray foam product.
Blown insulation is designed to be fire resistant - absolutely necessary in the attic. In some situations, it can be effectively used as a “top up” when existing insulation is in good shape and only requires a boost. When the attic space is clean, dry, and uncontaminated, blown insulation can be very effective using the “top up” approach. It’s another cost effective option for boosting R-Values and improving lifespan.
Basement insulation is about comfort and energy efficiency
Very much like the attic, the basement also requires an air barrier and vapour barrier when installing insulation. And here again, professionals are recommending spray foam as the optimal approach. This is not a DIY installation that can be completed over the weekend. It’s a specialized application, requiring advanced equipment and product expertise. The best, of course, is that spray foam will seal and insulate with a single application. In a basement, where air moisture is a particular issue, spray foam is the ideal.
In the basement, energy efficiency can be assured in the same way as other parts of the home. The space has to be properly sealed, properly insulated, and properly ventilated. By doing it right the first time, long-term performance can be assured. That means providing a high level of comfort for the basement itself, while ensuring much improved energy efficiency for the entire home. Needless to say, improved efficiency will reduce overall energy consumption and will likewise reduce the cost of home utilities.
Professionals prefer spray foam because it’s multipurpose - one install does it all. Its seals like no other product. It offers structural strength where installed. It provides higher R-Value than other insulators. And it will literally last a lifetime. Once installed, spray foam insulation never needs “topping up”, never needs replenishment, and never needs replacement. However, as a premium installation, homeowners must take a long view when it comes to this type of investment – the benefits are definitely long term.
A basement insulated with spray foam will bring substantial energy savings to a home, in the winter and in the summer. In many cases, the substantial savings on heating and cooling costs will be able to “pay down” the project investment in a few short years. In terms of cost/benefit, spray foam remains a cost effective option for the homeowner who wants to insulate the basement with the best product on the market. Importantly, this is a project best managed by professionals experienced with the product.
Where a project budget precludes the option for spray foam insulation, it’s possible to achieve very good results with a so-called “hybrid” installation. This install would essentially combine spray foam with a second, still compatible insulation product in an effort to be more cost effective. Done right, the “hybrid” installation can achieve very good outcomes, while maintaining the limits of a more restricted budget.
There are benefits to insulating the exterior walls
With home insulation, many homeowners will focus on the attic and basement as the priority. It may be unusual to think about it, but exterior walls also play a role in the building envelope. Some experts even estimate that 1/3 of a home’s energy is being lost through the exterior walls. This may be the result of walls that were poorly insulated or even walls that were never insulated. The bottom line here is that wasted energy means wasted money. The good news is that these exterior walls can be insulated.
To effectively insulate exterior walls, injection insulation has become a viable option, offering excellent results. Using spray foam, installers can seal and insulate a wall cavity without doing much damage to an existing wall. The improvements to energy efficiency are dramatic. And in older homes, this approach is ideal for reinsulating the “building envelope” – it will stop heated air from escaping in winter and cooled air from escaping in summer. The results will be apparent with noticeable reductions in utility costs.
Most every residential home could use an improvement in energy efficiency. With exterior walls, for example, spray foam seals so effectively that air movement is almost completely blocked. This means that outdoor air (unconditioned air) is prevented from entering the home, and indoor air (conditioned air) is prevented from escaping. Additionally, a well-sealed “building envelope” will also allow the HVAC system to better perform – winter heating cycles and summer cooling cycles will be better controlled.
One of the benefits of injection insulation is the multipurpose application. Spray foam will do more in a wall cavity than any other product. The finished install blocks air movement, prevents moisture from accumulating, and insulates with very high R-Value. Unlike other products, the spray foam is able to fill a wall void completely, and seal every little crack and crevice. For a typical home, it means no more drafty parts of the house, no more cold walls, and no more air leakage (escaping heat and/or cooled air).
Injection insulation is one of the best home improvement retrofits. And while it’s true that wall cavities may get less attention than other parts of the house, like the attic or basement, the results of the retrofit are quite impressive. Energy efficiency is enhanced; energy consumption is lessened; and utility costs are reduced. Best of all, home comfort is assured throughout the entire living space of the house.
The best results are derived with a reputable contractor
In Toronto, and around the GTA, EcoStar Insulation is a leading full service insulation contractor. The professionals at EcoStar offer homeowners energy saving solutions from the attic to the basement. The company focus is on customer satisfaction, and the overriding commitment is to provide the best quality products, along with superior installation and workmanship.
At EcoStar, install crews are professional and proficient. Our policy is to satisfy customer need, usually within a month of first contact. We guarantee the highest standard of work, regardless of the size or scope of the job. And every customer gets the same level of attention, whether it’s peak season or slow season. In short, every effort is made to ensure satisfaction.
For homeowners interested in high performance insulation, EcoStar specializes in spray foam products. Spray foam insulation is widely recognized throughout the industry as the best. But by any definition, it’s an installation that demands proficiency. These are chemical compounds that require very special handling, and application equipment that requires expertise.
With EcoStar on the job, every spray foam application is thorough and comprehensive. All of the work is performed according to the building code. Insulation products are installed according to manufacturer specifications. And installation teams never take unnecessary short cuts. EcoStar installers are highly trained, with extensive product and installation knowledge.
Homeowners are always in good hands with EcoStar Insulation. Every project is professionally managed regardless of size. Installed products are manufacturer guaranteed. And customer satisfaction is assured with every install. In Toronto and throughout the GTA, EcoStar has a respected reputation for quality products, superior workmanship, and customer service.
When it comes to spray foam insulation, EcoStar specializes
Spray foam insulation is a unique and innovative product. The chemical compounds are distinctive, and the application complex. As such, installers must be highly trained and highly proficient in their work. Importantly, this is not a job for anyone but a professional. A badly installed attic or basement can be very costly to re-work, and could even pose health risks.
The team at EcoStar is totally professional – trained, skilled, and experienced in every aspect of spray foam insulation. Installed products are warrantied. Problems or issues are promptly addressed. And the company is committed to full customer satisfaction, backed by a money-back guarantee. With EcoStar, unforeseen repairs are expedited at company expense.