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The Ins and Outs of Continuous Insulation

October 28, 2016

Whether it's building code compliant or not, continuous insulation is far less understood than it should be - even among insulation professionals, building contractors, and home renovators. The fact is, thermal bridging reduces insulation performance significantly - up to 20% in wood frame structures and up to 60% in metal frame structures. It means that the advertised R-Values often fall far short of actual performance levels, regardless of the insulation product that is installed. Professionals define continuous insulation as uninterrupted insulation, without thermal bridges. And while there are some fine points to the definition, even some of the basics still elude many. The idea, of course, is to minimize or eliminate the negative effects of thermal bridging. Not that this is an easy task - every building is constructed differently, with different materials, and with a range of weaknesses. In short, there is no prescribed solution that will effectively address it all. In a building structure with steel framing, the framing behaves like a thermal conductor - in other words a classic thermal bridge that allows indoor heat to escape in the winter and vice versa in the summer. The thermal bridging effect would seriously compromise R-Value, oftentimes by up to 50%. In response, builders began to install insulation materials on the outer side of the building envelope - something that has recently migrated into the residential insulation market. Different from steel framing, wood framing suffers from similar weaknesses. With wood framing, up to 25% of the actual wall assembly comprises wood - and not insulation. The wood behaves as a conductor and therefore reduces R-Value by up to 20%. Here again, the objective would be to lessen the downsides of thermal bridging, using suitable construction techniques, as well as high performance insulation. The bottom line: continuous insulation will always perform better. Continuous insulation as an exterior application (regardless of the product being used) offers a number of project benefits. Heat loss is dramatically reduced. R-Values are measurably increased. Moisture intrusion (and condensation) is inhibited. And air infiltration is practically eliminated. Overall, it means that HVAC equipment works more efficiently and energy consumption is visibly lessened throughout the year. An exterior insulation application also provides soundproofing. High-rise or residential home, continuous insulation is becoming the standard, helping to reduce energy usage while providing indoor comfort. As such new generation products and installations are leading the way, and with great results. Spray Foam Insulation, for instance, is most effective in eliminating the negative consequences of thermal bridging. It's an application that has proven effectual for both interior and exterior insulation. And it brings better results than most others. Beyond resolving the various issues associated with thermal bridging, Spray Foam Insulation is the ultimate sealer. Professionally installed, it creates a totally airtight environment that prevents undesirable air movement and moisture accumulation. It also installs thermal insulation with R-Values that are higher than anything comparable. As a continuous insulation application, SFI meets and exceeds building code requirements for both commercial and residential buildings.

Western Ontario

935 Keyes Drive
Woodstock, Ontario
Canada N4V 1C3

Phone: 1-800-265-1914

Fax: (519) 539-7946
TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Southwestern Ontario

7035 Industrial Drive
Comber, Ontario
Canada N0P 1J0

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Muskoka, Haliburton, Northern Ontario

1027 Elwell Park Road
Gravenhurst, Ontario
Canada P1P 1R1

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Central Ontario

29 Ferndale Industrial Drive
Barrie, Ontario
Canada L4N 9V5

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

GTA East

103 North Port Road
Port Perry, Ontario
Canada L9L 1B2

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

GTA & South Central Ontario

450 Industrial Dr,
Toronto (Milton), Ontario
Canada L9T 5A6

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Eastern Ontario

1035 Moodie Dr #1,
Nepean, ON
K2R 1H4

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914


259 Campbell Street
Sarnia Ontario
Canada, N7T 2H3

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Niagara Region

6260 Don Murie St
Niagara Falls, ON
L2G 0B4

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914


Great Northern Insulation - Better Business Bureau Profile.


Best of 2017

From reputation to responsiveness, HomeStars consistently ranks Great Northern Insulation at better than 95% for customer satisfaction. Thanks to everyone for the great ratings! 

HomeStars 2018

Best of 2018

For the second year in a row, HomeStars consistently ranks Great Northern Insulation at better than 95% for customer satisfaction. Thank you again to everyone!

Homestars Best of 2019 Award

Best of 2019

For the third year in a row, HomeStars ranked Great Northern Insulation at better than 95% for customer satisfaction.

Homestars Best of 2020 Award

Best of 2020

For four years now, HomeStars has ranked Great Northern Insulation at better than 95% for customer satisfaction.

Homestars Best of 2021 Award

Best of 2021

HomeStars has ranked Great Northern Insulation as a company that goes above and beyond in every aspect of business for the year of 2021.

Homestars Best of 2022 Award

Best of 2022

HomeStars has ranked Great Northern Insulation as a company that goes above and beyond in every aspect of business for the year of 2022.


GNI is the Authorized & Trusted Insulation and Air Sealing Installer for Lowe’s

Enenrgy Savers

Energy Saving

Energy saving and energy efficiency is easier than one might think. Great Northern Insulation helps to identify performance issues, while taking advantage of improvement opportunities.

100% Canadian

100% Canadian

Great Northern Insulation is recognized as Canada's largest full-service insulation contractor. GNI is 100% Canadian owned, proudly serving Ontario customers since 1980.

Foam Masters

Do it right the first time
- with foam mastersTM

WALLTITE® ECO™ is a high-performance system, professionally installed by certified and approved specialists. Its C.C.M.C. approved (Canadian Construction Materials Centre) - with product quality guaranteed - and with installation by highly trained experts with the technical know-how to do the job right, the first time.

Insulthane Extreme

Insulthane® Extreme

For the ultimate in high performance spray foam insulation, Insulthane® Extreme is the professional choice for residential, commercial, and industrial application. With improved thermal performance over other products, Insulthane® Extreme has an exceptionally low Global Warming Potential (GWP). Considered environmentally friendly, this next generation spray foam insulation is non-ozone depleting, and exceeds specifications of other HFC product alternatives.


3MTM products.
Quality + Performance = Savings

3MTM energy-saving products are designed to keep warm air in, and cold air out, while keeping energy bills down. Products optimize energy efficiency in buildings and homes; improve indoor environment for occupants; and effect the reduction of seasonal energy costs. 3M products are authorized for LEED credits (Leadership in Energy/Environmental Design).


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Professional, Certified and Insured

Baeumler ApprovedTM gives you peace of mind when connecting with contractors, trades and home service providers. All Baeumler Approved members have demonstrated high quality work for customers and other trade professionals. Members must also have Workers Compensation, liability insurance of at least $1,000,000 and prove professional certification.

Holmes and Holmes

Holmes and Holmes


Mike Holmes and his son Mike Jr. (MJ) convert MJ’s bachelor bungalow into a two-storey home for MJ and his girlfriend Lisa. Choosing the newest materials and build techniques, the father and son team follow Mike’s famous motto – “Make it right.” The show can be watched on HGTV and DIY Network.


Enbridge Incentives

The Energy Conservation Program provides incentives of up to $1,600 to customers who achieve energy efficiency and fuel savings – and Great Northern Insulation can pave the way.


Great Northern Insulation proudly abides by a renovation-specific Code of Conduct set by RenoMark™.


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The GNI crew have been featured installing insulation on Love It or List It - have you seen our logo in an episode?

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