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Insulation Rebates

insulation grantsInsulation’s main function is to keep the heat in. To be effective, insulation must be the following:

  • resistant to heat flow
  • able to fill the space completely and evenly
  • durable
  • for some locations, able to withstand exposure to heat or moisture.

Several different insulation materials may be used at different locations in the house envelope, depending on the space available for the insulation, ease of access and other installation requirements.

The Proper Choice of Insulation:

The proper choice of insulation depends on its final use. In most applications, good resistance to heat flow is not the only thing you will have to consider. In specific situations, insulation may also need to have any number of the following properties:

  • resistance to high temperatures
  • resistance to moisture flow (can it reduce the movement of water vapour?)
  • resistance to air movement (can it act as an air barrier?)
  • when required, a fire-rated protective covering.

Once you have matched the material properties with the specific application, consider the following installation factors:

  • Is it relatively easy to install?
  • Is it the best buy for the space available (either high insulating value per dollar if you have lots of open space, or high insulating value per thickness if space is restricted)?
  • Is it available locally?
  • Will it be easy to install the insulation to fill the space completely?
  • Can it conform to surface irregularities?
  • Is it rigid enough to provide support for finished materials or resist pressures against its surfaces?
  • Does one insulation require more accessory products than another (fire protection, framing, air and vapour barrier)?

In short, the choice of insulation will largely depend on how it will be used.

Fortunately, particular insulation jobs will quickly eliminate some materials, making the choice much easier.

Naturally, cost is a factor in the choice of material. Generally, the cost per RSI value is lower for loose-fill or batt-type materials than for rigid board or foamtype insulations. However, the price of the basic material is just one aspect. In some cases, high material costs may be offset by lower installation costs or the preference of the installer for a particular insulation technique. A better comparison can be made using the installed cost. This includes the cost of the insulation material plus the cost of required accessories and installation.

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Types of Insulation:

insulation-2.jpgInsulations are manufactured from a wide range of materials, including melted glass spun into fibres, expanded volcanic rock, recycled newsprint and foam plastic.

However, there are only four basic forms of insulation that provide a ready means of classification: batt or blankets, loose-fill insulation, rigid or semi-rigid boards, and spray-foam insulation. The following are detailed descriptions of all these categories

Batt or Blanket Insulation:

Batt or blanket insulation is relatively easy to install in accessible spaces such as exposed wall cavities and some attics. It conforms to slight surface irregularities and can be cut to fit. Safety equipment and protective clothing are required during installation.

Mineral Fibre

  • Includes 0.022 RSI/mm (3.2 R/in.) glass fibre.
  • Includes 0.023 RSI/mm (3.3 R/in.) mineral wool.
  • Is available in batts or continuous rolls (blankets).
  • Will not settle.
  • Some products are non-combustible (check with the manufacturer).

Loose-Fill Insulation:

Loose-fill insulation is made from a variety of materials, with particles ranging in texture from granular to fluffy. Loose-fill insulation is excellent for filling irregular or inaccessible spaces. It is suitable for walls and floors and excellent in attics and enclosed spaces such as roofs where the space between the joists may be irregular or cluttered with obstacles. It is often handy for filling small spaces or covering ceiling joists. It is not appropriate for below-grade application.

Loose-fill insulation may be blown or poured. Pouring insulation will generally require more material than blowing insulation to achieve a specified RSI value. It is useful for topping up existing insulation in attics and accessible enclosed wall cavities and for filling in cracks and uneven spaces.

The proper installation of blown loosefill insulation usually requires an experienced, well-trained technician. To achieve the full RSI value, the material must be installed following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Safety equipment and protective clothing are required during installation. The most important aspect of installation is following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Rigid Board Insulation:

Board insulations are manufactured from glass fibre or foam plastic materials. These materials have a high insulating value per unit thickness, although the cost per RSI value is greater than for loose-fill or batt/blanket insulations.

Insulating boards are lightweight and easy to cut and handle. Fitting them into irregular spaces, however, can be a tedious process. Some boards are now available with an attached fire-resistant, moisture-resistant or decorative covering. It is also possible to purchase specially designed boards that come with their own system of attachment. Regular board materials can be ordered pre-cut to specific sizes for an additional cost.

Spray-Foam Insulation:

This type of insulation is mixed on the job site by the contractor or installer. The liquid foam is sprayed directly onto the building surface or poured into enclosed cavities using a spray gun driven by a pump. The foam expands in place and sets in seconds. The installation contractor should be trained in the application of the specific product.

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