Where To Use Insulation When Remodeling in Greater Madison

Where To Add Insulation During A Home Remodeling Project

Home Insulation When Remodeling

Properly insulating your home is an incredibly important step towards energy efficiency. This is especially true in areas of the country that experience prolonged cold periods like greater Madison. To get the highest levels of energy efficiency, and cut your energy costs, insulate your home from the roof to the foundation.

The perfect time to solve any problems with your insulation is during a home renovation. Today, you have more efficient choices than just fiberglass batting or fiberglass loose-fill insulation. When you're remodeling, depending on the scope of the work, you can include other technologies like moisture and air leakage control throughout your home to improve efficiency. If radon is an issue where you live, the perfect time to address it is when finishing your basement. Using radon-resistant construction techniques such, as an evacuation system, and proper insulation in combination with air sealing can reduce the problem.

Let's look at areas to consider adding or upgrading your insulation when remodeling your home.

The Attic

Many homeowners with traditional Cape Cod style homes are turning unused space in the attic into usable space like a media room, or guest bedroom. In these older homes, attic insulation typically sits between the ceiling joists, and commonly it is R-30 batts. As you're remodeling, your contractor will most likely begin by sealing any air leaks and making any roof repairs before finishing the space. If your space has a peaked roof and will be built as a cathedral ceiling, it's important to insulate and air seal the knee walls around the perimeter.

Cathedral Ceilings

Many homes built in the 1990's and newer have cathedral ceilings in their living space. They can give the room a feeling of being much more substantial and are a dramatic design statement in almost any home. Properly insulating a cathedral ceilings allows ceiling temperatures to remain closer to the ambient room temperature, providing comfort, efficiency, and even heating and cooling distribution throughout the home.

When insulating a cathedral ceiling, it's important that the roof cavity be completely air sealed from the conditioned room below to prevent moisture intrusion which can degrade the roof.

In much older homes, foil-faced or kraft-faced batt insulation was commonly used in cathedral ceilings because it was the best thing available at the time for rudimentary air sealing and vapor retarder. Today, we usually blow dense-pack cellulose insulation into cathedral ceilings because it helps to air seal and can fill the space completely. Make sure that you include a vent baffle to maintain the ventilation channel for your home.

Exterior Walls

If your attic is properly insulated, but your home still feels drafty and cold in the winter, you may need to complete air sealing and at that time you might also add additional insulation to exterior walls. The perfect time to do this is when you replace the siding on your home. The most efficient insulation to use on exterior walls is blown-in using the dense pack technique. Using a layer of extruded Styrofoam or foil-faced polyisocyanurate foam will also work. Be sure to tape foam seams in order to make an effective air barrier.

When remodeling the interior and the wall cavities will be open, consider two-part spray foam or dense-pack or damp spray cellulose insulation. If you're interested in a premium system, ask your contractor about injectable spray foam insulation or about how to retrofit dense-pack cellulose. This can improve the R-value of your walls without major disruption.

Foundation Insulation

If you are adding an addition to your home and it will include basement space, insulating the outside of the exterior walls using extruded Styrofoam can keep any finished rooms more comfortable, and can help to prevent moisture problems, insect infestation, and radon infiltration. If you are into innovation and looking for a premium system, consider techniques that provide both foundation structure and insulation like insulating concrete forms and insulating concrete blocks.

Basement Insulation

A finished basement can add usable space as well as value to your home. When finishing your space, make sure to insulate properly. It will not only provide you with a comfortable space but can reduce your energy costs. The basement is more connected to the upper living space then you think. Insulating the ceiling is not as important as making sure to properly insulate the exterior walls and air seal the ring joist. It will improve the overall energy efficiency of your entire home.

When working in the basement, it's imperative to make sure that your contractor pays attention to the dew point location and allows drying to the interior. Otherwise, condensation can occur in the walls and create a potential mold hazard.

When undertaking any home renovation project, make upgrading your insulation and completing proper air sealing a part of the plan. Properly insulating your existing home space can lower your energy costs and make your home much more comfortable. The right time to address this issue is when you are opening the walls, for example when you do a gut-to-the-studs bathroom remodel.In new construction, for example, when adding an addition, starting with proper insulation can add value to your home.

Today's technology has made adding insulation more manageable and less disruptive than ever before. At Degnan Design-Build-Remodel, we are new home construction and remodeling specialists. Contact us, and we will provide you with insulation solution for Greater Madison weather when remodeling your home. 

Updated 12/22/2017 by Abe Degnan

About Degnan Design Build Remodel
Since 1981 Degnan Design Build Remodel has provided home improvement and construction services to customers throughout Greater Madison, Wisconsin. Our goal is to WOW you with a "Designed For Your Life" solution using a process that will transform your home into a beautiful living space, delivered on time, and on budget. We are known for our communication, respectfulness, and a commitment to our customers and our community. Contact us to speak with one of our designers about your home improvement project.