Insulation: A Tight Fit Equals Big Savings

Insulation is probably the best place to spend money when it comes to getting a return on investment. It’s cheap, installs quickly, and can make a real difference in the bottom-line costs of operating a home.

We recently hired Noe Gaxiola of Vale Insulation Group (503.799.4436) to insulate the interior of the Live/Work project. Noe came highly recommended by my friend, Jennifer, who worked in the industry for many years.

Like many of the trades on the project, Noe went above and beyond the call on our project. He sealed every single nook and cranny of the building with an expanding foal sealant. This will help keep the heat in and – more importantly – keep cold air OUT. “Air infiltration” is widely recognized as one of the biggest causes of heat loss, and Noe went to extreme lengths to ensure an air-tight building envelope. Here’s a close-up of some his work around an exterior window (the foam gets trimmed once it dries):

Foam Insulation Close Up

What really impressed me about Noe’s work was that he provided a lot of value for a very reasonable price.

While it may appear that insulation is just about stuffing stud bays, there’s actually quite a bit of art/skill to installing the bats properly. In fact, many studies have shown that a major loss of heat is attributed to poorly installed insulation. High R-value insulation does little good if the insulation is crammed and crushed around electrical, plumbing and other obstacles. A good installer like Noe pays careful attention and FITS the insulation in every void.

Big thanks to Noe and his small-but-mighty crew at Vale!

Second Floor Insulation

Post Script: There are a LOT of options for insulating a home (blown in cellulose, reccyled cotton, closed and open cell foam, etc). We even considered foam at one point. It’s superior for preventing air infiltration, and would have been the best choice for our vaulted ceiling. Unfortunately, the cost differential between fiberglass and other technologies was a budget buster.