Call Now 1.800.265.1914

The Shortfalls of Thermal Bridging in a Building Structure

October 26, 2016

A thermal bridge is a surface area (mostly in a building structure), which has a higher potential for "heat transfer" than adjacent materials. Thermal bridges contribute to the overall reduction of insulation performance, oftentimes throughout the entire building structure. Often referred to by the professionals as a "cold" bridge or a "heat" bridge, thermal bridging occurs in three ways:

  1. When a material has higher conductivity than an adjacent material
  2. When there are openings and penetrations in the building envelope
  3. When there are breaks or gaps in the installed insulation materials

Thermal bridging, in a building or home, will have negative effects on the indoor environment. To begin with, energy efficiency is reduced because of undesirable "heat transfer". As well, moisture accumulation and natural condensation will occur. And finally, there could be significant indoor air quality issues, indoor comfort issues, and the potential for building materials to deteriorate. Often overlooked, particularly when insulating a residential home, thermal bridging can be easily prevented with a proactive approach to installation. Here, a professional insulation contractor will apply and install materials designed to create continuous and uniform thermal resistance. In short, every effort is made to nullify the various ways that thermal bridging occurs in a structure. Understanding thermal bridging in a residential home is mainly about understanding the home's wall assembly, and the construction materials that were used to build the home. For the most part, a home's exterior walls provide a barrier between the inside and outside environment. With insulation, the walls prevent unwanted air infiltration and moisture from entering the home. Most homeowners rely on their home insulation to keep things warm and cozy in winter and cool and comfortable in summer. There's also a reliance on the R-Value of the insulation - the measure of how well the insulation resists "heat transfer". The problem here is that R-Values will vary in every home, depending on the conditions of the building envelope, and other structural variables. Thermal bridging is one big reason that R-Values can't be relied on entirely. In fact, wall assembly in the majority of homes universally suffers from thermal bridging. And with traditional wall stud construction, thermal bridges are pervasive in a building envelope. Bottom line: the advertised R-Values differ dramatically from the "effective" R-Values - what professionals regard as "real". The cure for thermal bridging is basic - it must be reduced, and preferably eliminated. In newly built homes, advanced framing systems do reduce the number of potential thermal bridges, while ensuring that all openings and penetrations are sealed tight. As well, high performance insulation is installed in order to seal and insulate in away that practically eliminates any thermal bridges. For homeowners who are upgrading or retrofitting old insulation, one of the very best long-term solutions for thermal bridging is Spray Foam Insulation. With SFI, a professional installation will prevent unwelcome air movement and moisture accumulation, while creating thermal insulation that delivers higher R-Value performance than any of the other product applications available.

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


Great Northern Insulation - Better Business Bureau Profile.

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

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™.


We are Verified & Bonded by eRenovate. When you choose to proceed with our services through their platform, you receive the gaurantees set forth through their program.

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.

Please, enter a valid value

Incorrect values!