During our first winter in the house, we noticed that the basement got fairly chilly, and so we realized early on that insulation was going to be a major part of our renovation. Now that the walls were taken down (see that post here) and then re-framed (you can read about that here), it was time to insulate those bad boys. Since we were eligible for quite a few government rebates for improving the efficiency of our home, we decided to do the grand-daddy of insulation options: blow-in insulation. It costs more, but man it really fills up every possible nook and cranny. It was also appealing that we didn’t have to do it ourselves (we were on a timeline here!). We hired a local insulation company, they came in one morning, sprayed it in, and bam – fini! It happens exactly how it sounds – they blow in the insulation with big spray machines and it expands and dries super quickly. Here are some pictures to give you an idea of what I mean.
What we were starting with:
After super-quick drying blow-in insulation:
The next part of our insulation process was to do the ceiling. The labour for this part was, unfortunately, all us. We decided to go with a product called Roxul which was pretty affordable and is a sound and fire barrier, in addition to insulating. This wasn’t such a pleasant job. The Roxul is full of little pieces of fiberglass, so you need to wear long pants, long sleeves, a mask, and gloves. We had to cut the pieces to fit exactly in our ceiling joists. Dan would measure, I would cut, pass the piece up to him, and he would shove it in. All in all, it only took one evening, but it wasn’t a pleasant job.
My super-strong man (it’s not as heavy as it looks — don’t tell him I told you!):
Me cutting the insulation (and getting grumpier by the minute..!):
Danny shoving it up into the ceiling:
Ooooh, ahhh… isn’t that beautiful? (just humour me!)
We also added some insulation to our water pipes (which means your energy system doesn’t have to work so hard to keep your hot water hot). You can get strips of this pipe insulation from your home hardware store for a mere $0.99. Check it out:
To improve our house’s energy efficiency once again, we also decided to lay some basic insulation (you know, that pink stuff from Home Depot?) in our attic. A friend of ours had come over to help out, so I was able to sit out on this job (hoorah – thanks richard!). At least with this job it was just a matter of laying the insulation pieces above what was already there. No cutting required. It was definitely hot up in the attic though. The two boys came out totally red in the face and dripping with sweat. Gracias amigos!
So there you have it. Insulation isn’t the most fun job, but it does make a world of difference to the energy efficiency of your home. Everybody wants a lower heating and air conditioning bill, right? And since we more than doubled our ‘R’ value (this is the measure of the efficiency of your home), we got a nice big rebate back from the government. A toasty home, on a budget!