For too long the consensus view has been that insulation doesn’t matter. ‘Just go the cheapest route, get it in the walls and cover it up so we can move on’. Building efficiencies aside, that approach may have worked in the past. Not today; building codes require tight, efficient structures and insulation installers have not changed their game.
How to proceed?
- Accept that you must self-advocate
- Don’t put an insulation installer (or your builder) in charge of your health
- Do your own homework: there is free advice everywhere, use it
- Search Google for installers in your area, pick up the phone and call them
- Interview your installer:
What materials do they use?
What materials do they use the most?
What is their experience, how long in the trade?
Do they like spray foam?
Do they have a view on energy efficiency?
What do they know about new products?
- Do not get pushed into an uncomfortable corner. It’s your house, get what you want and don’t settle
- Insulation installers like to visit job sites before quoting. Have them do so and meet them. Are they presentable? Their appearance will mimic the work done on your house
- Try to enjoy the process. The envelope of your house is the most important part of the building process – get it right!
Look for an energy consultant; often these are the evolved installers who can take a consultative role in your project and add real value.
It is likely best to avoid big companies. They are typically the reason we are in this mess. They make money on volume and therefore have to go as fast as possible to have any chance to make a razor-thin margin.
You get what you pay for and insulation is no different. Insulation is cheap anyway (~2% of construction costs) and paying a bit more is an easy way to outsize your return.