During the last few weeks, as we’ve been staying at home, are you finding yourself finally getting around to those home projects? You’re not alone! Consumer reports have shown almost double the amount of DIY searches online since the stay-at-home orders have begun.
Homeowners may be painting, gardening, and doing other fun tasks around the house. They also may be working on siding, roofing, and insulation. Whether you are doing it yourself or calling the professionals, there are some things you should know before work begins. These tips can help you get the best possible results for your new insulation.
It’s Important to Caulk and Seal Your Windows
Your windows should only let air in or out if you open them, right? A leaky window can completely negate any insulation and heating or cooling you have running in your home. Poorly sealed windows lead to higher energy bills and overall poor home performance.
First American Roofing can perform a blower door test to determine your home’s performance, but there are some ways you can check for leaky windows yourself. First, close all windows and doors, and turn off your furnace and any fans.
After a visual check of the inside and outside of the windows, you can use a candle to check for drafts and leaks. As you hold your candle safely near your windows, curtains drawn, a flicker of the flame can indicate a draft in that window.
Next, you can work on caulking or re-caulking your windows. The first rule of thumb is not to put new caulk over old caulk. The old caulk that is cracked or pulling apart will only continue to do so underneath your new application. So, make sure to remove any old, damaged caulk before applying new caulk.
Second, make sure you use the proper kind of caulk depending on location and type of room in your home. Use exterior only for caulking the exterior of your window, and interior for inside. Also, ensure you use water and mold-resistant caulk in humid rooms like your bathroom. If your home’s exterior is brick or stucco, get a type of caulk that can apply to both your window and other exterior surfaces.
Weatherstrip All Entry Doors
Your front door, backdoors, and patio doors should all be well insulated by using proper installation techniques and include weather stripping. Avoid water and air leaks by regularly checking that your weatherstripping is secure and free of cracks or gaps.
To replace your weatherstripping, make sure you first carefully remove the existing strips. You should see a small gap that your new strips will go in. Check for any cracks in the door itself along with this, and repair as needed. Give the entire border a nice wipe down, cleaning it of dust, debris, or any adhesive. Your new weatherstripping will adhere better to a clean surface.
Starting at the bottom of the door frame, slide the edge of your stripping into the slot, and carefully insert up to the top. Pro tip: don’t measure and pre-cut the weather stripping before you install it. Because when you get to the top of the door, you can get a better idea of how much excess you will have. The last thing you want is to cut too much and not have enough to reach the top of your door. So when you get to the end, cut the excess off accordingly at that stage.
Replace Existing Fiberglass Insulation in Basement Sill Boxes
In our experience, we have found box sills to be the least insulated part of a home, more often than not. Homeowners will commonly use fiberglass batts as a cheap method of insulating the sill boxes. However, this can trap moisture and cause mold growth.
The best recommendation we have for your basement sill boxes is to replace those fiberglass batts with closed-cell foam insulation. It can help insulate those damp areas that catch a lot of rain and help to prevent mold and mildew growth in your basement.
Replace Existing Fiberglass With Foam
If you’re using fiberglass mats in your attic or walls for insulation, and your home has never been reinsulated, it may be time to re-evaluate that. We’ve found that spray foam insulation is up to 24 times more resistant to air infiltration and insulates better than fiberglass when it comes to weather resistance.
Spray foam insulation can fill more space in less time, and with a higher R-value per inch than fiberglass. For those tight spots in your attic that make it difficult to cut or reshape fiberglass mats, foam can easily infiltrate and fill the space, so you don’t miss any vulnerable spots for air leaks.
Always Air Seal the Attic
Insulating, reinsulating, or replacing your insulation will all be in vain if you don’t combine it with properly air seal your attic. We’ve seen an increase in popularity when it comes to air sealing due to proven results with the overall home performance before and after air sealing homeowners’ attics.
Air sealing ensures no heat or air conditioning escape through small gaps in your attic floor. These gaps are from running electrical work and wires to the attic and things like ceiling lights and other fixtures. Something as small as a 1-inch hole can allow heat to escape through electrical outlets up to your attic and out of your house. Laying insulation over those holes without sealing them can still negatively impact your heating and cooling bills.
There are numerous insulation benefits to it, and some areas even require it to meet code. At First American Roofing, we will always ensure the attic is first properly air sealed before installing any insulation.
Cover Your Can or Recessed Lighting Fixtures
When homeowners install lighting into the ceiling, they open up the risk of creating another way for heat and air to escape rooms. To protect air leaks, and insulation getting into the can light, covers can be purchased and put over them in the attics and ceilings. Then, you would insulate around those. Recessed lighting fixtures are one of the top places prone to air leaks.
Choose Cellulose Insulation Over Fiberglass
In general, we find cellulose to be a much better option over fiberglass when it comes to insulating your home. For every install of insulation, we use high-quality cellulose for many reasons. It has a better R-value than fiberglass, and also resists rodents and bugs.
Cellulose insulation is also a great green alternative to the usual fiberglass insulation. It is made by shredding recyclable materials like used newspapers or cardboard boxes into small pieces. Then, fire-resistant and bug-resistant chemicals are added for extra protection.
A properly insulated home is key to maintaining efficient home performance, keeping your home warm in the winter and cold and the summer, and keeping your utility bills down. Check out our other insulation and home performance tips here. And for a FREE estimate, call (608) 305-2257.