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Insulation | Baby, it’s cold outside

Keeping your home warm and cozy during the winter months means ensuring your home is properly insulated. eieihome spoke to Wayne Palmer, co-owner of George Kent Home Improvement, who says proper insulation is the best way to prevent heat from escaping, ensuring residents are comfortable and heating costs don’t go through the roof.

The Fibreglass Tradition

Fibreglass batting is the traditional method used to insulate homes. Batts fit in between the 2×4 studs of the home’s walls, creating a barrier between the cold air outdoors and the warm air indoors. The trouble with fibreglass batting, says Palmer, is that over time gravity causes them to shift down, creating an airspace where cold air can enter the home. “They’re still insulating 95 percent of your wall, but they don’t do as good a job at insulating as some of the more contemporary techniques,” says Palmer.

Batting insulation used to thermally insulate attic.

Worker thermally insulating a house attic using batting material

The Sprayfoam Solution

Sprayfoam is a liquid that quickly expands into a rigid foam. During the process of expansion, it goes underneath and around 2×4 studs, filling every nook and cranny, closing any gaps that cold air can enter through. Although more effective at creating an air barrier, sprayfoam is also more expensive, costing three to four times the price of fibreglass batting.

A Contemporary Twist on Fibreglass

The one area of the home responsible for the most air leakage is the attic. The traditional method of laying fibreglass batting between the 2×4 frames on the attic floor won’t cut it, but sprayfoaming six inches of insulation on the attic floor would blow your budget. The solution, says Palmer, is a combination of these two methods. For attics, Palmer recommends an inch-and-a-half of sprayfoam insulation to create an initial air barrier to prevent hot air from rushing through the roof, followed by blown-in fibreglass insulation. This is the same fibreglass as is used in batting, but is blown in loose through a hose, providing more coverage. “The more fibreglass you have, the more difficult it is for the air to get through,” says Palmer.

Do an Energy Audit

Before tackling an insulation project, Palmer recommends first getting an energy audit. This will show you where the majority of air leaks are occurring in your home and will help use your budget most effectively.

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