Insulation

Insulation makes your home more comfortable and saves energy costs. It can be made from different materials and is available in different forms. Bower Haus focuses on insulating older homes using cellulose or fiberglass.

Insulating your home is good for the environment and the government wants to reward you for acting responsibly. A direct tax credit is available for 30% of the cost of insulation for your home, up to $1500. Depending on income, Michigan tax credits are also available, and you may be able to get a rebate from your utility company if, for example, DTE Energy is your natural gas supplier.

Different types of insulation are suitable for different situations:

Cellulose insulation consists of ground up newspaper and boric acid, which is an effective fire retardant and pesticide. When you buy cellulose you are participating in recycling. Cellulose is excellent for attic spaces and walls. Cellulose is a good choice for retrofit wall insulation since it can be blown in through small holes in the wall.

Cellulose is primarily what we install. We like that it is recycled material and is produced locally. However, there are times when another insulation is a better choice. If we can't do the work ourselves, we'll advise you on your best options and refer you to another qualified contractor.

Cellulose normally settles with time. To avoid this in walls, we blow it in with enough pressure that it compacts, better seals air leaks, and does not settle. In attics, we make sure that we install enough insulation to achieve the stated R-value after settling.

Fiberglass typically comes in the form of common batt or roll insulation that most of us are most familiar with. It may be faced with a vapor retarder or unfaced. Fiberglass is more susceptible to air infiltration than other insulation, so it requires good sealing of cracks and gaps.

Fiberglass is also available chopped and can be blown into walls or attics, like cellulose. It does not settle, but it does not seal air leaks as well in walls and can blow around in an attic with lots of ventilation.

Foam: foam is available in rigid boards or can be spray-applied.

Spray-applied foam insulation is available in open-cell and closed-cell varieties. Open cell foam has about the same insulation value as cellulose, while closed-cell foam has the highest insulation value available. A big advantage to foam is that it seals all cracks, not allowing air infiltration. The down side is higher cost.

Foam can be sprayed into wall cavities, but if you ever expect to re-wire your home closed-cell foam will make it very difficult for the electrician. Foam is a good choice if you live in a flood plain since it is the only insulation that does not have to be replaced for flood damage.

Rigid foam boards make good sheathing. A construction technique developed for the far north advocates wrapping a house with several inches of rigid foam before adding the siding. Foam boards faced with reflective foil—and installed with airspace adjacent to the foil—can resist radiant heat in addition to preventing heat conduction.

Reflective: foil is an excellent insulator. Other types of insulation work primarily by resisting the conduction of heat through the material. Foil conducts heat but resists heat radiation. In layers, it is so effective that it is used to insulate astronaut suits and to provide protective tents for forest fire fighters. Since foil is impermeable to air flow, it works well in combination with fiberglass.

Foam board insulation is often available with a foil facing. When installing a foam board that has foil on one side, the reflective surface should face an airspace. If the foil is in contact with a solid surface it does not reflect radiant heat.

Foil not only reflects heat away, it also radiates very little heat. In summer, heat radiates down from from your roof into your attic. If you apply reflective foil to your attic rafters, the foil blocks the radiation. Foil that faces up over time collects a coating of dust and loses its reflective properties. Foil facing down prevents radiation of heat from the roof and does not easily collect dust.

You can save money by helping us and feeding the insulation blowing machine. We can also consult on your best options and rent you a smaller blower, if you prefer to do the work yourself. (We don't recommend using the smaller blower for filling walls, since it does not blow with enough force to prevent settling.)
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MI Residential Builders License 2101194384

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Bower Haus
234 Griswold St. SE

Grand Rapids, MI 49507


Phone: 616.780.1112

E-mail: tim_slager@yahoo.com