How to Add Insulation to an Existing Home During a Remodel

Installing insulation in new homes is easy and fast because it is done before the finishing stage. However, insulating an existing home can be a complex process. Tearing down walls and floors to install insulation can be extremely costly. Luckily, it doesn't have to be this way. If you are planning a major remodel, you can use the opportunity to insulate your home and replace old, worn or ineffective insulation. Below are a few tips on how to approach the project.

Start with the roof and attic

Most of the summer heat gain and winter heat loss occurs through the attic and roof. Therefore, if your roof and attic are uninsulated, insulating them is a great starting point. You don't need to tear down the structure to install insulation. You can use batt insulation, loose-fill insulation or spray foam to insulate the attic and roof's underside and prevent heat loss and gain. Improve the roof's energy-efficiency capabilities further by applying reflective coatings on the surface.

Retrofit wall insulation during a remodel

A home remodel presents the perfect opportunity for retrofitting wall insulation. There are various insulation materials for interior wall insulation. However, some require you to tear down the walls to access the cavity. Assess your budget and scope of the project to determine the best materials. If you are looking for the least disruptive option, polyurethane foam is your best choice.

Polyurethane foam is an insulation material that goes on as liquid foam. Once applied, it expands, covers the surface and hardens in place. When dealing with existing walls, the contractor drills small holes in the walls and injects the foam into the cavity. The foam expands and fills the cavity space. Once the insulation is dry, you can fill the holes and repaint the surface. 

Seal air leaks

Air leaks account for between 15% to 25% of the heat lost in buildings. Air leaks occur around doors, windows, plumbing vents, furnaces and fireplace chimneys, wiring holes and windows. Test your home for air leaks and take the following measures to make your home airtight:

  • Use sealant strips around door frames
  • Seal gaps around window frames
  • Cover large gaps on the window frames with spray foam
  • Use caulk and sheet metal to seal leaks around furnaces, chimneys and other heating equipment
  • Caulk air leaks around wiring holes, HVAC ductwork and plumbing
  • Install double-glazed windows to prevent heat loss through window glass

Take care not to make your home too airtight. If there is inadequate ventilation, the house will experience condensation and mould problems. Therefore, before air sealing, assess the natural ventilation system. If there is insufficient insulation, install mechanical ventilation systems to aid with airflow.

For residential insulation services, consult your contractor.