Exterior Insulation In Residential Homes

The basics of insulation dictate that heat will flow from a warm area to a cool area. In wintertime, heat will flow from the warm indoors to the cold outdoors – and that happens through exterior walls of the home. On the flipside, in summertime, outdoor heat will flow into the home. Exterior walls can actually account for 20% of heat transfer in a typical house. And if that sounds like a lot, it is – it translates into wasted energy, wasted heating and cooling, and wasted money. 

Years ago, residential homes had little or no insulation in the exterior walls. There wasn’t much focus on energy consumption, and for the most part, attic insulation did an adequate job in terms of insulating the home. Heat loss in winter was quite substantial, and heat infiltration in summer was quite common. Today, the idea of exterior insulation makes much sense, primarily because preventing heat loss means using less energy, making for reduced utility bills year-round.

In a typical residential “building structure”, heat transfer will also compromise the effectiveness of any existing insulation. In rectifying this, the home’s overall energy efficiency can be improved dramatically with exterior wall insulation. For most homeowners, attics and basements will take preference over other parts of the home when it comes to home insulation. But in fact, insulating the exterior walls is one of the best home-improvement projects in terms of cost-benefit.

Done right, exterior wall insulation can be installed over any surface. Here, spray foam insulation has proven to deliver exceptional results. As a high-performance product, spray foam is viewed as an “all-in-one” application that provides an air barrier, vapour barrier, and thermal insulation with a single installation. The more conventional insulation products cannot compare with spray foam, because they suffer from partial air loss and less than optimal moisture control.

With spray foam insulation (whether in the attic or in exterior walls), the “building structure” is sealed tight. And because it seals and insulates at one time, spray foam also delivers the most R-Value per inch of any comparable product. All of this translates into measurably improved energy efficiency for the entire home, and reduced energy use around the year. Indeed, the dollar savings over the years will serve to offset the investment that was made in the original project.

For professional installers, it’s important to recommend the right product and installation for the job. Professionals have the product knowledge and technical know-how to deliver performance results, particularly with spray foam insulation. These products are uniquely different, requiring specialized equipment and substantial installation expertise. Simply put, spray foam isn’t suitable as a weekend do-it-yourself undertaking – it’s best left in the hands of those with experience.

With home insulation, it’s not the right time to look for bargains. A reliable insulation contractor will do it right the first time, with installers who are appropriately trained, and with reputable product warrantees. Spray foam professionals install according to the building code, without taking unnecessary construction shortcuts. Their objective is to deliver long term performance.