Traditional summer cottages have little or no insulation, because in most climates, there’s just no need. Warm summer temperatures don’t promote much indoor moisture accumulation, and for the most part, everything is dry. For those who plan to insulate their cottage, and to use it during the winter months, there’s much to consider. Keeping heat inside and cold outside is essential to indoor comfort, but there’s also air moisture and condensation to take into consideration.
The truth is, any contractor can blow insulation materials into an attic space or wall cavity. But this will be a short-term fix with short-term outcomes. This approach certainly doesn’t address air leakage, and it barely deals with moisture control. Simply put, a top-notch job would include both air sealing and insulating – two elements that will ensure insulation performance, energy efficiency, and a comfortable indoor environment for occupants (both winter and summer).
In any cottage or home, the roof and walls are major sources of air leakage. And needless to say, a traditional cottage suffers from both, since neither roof nor walls are adequately sealed and/or insulated. Today, professional contractors will highly recommend air-sealing a cottage with spray foam. It’s the ultimate application, since it provides an air-barrier/vapour barrier in one install, while providing significant R-Values as an insulation barrier – ideal for summer and winter.
The beauty of spray foam as an air sealer makes much sense for a cottage (as well as a residential home). Air sealing with spray foam effectively seals roof rafters, wall studs, and crawl spaces like no other application. It can also be used to efficiently weatherproof doors and windows where air leakage is pervasive. Indeed, nothing seals better than spray foam when it comes to the openings, holes, and gaps that are prevalent throughout a typical building structure (cottage or home).
As insulation, spray foam is superior to other products. It provides high performance thermal insulation, while maximizing energy efficiency. And this means less energy consumption during winter and summer, and more reasonable utility costs. But this work must be done right, and any notion of a DIY approach to spray foam application should be carefully measured. It’s work that should be professionally managed by those who understand the product and the installation.
Spray foam accomplishes a number of important things in one application: it completely air seals a space; it blocks undesirable moisture from intruding and accumulating; and it provides R-Value beyond compare. When expertly installed, spray foam will create an indoor environment that’s comfortable throughout the summer and winter. It outperforms other products, and never needs replacement or replenishment. Spray foam application is the way to do it right the first time.
Weatherizing and insulating a cottage, regardless of the size, will ensure comfortable living year round. And when it’s done right, the plumbing pipes don’t have to be flushed; kitchen appliances don’t have to be closed down; and the windows and doors don’t have to be shuttered. It’s the best approach for getting full use of the property, and enjoying the benefits to the max.