Insulation: A Guide to Insulating Your Home In Victoria BC


Insulation: A Guide to Insulating Your Home In Victoria BC

The purpose of this guide is to provide some information regarding:

  • · Why you should install insulation in your home
  • · Installing insulation in Victoria BC
  • · Where to install insulation in your home
  • · Issues to consider when installing insulation – finding a contractor in Victoria BC
  • · Insulation types


Why Install Insulation in Your Home?

Installing insulation in your home provides resistance to heat flow. The more heat flow resistance your insulation provides, the lower your heating and cooling costs. Installing insulation properly your home not only reduces heating and cooling costs, but also improves comfort. Finding a contractor in Victoria BC qualified to install insulation is a good first step to a more comfortable and affordable home. Easy Job Quote can help find a contractor in Victoria for your needs.


Installing Insulation in Victoria BC

Victoria’s climate leads to specific insulation issues. Insulation in Victoria typically involves attic insulation, wall insulation and basement insulation. Moisture is an issue to consider when choosing the best insulation type. Finding an insulation installer or contractor in Victoria BC can be difficult but can be made easier through Easy Job Quote. Most home owners use the Yellow Pages for finding contractors in Victoria or an insulation installer, but finding a reliable insulation installer who understands the correct insulation type for the unique conditions in Victoria BC can be challenging. General contractors in Victoria BC are usually experienced in installing insulation.


Issues to Consider When Installing Insulation – Should you try finding a contractor?

The maximum thermal performance of insulation (its R-Value) is very dependent on proper installation. Home owners can install some types of insulation, notably blankets and materials that can be poured in place, but most types require professional insulation installation. If home owners choose to install the insulation themselves, they should follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety precautions carefully and check local building and fire codes. Do-it-yourself instructions are available. However, if you are finding a contractor to install your insulation, he or she should be able to help with your selection of the most appropriate insulation for your home.


Insulation Types

When installing insulation in your home, you can choose from many types of insulation. To choose the best type of insulation, you should first determine the following:

•Where you want or need to install insulation

•The recommended R-values for areas you want to install insulation.


Insulation R-Values

Insulation is rated using R-values as a measure of insulation thickness and heat retention. An insulating material’s resistance to conductive heat flow is measured or rated in terms of its thermal resistance - its R-value; the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness. The R-value depends on the type of insulation, its thickness, and its density. The amount of insulation or R-value you'll need depends on your climate, type of heating and cooling system, and the part of the house you plan to insulate.


The most common types of insulation in Victoria BC are:

  • · Spray foam insulation and foamed-in-place insulation
  • · Foam board or rigid foam insulation
  • · Fiberglass insulation - often called blanket insulation and comes as batts or rolls
  • · Concrete block insulation and insulating concrete blocks. Roxul insulation is a popular brand of this type of insulation in Victoria
  • · Loose-fill and blown-in insulation


Foamed-in-place and Spray Foam Insulation

Liquid foam insulation materials can be sprayed, foamed-in-place, injected, or poured. Some installations can have twice the R-value per inch of traditional batt insulation, and can fill even the smallest cavities, creating an effective air barrier.

Spray foam insulation is usually installed using blow-in tools. It fills framing spaces in walls with spray foam insulation and is effective in heat retention. Spray foam insulation is a good solution for situations where access is difficult, such as completed residential insulation installation, irregularly shaped areas, wall insulation or around obstructions. It is also used as soundproofing insulation. It is applied using small spray containers or, in larger quantities, as pressure sprayed foamed-in-place insulation.

Installation of most types of liquid foam insulation requires special equipment and certification and should be done by experienced installers. For this type of work you should try finding a contractor in Victoria. Following installation, an approved thermal barrier equal in fire resistance to half-inch gypsum board must cover all foam materials. Also, some building codes don't recognize sprayed foam insulation as a vapor barrier, so installation might require an additional vapor retarder. Contractors in Victoria will know about local building codes regarding insulation.


Foam board or rigid foam insulation

Foam boards, which are rigid panels of insulation, can be used to insulate almost any part of your home, from the roof down to the foundation. They provide good thermal resistance, and reduce heat conduction through structural elements, like wood and steel studs. The most common types of materials used in making foam board insulation include polystyrene, polyisocyanurate (polyiso), and polyurethane.


Fiberglass insulation

Fiberglass insulation is the most common type of insulation in Victoria BC. Also known as blanket insulation, it comes in the form of batts or rolls. It consists of flexible fibers, most commonly fiberglass. You also can find batts and rolls made from mineral (rock and slag) wool, plastic fibers, and natural fibers, such as cotton and sheep's wool.

Batts and rolls are available in widths suited to standard spacing of wall studs, attic trusses or rafters, and floor joists. Continuous rolls can be hand-cut and trimmed to fit. They are available with or without facings. Manufacturers often attach a facing to act as a vapor barrier and/or air barrier. Batts with a special flame-resistant facing are available in various widths for basement walls and other places where the insulation will be left exposed. A facing also helps facilitate fastening during installation.

Standard fiberglass blankets and batts have a thermal resistance or R-value between R-2.9 and R-3.8 per inch of thickness. High-performance (medium-density and high-density) fiberglass blankets and batts have R-values between R-3.7 and R-4.3 per inch of thickness.

Blanket insulation installation quality is based on batt thickness and a lack of gaps between batts as well as between batts and framing. In addition, installed insulation should be inspected for a tight fit around building components that penetrate the insulation, such as electrical boxes.


Concrete Block Insulation

Concrete blocks are sometimes used to build home foundations and walls, and there are several ways to insulate them. If the cores aren’t filled with steel and concrete for structural reasons, they can be filled with insulation. Typically, concrete block walls are insulated or built with insulating concrete blocks during new home construction or major home renovations. For existing homes in Victoria, it is usually more effective to install insulation over the surface of concrete blocks either on the exterior or interior of the foundation walls. Placing insulation on the exterior has the added advantage of containing the thermal mass of the blocks within the conditioned space, which can moderate indoor temperatures.


Loose-fill and Blown-in Insulation

Loose-fill insulation consists of small particles of fiber, foam, or other materials. These small particles form an insulation material that can conform to any space without disturbing structures or finishes. This ability to conform makes loose-fill insulation well suited for retrofits and locations where it would be difficult to install other types of insulation.

The most common types of materials used for loose-fill insulation include cellulose, fiberglass, and mineral (rock or slag) wool. All of these materials are produced using recycled waste materials.


Attic insulation

Since heat rises, the attic is an area that benefits most from insulation in Victoria homes. Older homes, which are common in Victoria BC often have insufficient insulation in attics. Popular types of insulation for insulating attics includes foam insulation, loose-fill insulation, spray foam insulation and poured foam insulation. Fiberglass insulation is also commonly used to insulate attics in Victoria BC. Insulating attics may be the first thing to do if you wish to insulate your home and reduce your heating bill. However, another form of attic insulation works to reduce heat build-up to keep your home cooler in the summer months and reduce your cooling costs.

Radiant barriers and reflective insulation work by reflecting radiant heat away from the living space. Radiant barriers are installed in homes, usually in attics, primarily to reduce summer heat gain. Reflective insulation incorporates radiant barriers, typically highly reflective aluminum foils, into insulation systems that can include a variety of backings, such as craft paper, plastic film, polyethylene bubbles, or cardboard, as well as thermal insulation materials.

Radiant heat travels in a straight line away from any surface and heats anything solid that absorbs its energy. When the sun heats a roof, it's primarily the sun's radiant energy that makes the roof hot. A large portion of this heat travels by conduction through the roofing materials to the attic side of the roof. The hot roof material then radiates its gained heat energy onto the cooler attic surfaces, including the air ducts and the attic floor. A radiant barrier reduces the radiant heat transfer from the underside of the roof to the other surfaces in the attic. To be effective, it must face an air space.

Radiant barriers are more effective in hot climates, so are not typically needed in Victoria. In cool climates such as Victoria’s it's usually more cost-effective to install insulation.


Finding General Contractors and Insulation Installers in Victoria BC

Although it is possible to install insulation yourself, many types of insulation are best installed by general contractors, as described above. Alpine Insulation is a general contractor which installs insulation in Victoria BC. Other insulation installation companies in Victoria BC can be found in the yellow pages. There are several insulation installation companies and general contractors in Victoria BC that are qualified to install insulation and Easy Job Quote has several general contractors in our marketplace qualified to install insulation.

When hiring a general contractor or insulation installer:

•Obtain written cost estimates from several insulation installers or general contractors for the R-value you need, and don't be surprised if quoted prices for a given R-value installation vary by more than a factor of two. Easy Job Quote can tender your insulation installation job in our marketplace to obtain estimates from qualified general contractors and insulation installers.

•Ask insulation installers or general contractors about their air-sealing services and costs as well, because it’s a good idea to seal air leaks before installing insulation.