Category Archives: Residential

The Health Benefits of Having a Quiet Home

Living in a crowded, noisy part of town can make even staying at home tiring. There can be car horns from out in the street or noisy neighbors blasting their stereo. If this happens on a regular basis, it can have a serious negative impact on your health.

A quiet home is important to your well-being. If the noise gets to you and interferes with your relaxation and sleep, then maybe it’s time to consider getting insulation to soundproof your home.

More Rest and Less Stress

Quiet homeThe most obvious and most important benefit to having soundproofing insulation is that less noise results in better relaxation by reducing disturbance to sleep and other activities.

You might be tempted just to ignore the noise. After all, whatever noise you experience in your home is likely intermittent; it goes away after a while and might not be worth investing in a permanent solution for. This might work at first.

However, a lack of quality rest time takes its toll on you. You might be able to ignore noise for a time, but you can’t ignore the physical and psychological effects it has on you. Quality rest is needed for your body and mind to heal and wind down.

The Negative Effects of Noise

Noise pollution has several negative effects on your well-being. It’s been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, depression, increased anxiety, and tinnitus.

Regardless of whether the noise is the engines of a plane flying overhead or the hum of the TV, it can activate your brain’s fight or flight response. And it aggravates existing health conditions by increasing stress levels.

Stress itself causes a variety of symptoms, including physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms. You become more prone to negative emotions, have less energy, possibly get tense muscles, are less able to focus, have less of an appetite, and more.

If it comes to the point that the noise affects your sleep, its negative effects on your well-being are unsurprisingly magnified.

The Positive Effects of Silence

By installing soundproofing insulation, you avoid the negative effects of noise and benefit from the healthy effects of silence.

Silence has been found to stimulate brain growth. It enhances sleep and lessens insomnia. And it restores your mental strength, allowing you to better use your creativity and do some self-reflection. Even just 10 minutes in total silence does wonders for your concentration.

You’re probably bombarded with various stressors throughout the day. There’s work, unpleasant relations to deal with, bad news about the pandemic, and many other possible stressors winding you up. Home should be a refuge where you can block all of this out. You don’t need your neighbor’s music adding to your irritation.

Eliminate the noise, and your home becomes a much healthier place to live in.

A Better Home Environment

A quiet home with each room undisturbed by noise is a peaceful home. Soundproofing insulation makes your home much more comfortable. In addition to preventing noise from the outside coming in, it prevents noise from going from room to room.

To add to your comfort, soundproofing insulation doesn’t just insulate your home from sound, it also prevents heat from coming in or escaping. This makes it easier to keep your home at your preferred temperature, meaning your home is cooler during summer and warmer during winter. It also saves you money on your energy bills as you spend less electricity on appliances to cool or heat your home.

Privacy and Peace of Mind

As discussed earlier, quality rest and lack of noise are incredibly important to maintaining your health. But what if, for example, the people you live with want to watch a movie late at night? Perhaps you have a child practicing an instrument?

Maybe you’re the one who wants to relax with an activity that’s relatively noisy but don’t want to inconvenience the rest of the people in the house. Perhaps you’re singing in your room and don’t want anyone to hear you. Or you’re chatting with some friends over the phone, or online on your PC, and want your conversations to be private.

Regardless of what it is, soundproofing insulation will keep any sound from escaping the room or at least muffle it to the point that it can’t be understood. It helps the whole household avoid disturbance from individual members.

A Better Learning Environment

Noise is bad for children’s development.

Children that live in noisy environments have a harder time reading. Noise distracts them from important stimuli like their parents talking to them. It makes it harder for them to distinguish similar sound words. “Hit” and “bit,” for example, can sound very similar when there’s background noise messing with a child’s hearing.

Noise doesn’t just affect children’s language either. It can disrupt non-auditory tasks as well, so it could potentially disrupt the development of their other sensory skills.

By installing soundproofing insulation in your home, you’re also protecting your children. It keeps their young minds from being overwhelmed by too many stimuli, be it from loud construction outside or any noise made by family members within the house.

Of course, it’s not just children. While an adult’s learning and development wouldn’t be affected as much by noise, distractions would still hinder your reading or slow your learning of new skills. Learning is much easier when there aren’t any external sources of stress like noise.

More Effective Communication

Soundproofing your home allows for better communication between everyone living in it.

Noise can make it hard to have good conversations at home. This is partly because noise makes it harder to understand the other person, but it is also largely due to the aforementioned negative effects of noise on your health.

Sometimes, communication between household members is strained enough due to the family going through a rough patch. A noisy environment aggravates this and worsens your mental state, making it harder to resolve issues and misunderstandings.

Healthy communication is necessary for a happy household. And soundproofing insulation helps keep everyone calmer and thinking clearer by blocking out the noise.

Soundproofing Your Home

Soundproofing insulation materials are installed into your walls and ceiling. As sound comes into contact with the materials, the insulation reflects or absorbs noise and converts it into heat before it goes past your walls.

Homeowners are advised to insulate their homes from top to bottom. However, different insulation materials are suited for each part of a room. For most of your walls and entryways, blown-in and spray foam insulation are your best choices. For floors and ceilings, foam boards, rigid foam panels, and blanket batts are more suitable.

Some materials are harder to install than others, depending on whether your wall or ceiling is already in place. Blanket batts are better installed while a wall or ceiling is being built. But blown-in and spray foam insulation can be installed in finished walls or ceilings and hard-to-reach places.

It’s possible to install soundproofing insulation yourself if you have the tools and expertise. However, it is much more advisable to hire professionals to do the job for you. Improper handling of soundproofing insulation materials can irritate your skin and cause you to inhale small fibers and particles, possibly triggering respiratory issues.

Additional Ways to Soundproof Your Home

In addition to installing soundproofing insulation into your walls and ceilings, there are a few other ways you can soundproof your home.

The simplest way is to use rugs or carpets and stuffed and cushioned furniture. Rugs or carpets are effective for dampening the sound of footsteps on flooring like hardwood and tiles, which make a lot of noise. They also absorb sound, preventing it from bouncing from the floor. Similarly, stuffed furniture and cushions absorb sounds and help reduce echo.

While not ideal for your whole home, you can use acoustic tiles in select rooms for extra soundproofing. They absorb sound and limit reverberation. If you have a music room, this is perfect for improving the sound quality there as it will reduce noise from outside as well echo from the instruments.

Solid doors have a thicker density and are good for blocking out noise. For windows, you can use double-pane windows, which have air between the two glass panes and sound-absorbing curtains.

Take note that while these are effective means of soundproofing your home, they are best used in combination with soundproofing insulation. This is because your walls and ceilings are the parts of your home that come into contact with sound the most.

Get Soundproof Insulation for Your Home with A+ Insulation

Finding a solution to a quieter home is of utmost importance. And the cost of soundproofing your home is small in comparison to the costs associated with the health problems caused by noise exposure.

A+ Insulation will install soundproofing insulation for your home. We have a dedicated installation team with decades of experience, ready to make your home a quieter, more relaxing place.

Call us at (913) 281-2250 or send us a message and ask for a quote or schedule an appointment.

Room Above Your Garage Too Hot or Cold? Follow These Insulation Tips

Garage-insulation

Many homes feature a room above the garage. These bonus rooms create extra functional space on your property without you having to expand into your yard. They’re great additions for homes with smaller lots and can be used for various purposes, such as an office, guest room, entertainment and hobby area, or a play space for kids.

Despite the number of possible uses for the space, it isn’t without some drawbacks. Rooms over a garage can be challenging to heat and cool because of where they are situated. So, many homeowners complain about their bonus rooms being too hot or too cold, discouraging them from using their bonus room and rendering that additional space useless.

These overly hot or cold bonus rooms are often a result of improper insulation. The warm or cold air from the garage and the adjoining rooms seep into the bonus room, making it difficult to maintain a specific temperature in that space. If you want consistently comfortable indoor temperatures in your bonus room,  you need to properly insulate that room, the adjoining rooms, and the garage.

Garage Insulation

Most homeowners leave their unheated garages uninsulated, which is fine since they don’t need to maintain the temperature in that space anyway. If you have a bonus room, however, insulation becomes necessary even if you’re not heating your garage. The unconditioned air from your garage rises to the space above it, forcing your HVAC to work twice as hard to cool or heat the bonus room.

The first step to making your bonus room more comfortable, therefore, is to insulate your garage. Garages typically use any of the following types of insulation: fiberglass, rigid foam, cellulose, or spray foam.

Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass is the most popular insulation type for garages because of its affordability. It comes in pre-cut rolls, batts, and blankets that are easy to install, so you can save costs on installation by making a DIY project out of it.

Fiberglass batt insulation is an excellent option if you’re not heating your garage. It gives your bonus room enough thermal resistance without you having to spend thousands on insulation.

Rigid Foam Insulation

Opt for rigid foam insulation if you’re planning to convert your garage into a living space. Rigid foam is the only type of insulation that blocks heat transfer through structural elements like wood and steel studs, which is why it’s perfect for converted garages.

Rigid foam insulation comes in stiff panels typically made from polyurethane. The foam boards can be cut into any size and installed under another material, so you can use them to insulate the walls and floor of your garage.

Cellulose Insulation

Cellulose insulation is made from recycled newspaper treated with a fire retardant and comes in loose-fill form, making it a popular choice among eco-friendly homeowners.

If you have an unfinished garage, cellulose is your best insulation option. The loose-fill material conforms to any shape, so it easily insulates the spaces between the garage ceiling’s joists and beams.

Cellulose insulation requires the use of a special blowing machine for installation, which you can rent at your local hardware store. If a rental isn’t available, you’ll have to have an insulation contractor install it for you.

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam is the best type of insulation material. Apart from offering the highest thermal resistance values, the insulating material also creates a solid barrier that blocks air and moisture gaps.

The downside to spray foam insulation is its cost. At $1.50 to $4.90 per square foot, it’s an expensive way to insulate an unheated garage. However, it can be an effective choice if you’re planning to convert your garage into a full-time living space, such as a home office or guest room.

Garage Ceiling Insulation

If your bonus room still gets overly hot or cold even with an insulated garage, your garage ceiling insulation might need to be updated.

Many building companies insulate garage ceilings using fiberglass batts, which leave gaps in between where air can pass through. If your garage uses fiberglass batt insulation, we recommend replacing it with spray foam instead. Spray foam fills the entire ceiling gravity and closes off any gaps that allow airflow.

To save costs on spray foam insulation, you can have it installed in the gaps between the existing fiberglass batts instead of taking them all out and replacing them.

Make sure to hire a professional contractor to update your garage ceiling insulation because you’ll need to remove the ceiling drywall and redo it after installing the spray foam.

Bonus Room Insulation

The room above your garage needs proper insulation, too. When insulating bonus rooms, you want to focus on three areas: the floor, the exterior walls, and the knee wall.

Floor Insulation

Pay extra attention to your bonus room’s floor insulation, especially if it’s not possible for you to insulate your garage ceiling with spray foam. Floor insulation is generally thinner than ceiling insulation, but it costs less to install and provides almost the same thermal resistance.

Your bonus room floor has three layers: the finished top layer, the structural bottom layer, and the middle underlayment that serves as insulation. An insulating underlayment is different from floor insulation. The former is an additional layer of material installed beneath your flooring, whereas the latter is packed between the joists under the subfloor.

Because the insulating underlayment is layered directly beneath the finished floor, it helps soundproof the bonus room and create a smoother flooring surface, which fixes the subfloor’s unevenness. The underlayment can also add protection from moisture, depending on the material used.

You can find various underlayment products made from materials with excellent insulating properties, including polyurethane foam, silicone, and fiberglass. These underlayment materials offer different insulation values, underfoot feeling, and soundproofing properties.

Although underlayment isn’t difficult to install, you do need to remove and reinstall your finished floor, so it’s better to hire a professional to do the job for you.

Exterior Wall Insulation

You can insulate the exterior wall of your bonus room as you would with any other room in your home since your goal here is just to reduce the amount of heat lost and gained by the said wall.

InsulationThe easiest way to insulate an exterior wall is to install the material on the inside of the wall. Traditional fiberglass batts should suffice, but you should consider investing in spray foam insulation, especially if you live in an area that experiences sweltering summers or freezing winters.

Make sure to overlap the batts when possible. The insulation should fit snugly from the top to the bottom of the exterior wall to block all the potential paths of heat transfer. You can cut small sections from the batts and stuff them in the nooks and crannies of the wall, such as around the windows, doors, and vents to be thorough.

Once you’re done installing the fiberglass batts, layer a continuous sheet of vapor barrier across the wall to protect it from moisture problems. You can begin installing drywall afterward.

Knee Wall Insulation

Many homeowners forget to insulate their attic knee walls, which still leads to an uncomfortably hot or cold bonus room. Knee walls are the short walls underneath sloped ceilings that separate the bonus room from the attic space above the garage.

When left uninsulated, knee walls end up absorbing warmth from or releasing conditioned air to the outside through the attic. Not only does this make your bonus room uncomfortable, but it also increases your energy consumption and spending.

The common way of insulating a knee wall is by installing rigid foam insulation on the wall itself and the attic floor behind it. If you’re going with this method, you need to protect the insulation with an air barrier, which means air-sealing the knee wall as if it was an exterior wall.

Seal all the potential air gaps on the knee wall and the attic space behind it, including duct penetrations and electrical boxes.

An easier method of knee wall insulation is by insulating the sloped ceiling. This way, you won’t have to insulate the knee wall itself. The insulation should extend from the birdsmouth joint, or the triangular joint at the base of the roofing joist, to the flat ceiling above the second floor.

You can use either fiberglass batts, loose-fill cellulose, or spray foam for this insulation method.

Insulating the Room Over the Garage

Insulating the room above your garage can be a hassle since you likely need to remove the drywall and flooring. Doing so, however, can save you money in the long run.

An uninsulated bonus room is a huge waste of money. It’s uncomfortable to use, so you won’t be maximizing your investment in its construction. Additionally, it guzzles energy by absorbing warm or cold air from the outside, forcing your HVAC system to work twice as hard to maintain the temperature you want.

To keep the room over the garage from overheating, hire a contractor with ample experience in insulating bonus rooms. A+ Insulation is an insulation expert based in Kansas City. We offer a wide range of insulation solutions for the different parts of your home, including your garage, attic, and bonus room.

Fill out our online form to schedule a free, no-obligation inspection and insulation cost estimate for your bonus room.

Beyond Energy-Efficiency: The Additional Benefits of Proper Home Insulation

InsulationHomeowners who want to cut down on cooling and heating expenses need to improve their home’s insulation. A properly insulated home has an easier time keeping indoor temperatures consistently comfortable all year round. The home’s dependency on cooling and heating devices goes down, as well as its energy costs.

Today, insulation is part of the building process. Homeowners who are having their houses built should make it a point to have them air-sealed and properly insulated. However, many owners of older homes have found that their homes have minimal or ineffective insulation or have insulation with traces of asbestos. These homeowners will need to tackle the insulation problem in a remodel or a home renovation.

Before work can begin, your home will need to be inspected by a qualified home energy auditor, and you will also need to have an energy assessment performed.

The auditor will identify areas in the house that need air sealing before proceeding with any insulation work. Once the audit is complete, the next step is to find the right indoor insulation for the different areas of your home.

We always advise our customers to insulate their home from roof to ground for optimum energy efficiency and to take advantage of its other benefits, which we will discuss in detail later. First, we’ll take a look at the typical rooms in a home and find the best insulation material to use for those spaces.

Indoor Area: Attic

Insulation type: Blanket Batt or Rolls

Also good for: unfinished walls, floors, and ceilings

Loose-fill insulation provides great coverage, especially when installed correctly. It is relatively inexpensive too and good for those who would like to do the installation themselves, as this material is easy to work with.

If you are going to install insulation yourself, make sure to wear the appropriate protective wear. This is to prevent coming into contact with and inhaling fiber and small particles from the material. It may cause skin irritations and trigger respiratory issues.

Indoor Area: Living Room, Entryways

Insulation type: Spray foam insulation

Also good for: rooms with finished walls and rooms with irregular/hard-to-reach spaces

Spray foam insulation normally comes in cans with a nozzle attachment. The nozzle is small enough to reach into the nooks and crannies that would otherwise be difficult to fill with other insulation material types. It seals the gaps where air can pass through, preventing cold air or warm air from escaping the room, so it doesn’t leave your cooling and heating devices working overtime.

The spray foam is perfect for sealing gaps between the wall and window frames, including door frames. It’s also good for use behind an electrical outlet in the stud wall, before installing full wall insulation.

A word of caution: applying too much can cause the doors or windows to jam, as the applied foam expands after a few seconds of being exposed to air.

Indoor area: Newly Constructed Rooms, Under-Renovation Rooms

Type of insulation: Blown-in

Also good for: rooms with finished walls, hard-to-reach spaces, obstructed walls

Blown-in insulation is ideal for hard-to-reach spaces and finished areas. The blown-in technology provides better and faster coverage, especially in areas that cannot be covered by insulation sprays.

The blown-in foam absorbs sound and acts as a thermal barrier that helps rooms stay cool or warm for a longer period of time, as well as keeping the desired temperature with very minimal use of cooling or heating devices.

Ideal for renovation projects and DIY, the application is simple and straightforward. However, be careful not to spray too much material, as it will foam out as it dries and cover the stud wall surface. To achieve a thorough and more even coating, contact a professional to do it.

Indoor Area: Basements

Type of insulation: Foam Board and Rigid Foam Panels

Also good for: foundation walls, basement walls, floors, and ceilings

Foam boards or rigid foam panels are an all-around insulation material. It’s conveniently cut into widths that fit between standard stud gaps. The foam is a closed-cell material that offers a higher advantage in thermal conductivity compared to other insulation materials.

One drawback of using this material is that it leaves a bigger carbon footprint because it is made with poly materials. However, its insulation capacity makes it a good choice for sound-proofing and reducing sound absorption when you really need it.

For homes that are being renovated, it’s much easier to determine the type of insulation for each part of the home. If you want optimum results, it’s best to cover all your bases while the house is still being built and install the proper insulation from the outset.

Doing so also gives you the opportunity to assess if there is a need to add external insulation within a year, as you can test the internal insulation through the changing seasons.

Other Insulation Factors to Consider 

Now that we’ve covered the ideal insulation material for each room type in your home, we’ll take a look at the important factors to consider when planning to insulate your home.

  • Budget. Insulation is an important aspect of building, renovating, and preserving the overall structural integrity of your home. Additionally, keep in mind that the most expensive type isn’t always the best option for your space or your budget. Getting the right amount of insulation and having it installed properly are the keys to successfully insulating and protecting your home.
  • Climate. Not all insulation materials serve the same purpose, which is why it’s important to consider the climate in your area. Different temperatures and moisture levels must be carefully considered when selecting the type of insulation and the space inside the house where it will be installed
  • Design. The height of walls, the distance of the ceiling to the roof, and the construction of the roof must all be considered when fitting these areas with insulation. These factors also affect the effectiveness of the insulation, especially for sound absorption and noise reduction purposes.
  • IC rating of recessed light fixtures. Unless the fixture is insulation contact (IC) rated, the insulation material shouldn’t be in direct contact with the fixture to prevent a fire hazard.

Alternatively, if your home still feels too warm or too cold during peak season, exterior insulation can help improve the indoor temperature in your home.

Other Benefits of a Proper Insulation

We mentioned soundproofing as one of the benefits of insulating your home. Soundproofing is a way to prevent noise from sneaking into a room and prevent it from escaping the room as well.

Construction-worker-installing-fiberglass-insulationThere are two types of noise: airborne and structural noise. Airborne noise includes structural sounds that travel through the air or can be picked up in the environment, like footsteps on the floor or a knock on the wall.

These noises can easily travel through thin walls and unsealed gaps between joists and wall joints. These unwanted sounds make their way in and out of a room the same way air does. This is why insulation and sound-proofing go hand-in-hand.

A room with reduced or very low environmental noise helps create a restful home environment, as it reduces stress and noise pollution within shared spaces. Insulation materials can help muffle or deaden environmental noise too, which is essential in the homes of those who work, play musical instruments, have small children, and are unable to fall asleep and stay asleep.

While insulation materials cannot completely cancel or absorb noise, they have the capacity to do a bit of both. For complete noise prevention and noise absorption, there are special materials that are suitable for either of these functions. However, these are usually installed post-construction and outside the walls, rather than inside the walls, during the construction phase.

Aside from noise reduction, insulation gives you the following benefits.

Fire protection

Insulation can contribute to a structure’s fire safety because it prevents small fires from spreading quickly. The most common type of insulation used in homes and buildings is fine glass fiber, which is a non-combustible material. Insulation materials are also installed with code-approved barrier materials, which increase their level of fire safety.

Smaller carbon footprint

A properly insulated home uses less energy for cooling and heating. Mineral wool insulation, for example, is an impressive insulation material that is an eco-friendly product. The fibers of the material are non-combustible, removing the need for additional fire-retardant chemicals. This material also lasts long and can withstand high temperatures; it won’t melt due to heat.

Increase in property value

Insulation translates to protection and energy efficiency. Moreover, soundproofing translates to privacy. These intangible benefits increase the market value of your home.

It’s Never too Late to Insulate

For older properties, installing insulation is the first step toward making your home more energy-efficient. Older homes need insulation as much as newer homes, after all. In the case of older homes that are heavily built with wood and other highly combustible materials, however, insulation plays a crucial role in contributing to the fire safety of the structure.

Some older houses with old or worn-down insulation also need to be reassessed, as it is possible that some joints and cracks need resealing. This will boost the reflectivity of the new insulation and help improve the energy efficiency level of the structure.

Insulation is undoubtedly beneficial for your home and when done correctly, you can enjoy its benefits to the fullest.

Insulation is the primary solution to high energy consumption and provides other comforts like noise reduction and noise absorption. It also contributes to the structural health of your home, as it can also deter moisture that can cause water damage and mold problems in the long run. Insulate your home today to create a better and healthier indoor environment.

Our insulation materials are guaranteed to give your home the protection it needs from excessive heat and cold temperatures, as well as mold and moisture problems. Call us at (913) 956-0449 or (816) 265-1947 today or request a quote here and schedule a completely FREE inspection!

Does Your Home Have Traces of Asbestos? Here’s What You Should Do

AsbestosThe use of asbestos as insulation remains legal in the United States, albeit highly regulated, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Despite its proven link that being exposed to asbestos can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, there have been several failed attempts to implement laws against it.

If you have asbestos fibers in your home, you could be exposing your family to health risks. The asbestos in your home must be dealt with immediately by licensed asbestos contractors and replaced with safer, cost-efficient attic insulation. Identifying asbestos insulation should be left to professionals to reduce potential health risks.

Asbestos and Its Health Hazards

Asbestos is a group of natural minerals which are fire-, electricity-, and soundproof. Because of its low cost and useful properties, it has been used by industries for centuries. However, once it became linked to illnesses such as lung disease and cancer or mesothelioma, organizations began calling for laws to ban its use. These demands, however, have not been successful. There is no asbestos in fiberglass insulation, so it became one of the popular replacements for asbestos.

If your home is old and used to have an asbestos insulator that was removed, you and your family may still be at risk. Asbestos remnants can linger long if not removed by professional or licensed contractors or asbestos removal companies. It is best to have your home checked and your insulation replaced immediately with a safer, cost-efficient material.

What Kind of Insulation Should I Use?

You might be wondering if there is asbestos in blown-in insulation. The fear of bringing asbestos into your home is nothing to laugh about. The experts at A+ Insulation will make sure you get the right insulation that is right for you and your safety.

Many types of insulation are available for asbestos replacement. Consulting an experienced insulation professional such as A+ Insulation will help you determine the alternative to asbestos that would best suit your home. Loose-fill insulation uses a blowing machine to apply the insulation material to the walls or attic. The batt or roll insulation, on the other hand, is attached to a facing which serves as a vapor barrier for heat.

These insulation categories include the following:

  • Insulsafe SP Insulation A fiberglass blown-in insulation used for attic and wall insulation. It’s soundproof and fireproof and can be used in new construction and existing structures.
  • Cellulose Insulation A blown-in insulation that wraps itself around obstructions, making it a good type for attics with many corners and spaces regular insulation cannot fill.
  • Spray Foam Insulation CertaSpray expands to fill in the little spaces.
  • Batted Insulation An affordable type of insulation which is fitted and cut to suit the area it insulates. It is recommended for attics without much obstruction because it needs to be cut to fit around the place, which may cause gaps that allow heat to escape.

Forgoing insulation covers may result in higher energy costs just to warm your home. Insulation keeps the heat inside, keeping the temperature warm on cold days without the constant need for heaters, and cool on warm days.

A+ Insulation offers all these types of insulation, and our customers have found that the right kind of insulation that has allowed them to save at least 30% of their energy bills. Let us give you cost-efficient and effective insulators to warm your home.

Schedule a FREE, no-obligation consultation with A+ Insulation!

Fiberglass Insulation: A High Return Home Renovation

Construction-worker-installing-fiberglass-insulationInsulation is an important and necessary addition to any home. An insulation upgrade proves itself to be one of the best improvements homeowners can make because of the return on investment it provides. Fiberglass insulation prices are low compared to other insulation types. For homeowners looking for a relatively inexpensive home renovation project that will increase their comfort and reduce energy costs, installing fiberglass insulation offers quite a compelling argument.

Fiberglass Insulation’s Return on Investment

For two years in a row, Remodeling Magazine and their Cost vs. Value Report has said that fiberglass attic insulation cost is the home remodeling upgrade project that provides the most substantial return on investment for homeowners looking to make some changes. Of all the types of insulation, the average cost of fiberglass insulation is one of the lowest. This trend is becoming well known among homeowners looking for new ways to make small, incremental improvements to their homes while also adding value.

Cost vs. Value Report

In an annual survey sent to real estate professionals across the U.S., realtors estimated that one year after a fiberglass insulation upgrade, homeowners would potentially increase the return on investment of the value of their home by $1,446 at resale. The ‘Cost vs. Value Report’ estimated the average nationwide upgrade cost for adding blown-in loose-fill fiberglass insulation into an attic (35×30) to reach an R-30 insulation value is $1,343. Fiberglass insulation energy cost savings are a hidden gem in home renovation.

Fiberglass Insulation has an  Average National Return of Over 100 Percent

Remodeling Magazine compared the average cost for 29 of the most popular home renovation projects in 99 U.S. markets on both a national and regional outlook. The report states that fiberglass insulation upgrades add the most value to a home, coming in at 108 percent of the cost of the project. 

The average cost and return at resale for the other 29 projects that were included in this year’s report amounted to a 64.3 percent return. Those numbers were counted as long as the home was sold within one year of completing the renovation. Fiberglass insulation was the only project that had an average national return of more than 100 percent.

When to install new insulation

If you can already tell that your insulation is not keeping up with the changes in temperature outside, you probably need to replace your insulation. If you know what kind of insulation you have, you can use the average lifespan to figure out if it’s time to switch. Each type of insulation lasts for different amounts of time, and they can all be damaged by leaky roofs or animals and critters.

If you do not know what kind of insulation you have or when it was replaced, it is in your best interest to get a professional to check your insulation and see if it is still capable of doing its job. The labor costs you can expect to pay will be a lot less than having to get a mold specialist if you leave old insulation for too long.

Professional Installation vs. DIY Costs

Is fiberglass insulation safe to install on your own? A lot of people believe that they can save even more money by installing their insulation themselves. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. 

DIY insulation installers will need the ability to make extremely accurate notes on where heat is lost and purchase the exact amount of insulation you need. You may end up spending more than the entire cost of having a professional contractor install the insulation for you. 

A few other issues DIYers could run into are the need to make changes to their HVAC while putting in their insulation, not having the correct permits, and risky health hazards if they do not have the right equipment to remove their existing insulation.

If you want to reap the rewards and see a return on your investment, have your insulation installed by a professional. It will be much more cost-effective to have it done correctly, and you will avoid potentially expensive mistakes.

Insulation replacement is great for any homeowner looking for an end-of-summer home improvement project that they can have completed. It can be done relatively quickly and not go over their home renovation budget. Installing fiberglass insulation material has proven itself to be one of the best choices you can make.

With our experience in the insulation industry, we can help you save energy and get you the most for your money.

Schedule a FREE consultation with A+ Insulation!

How Quality Insulation Can Keep Pests Out of Your Home

Insulation

Insulation helps provide year-round comfort to your household by keeping the indoor air separate from the outdoor air. However, insulation offers several other benefits to homeowners, such as keeping out unwanted pests.

How it Works

Many types of insulation are pre-treated with boric acid or other pest-blocking chemicals that harm the rodent or insect if it digests it. Most insulation materials that are treated for pest control purposes help get rid of common home invaders such as cockroaches and ants. Cockroaches in particular eat almost anything in their sight, so you can easily get rid of them when they eat the treated insulation. Other roaches that come into contact with the affected roach will die as well.

Other Benefits of Insulation

Aside from getting rid of pests, you can reap other benefits when you insulate your home, including the following.

  • Cost-Efficiency. We all know that heat is not cheap. With a better-quality attic barrier, you’ll be able to keep more heat inside of your home during the winter months. Investing in insulation will help you save on energy costs in the long run. It will also keep heat out during the scorching summer days.
  • Increased Comfort. Your home will be more comfortable if you can control and maintain the temperature. Because it affects the entire house, insulation will also ensure that there won’t be any pockets of cold in your residence.
  • Flame Retardant. If a fire gets into your attic, it will have a difficult time spreading to other parts of the house because of insulation’s fire-retardant properties. This could give the fire department enough time to respond to a distress call.
  • Fungi and Mold Resistance. By resisting fungi and mold, insulation can boost the quality of air in your residence. It can also protect the people living in your residence from illnesses caused or aggravated by molds and fungi.

Insulation Types

The following are different kinds of insulation.

  • Spray-foam insulation
  • Cellulose insulation
  • Denim insulation
  • Fiberglass insulation
  • Mineral wool insulation
  • Crawlspace insulation

Spray Foam Insulation

Done with spray holders, spray foam insulation involves the spraying of foam from containers to specific areas of a house. It is best to install spray foam insulation in existing walls, new spaces in walls, or unfinished attics.

Spray foam insulation can keep out mice and other pests that come in through the places where you get the most air leaks, such as crawl spaces, rim joists, or openings in the attic. It helps seal up the crevices and cracks where it is sprayed. This makes it harder for pests to get in.

Another advantage of this type of insulation is that it’s well-suited for both oddly-shaped and finished areas. It also works well when used around obstructions.

Cellulose Insulation

Cellulose insulation is made of tiny pieces of paper broken into fibers. These fibers are treated with a mineral that resists pests. They are also treated with chemicals to make them better at protecting the home from heat and moisture.

Another advantage of opting for cellulose insulation is that it is made up of 85% recycled materials. These are mainly newspapers, although it isn’t unusual to use cardboard or other kinds of paper.

Although made out of paper, this insulation type can also help control the spread of flames. The chemicals it is treated with, along with its ability to fit around obstructions and fill irregularly shaped spaces, make it a great flame retardant. It also works well for attics.

One con of using cellulose insulation is that it is not waterproof. It is prone to accumulating moisture, becoming more vulnerable to rot over time. However, if you are looking for an organic and less-expensive way to insulate your home, cellulose insulation will work well for you.

Denim Insulation

A form of cellulose fiber (cotton), denim insulation is an eco-friendly insulation material that is often treated with borate to provide Class-A fire resistance. It is also usually treated with EPA-registered fungal inhibitors to protect against pests, mold, and mildew.

Fiberglass Insulation

Popular in the building industry because of its light-weight properties and durability, insulation with fiberglass is, as its name implies, made up of thin fibers of glass. By trapping pockets of air, it keeps spaces thermally regulated and insulated against sound transmission between walls or floors.

The material in fiberglass insulation is relatively inexpensive when compared with alternative materials. This insulation type is also easier to install. Even better, it is not flammable and is highly resistant to moisture damage, which makes it more appealing to homeowners.

With the proper equipment, fiberglass can be an easy and cost-effective solution to insulation issues. In recent years, technology advancements have allowed fiberglass insulation to be made in more environmentally friendly ways.

While it has many perks, the fibers that make up fiberglass insulation can irritate the skin and lungs. Homeowners must not be present in their homes during the installation process.

Mineral Wool Insulation

While it has similarities to fiberglass, mineral wool often costs more. It can also be harder to find than fiberglass. Mineral wool comes in loose-fill, meaning it is poured out of bags or blown into the desired area. One of the best advantages of mineral wool insulation is that it can withstand higher temperatures.

Crawlspace Insulation

A crawlspace is an area between the first floor and the ground. Crawlspaces are usually not the first place that people think about when planning to upgrade their insulation.

However, uninsulated crawlspaces can still be a point of origin for problems like musty smells or mold. Mold in particular can be a problem to the health of people with allergies or asthma. Crawlspace insulation can also reduce the presence of critters and bugs.

Understanding R-Values

The resistance of an insulating material to conductive heat flow is measured through its R-value or thermal resistance. A greater R-value means more insulating effectiveness. Factors like the insulation type, its density, and its thickness affect the R-value.

Insulation

The R-values of some insulation material also depend on aging, temperature, and moisture accumulation. To calculate the R-value of multilayered installations, simply add the R-values of the individual layers.

When you install more insulation in your home, you increase its R-value and resistance to heat flow. The amount of R-value or insulation you’ll need depends on your cooling and heating system, your climate, and the area of your house you want to insulate.

Insulation Tips

Ready to get your home insulated? Here are some other things to consider.

  • Think about factors like your budget, climate, and home design when selecting the type of insulation for any area of your home.
  • Use higher R-value insulation, like spray foam insulation, on exterior walls so the material takes up less space without compromising its protective properties.
  • To avoid a fire hazard, be careful with how you will place insulation near a recessed light fixture unless the fixture is insulation contact (IC) rated.
  • Follow the installation instructions of the manufacturer.
  • Wear suitable protective gear upon installation.
  • A good and cost-effective way to invest in the comfort of your home is to install insulation in your attic.
  • If your residence still feels too cold during winters or too warm during summers, you might need to put insulation on your exterior walls. While this is usually more expensive, it is a good investment, especially for cold climate areas.

Some Challenges

Insulation provides many benefits for your home, but it isn’t without its challenges. Old insulation can be a hotbed for insects like cockroaches. If your insulation is not properly treated or is outdated, pests can live happily in it for years without you knowing.

A pest infestation doesn’t necessarily mean you have an insulation issue. However, you might still have to add to your insulation or replace it. If you feel uncomfortably hot during the summer or cold in the winter, you might benefit from adding insulation to your attic, walls, or crawlspace. Insulation can also help if you’re tired of paying a lot for your cooling and heating bills.

We recommend calling upon an insulation expert and having them come to your home to perform a full inspection. If your insulation has signs of pests or is simply old, the experts can replace it with new insulation that will keep your home free of pests.

Quality Insulation Services from A+ Insulation

A+ Insulation is a Kansas-based company that offers several insulation-related services. We pride ourselves not only on quality installations but also on quality people and service. Our A+ team is made up of trained and certified installers to ensure that we provide the highest standards in the industry.

Insulation is what we know and do best, but customer service is what we focus on. This is how we’ve gained many loyal customers over the years. Our goal is to make your experience as happy as possible with every step of the insulation process–from evaluation to installation to price.

Take a look at our A+ insulation services!

Purchasing a Home With a Crawl Space? Here’s What You Need to Do

Home with crawl space

 

Crawl spaces are the hollow areas set between the ground and the first floor of your house. They are commonly found in homes without basements, with their main purposes being the following.

  • Cost-effectiveness. Leveling the ground before construction can be expensive, but elevating the house and creating a crawl space eliminate this cost.
  • Convenience. Plumbing and electrical systems can be run through the crawl space, making it easier for homeowners to inspect and maintain these systems, as well as more convenient for plumbers and technicians to repair if needed.

Despite these benefits, the crawl space under your house can also be the cause of major complications, including the following.

  • Moisture. Moisture from the ground can seep into the floors, despite the elevation, and rot your home’s wooden support structure or cause mold growth.
  • Heat loss The bare earth in crawl spaces can rob the heat from the warm floor above if not insulated properly.
  • Pests Like most dark and moist areas, crawl spaces attract pests like termites, rats, and raccoons.

The crawl space is often neglected and left to the elements, resulting in the problems stated above. As such, the crawl space must be periodically inspected to avoid the headache of fixing costly problems.

If you’re buying or have recently bought a house with a crawl space, the aforementioned complications are things you must look out for. Luckily, with the right maintenance, such as adding insulation to your crawl space, you can prevent or remedy these problems.

Ventilation

Since moisture is one of the biggest causes of problems within a crawl space, it’s crucial to improve ventilation in the area. With vents, air from the outside can enter the crawl space and prevent moisture buildup.

Crawl space ventilation is actually a part of building codes. According to the International Residential Code (IRC) Section 408

“The under-floor space between the bottom of the floor joists and the earth under any building (except space occupied by a basement) shall have ventilation openings through foundation walls or exterior walls.

The minimum net area of ventilation openings shall be not less than 1 square foot for every 150 square feet of under-floor space area unless the ground surface is covered by Class 1 vapor retarder material.

Where a Class 1 vapor retarder material is used, the minimum net area of ventilation openings shall be not less than 1 square foot for every 1,500 square feet of under-floor space area. One such ventilating opening shall be within 3 feet of each corner of the building.”

This means that for every 150 square feet of space in the crawl space, you must have a square foot vent. For example, if your crawl space measures 30 feet by 30 feet, you need a combined 6 sq. ft. of vent space. You can install either six vents that measure 1 ft x 1 ft or three 1 ft x 2 ft vents.

The following are benefits of ventilating your crawl space.

  • Prevents moisture buildup and wood rot
  • Prevents mold and mildew growth
  • Prevents pipes from freezing in the winter by closing the vents

Encapsulation

A modern alternative to ventilation, crawl space encapsulation uses a heavy-duty moisture barrier to cover every surface of a crawl space, including the entire soil floor, walls, and even the ceiling. The moisture barrier is made from polyethylene material and is waterproof.

Once your crawl space has been completely sealed using moisture barrier sheets, the next step of encapsulation is to control the humidity. Placing a dehumidifier inside the crawl space helps further minimize the moisture that forms in the area.

With the dehumidifier and moisture barrier working together to keep the moisture level in your crawl space low, you can prevent common moisture-related problems from affecting your home.

The following are benefits of encapsulating your crawl space.

  • Prevents mold and mildew buildup
  • Prevents structural damage and wood rot
  • Creates an inhospitable area for pests
  • Improves air quality within the crawl space

Insulation

If ventilation and encapsulation solve one of the biggest problems with crawl spaces, being moisture build-up, insulation is the answer to another issue: heat loss.

Heat loss can occur if your crawl space is made of cold masonry foundation walls and the floor is bare earth. When exposed to outside temperatures, the concrete walls in the crawl space can rob heat from your home, especially if there are hot water pipes and HVAC plumbing routed through it.

Insulation concept

Insulation keeps the temperature outside your house from seeping into your indoor spaces. Since the temperature in uninsulated crawl spaces isn’t regulated, the heat of summer and cold of winter can seep up into your home.

As the temperature from the crawl space rises to your first floor, it will take more energy to sufficiently heat or cool your home. Crawl space insulation is the solution to this problem.

There are two types of insulation that are ideal for crawl spaces.

  1. Spray Foam Foundation Insulation
  2. Draped Foundation Insulation

1. Spray Foam Foundation Insulation

This type of insulation uses either water-resistant closed-cell foam or water-absorbent open-cell foam to insulate your floor space. The closed-cell foam is more advisable, especially since moisture is another problem in crawl spaces. With spray foam insulating your floor from your crawl space, the temperature below will not be able to leak or seep through your floors.

2. Draped Foundation Insulation

This form of insulation is best for crawl spaces with limited cavity depth. Fiberglass batts are tacked to the sill plate of your crawl space’s ceiling or the underside of your floor then draped down to the crawl space floor.

The following are benefits of insulating your crawl space.

  • Reduces energy bills
  • Improves HVAC efficiency
  • Improves indoor air quality
  • Creates a more comfortable home

Crawl Space Inspection Checklist

While you have different crawl space maintenance options, as illustrated above, it’s still important to inspect the crawl space before buying a new home. Whether you’re buying a newly constructed house or a previously owned property, make the crawl space an important part of your home inspection.

Wiring issues

Running wires through the crawl space is a technique that makes it easier for homeowners to perform repairs on their electrical systems. However, because the crawl space is rarely checked or maintained, there might be exposed wires or loose connections. Check the condition of the wiring in the crawl space while inspecting the property you’re interested in.

Plumbing issues

Plenty of homeowners choose to make use of their crawl space by running pipes and other parts of the plumbing system through it. However, it can be difficult to detect complications like damaged or leaking pipes. Check for leakage stains or discoloration when inspecting the property.

Drainage issues

If the plumbing issue is that of leaking pipes and the crawl space also has drainage issues, the structural integrity of the property might become compromised. There should be a proper drainage system in the crawl space to prevent flooding and moisture buildup.

Moisture issues

Speaking of moisture buildup, several issues crop up when this happens. Mold can grow along the damp surfaces, the wooden support structures of the house can rot, and pests may be attracted to the space. Look for signs of these when inspecting the crawl space of the property you want to purchase.

Cracks in the foundation

Generally, tiny cracks—those that are less than ¼ of an inch—are not a cause for concern. However, significant separation of the material, usually concrete, on opposite sides of the crack, as well as sagging and sinking foundation, are signs of possible structural problems. It’s important to raise this issue if it comes up during crawl space inspection.

Keep Your Crawl Space Protected

With plenty of complications that can happen within your crawl space, knowing what problems to look out for and how to prevent or fix them is valuable.

Luckily, you don’t have to look far and wide for an insulation services provider. A+ Insulation is Kansas City homeowners’ go-to crawl space insulation expert. With almost two decades of experience, our team has seen all kinds of crawl spaces and the problems that crop up in uninsulated ones.

This is why we are committed to installing quality and long-lasting crawl space insulation for your home. Every one of our insulation projects is tailored to each individual client’s needs. So, whether you want to insulate your crawl space floors or walls, our technicians can get the job done.

Among the crawl space insulation options we offer are…

  1. Spray Foam Foundation Insulation
  2. Draped Foundation Insulation

Our team can inspect your crawl space and advice you on which option is best for your property.

With A+ Insulation as your crawl space insulation partner, you can expect…

  • A free on-site estimate
  • Meticulous insulation installation
  • Professional service

If you have other inquiries or want to schedule a crawl space insulation installation, call us at (913) 281-2250 today.

Take a look at our crawl space insulation services!

Soundproof Your Home and Insulate It: A Guide

Sound-system-in-home

 

Sound can be a wonderful thing, but the sound you don’t want to hear is simply noise: a nuisance that makes sleeping, studying, and working practically impossible.

If you’re having a noise problem, the simplest solution is to kill the sound at its source. Unfortunately, that’s not always an option. What if you live near a noisy bar or a construction site? What if your neighbors are too stubborn with their Monday night Karaoke?

No matter what your sound problem is, the solution is clear. You need to soundproof your home, and A+ Insulation can help you do it.

Understanding the mechanics of sound

Before getting into soundproofing, allow us to give you a quick lesson on acoustics.

There are two types of sound: structural and airborne. Structural sounds are vibrations carried through objects, such as a hammer banging on the wall or footsteps on the floor.

On the other hand, airborne sound travels through the air; all sounds your ear picks up are classified as airborne. When structural sound becomes airborne, you hear it. Since these sounds travel differently, you’ll need different tools to address them.

Noise is categorized as an unwanted sound. Sounds other than the ones made by what you’re doing are considered noise.

For instance, if you’re talking on the phone, the television in the next room is noise. Conversely, if you’re watching a movie, a loud phone conversation nearby is also noise. Any unwanted sound is noise.

What makes sound problems difficult to solve? Sound waves travel the least resistant path, which makes finding the sound’s origin difficult. The noise that keeps you up at night may be sound entering the room through an electrical outlet or bouncing around an air vent.

Unwanted noise can also sneak into a room through a window, under a door, or any place that has space or a small hole. Even hanging a photo on a wall can compromise the wall’s soundproofing quality.

So if you’re not a big fan of noise, your best option is to soundproof your home.

What soundproofing does and how it works

To soundproof a room means lowering the intrusion of external noise while insulating the space to prevent noise from escaping the room.

Music-recording-studio

In most cases, acoustic insulation is used to soundproof recording studios to prevent outside noise from interfering while an artist records their music, sound effects, or dialogue.

Soundproofing solutions block anything from nearby building work to voices to high levels of traffic noise. It also ensures outside parties and other neighbors are not disturbed by the activities inside the soundproofed room.

In recent years, many homeowners insulate and soundproof certain rooms or their entire home in response to noise from pedestrians, traffic, or loud neighbors.

How does soundproofing work?

Soundproofing tackles the two ways in which sound travels.

First, airborne noise poses a problem when a home has poorly-insulated and thin walls that have gaps in them (e.g. plug sockets). The lack of insulation encourages the sound to freely travel through the gaps in the wall without being absorbed.

Soundproofing against airborne noise involves adding and dampening mass, which can be done by sealing up doors, floors, walls (often the main suspect), and ceilings, as well as adding insulation to keep airborne noise at bay.

Second, impact noise is a problem in homes where there are uninterrupted connections between houses or rooms in your home. For instance, if your brick wall doesn’t have a cavity, the sound’s vibrations will travel through the wall from one side to the other.

Addressing impact noise involves decoupling (creating small gaps) to disrupt the sound’s vibration flows. Adding mass with rubber insulation will absorb the remaining sound vibrations.

Soundproofing and insulation go hand-in-hand

Homeowners who want to achieve two goals with one home improvement project soundproof their homes with insulation.

Soundproofed-home-theater

The primary functions of insulation are to keep your home insulated and energy-efficient at all times, but it can also help you with noise problems.

Stopping sound waves from traveling from one room to another requires a quality insulation material between the source of the noise and the other area to absorb the noise’s vibrations and envelop it.

This is how insulation “soaks up” up the noise pollution, stopping it from intruding into your home.

In many cases, properly-engineered insulation systems reduce the noise of loud equipment, systems, and pipes. There are three major ways to soundproof a room.

  • Sound absorption. This soundproofing technique, which uses acoustic insulation or dense foam, is the most common method used to absorb the sound inside of a room. Insulation slabs, for example, directly absorb the sound waves, which reduce the noise traveling through the walls.
  • Decoupling technique. It removes a wall structure from another to lower the levels of sound vibration traveling from one room to another. Professional insulators fill the space between the two with acoustic insulation, depending on how much sound is being emitted, as well as on the thickness of the walls. Building a wall within the wall enables clear transmission of sound waves.
  • Noise blocking. Another soundproofing option is to add more mass to the structure to reflect the sound energy into the room. Noise blocking can also convert noise into heat.

A note on insulation and soundproofing

Not every type of insulation reduces noise. For instance, reflective insulation, often installed in residential areas located in warmer climates, insulates the home by reflecting heat from the sun.

Radiant insulation barriers are often installed in the attic and under the roof, keeping your home comfortable and cool all year round. However, it doesn’t serve as an effective sound barrier.

Spray-foam-insulation

If you’re looking for soundproofing insulation, choose foam insulation, fiberglass, and blown-in cellulose. These can be installed in the ceilings, floors, and walls of your home.

Apart from insulating your home, these materials can reduce the noise within and outside of your home. They create tight barriers that seal gaps that sound can travel through. Also, these insulation types are extremely noise-absorbent, ensuring no sound can escape.

Fiber insulation materials are good for thermal purposes, but they are not dense enough to offer high levels of noise absorption. However, when used in conjunction with acoustic roll products (which can be installed inside the wall), fiber insulation can significantly reduce the transfer of noise.

A rule of thumb on insulation and soundproofing: the denser the insulating material, the harder it is for the sound waves to remain audible. Use acoustic insulation on your ceilings, walls, and floors to ensure dampened sound.

Which rooms need soundproofing the most?

Your choice of rooms depends on the type of noise you want to block, as well as the layout of your home. As a general rule, soundproof the room closest to the sound source.

In most cases, homeowners spend the majority of their time at home in the bedroom to relax or sleep for several hours overnight. Other homeowners tend to spend their time in the living room during the evening. Also, most master bedrooms and living rooms are positioned at the front of the house, often the bedroom on top of the living room.

If exterior noise is your primary concern, soundproof your living room and bedroom. If loud neighbors are your concern, soundproof the room adjacent, above or below the source of the noise.

Other soundproofing and insulation tips

First, when soundproofing a room, start with the walls. Insulate the interior walls and soundproof them by filling the wall cavity with sustainable insulation. To stop the noise transfer between walls, fill the cavities between the exterior and interior walls.

If you don’t have the luxury of building a new room but still want a place of quiet, there are a few quick ways to soundproof your room.

  • Soften the surfaces. Add plush furniture, carpeting, plants and window trimming to promote quiet.
  • Seal the entrances. Gaps under the doors allow unwanted noise; the same applies to vents and electrical outlets. Properly sealing a room gives you quiet.

Insulate and soundproof your home with help from A+ Insulation!

If you want to insulate and soundproof your home, you can always choose a DIY approach, but if you want better results, it’s best to leave the job to the professionals.

Here at A+ Insulation, we offer superior insulation services that reduce the noise in and around your home. In our opinion, the best soundproofing insulation is spray foam, which provides A+ thermal insulation and soundproofing.

Our team has installed soundproof insulation for nurseries, children’s rooms, offices, and home movie theaters. We also cater to commercial property needs, as well as offer guidance on company offices and soundproofing conference rooms.

By using porous and light materials, both inside the drywall and on top of surfaces, we prevent sound from moving in and out of your home. Apart from keeping your home cozy, our soundproof insulation gives you peace and quiet.

Take a look at our comprehensive insulation services!

Garage Insulation: Everything You Need to Know

Man installing garage door

Many homeowners make the mistake of not insulating their garages. They think of their garage not as an extension of their house but as an extension of the outside, so they choose to skip the insulation.

However, attached garages are notorious energy guzzlers. The heat from the adjacent room can seep through the shared wall and into the garage. The heat transfer can also happen inversely, meaning the garage can bring in heat from the outside and into the house. These two scenarios force your HVAC system to work twice as hard, resulting in higher energy costs.

It is very important that you insulate your garage. The results may not be immediately visible, but your utility bills will thank you for it in the long run.

When it comes to garage insulation, the first thing you should do is to look at the different types of insulating material that are available.

Types of Garage Insulation

There are four primary insulating materials to choose from: fiberglass, cellulose, rigid foam, and spray foam. Each has its own advantages and applications.

Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass is the most popular insulation material for garages. It comes in pre-cut batts, rolls, or blankets. Fiberglass is also available as loose-fill insulation, although this is mostly used in unfinished attics.

Fiberglass insulation is relatively cheap, which is why it’s popular. You can make a DIY project out of the installation if you’re choosing fiberglass batts since it’s easy to install. This insulation type is ideal for unfinished walls, floors, and ceilings.

Rigid Foam Insulation

Rigid foam or foam board insulation comes in stiff panels made from polystyrene, polyurethane, or polyisocyanurate. It offers a high R-value despite its thinness and can be cut to fit almost any space.

The best thing about foam board is that it’s the only type of insulation that blocks heat transfer through structural elements.

Rigid foam insulation is a good option if you’re planning to convert your garage into a living space. The foam would be installed under plywood or another wall or subfloor material.

Be sure to check the foam’s fire rating. Some types of rigid foam aren’t fire-resistant, which means they’re not suitable for exposed applications.

Cellulose Insulation

Cellulose insulation often comes as loose-fill. It’s made from recycled newspaper treated with a fire retardant, making it an eco-friendly option.

The contractor will use a special blowing machine to fluff up the insulating material and blow it into the space. You have the choice to rent a blower at a rental store if you want to do the insulation yourself. Some home centers will also loan the machine to you for free if you buy cellulose from them.

However, cellulose insulation is only applicable for unfinished garage walls and ceilings, since it’s loose-fill. If your garage is already finished, the contractor will cut strategic holes in the walls then spray the material between the framing members. They’ll patch the gaps afterward.

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation is the best option for homeowners because of its high insulating value and air-sealing capacity. The contractor sprays the insulating material, which creates a solid barrier that blocks air and moisture gaps.

Spray foam insulation can be expensive though, so it may not be the most cost-efficient choice to insulate your garage. However, it’s an excellent option if you’re turning your garage into a full-time living space.

When choosing your garage insulation, it’s best to consult a contractor to make sure you’re picking the most suitable one for your needs. Describe your garage and how you plan to use the space to help your contactor make an accurate recommendation.

Alongside the walls, ceiling, and floor, you also have to insulate your garage door. Attached garages with uninsulated doors can decrease the efficiency of your HVAC system, especially since garage doors are often made from metal.

Garage Door Insulation

Large garage 2 doorsWhether or not you should insulate your garage door depends on how you use your garage. If you open and close the door several times a day, then there’s no point in insulating it. The frequent movement will just let out the heat you’re trying to keep inside the room. Additionally, the repeated motion can cause the insulating material to flake and pull apart.

However, if you’re using your garage as a workspace, then an insulated door is a worthwhile investment.

Insulated garage doors hold less heat than uninsulated ones, so they’re better at maintaining the temperature of the room. Plus, the insulation helps reduce noise pollution. It’s an effective soundproofing material, which is perfect if you want to turn your garage into a studio or office.

How to Insulate Your Garage Door

The best way to insulate your garage door is to buy one that’s already insulated. This saves you the trouble of having to install the installation. However, if you want to add insulation to your current garage door, you can purchase an insulation kit at home centers.

Garage door insulation kits come in two options: fiberglass batts or polystyrene rigid foam panels. The first option offers an insulating value of R-8. You only need to tape the material to the inside surface of the door.

The rigid foam kit, on the other hand, has an R-4 insulating value. The panels are cut to length, so you only need to snap them into place, between the horizontal rails on the door panels.

Just like in other parts of your house, garage insulation needs to be supplemented with air-sealing to achieve maximum energy efficiency. Air gaps might be letting out heat or letting in drafts, reducing the performance of your insulation.

How to Air-Seal Your Garage

Garages aren’t built to be airtight, so yours likely has air leaks if you haven’t insulated it yet. These gaps can let in cold air, which can seep into the attached rooms. The EPA says that air-sealing your garage can cut an estimated 15 percent off your heating and cooling costs.

Follow these steps to properly air-seal your garage.

1. Weatherstrip the Door Connecting the Garage to the House

Air-seal around the entire door frame on both sides. To check for air leaks, turn on the lights in the garage then exit. Turn the lights off on the other side of the door, then inspect the doorframe to see if any light comes through. If it does, that means you have air leaks.

You can seal wide air gaps using felt tape or self-adhesive foam. For tiny leaks, you can use a caulk gun to cover them up.

2. Caulk the Joints Connecting the Walls to the Floor

The soil under the garage is prone to shrinkage because of how it was built. When this happens, the floor moves, shrinks, or swells, which shifts the joints connecting the walls and the floor. This movement causes gaps in the joints, letting outside air into the garage.

Cover the cracks using a latex- or silicone-based caulk or a foam sealant. The ground never stops moving so be sure to check the joints between the walls and the floor at least once a year.

3. Insulate the Outlets and Light Switches

The holes in your garage wall holding the light switches and outlets aren’t always cut perfectly. There’s a big possibility that there are tiny cracks around these lighting components. You may think that the gaps won’t do much harm because they’re so tiny, but even the smallest leaks can be bad for your home.

Aside from cold or hot garage air leaking into your home, there’s also the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. The fumes from your vehicle can travel through the small cracks on your walls and enter your home without your knowledge.

You can insulate outlets, wall switches, and electrical boxes using spray foam or rigid foam. Seal around the box or switch using the same caulk you used for the floor-to-wall joints.

4. Weather-Seal the Garage Door

You need to weather-seal your garage door to maximize the insulation’s energy efficiency. The door’s bottom edge, top, sides and the threshold might have gaps that let in outside air. You can use a strip of vinyl or rubber to seal around the door.

5. Seal the Cracks on the Floor

Garage floors are prone to cracks. The damage can be due to improper installation, poor drainage, or shrinkage. Regardless of the reason, these cement cracks can leak cold air from the ground. Worse, if water constantly enters these gaps, the water can freeze and expand, causing foundation upheaval.

For small cracks, you can simply use an epoxy concrete crack filler. But if the damage is too big for a filler, you need to remove the broken concrete and undercut the crack’s edges. Use sand mixed with an adhesive additive to patch the gap. Then, use a trowel to level the surface. Once it dries, grind down the area until it’s level with the rest of the floor.

The key to properly insulating your garage is to get an energy audit beforehand. This assessment will identify the spots in your house that guzzle energy. It will also recommend solutions for each problem area, helping you reduce your utility bills.

Insulate Your Garage with A+ Insulation

A+ Insulation offers a wide range of insulation solutions for different parts of your home, including your garage. Our experienced contractors ensure that your garage is well insulated and air-sealed to achieve maximum energy efficiency.

Schedule an appointment for a FREE home energy assessment!

Insulation and Ventilation: Why Your Attic Needs Both

Empty attic

Every homeowner knows the importance of insulation. It helps you maintain your preferred indoor temperature, keeping your energy bills from soaring during the summer or winter months.

However, not many people are aware that you’re not supposed to go overboard with your insulation. Yes, there is such a thing as over-insulation. This happens when the insulating material clogs the spaces meant for ventilation. Over-insulation can result in an uncomfortably hot room, poor indoor air quality, and even mold growth.

You may be wondering: Why is ventilation important when you’re supposed to air-seal your home? It’s because ventilation works with your insulation to maintain your home’s indoor environment, making the house more energy-efficient.

Unfinished attics, especially, need proper ventilation. Warm air naturally rises from the lower parts of your house up to the attic. If your attic isn’t ventilated, the heat will get trapped in the room, raising the temperature. Ventilation allows excess heat to escape from your home, keeping the inside of your house cooler during the warm season

The Importance of Attic Ventilation

Ventilation has two main purposes: to promote airflow and to reduce moisture inside the house. Both of these functions help increase the efficacy of your insulation system, keeping your attic dry but not hot.

Improving Airflow with Ventilation

Your attic must be well-insulated, but there are spots that you should leave uninsulated. The hollows between rafters, for instance, must be left uncovered to allow airflow.

At the same time, you have to air-seal your attic. Gaps and cracks in the attic can let air in from the outside or leak energy from inside the house. When either of these two happen, your HVAC system will have to work twice as hard to maintain your preferred indoor temperature.

One popular form of attic ventilation is the soffit vent. Soffit vents are located on the underside of the roof, the part that sticks out over your house. In a properly ventilated attic, the soffit vents draw fresh air from the outside. The air then goes through the baffle to circulate throughout the attic, then exits through another form of ventilation like a ridge vent or a gable vent.

Soffit vents are designed to promote airflow, churning out the stale air in your attic to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. This controlled motion of airflow helps prevent condensation, which is a major cause of mold growth.

Reducing Moisture with Ventilation

Indoor humidity makes rooms feel uncomfortable. Common signs of excessive air moisture are foggy windows, a mildewy smell, and a heavy, clammy feel on the skin. If you notice these things in your home, then you might be having ventilation problems.

Insulation is the number one defense against attic humidity. The insulating material prevents moisture from seeping into different surfaces in the attic.

However, even if your attic is adequately insulated, that doesn’t mean that the room is completely immune to moisture. Air goes stale when it doesn’t circulate. A buildup of stale air in the attic can increase humidity levels, making your attic feel uncomfortably hot and stuffy.

Also, activities like bathing and washing clothes raise the amount of water in the air. Stale air and the moisture content of household activities need a way out of your house. Otherwise, they’ll contribute to your indoor humidity.

This is why you have to supplement your insulation system with proper ventilation. Ventilation keeps the air in your attic moving to prevent moisture from accumulating. However, you have to control all the air current routes to keep unwanted air from entering your house. Letting in too much outside air can affect the efficiency of your HVAC system.

Ultimately, the key to managing attic humidity levels is adequate ventilation and air-sealing to control airflow. Below are some tips on how to improve your attic ventilation without interfering with your insulation’s performance.

How You Can Improve Attic Ventilation

Attic insulation

The general rule for ventilating unfinished attics is that air must be able to enter and exit the room to maintain a healthy flow. The Federal Housing Administration recommends one sq. ft. of ventilation for every 150 sq. ft. of attic space.

Intake Vents 

Intake vents, or the vents where outside air enters, are typically located along the soffit of the house. You can choose from the following soffit vent options.

Rectangular Soffit Vents 

These are the most popular form of attic ventilation due to their fast, easy installation. You can install them without professional assistance, reducing the upfront costs. The vents are also affordable.

Installing rectangular soffit vents is as simple as cutting the holes and screwing the vent into place. First, mark the roof vent position from the attic. You should be able to see the rafters to avoid placing vents over them. If your soffit runs parallel to the street, place the vents on the backside to make them less prominent.

Use a jigsaw to cut the holes. Make sure to space the vents evenly to distribute air properly in the attic. 

Continuous Soffit Vents

Continuous soffit vents are more narrow than rectangular ones. They run the entire length of the soffit, allowing more air to enter. They’re more suitable for soffits that are less than 16 inches wide.

This kind of vent has a similar installation process to rectangular vents. However, you may need assistance in fitting them. The length of continuous vents makes them tricky to install.

The problem with soffit vents is that your attic insulation might be blocking the spaces between the rafters above the exterior walls. This prevents air from flowing from the soffit vents to the roof vents.

One solution is to install baffles. These prevent vents from getting clogged by insulating material. They’re like chutes that provide a clear channel for outside air to move into the attic. Baffles can be challenging to install, though, so have a professional do it for you.

Exhaust Vents

Exhaust vents suck out air to create a continuous current. You can have them placed on your roof or gables, depending on the design and orientation of your house.

Ridge Vents

Ridge vents are continuous vents that span the entire length of your roof. They provide maximum ventilation since you have to cut open the entire ridge of the roof. That said, you can’t DIY your ridge vents because you might accidentally saw through an inner beam, which can affect your roof’s structural integrity.

Roof Vents

Roof vents are the cylindrical contraptions found on top of houses. They’re installed as close as possible to the roof’s ridge. Although many people find them unattractive, roof vents are very effective at dispelling hot air from the house.

If you’re concerned about your home’s visual appeal, you can go for a square roof vent that’s less conspicuous. However, the spherical models offer much more powerful ventilation capability. These have lightweight fan blades that are propelled by wind, increasing the flow of air exiting the roof.

Roof vents, whether square or spherical, follow the same installation process. 

Gable Vents

These vents are placed in the triangular spaces on either end of your house. They’re easier to install compared to roof or ridge vents since you don’t have to deal with shingles or roof beams. Gable vents also don’t require as much waterproofing because they’re vertical and less exposed to the elements.

However, gable events don’t meet the standard square foot requirements to thoroughly ventilate an attic. They should only be used to supplement your roof vents.

Fans

The last ventilation option is an attic fan. Fans function as both intake and exhaust vents. They use electricity to move air in and out of the house, greatly improving your attic’s ventilation performance.

Just like gable vents, fans alone aren’t enough to adequately ventilate your attic. Most homeowners use attic fans to supplement their gable or roof vents and improve their ventilation.

You can purchase attic fans as a unit, including the vents, but you can also buy them separately if you already have vents installed.

The disadvantage of attic fans is the additional monthly cost of operating them. However, fans prevent heat traps in the attic, which can result in a cooler house. This means your HVAC system won’t have to work as hard to maintain your preferred indoor temperature, resulting in lower energy bills.

To determine if your attic needs better ventilation, conduct an energy evaluation on your home. This examination can detect poor indoor air quality and assess your ventilation and insulation. The audit will let you know how you can make your house more energy-efficient and reduce your electricity spending.

A+ Service from A+ Insulation

A+ Insulation is a trusted insulation expert in Kansas City. We offer a range of insulation treatments for different parts of your home, including the attic. Our experienced insulation professionals will ensure that your attic is well-ventilated and air-sealed to prevent moisture problems.

Schedule an appointment for a FREE home energy assessment!