- Reduces energy consumption.
- Prevents ice dams.
- Helps improve building and home comfort.
- Prevents moisture build up that can result in mold problems.
- Reduces noise pollution and odors.
Roof Insulation Removal and Repairs
- Removal of Wet or Moldy Insulation
- Insulation Top-Up adding additional R-value
- Attic Air Barriers and Attic Air Sealing Repairs
- Attic Hatch Installations and Repairs
- Detailed Attic Insulation Assessment, Inspections and Reports
What is Insulation?
Insulation – R values and their metric equivalent, RSI values, are a way of labelling the effectiveness of insulating materials. The higher the R value or RSI value, the more resistance the material has to the movement of heat. Effective insulation systems slow the movement of heat and deal with the movement of moisture and airflow from a conditioned air space to a non-conditioned airspace. To do this, they have the following:
- An air barrier, which prevents the movement of interior or exterior air through the system.
- Carefully filled cavities which leave no gaps in or around the insulation and which do not compress the insulation.
- A minimum of thermal bridges. These are parts of the wall that, with a lower R value, extend from the warm side to the cold side of the insulation, giving heat an easy escape. The structural members in the wall will often be thermal bridges.
- A vapour retarder, such as polyethylene sheeting, which prevents moisture from moving from warm interior spaces into a colder building envelope where it could condense.
- Drying potential, which is the ability of the insulated assembly to release any moisture that gets into the system.
Why is insulation vapour barrier and air barrier so important?
Wet, compressed, low levels of insulation can lead to the following problems:
Energy Efficiency – Loss of thermal insulation value is a consequence of wet insulation as water conducts energy. If insulation is wetted, it becomes a conductor of energy rather than a resister. When insulation conducts energy rather than reflects it, it results in higher heating or cooling bills. In the wintertime, for example, heat rises from the heaters; that heat goes through the ceiling of the roof and you lose that energy. If you have insulation on the top, the heat reflects back down so you’re conserving energy.
Structural Problems – Wet insulation is often in contact with wood or steel structural members. Structural damage occurs from wood rot and rusted steel rafters, supports, nails, and screws that hold the members together being continually wetted due to wet insulation. Over time, loosened ties result in excess movement, which leads to cracked drywall and in ceilings and walls can even lead to rot or partial collapse.
Heat – Moisture caused by wet insulation contributes to mold. Mold needs mold spores, a food source, adequate temperature, and moisture to thrive; water is often the only element that can be controlled. If we control and limit water in the wall by using good design, good construction, and good maintenance, there’s a good chance of controlling mold growth.
How much do I need?
New construction and remodeling by todays Building Code Standard in Ontario require a minimum of R-40. Depending on the type, age and condition of the insulation, this would typically be equal to having 12.5 inches. This is a minimum standard. EnerGuide Natural Resource Canada’s “Energy-Efficient Homes” recommends R-50 which is equal to 15.5 inches. https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/efficiency/housing/home-improvements/4995
Adding insulation may be important however it is just as important to inspect the air barrier (drywall/plaster) and the vapour barrier to seal off areas from where conditioned air “interior living space” can escape through to an unconditioned living space. For example, light fixtures and attic hatches are typical by-passes. Note: As we insulate and build a tighter home the need for home and attic ventilation increases.
Do I have enough Insulation?
If you’re not sure about the condition or the quality of the air barrier, vapour barrier or insulation or if you haven’t been in your attic, or are not sure what to look for, you could be experiencing problems and not even know it. Contact a professional who understands how these components work together as a system, and how they impact your home’s performance, so they can help you identify your needs.
Contact us today to book a service call with one of our professionals to inspect and assess your needs.