Talking ‘Bout My Insulation

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Insulation is a part of your home that hopefully you will never see. If you know what kind of insulation is in your home, chances are you had to open a wall or ceiling to fix something. In older homes they used newspaper or nothing at all. In the 1960’s, insulation started to become a staple and fiberglass batts started to become the standard. Just because you never see it, doesn’t mean its not one of the most important parts of your home. It affects how you feel in your home every single day, yet almost all the time it is completely overlooked in a renovation or remodel. The truth is that out of everything you choose to go into the building of your house, insulation is the single most important choice and should be at the top of the list of priorities.

I was part of a new construction project that was on a brand new piece of waterfront land. I got the job through an engineer friend and when I asked him who was installing the heating system, he told me “No one.” I left it at that and got to work completing my part of the project. After the project was all done, he educated me about how such a build was possible. This house was one I’d never seen before. It was built specifically for energy efficiency. It was framed with walls three times the normal thickness to accommodate enough insulation to keep every bit of heat in the house. How did the house get warm you might ask? From the oldest heating system in the universe- the sun. From this heat source alone it was able to be perfectly comfortable on even the coldest February days. This was the first time I’d ever seen such emphasis put on the details of the house that the owner would never see. The truth is that when most people do any renovation, they are willing to spend money only on the things they will see. I’ve seen countless renovations and I can tell you this is probably the biggest mistake you can make. Insulation is discounted more than any other building material mainly because to do it properly is an expensive process. Let me be the first to tell you, it’s worth every penny. You may think it’s a lot of money but its money that you will spend once. After that you can sit back and smile knowing that your boiler and air conditioning systems will come on half as much as before. So now that we’ve touched on the importance of insulation, you’re probably wondering how to address these issues with the walls closed and the construction already done and here’s how.

1. Start with the outside of our home. Focus on spots around the windows and doors. Oftentimes cracked mortar or stucco can cause severe drafts that suck the heat right out of your home. Same goes for the inside of your house around the windows.

2. If your home is an older one and you’re willing to touch up some paint, there is a method of insulating in older construction called “Drill N Fill.” In this type of insulating 2” holes are drilled at the top of you walls. A liquid expanding foam is pumped in and then the hole’s replaced and painted. You don’t even notice that anything was done to your walls. This method is not inexpensive but well worth the cost.

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