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A Practical Approach to Insulation Removal in Toronto

Determining if old insulation needs to be removed.

Depending on the type, amount, and installation of your existing insulation, there may be more effective solutions available today that did not exist previously. But beyond aging materials, there are many other practical reasons to remove insulation - some of them are going to be necessary and immediate, while others not so critical.  For a practical approach to insulation removal in Toronto, Great Northern Insulation offers a professional course of action:  assessing whether removal is actually required; gauging the scope of work; and providing viable options for re-installation to current industry standards.

Some primary reasons to remove home insulation.

Clearly, every scenario is different, and every homeowner’s needs vary. For the team at GNI, they have seen practically everything. In some cases, there’s actually too much insulation in the attic. This will compromise attic ventilation, and can often lead to mold infiltration (a bigger and more serious issue). Mold may also be present as a result of a ‘leaky’ attic floor. Over time, warm, conditioned air may ‘leak’ into the attic space through holes, gaps, and penetrations in the attic floor. When this warm air meets the cool air in the attic space, the water vapour in the warm air condenses and moisture can accumulate. Left untreated, over time this moisture accumulation may result in mold buildup. Another common occurrence is damaged or deteriorating insulation. This may be a result of water damage, animal contamination, even fire and smoke damage. Finally, in a worst-case situation, home insulation may contain harmful or hazardous materials, like asbestos or vermiculite. Here, complete removal is highly recommended, and with professional attention.

Removing insulation while renovating/retrofitting.

Depending on the scope of work, insulation can be removed and upgraded during a renovation or retrofit project. Where trades can work collaboratively, this is an ideal opportunity for removing, repairing, and restoring existing insulation. Here, the team at GNI can recommend whether new insulation should be installed over existing insulation, or if complete removal is required. The more important element is to ensure that insulation removal is thorough, and at GNI the process is clean and safe, employing state-of-the-art cleanup equipment. GNI also ensures that residents are not disturbed.  Insulation removal, cleanup, and disposal are complete and comprehensive.

Home insulation removal requires some expertise.

While insulation removal is essentially a “cleanup” project, it’s work that requires experience and expertise – it has to be done properly from start to finish. The team at Great Northern Insulation is highly trained. GNI uses sophisticated vacuum equipment that immediately discards all of the waste into an exterior disposal system. The cleanup team leaves the work area clean, without dirt or debris, and in better condition than found. The idea here is to prepare the cleaned up area for the restoration step – installing brand new insulation, ensuring an airtight space, and creating the proper levels of ventilation. The home will enjoy indoor comfort and energy savings for years.

The “do-it-yourself” method for insulation removal.

In today’s marketplace, there are countless “do-it-yourself” options when it comes to insulation removal. For GNI, past experience shows that a professional approach is very much the required course of action. The work is very labor-intensive and time-consuming. For the inexperienced, it could take twice as long as a professional. More importantly, there are many potential hazards, and some that may pose a health risk. Deteriorating insulation may contain a number of harmful contaminates - animal remains - mold or mildew deposits - even asbestos or vermiculite residue.  This is clearly not the right time for a “do-it-yourself” project, even if there is money to be saved.

Insulation removal is only step one in the process.

When deliberating insulation removal in Toronto, GNI reminds every customer that removal is only step one in the process. Of course, proper cleanup is central to the project, but it’s necessary to plan for repairs and re-insulation. This may well require installing an air barrier, a vapor barrier, or some additional ventilation throughout the space. In fact, old wiring and ductwork may also need to be retrofitted. Great Northern Insulation also recommends sealing the entirety of the space – from a building science point of view, this is just as important as insulation, and will actually contribute to the performance level and R-Value of any insulation that’s re-installed.

After insulation removal – airsealing

In a residential home, airflow affects the entire indoor air environment. Airflow affects moisture in the air, indoor oxygen levels, and various pollutants – most of which we don’t even notice. So if insulation removal were already in the works, it would be key to make airsealing improvements to the existing attic floor (mechanical penetrations, gaps, cracks, etc). Properly airsealing the attic floor controls the airflow between the inside of a home (known as the “conditioned space”) and the outside of the home (known as the “unconditioned space”). In terms of airsealing prior to re-insulating, this is truly the professional approach. It will ensure that newly installed insulation performs at peak. In fact, it may be a code requirement.

After insulation removal: installing new insulation.

One of the product applications available from Great Northern Insulation is blown insulation. In cellulose or fiberglass, these products are installed according to building code requirements. Both products are blown into a given space, installed to provide uniform coverage, and will effectively insulate small recesses and awkward spaces. Blown insulation provides very satisfactory R-Value to the installation area, and is one of the most cost-effective installations that GNI can offer.

Another product option from GNI is fiberglass batt insulation. Ideal for both attic and basement, these batts are non-combustible, moisture resistant, and sound absorbing. As well, the finished space does not attract animals, rodents, or insects. For peak performance and optimum R-Values, fiberglass batt insulation should be professionally installed. In addition, proper ventilation will ensure longevity for the installation itself, and long-term performance for the insulation product.

Spray foam insulation is likely the best insulation option on the market. As the experts in Canada, Great Northern Insulation recommends this install for the best short-term results, and the best long-term outcomes. Spray foam achieves more than any other product. It creates an airtight space; it serves as an air barrier and vapor barrier in one; and it delivers better R-Value than any other application. Nothing can compare with the high performance of this insulation product. Spray foam insulation can be combined with fiberglass or cellulose to meet any project requirements. 

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Milton, Ontario

Canada L9T 5A6

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