What is Insulation?
When buying anything you should compare all the options to decide what is best to buy.
3 main reasons for purchasing anything:
- The Need – is it for short or long term?
- The Cost – affordability, pay back and savings?
- The Comfort or Quality of the service or product?
So you think you need some insulation let’s consider the following.
Insulation is Material That Reduces the Flow of Heat (Heat Moves from Hot to Cold)
Types of Insulations and Proper uses of Insulation
The first place most consider for insulation is the ATTIC so let’s start up there.
It is important to consider insulating your attic however there are important things to consider such as:
Cellulose is the insulation of choice. Fibreglass is good, too, but it has a lower insulative value.
- Cellulose vs. Fibreglass.
- Cellulose is made from recycled materials, is fire resistant class-1 fire rating thanks to its treatment houses that catch fire burn slower with cellulose installed than with fiberglass.
- Cellulose provides better sound insulation than fiberglass – homes are less noisy with cellulose.
- Fibreglass is a suspected carcinogen and carries a hazard warning label. Cellulose is much near benign.
- Many fiberglass installers “fluff” the fiber with extra air, so you don’t get as much insulation as you’re supposed to. This trickery can’t easily be done with cellulose, and certainly not to the extent that as with fibreglass.
- Fibreglass settles much more than cellulose, like a box of cereal. So over time you actually get fewer inches of fiberglass than you paid for resulting in more heat loss to your attic.
- Attic Ventilation.
- Ventilation might seem like a minor consideration, but when done properly, it can extend the life of your attic, insulation, roof structure and shingles saving you hundreds of dollars in repair costs.
- In the summer, hot, moist air in the attic can effect roof sheathing and cause shingles to deteriorate. A hot attic also makes a home more difficult to cool, results to over worked air cooling and in added energy costs.
- In the winter, heat loss in an attic melts snow and can form ice dams at the roof edge. Water can back up under your shingles, wetting, damaging, insulation and eventually the structure of the roof itself. Ice dams can even cause leaks inside your home, resulting in drywall damage. Mould also flourishes in humid attics.
- Drafts & Air Leakage
- Ensure exhaust venting is insulated, pot lights are protected, electrical wires & fixtures are sealed to prevent drafts and heat loss to attic. It will also help prevent the establishing of mould growth caused by moisture.
Attic insulation with proper ventilation and sealing drafts etc. provides you more comfort and will save 30-40% in energy bills.
Polyurethane Sprayed Foam (SPF) vs. Fibreglass Insulation
Some believe that polyurethane sprayed foam is too expensive and will consider using inferior methods to insulate their homes. However, in order to make a good decision a person needs to understand what they are buying and weigh the final results of which way they should proceed.
Polyurethane Sprayed Foam (SPF) pays for itself in between 3 to 4 years and will keep returning savings better than any investment you will ever make.
Some History of Polyurethane Sprayed Foam (SPF) Insulation
- The initial polyurethanes foams were invented in the late 1930’s.
- In the 1940’s I.G. Farben of Germany, ICI and Dupont all began mass production of SPF.
Types of Foam Insulation, Advantages & Limitations
- Polyurethane foams can be open cell or closed cell, depending on the chemical composition.
- FPF, Flexible polyurethane foam, is open cell. FPF allows air and moisture to move through the foam. This type of foam is used for soundproofing, padding and loose insulation.
- SPF, Sprayed polyurethane foam, is a closed cell. SPF has a high resistance to moisture, which is why National Research Canada and building codes recognize the importance of SPF as vapour and air barriers.
- Building Codes do not require SPF to be covered with a vapour barrier because SPF is a vapour barrier itself.
- It is been used extensively by naval and aviation applications because of high structural qualities & light weight.
- Companies have investigated the effectiveness of foam in areas of corrosion-protection and structural integrity.
- There are several methods of rigid polyurethane that protect underground steel structures and refrigeration.
- All types of structures use SPF in the ground, from transmission poles to vertical support members in the Arctic.
- Compared to fibreglass insulation SPF is more resistant to moisture, heat, cold, rodents, insects, bacterial and physical stress.
- Over 50 plus years later, SPF has been known to be as good as the day it was first installed.
- SPF insulation has become the best method for insulating in both residential and commercial construction.
- Polyurethane Sprayed Foam (SPF) is used in all areas of any residential or commercial structure including Attics, Basements Walls & Headers, Crawlspaces & Headers, Exterior Walls including Insulated Doors.
Types of Fibreglass Insulation, Advantages & Limitations
- Fibreglass is available in different thicknesses, with the thicker batts offering a higher resistance to heat flow or resistance, which is known as an R-value and is used for walls and ceilings.
- In homes, fibreglass insulation can be installed in various parts of the building envelope.
- It can be pink, yellow, white or green, depending on its manufacturer, and has a spongy feel.
- Fibreglass Insulation requires a vapour barrier that is installed on inside or warm side of a wall or ceiling.
- When vapour barriers are installed correctly, it creates a continuous membrane that helps retard the passage of moisture in cold months and reduces the likelihood that fibrous particles will enter the living space. Without a correctly installed vapour barrier batts become moist from condensation and become less effective.
- Unfortunately there is a big problem with vapour barriers when the temperature changes to warmer outside in summer. The dew point or moisture created by a vapour barrier cannot be controlled. Works well in cold months, but not so in warmer summer months when it’s on the wrong side of the insulation..
- Installation of plastic vapour barriers on walls is supposed to prevent moisture from effecting fibreglass insulation, but thousands of staples and drywall screws fill the vapour barrier with holes.
- R valves are measured under ideal laboratory conditions, which is not what happens in the real world.
- Over time moist batts slide down in a wall cavity, damp insulation is ineffective and promotes mould growth.
Outdated insulating is like smoking, drinking & driving. The choice is yours!