A lot of residents tend to treat this question as a tricky one. In all honesty, it is neither tricky nor that hard to answer.
Insulating a home is an important process for the homeowner. It protects the home from the undesirable effects of changing weather patterns. For instance, a home in Louisiana is insulated for key reasons such as protection from Louisiana’s damp soil and scorching hot summers.
The same goes for homes based in and around Dallas and Houston in Texas, plus in Florida and other southern states. Every state in the USA has homes insulated against mold and rust.
And what about Canada? Are Canadian homes insulated? Let’s find out.
Insulated homes in Canada – an overview
Canadian homes are insulated too. The Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation (CMHC) has the following to state for an insulated home as it compares a properly insulated house to dressing according to the weather:
“A wool sweater will keep you warm if the wind is not blowing and it is not raining. On a windy, rainy day, wearing a nylon shell over your wool sweater helps keep you reasonably dry and warm. A house is similar. On the outside, underneath the brick or siding, there is an air barrier that does the same thing as the nylon – it keeps the wind from blowing through. Then there is the insulation (like your sweater) and a vapor barrier, which helps keep moisture away from the house structure where it can do damage.”
A vast majority of homes in Canada are insulated not just because Canada is the coldest country in North America but also, local laws and regulations are among the most stringent in the world.
How seriously does the Canadian Government take urban and housing development and planning?
Other than that, the country takes urban planning and development quite seriously, especially when it comes to housing. Such an aspect can be observed in the cities of Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver.
The aforementioned cities are ranked among Canada’s largest. Toronto is not just the biggest and Canada’s financial capital, but also one of the largest in the Americas and the world too. It is the most preferred living spot of all Canadians and immigrants alike and is also becoming a global culture spot.
A unique aspect of Toronto’s urban planning is the way the city council mixed apartment buildings in residential lots to prevent the occurrence of suburban sprawl. Unfortunately, like most North American cities, suburban sprawl took place in Toronto as well as in cities like Calgary, Montreal, and Vancouver. Toronto’s sprawl is, however, the largest in comparison to other cities.
Other than that, housing insulation is compulsory in Canada. The Government of Canada has mentioned the types of walls and construction on its website as well as the kind of insulation used for both normal and energy-efficient homes. Plus, insulation for houses and condos is different on the exterior.
Insulating the interior of a home
Residents should consider insulating the interior of their home for the following reasons:
Residents live in either a condo or an apartment
In technical terms, residents only own what is contained within the inside walls of their residential unit. Also, the Homeowners Association (HOA) or the Condo Board will not allow residents to make any modifications to the building’s exterior.
Party walls are walls shared by two or more owners and they go well with interior insulation. This reduces the noise from neighbors. Also, fire-proof insulation prevents fire from spreading fast from one unit to the other.
The space in the home is sufficient
The addition of interior insulation reduces the space of a home by a certain number of inches per wall. It also depends on the materials used and selected. If residents are living in a home that is large enough for numerous residents to live nicely, or has an open layout, insulating the interior works well. Besides, insulating the interior walls is more affordable than insulating the exterior walls.
The exterior walls are unreliable
If residents live in a home having unreliable exterior walls or walls which cannot be easily repaired, or if the residents just wish to avoid altering the building’s design; the best solution is to apply insulation on the inside.
External insulation relies a lot on scaffolding and drilling into the walls. It is best to consult a contractor to see whether such is applicable in a resident’s case, or not.
Residents are living in a heritage-listed building
Heritage-listed buildings are often referred to as listed buildings. If residents are living in a historic building, or in that part of town that is listed as historic, application of exterior insulation is most likely to cause aesthetic damage to its facade.
There is also a good chance that residents may not be granted a permit for such alterations. Even if residents do get a permit, they might need to match the already existing design with the insulations and in some cases, it can blow the budget. In such scenarios, insulating the interior is the only alternative they have.
The interior is being redecorated by residents
Applying interior insulation can be disruptive to a resident’s household, even if they chose to do it one room at a time. Residents will need to remove frames of doors and windows, electrical boxes, skirting boards, and other fittings during the process, as well as cleaning the floors and tiles once the work is done. For those who already have scheduled for redecorating their home, now is a good time to start the work on internal insulation.
Insulating the exterior of a home
Residents can consider insulating the exteriors of their home for the following reasons:
Residents live in a detached home
Because a typical detached home does not share exterior walls with other homes or buildings, residents living there are going to lose heat. If they also have an attic and a basement in their detached home, insulating the exterior is compulsory because the heat will escape both ways.
Most of the older homes do not have interior insulation while also having too little space to allow it. In this case, adding exterior insulation works best.
Residents live in an area that is either quite lively or noisy
Though soundproofing can be applied both inside and out, it has much better outcomes on exterior walls. It is also a good thing to understand that sound travels through walls hence it is difficult to create a good soundproof barrier with interior insulation.
Through external insulation, the thickness of the layers can be increased substantially with residents not having to worry about losing space.
They can consider this type of insulation if they live close to highways, airports, or flight paths, or in neighborhoods that receive a lot of vehicular traffic.
Residents are facing issues due to dampness
The addition of interior insulation makes the walls colder resulting in condensation on both the inside and on the wall’s surface. This causes mildew and mold, resulting in wall decay. Exterior insulation works
quite well in this regard because it prevents dampness from penetrating the walls without affecting their temperature on the inside.
Residents live in a cold area
Both the interior and exterior insulation will improve the energy efficiency of a home. But if residents are living in places having cold winters (like Edmonton, Saint John, Fort Mackay, Fort McMurray, Winnipeg, Calgary, Sudbury, Kingston, or Ottawa) then insulating the exterior walls is much more practical. Not only will such insulation protect the outer walls but it will also reduce the risk of condensation when windows are open making the home a bit more airy.
When residents are building the home of their dreams
Obtaining permits for exterior insulation is difficult and can turn out to be impossible in some cases. Hence, if residents or prospective homeowners are in the process of constructing their own homes, now is the best time to get a permit for exterior insulation.
It is also easier to install exterior insulation on basements at this stage, as no resident needs to worry about digging and revealing the foundations later on. This is also a good time to apply insulation materials to the middle wall as it is otherwise a much more difficult job for the workers and contractors to carry out.
Exterior Insulation can be conducted if residents are living in detached homes, townhouses, or mansions in either the inner-city or the outer-city suburbs.
Interior insulation works best for residents living in any
kind of home; be it an apartment, a condo, a mansion, a loft, a rowhouse, or a townhouse anywhere in the world (even in Canada).
If residents are doubtful about the current insulation of their homes, they should have it checked through an expert contractor to see if any work needs to be done, or not.