Whether you’re involved in new home construction, a renovation project, or an energy efficiency retrofit, the fundamentals for installing insulation should be the same – to deal with an established, reputable contractor who can supply and install, based on what you specifically need. You are the customer. You should be able to secure a comprehensive (and free) in-home assessment of your insulation status, including a calculation of R-values, a performance evaluation of your existing insulation, and a presentation on how an upgrade can help save you money over the long run.
A good contracting company will put you, the customer, at the forefront. They will provide you with options that represent the best value for your budget; they will recommend product choices that suit your particular situation; they will quote the most competitive price available; and they will offer you a service approach that should satisfy you from the beginning of the project to the end. As well, a company that both supplies and installs can offer you the widest range of products available – everything from air barriers, to weather-stripping, to specialty coatings. They will know their products, they will understand which ones deliver the best over-all performance, and they will have the know-how to install everything they sell. It would also be in your interest to deal with a firm that is sensitive to issues of the environment, and can provide eco-efficient solutions.
For the average homeowner, the idea of insulation brings up an image of STYROFOAM™ rigid insulation, or those fluffy PINK™ FIBERGLAS® sections that are installed behind drywall. But today, there are many new products - like specialty coatings (or protective coatings) that have been designed and formulated to be multipurpose – they not only provide enhanced insulation, but they also serve to waterproof, to deaden sound, and to resist flame and fire. Here again, a good contractor will bring you the experienced, professional staff who understand coatings, and who can recommend if those surface protection coatings will suit your needs.
The whole idea behind product effectiveness and efficiency is to provide the homeowner with the best results at the least expense. The specialty coatings category does just that: with the right product (it could be spray-in-place foam), the application will provide a high level of insulation, a built-in air barrier system, and a vapor barrier - all at the same time.
And industry experts agree that this type polyurethane foam insulation provides the very best year-round comfort and energy efficiency, with measured improvements in heating and cooling, significant reductions in air leakage, and meaningful cost savings on energy. Needless to say, the initial investment cost delivers excellent long-term benefits.
Having established that hiring a good contractor is worthwhile for many reasons, let’s not forget that being an informed consumer is an essential component. Yes – the contactor will provide the trained personnel; the building standards and codes; and even the product warrantees – but it’s you, the consumer, that must take charge. You must be knowledgeable enough, and astute enough to ask the right questions, understand all of the implications, and make the right decisions.