We are expert installers at all types of insulations and applications.
Made up of fine glass fibers and plastic, fiberglass is the most common insulation material in homes and commercial spaces. Available in several different forms it can be applied to almost any application. With it's low cost and relatively easy install, fiberglass makes a great cost effective choice.
Fiberglass does have it's limitations however. Since it is a porous material, air can still pass through it. This will result in poor performance. Most common issues are drafty rooms and higher energy costs.
At an average Rvalue between 2.9-3.8 per inch, fiberglass is at the low end of the spectrum, compared to other materials. Modern homes are built with framing to properly accommodate fiberglass at a recommended R21 so this is not a problem, however older homes are often limited, since the framing might only provide 3.5" of space. So in order to achieve the desired Rvalue other options might be needed.
For the Central New York area, we recommend using fiberglass for new construction and renovation walls or ceilings. However this must be coupled with air sealing all penetrations, gaps and around fixtures. When installing batts in ceilings, we also suggest a layer of blown in cellulose. This will provide a continuous blanket over the fiberglass.
Made of recycled paper and treated to be fire retardant and moisture resistant, Cellulose is by far the most eco-friendly material. While Cellulose comes in batt forms, its most often installed by being blown in through a machine and hose. Cellulose can be blown in loosely to accommodate a traditional attic space, or dense packed behind walls or sloped ceilings.
Unlike fiberglass, cellulose has significant air sealing qualities. When installed correctly in walls and attics, cellulose will pack tight enough to properly reduce air infiltration.
At an Rvalue of 3.5 per inch, cellulose comes in just over fiberglass but below foam based products. What sets cellulose apart, is that it performs even in extreme colds. Fiberglass and foam will see decreased effectiveness when temperatures dip below freezing. This makes it a great choice for the Syracuse region.
We recommend using cellulose for attic spaces and retro fit work in existing walls.
Spray foam Insulation
Polyurethane spray foam is often considered the best choice when it comes to insulating. At R6.5 per inch for closed cell foam and the ability to air seal and insulate, it's hard to argue.
Spray foam is installed by mixing two chemicals together and then spraying onto a surface. Once the foam mixes the material expands as installed. Unlike traditional insulation materials, foam does not allow air to penetrate it. This allows foam to act both as a vapor barrier and insulator. As foam expands it gets into every gap or space and provides a continuous system.
While the benefits of foam are great, there's definitely other factors to consider. Cost of foam is by far the most expensive. You can expect to pay up to 2-3 times the amount of traditional insulation. With this high cost, it can be hard to justify using foam, as it is unlikely you will see a quick return on investment.
We recommend using foam only in certain situations. Sealing and insulating a basement rim joist is a great example of when to use foam. This area can be difficult to impossible to properly seal using traditional methods. Also when space is limited due to framing, spray foam or a hybrid system of foam and fiberglass might be the most cost effective method.
Rigid Board Insulation
Board insulation comes in a few different options. You can get faced with a vapor barrier or un faced. Different materials are used to make board insulation, mainly there are 3 options. XPS, EPS or GPS.
Extruded polystyrene (XPS) is the most common board found. Box stores usually carry these in pink, blue or green. Color only differentiates between manufactures.
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) while providing less rvalue per inch, actually performs better when it comes to moisture resistance and performance.
EPS board infused with graphite with a reflective barrier is known as GPS boards. Compared to traditional board insulation GPS outperforms by 20%. Also the most eco-friendly of any foam product as it is 100% recyclable, ozone layer friendly and produces no CFCs or HCFCs when manufactured.
We usually recommend GPS board for basements, crawl spaces attics and cape cod style homes,
Basement Blanket Insulation
A common choice for builders when completing a new home to keep finishing costs low. Blanket insulation is typically made of fiberglass with a white vinyl cover.
Blankets should be installed directly to the basement wall, overlapping the sill pate and extending down to about 4 inches off the ground. While this method does provide adequate insulation to meet code, it does little in actually providing comfort and energy savings.
Blankets should only be hung in basements that are completely dry and rim joist area or any penetrations sealed with spray foam.
If installed in a wet or moist basement the material could become ineffective. If penetrations are not sealed, the blanket will simply act as a filter for cold air.
We recommend the basement blanket only in dry basements that have been spot sealed, or new construction where the basement is not considered livable space and to meet code requirements.
Mineral wool Insulation
Mineral wool has been gaining popularity lately with builders for its high performance in colder climates, soundproofing and fire blocking abilities. With a higher rvalue per inch then traditional fiberglass, it’s a great option in new or old construction. Mineral wool unlike fiberglass and cellulose can not absorb water, which means it does not have to be removed if it gets wet. Also being made of recycled and natural materials it’s a great eco-friendly option.
Baffles or vent chutes provide a path for air to travel from the soffit to the ridge vent of your roof deck. They are critical in keeping the roof at a desired temperature. If not installed correctly, cold air will blow across your attic degrading the insulation and giving cold drafts along the ceiling. Baffles should fully extend across each rafter bay, folded downward and sealed at the top plate.
We offer full insulation services to Central New York Thru Northern Pennsylvania.