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Understanding R-Values, Home Insulation, and Spray Polyurethane Foam

February 06, 2016

When we talk about home improvements, most of our focus is on renovating a kitchen, updating an aging bathroom, or adding an in-law suite in the basement. And while each project does add value to the home, they are mainly aesthetic. For some reason, homeowners don't give the same level of relevance to insulating a home - and they should. Home insulation actually brings many more benefits and rewards than practically any other home improvement project. A better understanding of home insulation would be helpful for many a homeowner. And here, a good place to start is with R-Value - this is an insulation rating that gauges the "heat loss" of the insulation material. For the typical residential homeowner, the equation is actually simple: higher R-Value means better insulation. It's not the only variable when insulating a home, but it's a good rule to follow when discussing product and installation choices with a contractor. "Heat loss" or "heat transfer" is more complex than just R-Value, so it's wise to be well informed, at least with the basics. And this is where a good insulation contractor can offer good advice on the various product options and installation techniques. Since every home is unique, the so-called "building envelope" has different challenges and therefore requires a different approach. For the professional installer, the main objective is to achieve peak product performance. In general, the more efficient an insulation product, the less is required to slow down the "heat transfer. It means that choosing the right insulation product is crucial to success. With an expert contractor on hand, the process is made easy: assessing R-Value needs; estimating the amount of product required; and evaluating overall project costs. Indeed, the installation may well involve installing a combination of products to ensure performance and cost effectiveness. Without getting overly technical, "heat transfer" involves a number of dynamics. Typically, indoor heat will flow out of the house in winter, and outdoor heat will flow into the house in summer. With low quality insulation, or a poorly installed space, seasonal "heat transfer" is bad news. And besides the general discomfort inside the home, energy efficiency is compromised, and the utility bills (both winter and summer) tend to be higher-than-average, and quite costly. Gaps and openings in an insulated space contribute dramatically to "heat loss". As it is, unwanted air movement and moisture collection will both compromise R-Value. On the other hand, a well-insulated space will effectively block air movement and prevent moisture accumulation. This will make for much improved energy efficiency throughout the home, better energy consumption in winter and summer, and reduced annual costs for natural gas and electricity. Given the negative impact of air movement and/or moisture collection, many insulation products do not ensure an airtight space where installed. However, Spray Polyurethane Foam is a product that does it all in one application: it seals a space airtight; it restricts airflow; and it effectively inhibits moisture. Indeed, the nature of the foam is to expand and fill every hole, gap and crack in a given space. No other insulation product can achieve this or even come close.

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).


Baeumler ApprovedTM
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™.


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?

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