In general, when contractors recommend foam insulation to the homeowner, they are usually referring to spray foam insulation. This is an application where the insulation compound (also known as polyurethane foam) is sprayed directly into an open cavity – and it’s especially suited for large, expansive spaces like the attic, roof, or ceiling. When properly applied, coverage is complete and comprehensive. With special equipment, the foam insulation compound sprays out in thick liquid form, quickly expands into the coverage area, and just as quickly hardens into a thick, dense layer of insulation that is fixed in place.
A well-executed spray foam installation covers everything, including holes and gaps, and every little crack and crevice. The finished application is impervious to both air and moisture. This is why insulation professionals across the country prefer the spray foam insulation product over anything else. It’s just simply considered an all-round better product – it does a much better job of sealing a given space; it delivers a better R-value rating than any other product; and it adds structural strength to a space after the installation. At Great Northern Insulation, we don’t believe there is a better product or combination of products than spray foam.
For the professionals at Great Northern Insulation, the installation philosophy is simple - we seal tight, and ventilate right. Its because for us, sealing tight without ventilating is doing only half the job, which is why we make sure to eliminate air leakage AND ensure ventilation. When the home is “breathing” properly, everything works in balance - energy efficiency is improved; indoor air circulation and air quality are enhanced; and HVAC performance is optimized. At GNI, we will routinely recommend spray foam insulation in new home construction, for major renovations, and even for a retrofit.
Another philosophy at GNI is doing the job right the first time. With spray foam insulation, we make certain to understand the challenges of the project, and choose the product or product combination that best suits the job. Our installers are skilled and highly trained. They are the best in the business, proficient in their area of expertise, and with many years of experience. Our people always follow construction and building codes; they obey the local and regional by-laws; and they expedite an installation based on the manufacturer’s product specifications. In short, our customers can rely on us to stand behind everything we sell and install.
Because of the unique nature of spray foam insulation, we DO NOT recommend turning this kind of application into a do-it-yourself project. This is work that should be left to the experts, which is why we discourage a homeowner from getting into a weekend DIY endeavor. Simply put, the professionals appreciate the nuances of the spray foam product, and are experienced with the complexities of installation. Our installers know how to appropriately prepare a work area; they always use the proper safety equipment and wear the right kind of protective gear, and they always take the necessary precautions to safeguard occupants.
With regard to the cost of spray foam insulation, it’s generally agreed that this is a more costly application than many of the other insulation products available on the market. But when a homeowner does a “cost-benefit” evaluation, the overall investment makes economic sense. As consumers, we know that we get what we pay for, and with the spray foam insulation product this is especially true - it’s a premium product with premium benefits. A spray foam application will likely last for a lifetime; it does not need replacement or replenishment; and it allows for a “pay-back” period of between 2 and 7 years. When thinking long term, it’s a good investment.
In today’s business environment, it’s not that unusual to hear about substandard workmanship. And from what we see at GNI, the complaints are well justified – we see all kinds of residential installations that are second-rate, deficient, and just plain unacceptable. For the crews at Great Northern Insulation, it’s a different kind of environment: our people are trained, licensed and certified; everything that we sell and install is covered by warranty; and our manufacturers’ product warrantees are sound and reputable. Beyond that, our installation teams are insured and covered by WSIB. Above everything else, your satisfaction as our customer is guaranteed.
For the homeowner, recommendations from some of the industry associations are also worth heeding. The best advice to the consumer is to choose a service provider wisely and carefully, in an effort to avoid problems that might arise. Industry associations want to ensure the integrity of the industry – they want to make certain that customers are satisfied; they want to guarantee professionalism within the ranks (contractors and installers); and they want to set quality standards for installation and/or application of spray foam products. But bottom line, it’s best to be an informed, educated consumer who can make astute decisions.
According to the most recent industry statistics, the popularity of spray foam insulation has grown at almost 40% a year during the last decade. The reason for this popularity is purely because of the efficacy of the product. For the homeowner, the benefits are numerous: heating and cooling costs from one season to the next are measurably reduced; R-values are augmented in areas where the insulation is installed; and air and moisture movement is curtailed, allowing for better air circulation. Interestingly, GNI has found that homeowners, who decided on spray foam insulation, often received higher resale prices on their homes.
In our business, we often hear the same question coming from many homeowners. They ask us, very bluntly, whether the spray foam insulation product is the right product for them, and for their budget. The teams at GNI invariably have the same answer every time – we just believe that spray foam insulation is the best overall insulation system when compared with the other options. And for our satisfied customers, the finished results confirm our contention – seasonal heating and cooling costs are reduced; noticeable imbalances in heating and cooling cycles are corrected; and under-performing HVAC equipment is brought up to optimum performance.