Attic Insulation in Toronto
In the so-called “good old days”, there wasn’t much talk about insulation, about the high cost of energy bills, or about energy savings. The main idea was to keep the home warm in the winter, and somehow cool in the summer (although most people didn’t even have air conditioning). In those days, many homes were drafty, and the upper floors were often warmer than the lower floors. But today, most of us want a comfortable indoor environment – warm and cozy in the winter, and cool and comfortable in the heat of the summer.
Today, we also know that the best scenario is a home that is well sealed, well insulated and well ventilated. This is a scenario that covers all the bases - something that insulation professionals call a “truly insulated building envelope”. It means that throughout the home, heat and cool are well managed, sound is reduced and dampened, and the overall performance of the indoor environment is enhanced to the optimum. It also means that insulation itself is just not enough - attention must be given to the installation of air barriers (to keep the air out); to the application of vapor barriers (to keep moisture at bay); and to the design of proper ventilation (to keep air circulation balanced).
When it comes to shopping for attic insulation in Toronto, it’s best to consider a specialist in the field - Great Northern Insulation specializes in insulation – they know which insulation solution is the right one for the job, they know when to use it, and why. In fact, there may even be cases where insulation itself is just not required. At GNI, our objective is to insulate the home properly, and to provide a cost-effective solution that meets the homeowner’s needs and budget. We want to make certain that insulation issues have been fully resolved, and that long-term benefits are in place.
Deciding how to best insulate the attic should be a thoughtful and considered process. Hiring a contractor who will blow in loose fill insulation on top of existing insulation is both simplistic and short-term. As mentioned before, this is not just an insulating project – air and moisture control, as well as circulation and ventilation are all part and parcel of the big picture. And the way in which the insulation itself is installed will play a very large role in its effectiveness. The bottom line: with improper application of a product; with inadequate coverage of air spaces; and with uncontrolled air movement (due to lack of air-sealing) - R-values will be reduced in every case.
Insulation should always be viewed as a system, and a good system must be practical and effective. Air barriers (both new and existing) must be installed or enhanced to prevent interior and exterior air movement. All cavities must be filled, leaving no gaps, cracks or crevices. And a vapor barrier (often made of polyethylene sheeting) must also be installed, to prevent the movement of moisture, eventual buildup, and potential condensation. Finally, adding the right kind of attic insulation will serve to deliver the greatest return on investment in most homes – and today, it makes abundant economic sense.
Throughout the insulation industry, spray foam insulation is considered the gold standard – it’s the very best option amongst the many. Comprised of polyurethane foam, the product is sprayed right into the attic (and just as easily into a wall, floor or ceiling). The spray shoots out as a liquid, and quickly transforms into dense, hard foam. There are two kinds of spray foam used in the industry – the “open cell” foam and the higher density “closed cell” foam. The “open cell” product is less expensive, and provides an excellent air barrier after installation, but does not provide a water vapor barrier. The “closed cell” product is a denser foam, and provides an excellent air barrier AND water vapor barrier at the same time. Hence, the closed cell option is the product of choice for the attic or roof.
Another option for the attic is the fiberglass insulation “batt” – these are the fluffy pink “batts” that are heavily promoted marketed every fall season. The pink “batts”, available in pre-cut panels, are not the only ones on the market – but this type of insulation is usually comprised of fiberglass. Still a popular product, the “batts” are a fairly inexpensive option, easy to install, and can deliver energy efficiency over the long term. But installation must be precise and comprehensive for the install to deliver maximum insulation value. The pre-cut panels must result in a super-tight fit, with no gaps – since this will dramatically affect heating and cooling in the home. Indeed, an air barrier and vapor barrier should also be part of the install.
Yet another option, and one with a good number of advantages, is blown insulation. The two most common choices for blown insulation are cellulose and fiberglass. Both are designed for use in the attic, and both have their own specific advantages. For insulation value they are similar, although industry experts assert that cellulose delivers R-values slightly higher than fibreglass – these values are measured on a per-inch basis. With the cellulose product, there is a tendency to settle over a long period of time, and this could have an affect on its insulation value. As for the fiberglass product, manufacturers maintain that their product does not settle. Both cellulose and fiberglass are fabricated to be fire resistant: cellulose is chemically treated to retard fire from spreading; and fiberglass, because of its makeup, provides a very high level of fire resistance.
If you are currently in the market for attic insulation in Toronto, Great Northern Insulation is well worth your consideration. We use the highest quality products; we pass product warrantees to our customers; and our installations are guaranteed, regardless of product chosen. We do the job right the first time, using the proper tools and equipment, and addressing the safety all concerned. And doing it right means doing it completely; including air sealing or draft proofing; installation of vapour barriers; and adapting air vents and exhausts.