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Understanding Insulation Terminology Before Ordering Insulation

April 15, 2016

Understanding residential insulation is the key to making good purchasing decisions. And when a homeowner understands insulation terminology, it's an advantage when shopping for products or discussing options. Moreover, a good understanding of how insulation works will make for a very productive working relationship with an installer who's actually doing the work. And while its not at all necessary to get into technical jargon, it's good to have a fundamental understanding.

Air Ducts

Ductwork is typically hidden throughout a home and made of sheet metal. Air ducts carry heated or cooled air to most areas of the home. As well, returned air moves through the ducts to ensure proper indoor circulation.

Air Infiltration

This is the amount of air that leaks into and out of a building structure. Air infiltration occurs mainly through windows and doors that are poorly sealed, as well as holes, gaps, cracks and crevices in the building.

Attic Insulation

Attic insulation comprises products like fiberglass, cellulose, and spray foam that are industry approved for that use. These types of insulation products are installed into the attic cavity to as thermal resistance.

Batt Insulation

Insulation "batts" are semi-rigid units of insulation material that are typically manufactured from fiberglass. Often associated with those fluffy pink "batts", this product is available with or without a vapor barrier.

Blown Insulation

Blown insulation, also known as loose-fill, is used to insulate attics and walls where a consistent and uniform blanket of insulation is required for thermal insulation (mostly available in cellulose or fiberglass).

Building Codes

Building codes are designed to ensure quality, health and safety. Codes vary according to the type of construction, the materials being installed, and the building occupancy. Insulation work should be to code.

Concealed Spaces

These are spaces not readily visible in a finished part of a home. This may include duct shafts, ceiling spaces, and even crawl spaces. Insulating these areas can be vital for optimum thermal protection.

Conditioned Space

A conditioned space is an area that is supplied with conditioned air - in other words, air that has been heated or cooled (and sometimes humidified). Conditioned air is usually controlled through the HVAC.

Energy Codes

Energy codes (government defined) outline minimum insulation requirements relative to energy efficiency. The aim is to establish a direct correlation between the cost of energy and reasonable paybacks.

Home Energy Audit

This is professional assessment performed by a specialist who identifies the quality of a home's energy efficiency. Importantly, a home energy audit will recommend improvements to enhance efficiencies.

R-Value Measure

R-Value is the measurement of resistance to heat flow. Insulation is designed to resist heat flow. Simply put, the higher the R-Value of the insulation, the better the insulation's ability to resist the heat flow.

Spray Foam Insulation

Also known as Spray Polyurethane Foam, this product expands and hardens into an insulating envelope that creates an airtight, watertight seal throughout. The application ensures very high R-Values.

Fresh Air Ventilation

Ventilation essentially supplies fresh air and removes foul air. Proper ventilation creates positive airflow, which in turn allows a home to "breathe". Ventilation will also help to prevent moisture build-up.

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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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™.


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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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