Improperly installed insulation can cause you to spend too much money on heating/cooling costs, or cause structural damage to the house due to humidity or moisture build-up. A professional has the right training, knows the codes, and will do the job right the first time. There are many Madison-area insulations companies from which a homeowner can choose.
Rockweiler Insulation takes a few measures to ensure you got what you paid for. In the attic we install attic rulers that show the depth and R-value of the insulation throughout the attic. When we are finished, our installer fills out an attic card that shows the R-value installed, the number of bags used, the square footage, and then signs and dates the card. That card is then stapled right by the scuttle access to the attic.
Another great way to confirm a quality insulation job is to do testing. A blower-door test or use of a thermography camera are two ways to make sure the insulation was installed correctly. Rockweiler currently does not offer these tests, but we can refer you to an energy consultant who can help you.
Yes, insulation is an efficient and cost-effective way to reduce sound. Sound insulation can be installed in new construction, or in existing construction by drilling into an existing wall or floor and blowing in insulation to reduce sound.
R-Value measures the resistance to heat flow. It is also referred to as "thermal resistance" or a material's ability to slow heat flow. The higher the R-Value of a product, the greater that product’s insulating power. Materials that have the same R-Value, regardless of thickness, weight, or appearance, are equal in insulation value.
There are three major differences between fiberglass and cellulose insulation.
Fire Resistance - Fiberglass is made mostly of inorganic materials and therefore is naturally non-combustible and has a low flame spread rating. It will maintain its fire resistance over its lifetime. On the other hand, cellulose is made up of newspaper, which is organic and naturally flammable. Therefore, approximately 20% of the finished cellulose product is comprised of fire retardant chemicals (80% newspaper/20% fire retardant chemicals). These fire retardant chemicals may not be applied consistently and may deteriorate over time. Smoldering and re-kindling of fires have been reported with this product.
Moisture Absorption - Fiberglass is installed dry and does not retain moisture. Cellulose is often installed damp and needs to fully dry after installation. Even after drying, cellulose can absorb moisture, which can lower the R-value of the product and may promote fungal growth.
Settling - Fiberglass has nearly no settling (1-3%). Therefore, the R-value is stable over time. Cellulose can settle or shrink causing the R-value to deteriorate over time.
Both blown-in cellulose and fiberglass insulation perform well to insulate your home, however, regardless of which insulation you choose the performance of the product largely depends on the quality of workmanship.
With a greater emphasis on air sealing and stopping air leaks, homes are “tighter” than they were before. This makes moisture management more important than ever before. Excessive moisture can cause problems in your home such as spots on the ceiling or also moisture build-up on windows which can lead to rotting window framing, unpleasant odors, and in extreme cases mold.
Make sure your bath fan is the correct size, is vented to the outside (ie – does not vent the moisture into the attic space) and most importantly make sure you use the fan. An easy rule of thumb is to always run the fan while you are using the shower and for 30 minutes afterwards. Contact your local handyman or electrician to install a timer to help insure the use of the fan by the entire family.
If fiberglass insulation becomes wet, usually it will not lose any R-Value if it able to completely dry out. Cellulose insulation usually needs to be replaced once it becomes wet. Always check with a professional if you are unsure if you need to replace your insulation. Most often Rockweiler will be able to come out and evaluate for you if the insulation is safe to dry out or needs to be replaced.
In 2010 new rules went into effect regarding work that disturbs lead-based paint in homes, childcare facilities, and schools built before 1978. Until 1978 many paints contained lead. Ordinary renovation and maintenance activities in buildings built before 1978 can create dust that contains lead. Lead paint dust can be dangerous, and it doesn't take a lot of dust to cause harm to children and adults. Children who ingest even small amounts of lead dust can develop brain damage, behavior or learning problems, and have a high probability of delinquency. Adults who inhale dust from lead-based paint can have a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
Contractors are required to be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. These work practices protect residents from the dust that may contain lead by:
- containing work areas (to limit any potential exposure to residents)
- minimizing the dust
- leaving the work area clean
Rockweiler Insulation and its employees are certified by the State of Wisconsin to perform these lead-safe work practices. When you decide to have sidewall work done and your home was built prior to 1978, we will provide you with a pamphlet (Renovate Right) that explains basic facts about lead and lead safety. When these procedures are followed, you can be confident that your health is not at risk.
Preventing ice dams is a three-pronged attack consisting of air sealing, ventilation and insulation. Ice dams may be caused by heat loss in an attic, a poor roof design or because of the “perfect storm” of snow, melting, and more snow. We work to help prevent ice dams, not remove them. If you get one, for your own safety be sure to have a professional remove it.
There is a lot more to upgrading the attic insulation than just "blowing some material" up there. According to Energy Star 60% of a home's air leaks are in the attic and stopping air flow helps reduce energy loss. It's important to pay particular attention to sealing up any gaps.
Once your attic is brought up to the current standards you should not need to insulate your attic again unless one of the following events occur:
- Another contractor does work in your attic and disturbs the insulation (ie install a bath fan, etc)
- Raccoons, squirrels or other critters get in and cause damage
- Wind damage (ie: storm with high winds or a tornado can possibly move insulation)
If you are heating your garage full-time, you definitely want to insulate! Even if you aren’t heating your garage full-time, there are still some benefits to insulating your garage. While it won’t affect the efficiency of the insulation in your house, the garage will feel more comfortable keeping the contents of your garage warmer than if the garage was not insulated. If you are drywalling the garage walls, it makes sense to insulate the walls prior to drywalling since it’s easier to insulate the wall cavities before a solid surface is there.