Category Archives: New Construction

Structural Damage to Attics and Other Problems Rodents Cause

atticIf there’s one room in the house most homeowners give little thought to, it’s probably the attic. When it’s too small to use as a bedroom, it’s used as long-term storage space for seasonal clothes, sports equipment, childhood memorabilia, and other things that often takes us years to throw away like old furniture, toys, and books. Weeks, maybe even months, could go by before someone else visits the attic, which explains why it often becomes a nesting ground for pests — rodents in particular.

Rodents’ Love Affair with Attics

Rodents are America’s biggest home pest concern. A representative from the National Pest Management Association adds that they are very adept at surviving, hence their propensity for entering households and residing in attics where they thrive with little disturbance.

Attics are attractive to mice and rats because they provide shelter and protection from the elements. The insulating material, cords, and pipes that often line an attic further create conducive living conditions for rodents. They can burrow through insulation foam, build nests for their young, gather and stockpile food without being interrupted by preying animals or humans.

Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t realize that they have rodents in the attic until it’s too late. It’s tough dealing with pests when they’ve taken up residence in your home for a long time or already multiplied.

A few crucial facts about rodents:

  • Female mice can have 12 litters of three to 12 pups per year.
  • Female rats can have eight litters of two to 14 pups per year.
  • The gestation period for mice is 18 days; 21 days for rats.
  • Rodents’ life span is between nine to 18 months.

Given these, it’s crucial to eliminate rodents from your roof as quickly as possible.

Signs of a Rodent Infestation in the Attic

atticRodents are pretty good at staying out of sight, but they leave distinctive trails. Observe your surroundings and watch out for the following:

  • Scurrying noises on the roof and inside the walls (especially at night, since rats and mice are nocturnal creatures).
  • Inexplicable crumbs and wood chips or stuffing on floor corners and inside pantry cabinets and utility closets.
  • Growing holes in the walls, particularly at the corners of the crown and floor moldings.
  • Gnaw marks on wood surfaces.
  • Gnaw marks on food packs and carton boxes.
  • Visible grease marks (house mice have oily fur from burrowing through all kinds of filthy holes and surfaces).
  • Expanding gaps between the molding panels and the floor or wall.
  • Dark brown or black grains about a quarter to 3/4 of an inch long (mice and rat droppings) litter the exposed upper shelves and utility closets.
  • The attic becomes increasingly drafty.
  • A musty, pungent smell permeates the entire house.

Ignoring these signs can result in substantial damage to your attic, and probably elsewhere in your home.

Kinds of Damage Caused by Rodents

Rodents’ claws and teeth may be tiny, but they are sharp and strong enough to go through pretty much everything except for glass and metals. They can chew on:

  • wood
  • concrete
  • aluminum siding
  • plaster
  • soil
  • frozen ground

Seeing as these are the very materials houses are made of, it would make sense to say that no home is rodent infestation-proof. These creatures can inflict all kinds of structural damage, but let’s focus first on what they can do to attics.

  1. Destroy insulation panels – Rodents are notorious for creating nests. Unfortunately for homeowners, loose-fill and batt insulation are perfect nesting materials. They’re often the first casualties in attics with exposed insulation panels, as a result. Rats tear the material apart to assemble nests for their pups. Meanwhile, mice tend to burrow and form tunnels within the insulation panels.
  2. Gnaw holes in the rafters – The structural damage in attics stems from rodents’ determination to go through the tiniest holes to enter a house. It doesn’t matter if an entrance is too tiny; they will just keep chewing on the wood or plaster until they can fit through the hole. They also do the same to get past the attic and explore other areas of the building to search for food.
  3. Filthy stains – As mentioned earlier, rats and most species of house mice have furry or hairy underbellies that accumulate grease and filth as they travel. These stains are an eyesore and could be a problem when it’s time to sell the house. These marks are a dead giveaway that the house is prone to rodent infestation — a red flag that savvy house buyers are sure to catch.
  4. Damaged soffits and fascia – Apart from the insulation panels, the tiny, cozy space created by the soffit and fascia is also a haven for rodents. In the absence of insulated rafters and floors, rodents might gnaw their way into these spaces to build their nests. Their prolonged presence would inevitably result in debris, feces, and urine residue buildup. Soffits and fascias are made of wood, which can deteriorate rapidly with constant exposure to fecal matter and rodent activity.
  5. Cut electrical wiring – Rodents chew on wires with just as much gusto as anything else they can sink their teeth into. The damage may not be structural, but it is potentially deadly. Damaged electrical wiring can cause connected appliances to short-circuit or generate heat in areas where thermal energy shouldn’t be. Once rodents start chewing on wires, a house’s fire risk increases substantially.

Any of these can give a homeowner a massive headache. The problems don’t end with these five, however. Each of them can lead to more attic damage and other issues that could put residents’ health at risk.

Secondary Problems

Imagine how things would be after an attic is overrun by rodents:

The insulation panels would be in shambles. The wooden rafters, soffits, and fascias would be gnawed in many places, their structural integrity getting weaker the bigger and more numerous the holes become. Rubber-coated cables would be chipped in random places, the copper strands exposed if not completely cut.

Homeowners can expect that other structural and health problems will emerge from this scenario:

  1. Faulty gutters – Gutter systems are often mounted next to the fascias of the roof. Fascia boards weakened by structural damage, and moisture could give way under the weight of PVC pipes, leaf grates, and mounting brackets. Another scenario could be chunks of rotting fascia that would fall in and clog gutter lines. It can happen with exposed, half-round gutters with a drip edge that’s screwed directly onto the fascia board.
  2. Water damage – Leaky gutters can let water seep into the rafters and eaves, adding water damage to the structural problems of an attic. A host of other issues could follow this:
  • Mold and mildew growth
  • Discoloration on the interior walls and the ceiling of the floor below
  • Compromised roof integrity
  1. Ineffective home insulation – The R-value of a house’s insulation system deteriorates the moment rodents make themselves at home in an insulated attic. Insulating material must be seamless to be effective. Gaps in blanket insulation or loose-fill insulation become leak points through which hot air can escape. Air leaks can add 10-20% to your annual heating and cooling bills (the US Department of Energy estimates this to be around $83-166).
  2. More pests – A rodent colony inside a house can attract a specific type of predatory pest: snakes. These slithering creatures have an uncanny knack for tracking rodents’ nests, and they can do it right under people’s noses. In fact, many homeowners report finding snakes curled up in the crevices of heat-generating appliances like old refrigerators, boiler tanks, and spin dryers, oblivious to their surroundings after eating their fill. Snakes might be useful in eliminating rodents, but they’re not the kind of help people should want to get.

Other pests like roaches, woodlice, and termites could also make their way inside a home thanks to the holes and burrows rodents create.

  1. Poor air quality – The smell of rodent excrement and mold growth are distracting at best and a health risk at worst. Feces and urine can contaminate the air as rodents have no compunction where and when they will defecate. Mold growth, meanwhile, can trigger respiratory illnesses, especially among infants. People who don’t have a family history of asthma, pneumonia, or other respiratory diseases can become vulnerable to them with enough prolonged exposure to poor–quality air.

A PSA for Insulate Kansas City Customers

It’s remarkable how such tiny creatures can cause so much damage to a house and put human lives at risk. We hope to increase people’s awareness about the possible effects of rodent infestation mainly because these pests compromise home insulation — a major concern for us given that we provide and install home insulation materials.

Insulate Kansas City delivers quality products and services, and we want our customers to experience their full benefits. A rodent problem will no doubt get in the way of that. Moreover, the structural damage rodents can do to an attic (and an entire house for that matter) can be extensive and expensive.

Avoid having to spend for premature insulation replacement and structural repairs; bear in mind the signs of a rodent infestation and eliminate the pests before they can do the kinds of damage listed in this article. But, if rodents have gotten into the insulation in your attic, contact Insulate Kansas City. We’ll immediately work on restoring the insulation in your roof.

Fiberglass vs. Cellulose: Which Works Best as a Blow-In Insulation Material?

Worker insulating the wallAccording to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), homeowners can save an average of 11% on total energy costs by air sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics and basements. One way to do this is through blow-in insulation. This is when loose-fill material is blown into your attic through a hose, using a truck-mounted or portable machine. This method of adding insulation is used both for new constructions and existing attics.

There are many kinds of insulation that you can use in your home’s attic, walls, and basements, but the two most common and least expensive are fiberglass and cellulose. Both materials improve your home’s energy efficiency but do so in different ways.

Here are some of the differences between the two insulation materials, so that you can make an informed decision on which one is best for your home.

Cost

Though, of course, the prices vary from contractor to contractor, fiberglass, and cellulose are generally inexpensive. They are the cheapest insulation options available in the market today. The difference between their prices is negligible.

R-Value

R-Value is the measurement of an insulation material’s ability to block thermal transfer or the movement of heat. The higher the R-value, the more insulative the material. Fiberglass and cellulose have similar R-values when installed properly. If so, they perform usually at the 3.5 to 3.7 range. This can still vary based on a lot of other factors, such as wind-washing, settling, or outside temperature, however.

Air Leakage

Both fiberglass and cellulose help retain heat but neither acts as an air barrier. Air can circulate through the insulation. Fiberglass traps air in the pockets of the insulation, while, cellulose can slow air flow, particularly in walls.

Moisture

Neither insulation material works well when wet or damp. This is because both of them are fibrous, which means they easily trap moisture. However, both can also dry out very quickly because of their high air permeability.

Flammability

Fiberglass and cellulose have different issues with fire. Since fiberglass is made of spun glass, it won’t burn; when faced with extreme heat, it will simply melt. Blow-in fiberglass is completely non-flammable.

On the other hand, cellulose insulation is made of ground-up paper. Though this paper is treated with flame retardants, there is still a possibility that it would catch fire around recessed lighting and in extreme heat.

Durability

Both cellulose and fiberglass are quite durable. While cellulose is treated to help prevent rot, mildew, and decay, fiberglass simply does not rot, nor does it promote mildew or decay. Excessive moisture may cause both to develop these issues, however.

Which Will You Pick?

Choosing the insulation material largely depends on the project at hand. Fiberglass and cellulose have their own pros and cons, and each works differently in distinct applications.

If you opt for blow-in blanket insulation in Kansas City, get in touch with A+ Insulation. We have been insulating homes and businesses in Kansas City since 2004. Our team of experts would love to hear from you and discuss all available options. Contact us today!

Building a New Home? Install Insulation for Energy Efficiency

Building a new home can be a rewarding experience. You want to get the most for your money while building a comfortable for you and your family. One way to do so is to install the right insulation for more energy efficiency. Most professional insulation contractors recommend installing spray foam to get the most return on your investment. Spray foam minimizes air leaks in walls and roofs, saving you around 15 percent on heating and cooling costs.

Insulation and Energy Efficiency in Your New Home

The U.S. Department of Energy explains that installing insulation while building your home rather than after the construction is more cost-efficient. Before you start incorporating insulation into your new home, you need to identify the areas that need the most air control first.

Remember that each area of your home has recommended R-values. These values will depend on the climate of your area as well as the type of heating and cooling system you use.

The Department of Energy also recommends installing your insulation after air sealing your home to ensure that unwanted moisture doesn’t get trapped in your insulation.

Where Should You Install Your Insulation?

It’s important to install your insulation in the right place to fully reap the benefits it has to offer. You should determine which areas tend to lose heat.

The attic is one of the key areas to add insulation in your home. Attic insulation will help attic-insulationyou effectively save on your energy bills because this is where your home loses most of its heat. Properly installing insulation in your attic will prevent this from happening and keep your home warm during colder months of the year.

Spray foam insulation is ideal for preventing air leaks in the roof and other cracks, as well. The fact that spray foam expands enables the material to effectively fill in cracks in ceilings, walls, and other areas of the home that might be hard to find.

Work with Professionals

Professional insulation contractors will know what material is best for your home’s heating and cooling needs. Experienced contractors also know how to work quickly and safely with this material. We cannot stress how important it is to work with a contractor who has knowledge of building an energy-efficient home and knows how to install insulation correctly.

It‘s also worth noting that professionals know how to get you the most for your money when it comes to insulation and energy efficiency. They know what to consider when it comes to ventilation and air infiltration; they will make sure your home is comfortable year round. Every home is unique and has different requirements when it comes to installing insulation.

You’ll have a peace of mind while working with our team of experts. We have project managers on-site who can explain the entire process to you from beginning to end and consider your personal concerns relating to your new home’s insulation

We offer free inspections to see which areas of your home need insulation the most. Contact us today for more information.

Add Resale Value to Your KC Home with Insulation

Want to add more value to your Kansas City home? Start by insulating your home properly with A+ Insulation. This simple addition can drastically add value to your home immediately in the form of lower utility bills and later when you decide to put it on the market. Here’s what you need to know about insulating your home, and why it’s a great investment to make.

The Insulation Standards Are Changing

Insulation standards are not what they were a few years ago. Cities and towns within the Kansas City metro are raising the R-Value that your insulation has to meet in the 2015 calendar year. (R-Value is the capacity of your insulation to resist heat flow.) This means new homes, or homes for sale, need to have insulation with acceptable R-Values. The upside to this is that it will mean more energy efficient homes. The higher the R-Value of your insulation, the more savings you’ll see when it comes to your monthly utility bill.

See all the types of insulation that can add value to your home on our website.

ROI of Insulating Your Home

The return on your investment is huge when it comes to insulating your home. Attic insulation is one of the most important types to have in a Midwestern home. This type of insulation can pay for itself in just two years based on energy savings. In this amount of time you can save an average of $1,000 in energy savings. Take it from Mike O’Hara, the owner of A+ Insulation who says, “Updating your home’s insulation is a financially responsible decision.” Since insulation is responsible for up to 70% of the total heat gain and loss in your home, the proper type, amount, and installation of insulation can make a huge difference in your savings in the longterm.

Call A+ Insulation at (913) 281-2250 or (816) 268-7511 to increase the value of your home with new insulation.

3 Reasons to Hire a Professional Insulation Company & Avoid DIY

Professional Insulation vs diyWhen it comes to insulation, it really is best to leave it to the professionals. DIY projects are okay for holiday displays and side tables, but when it comes to something as important as insulation, you really should think twice before you take it on yourself. Here are three major reasons why we suggest you call the insulation experts at A+ Insulation first.

R-Value of Your Insulation

Insulation installed by the professionals is more effective at doing its job for many reasons. One very important reason is that professionally installed insulation usually has a higher R-value. R-value is a measure of resistance to heat flow through a given thickness of material. The higher the R-value of insulation, the more resistant it is to temperature fluctuation. In short, higher R-values mean the insulation does a better job at insulating your home. Without the proper practices, self-installation on insulation can lead to higher energy bills, undermining one of the main purposes of insulating your home in the first place.

Insufficient Insulation

Often times, when homeowners try to insulate their homes themselves they underestimate the amount of insulation needed to effectively insulate their home. We often fine wall cavities or attics that aren’t sufficiently filled when homeowners install it themselves. When this happens you’ll probably find your energy bills are higher than they would be if your home was properly insulated.

Poor Quality Insulation Equipment

The type of equipment used to install insulation can also affect its effectiveness. Many DIY-ers rent insulation equipment from home improvement stores, and many of these equipment pieces don’t have the capacity to do the job right. The quality of rented insulation equipment is usually lower, and the technology is older. We often find that rented equipment doesn’t properly break up product to give you the R-value you want. Sometimes we even find that untrained people using rented equipment damage the sheetrock in their homes. Professional insulation technicians are well trained on the best practices and with the newest and most effective technologies.

Read more about how properly installed insulation can help you save.

Call A+ Insulation today at (913) 281-2250 or (816) 268-7511 to get a free insulation quote for your Kansas City area home.

Attic Insulation: What to Expect from A+ Insulation

Insulating your attic is a big project, but at A+ Insulation we try to make sure it doesn’t interrupt your day-to-day life. Many Kansas City homeowners aren’t sure what to expect when they hire us to do the job. Here’s a quick rundown of what a typical attic insulation job looks like for A+ Insulation.

We Protect Your Home First

First and foremost, we understand that your home is the priority. That’s why we make sure to care for your entire home when we arrive to do a job. We lay down plastic all the way from the front door of your home to the attic entrance. We do this to block off the rest of your home from the work zone, and to make sure we stay within our work zone. This keeps outside interferences to a minimum, and keeps us from tracking dirt, leaves and insulation into other parts of your home. Blocking off the work zone also allows you to carry on with your normal activities while we do our work. We try our best to be non-intrusive, so you don’t even have to leave your home.

We Clean Up Afterwards

We take out time in your attic and make sure we cover everything on our list. Even still, a typical job usually only takes four to six hours to complete. After we finish installing the insulation, though, our job still isn’t done. We never leave a home without cleaning up our workspace. We make sure to remove the plastic coverings, and vacuum the entire route before we leave. Our goal is to leave your home looking and feeling even better than before we got there.

Don’t just take our word for it, read what KC homeowners are saying about their personal experience with A+!

Call us at (913) 281-2250 or (816) 268-7511 to schedule an estimate to insulate your attic with A+ Insulation today.

4 Attic Insulation Options for Your KC Home

Don’t wait to insulate your attic. With the severe Kansas City area weather, attic insulation is one of the most important factors in keeping your home comfortable. At A+ Insulation, we want you to be educated on the facts about the different types of attic insulation and which one is best for your home.

InsulSafe SP

This fiberglass blown-in insulation is commonly used in attics and walls. It has superior thermal efficiency, as well as great coverage, sound absorption, and it’s non-combustible. It’s a popular choice, with 80% of A+ Insulation customers choosing to install it in their homes. Our owner, Mike O’Hara, even has it in his home. InsulSafe comes with a lifetime transferrable warranty.

Cellulose

Cellulose is also a blown-in insulation. It’s different from other insulation, however, as it acts similar to a liquid when it is applied, wrapping itself around obstructions and filling nooks and crannies that batt insulation can’t. It’s almost like a blanket around the inside of your home. Cellulose also has amazing thermal efficiency, keeping your home more comfortable no matter the weather. Many homeowners choose cellulose insulation because it is more environmentally friendly than many other options.

Spray Foam

We like to use CertaSpray closed cell foam insulation, which expands up to 100 times its original size to fill even the smallest, hard-to-get-to spaces. This insulation is great because it also acts as an air sealing system.

Batted

This is one of the most affordable insulation solutions. The downside is that it’s best for areas without a lot of pipes, wires, or other obstructions. Since many of these things require cutting the insulation to fit, it can cause gaps which can negatively affect the insulation’s ability to do its job.

When you choose A+ Insulation, we can show you samples of the product, and even offer a thermal imaging scan of your attic.  We review your current situation and offer improvements that we believe would be best for your home.

Call A+ Insulation today at (913) 281-2250 or (816) 268-7511 to talk about which type of insulation is the right solution for your home.

Insulate Your Kansas City Home Now to Avoid Problems Later

Don’t wait until you get a huge energy bill in December to call us this year. Get ahead of the curve and call A+ Insulation to install insulation in your home today. Not only will you avoid a high energy bill, but you’ll also beat our busy season, and save yourself damage to your home due to inadequate insulation.

Quicker Insulation Service

By calling us this fall, we will be able to provide you with a more efficient turnaround of insulation services. After the first really cold month hits, and homeowners see their energy bills, we receive a surge of phone calls for our insulation services. Beat the rush and make sure your home is properly insulated before the holidays. You’ll save yourself a lot of hassle.

Related Read: How to Know When Your Home Is Under Insulated

Avoid Home Damage

Another major reason you should install insulation in your home now is to avoid damage to your home that is cause by inadequate insulation. Not only does insulation keep your home more comfortable inside and lower your energy bills, but it also protects your home from damage caused by Kansas City’s melting and freezing snow and ice. Improper insulation in your attic can cause heat to escape through your roof. In the winter this can melt snow and ice, which then freezes again as it flows to the lower parts of your roof and gutters. The result is large chunks of ice and oversized icicles hanging from your eaves. We call this ice damming. It can wreak havoc on your roof and your gutter. Not to mention it can turn into a safety hazard for those below. And if you don’t have enough insulation in your exterior walls, you could also experience frozen pipes, which can burst, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage instantaneously.

Call A+ Insulation today at (913) 281-2250 or (816) 268-7511 to get started insulating your home now.

Why Our Customers Love Us . . . and You Will Too!

At A+ Insulation we pride ourselves on being a customer service company who specializes in insulation services. While our technicians are masters of their craft, they are also customer service experts. That’s because we aren’t a business without our customers – and we value each and every single person who trusts us to get the job done for them. If you haven’t called us yet to insulate your home, here a few reasons why you should.

A+ Insulation Is Award Winning

One thing that solidifies our outstanding customer service is our Angie’s List Super Service Award. We’ve managed to take home the honor five years in a row now. The Super Service Award honors excellence among service and health providers who maintain superior service ratings and reviews on Angie’s List. This means we are among the top 5% of service businesses on Angie’s List in the Kansas City area.

We Offer Honest Customer Feedback for New Customers

On top of our awards, you can read more about our great craftsmanship and service straight from current customers of A+ Insulation right on our homepage. We offer several unaltered customer testimonials on our webpage, as well as on other review sites, like Google+ and Facebook. Hear what people are saying about us, and see if it helps you decide if we earned that A+ in our name.

“Mike goes over every possible way to save money and is happy to give his expert advice with a non-biased attitude. When asking his opinion, he would tell me straight, but would never push his opinion on me. Mike was helpful, easy to work with, and significantly less expensive than any other company we got quotes from. He charges by the square foot, not by the job, and he includes patching and spackle in his pricing. He comes highly recommended.

-Ian F., Kansas City

“From the beginning I knew Mike and his team at A+ Insulation would do a great job. When Mike came to give us the estimate, both he and I climbed up in the attic to look around. He didn’t just peek his head up in the attic. He was willing to show me (a woman) what he was going to be doing. While we were up there, he found exposed wires and lighting that were a fire hazard and needed to be taken care of before insulation could be installed. He even offered to do these things for us. His staff was friendly, and cleaned up the area when they were finished. I could have paid less somewhere else, but you get what you pay for. Peace of mind is priceless.

– Dawn V., Kansas City

Call A+ Insulation at either (816) 268-7511 or (913) 281-2250 for superior customer service and excellent insulation repair and installation.

5 Reasons to Call A+ Insulation

A+ Insulation VanResidential or commercial insulation is not something you should leave up to amateurs. The right type and amount of insulation varies by space, location, problem, as well as desired outcome. And it takes an educated technician to know when each is needed. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to insulating your Kansas City home or business, here are five reasons to call A+ Insulation today.

1) All A+ Insulation Team Members Are Certified Insulation Master Craftsmen

This means they have passed a test of product knowledge. Master craftsmen know all the specifics about our products and services, like where to use each type of insulation, and how much is necessary in each situation. They also have to pass an insulation test that requires them to know how to determine what type of insulation your home or business might already have.

2) Each Project Has an On-Site Manager for the Entire Project

The on-site managers oversee the crew working on the project. They are extremely experienced when it comes to insulation installation, as many of our managers have moved up the ranks over the years. Our on-site managers are also the main point of contact for homeowners. They walk you through the process of the project step by step. Our managers can also address any questions or issues you might have.

3) A+ Insulation Educates our Customers on the Project

A+ Insulation wants each homeowner to be well educated when it comes to their home’s insulation. This helps homeowners understand the value that they are putting into their home with new installation, how it can help them when it comes to energy bills, and what type of lifespan and pricing they can expect.

We provide each homeowner with before, during and after photos of the project, so you know where your money is going. Insulation is usually added to crawl spaces, attics, or behind walls where most homeowners can’t get to, so the pictures allow you to see what’s going on. We also offer an option for you to purchase a portfolio of your project, which entails the photos, the amount of bags of insulation used, and other important information.

4) Your Home Stays Clean from Start to Finish

You’ll hardly notice we  are there throughout the entire project. At A+ Insulation, we want you to feel comfortable in your home while we install your insulation. That’s why we cover the entire path of the project in plastic. This ensures that we don’t track in any dirt from outside, or any mess from the project area into your home. Many homes we work on are cleaner after we leave than when we got there!

5) Customer Service

At A+ Insulation, we pride ourselves on earning the grade. We want our customers to be 100% satisfied. That’s why we offer a one-year guarantee on our work, and always finish the job with a customer satisfaction survey to make sure we are doing everything we can to better serve you. We bend over backwards to accommodate our customers. And most of our customers would agree. We have more than 250 five-star reviews on review sites, as well as dozens of testimonials on our website. We make sure customer satisfaction stays our number one priority with our company structure. We hold our project managers accountable for the work that is done at each home. This means blame is never deflected.

For excellent insulation services that make the grade, call A+ Insulation today at, 913-281-2250.