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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

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

Greater Toronto Area

2 Guided Court
Etobicoke, ON
M9V 4K6

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

GTA East

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

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

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

Niagara Region

25 Lincoln Ave
St. Catharines, ON
L2P 2C7

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914


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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

Trusted for Over 40 Years

Over 40 Years in Business

At GNI, we service your project with the most experienced staff in the industry. Ongoing professional development is an obsession at GNI and we will not compromise at any level to bring to our customers the very best Installers, Sales Representatives, Customer Care Personnel, Field Superintendents, Estimating and Technical Support to your project.

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

January, 2021 regulatory phaseout of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) with the introduction of WALLTITE CM01. Using hydrofluorolefins (HFOs) with lower global warming potential (GWP) compared to HFCs, WALLTITE CM01 is the next generation of spray foam insulation.



Heatlok® Soya HFOTM leverages Honeywell’s latest Solstice® Liquid Blowing Agent technology. This new hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) blowing agent is the most environmentally conscious blowing agent produced to date, with a zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and a global warming potential (GWP) of 1, which is more than two orders of magnitude (99.9%) lower than HFCs used in this industry.


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).

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 Home Efficiency Rebate Plus program offers up to $10,000 in home reno rebates – 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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As Seen on Love It or List It

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

Climatizer Cellulose


CLIMATIZER PLUS cellulose insulation is manufactured from a minimum of 85% locally-sourced post-consumer recycled newsprint. Non-toxic additives are applied to the uniquely fiberized paper generating a building material with superior thermal and acoustic properties, as well as exceptional resistance to fire, moisture, mould and pests.

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