Canadians lose a great deal of money and comfort as the cold fall weather creeps in, starting to create cold walls and drafty spots in our houses. Moreover, insulating an entire house yourself can be a big job in terms of time and costs—not to mention frustrations as you live through the renos!
Fortunately, one of the most effective places to insulate--the attic--is also one of the easiest. Why? Because this is not a high-traffic area of the house. As a matter of fact, your attic should be wide open and empty, with the exception of some existing insulation.
If you have plank flooring installed over existing insulation (so you can store Christmas decorations and old toys in the attic), this could be part of your problem! Insulation needs to not be packed; it needs to have natural air pockets in it.
Insulating your attic could lead to savings of up to 30% on heating and cooling costs. There are three major steps to insulating your attic:
- Ensure ventilation
- Seal the insulation
It is important to ensure soffit venting is not blocked by the insulation you are about to add. Baffles can help make sure this does not happen. Baffles help direct air flow from the soffit through the attic, thereby minimizing ice damming and the likelihood of attic moisture. They also keep insulation from falling into the eaves.
There are a few basic types of insulation. All insulation products contain a R/RSI value (a way of labelling the effectiveness of insulating materials):
- Bat (or blanket)
- Blown (or loose)
- Structural insulated panels
Provincial building codes specify different minimum values for different applications, and attics require R60. This is achieved with 22.25 inches of blown insulation.
One of the problems with older attic insulation is that it likely started with a lower R value (compared to what is used today) and it has settled, becoming more compact and creating a lower R value (remember those air pockets mentioned above?).
Kovar Contracting uses blown fiberglass insulation which does not settle—and provides a continuous R value.
With insulation blown in to the appropriate depth, we’ll need to seal items such as your exhaust fan, vent pipes, electrical box, etc. We’ll need to make sure to tape and foam the vapor barrier.
A healthy house today is properly ventilated, well insulated and well sealed.
Why Kovar Contracting?
We will come to your house for an initial inspection, at which time we will enter your attic to look at your current insulation. We’ll be looking for signs of mould, water damage, critters (such as mice, raccoons, squirrels) or asbestos. If we see any signs, know that we’ll need to remove your existing insulation before blowing in new insulation.
Depending on how much insulation is current present and the state of it (compressed, damaged, etc.), we can blow the new fibreglass insulation right over top of it until we have reached a total of 22.25 inches—giving us the minimum required R60 value.
We use baffles to ensure your attic remains ventilated and will seal off any pipes, vents, etc.
We can be done within a day, and we’re great at cleaning up behind ourselves!
Do you use sprayfoam insulation?
We find that the majority of clients prefer blown fiberglass due to greater affordability.
Will you remove existing insulation or put new insulation over top?
It depends! If your existing insulation is clean and does not show signs of moisture or critters, we can top it up. We may need to do a better job of sealing around vents and pipes first, and/or install baffles. When we come for an initial consultation, we’ll work with you to make this decision.
Why do you suggest that insulating the attic is a higher priority than walls if walls tend to lose more heat than the attic?
Updating the insulation in your walls involves removing drywall or plaster plus repainting, which can increase the time and cost of the project. An attic can typically be re-insulated within a single day.