Insulation Inspection
21 Jun 2012

Insulation Inspection

Adam McCloskey

In the previous posts, we have talked about our processes and inspections that prepare your home to be a properly designed and protected structure. The next step in Cedarglen's inspection process is for the insulation stage of the home that will help to promote a comfortable and efficient interior environment.

Cedarglen performs an inspection on the insulation and the 6-mm poly vapor barrier that separates the outside conditions from the inside. Proper installation of the insulation and vapor barrier in a home will create lower heating bills as well as the ability to keep its occupants comfortable. Cedarglen installs fiberglass R-20 batt insulation in our exterior walls, and minimum 12-inches of blown-in fiber insulation to achieve R-40 in our attics. Higher insulation value in the attic serves two purposes. First, it prevents heat loss in the colder months as heat rises within the home that can be lost with lower insulation in the attic. Second, it prevents the heat from the sun being absorbed during the warmer months and this will help prevent the second floor from becoming too warm. Cedarglen has also embraced "Spray Foam" as our standard for any living spaces above a garage, as well as the rim joists between the main and second floor, and the main floor and basement. It can also be used for the entire insulation of exterior walls and surfaces in a home if a higher than standard efficiency is desired by our customer.

Now, the basics of insulation are fairly simple. The "R" value that is assigned to different types of insulation is referring to the material’s "thermal resistance". The higher the number, the more effective the insulation will be at retaining warmth, or keeping cool. Proper installation of the rectangular batt insulation is important so that there are no void spaces within a wall cavity that could transfer temperature inconsistently and it will be inspected at this stage to ensure that it will perform to our standards.

The next component that is going to be inspected and checked for air leakage is the "poly vapor barrier" in the home. This includes the black acoustical sealant that is applied between overlapping sections of the 6-mm poly that helps to achieve a sealed living space. The Cedarglen Site Supervisor will perform a blower door test on each Cedarglen home at this stage. This test will give an accurate location to any air leakage areas so that they can be resolved before drywall is installed, ensuring that the product we offer is going to be able to withstand the low temperatures and high winds that we experience in the winter months.

The blower door test was designed as a tool for rating for Energuide homes for energy efficiency. At Cedarglen, we felt that it was such an effective tool that we have implemented its use in our insulation inspections. For the blower door test, a fan unit is installed at the front door, and when it runs, creates a vacuum within the home by drawing air out. A Cedarglen Site Supervisor will then perform a visual and "smoke pen" test on all of the joints and exterior penetrations of the home (ex. electrical outlets, tubs, vents, windows, etc). All penetrations from the mechanical systems into the attic space are also inspected and any holes in the wall plates that could allow for air to enter this separate space are sealed. All areas during this test that are found to be allowing air into or out of the home through the poly are resolved and documented.

The result of this detailed testing done on each Cedarglen Home is a home that provides better efficiency for our home buyers in the form of heating and cooling costs and a home that is built to better control issues such as hoar frost and cold spots.