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Fibreglass Loose Fill Insulation and Fibreglass Batt Insulation in Toronto

Understanding Insulation Basics

For the average homeowner to understand insulation, it’s important to understand the concept of heat transfer (often referred to as heat flow). Heat transfer is usually unwanted – it means that indoor heat escapes in the winter and outdoor heat creeps in during the summer. Both cause energy inefficiency, energy loss, and higher utility bills. Every building is an "envelope", and made of materials that will positively (or negatively) affect the dynamics of heat transfer. The idea is to strive for efficiency.

For those considering fibreglass loose fill insulation or fibreglass batt insulation in Toronto, the objective remains the same: to effectively eliminate heat transfer. This will serve to conserve energy usage, and consequently reduce energy costs. Ideally, an insulation product should enhance R-Values, prevent air movement, and inhibit the accumulation of moisture. But regardless of the product chosen or the install method, overall performance is always maximized with a professional approach.

Fibreglass Insulation Products

Fibreglass insulation is a popular, well-known product. Fibreglass batt insulation is widely used in the attic and inside walls, while fibeeglass loose fill insulation can be blown into large spaces like attics (and wall cavities). Both options offer adequate resistance (measured in R-Value) and will contribute to energy savings. The lifespan for fibreglass insulation is satisfactory, and insulating potential is maintained over time. For professional installers, both products are easy to transport and install.

In terms of installation, each of the fibreglass products requires some specialization. Fibreglass batts are installed strategically and uniformly, while the loose-fill product is dispersed for uniform density. Both products can be used for “topping up” existing insulation, provided there is no water damage or deterioration. When professionally installed, both fibreglass products will create a “thermal blanket” which reduces air movement, resulting in effective insulation during winter and summer.

Benefits of the Fibreglass Option

Because of product composition, fibreglass batt insulation and fibreglass loose fill insulation do not retain small amounts of water, and within a short time period, this should evaporate. Professionally installed, neither product will settle demonstrably, and will thus maintain their insulation value for years. Both of these products are safe to install in any indoor space. They are non-combustible, non-corrosive, and odor-free. Most brands are air-quality certified, with substantial recycled content.

Fibreglass insulation does not contain any chemicals that promote mold, mildew or fungus and does not provide any nourishment that would attract insects, rodents or vermin. There is no asbestos in either product, and in a dry, ventilated space, there is little potential for rotting or decay. Fibreglass batts and fibreglass loose fill are affordable for most budgets, providing a cost-effective approach based on product and installation. Here again, a professional installation would be recommended.

Main Drawbacks of Fibreglass

In general, the drawbacks of fibreglass insulation are related to the product’s overall performance. And when it comes to air movement and moisture control, these pose the biggest problems. Clearly these need to be addressed when choosing products.

Because of product composition, fibreglass insulation products (batts and loose-fill) do allow some air to pass through. Air leaks (especially in the attic) are not always completely sealed once the insulation is in place – it’s not a 100% insulation effort.

Fibreglass insulation products (batts and loose-fill) can be vulnerable when wet, and could cause R-value to be compromised. Depending on the extent of the wetness, there is potential for further contamination. It makes insulation removal necessary.

With fibreglass insulation, moisture and wetness can also be the beginning of mold growth. Unattended, mold infiltration can result in poor air quality that circulates throughout the premises. At this stage, removal of the insulation will be required.

Spray Foam Insulation Option

In addressing the shortcomings of fibreglass insulation, some insulation contractors are suggesting spray foam insulation as an alternative. Spray foam adheres fully to practically every surface, including those that are irregular. And with a professional application the foam creates a totally seamless air barrier, overcoming the problems that are common with fibreglass products. Indeed, where fibreglass batts or loose-fill do not properly seal holes, gaps, and cracks, spray foam seals everything tight.

The biggest issue when insulating any space is air leakage - in winter, heated indoor air escapes, and in summer hot air intrudes. This increases energy costs throughout the year. But with spray foam, air leakage is eliminated. In the attic, in the basement or in between, spray foam insulation allows for an airtight environment that results in improved energy efficiency, reduced energy consumption, and lower utility bills. Best of all, spray foam lasts a lifetime, without the need to “top up” or replace.

The Hybrid Installation Option

Spray foam insulation has proven itself to be a superior product when compared to other products. In a single application it delivers the highest possible R-Value and creates an airtight envelope, thus preventing air movement and moisture collection.  A spray foam installation delivers far more benefits than anything comparable, both in the short term and the long-term. It has become the “go-to” product for the pros.

For more budget-conscious installations, the experts at Great Northern Insulation recommend a “hybrid” install – one that combines the fibreglass product and spray foam into one. Using both products in tandem, the installation can deliver excellent insulation results, within a reasonable project budget, and with a viable “payback” period. For many homeowners in Toronto, this may present the best of all options in terms of achieving optimum energy efficiency and utility savings through the year.

Whatever the final choice in insulation product, the aim should always be the same – eliminating heat transfer. Whether its fibreglass batt insulation, fibreglass loose fill insulation, or spray foam insulation, you can be assured that a good contractor will recommend the best option for the job. And with insulation, it’s better to do it right from the start - with the best possible product and the best possible installation. In the long run, the benefits of a good install will make the investment worthwhile.

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