How to Maintain Home Comfort Year Round
A bonus room is the one most often built over the garage. Having this extra room might seem like an ideal solution for a growing family. Perhaps even now as we are all are directed to shelter in place, work from home and oversee homeschooling, the need for additional space is becoming more apparent! Constructing the additional space is one thing, keeping that room comfortable during a subfreezing Chicago winter or cool during a sweltering hot summer is another story.
In early to mid-November, when the cold weather decides to stop playing games and takes a bite, I start getting calls from people who simply cannot stand their freezing bonus rooms and the bone-chilling floors.
I remember one family who was making preparations for the wife’s ailing mother to come live with them. The wife said that the floor and the room were really cold in the winter. Since the wife’s mother always seemed to feel cold in her later years, this room would simply be unacceptable to her as is. Her husband wanted to keep peace in the house, and he called me, asking if I could help him with the obvious lack of insulation.
When I looked at the garage and the bonus room which they used as a guest bedroom, it became clear to me that while the contractor had met all of the required building standards, using pink fiberglass insulation, it was insufficient to address the problem. This was why the room had freezing floors in the winter and was impossible to cool in the summer.
The Problem with Traditional Fiberglass Insulation
While the typical fiberglass or cellulose insulation is fine for certain applications, these products will settle over time. Once it settles and becomes more compact, this allows air to enter the subfloor of the bedroom and get between the garage ceiling and the subfloor. Additionally, the framing in these areas was not installed with any thought of air sealing and will never meet this family or any family’s needs!
If you were to pull some of this insulation out, you would notice that it has turned a dark color, as if dipped in coffee. This is due to air passing through the area, leaving the fiberglass insulation to act more like an air filter than insulation. While it makes a great air filter, this is supposed to be about preventing air from entering this area, not filtering it! For example, home refrigerators twenty years ago were dramatically less efficient because they were “insulated” with that same fiberglass air filter, now home refrigerators are super energy efficient because of the closed cell spray foam used in the shell.
Sealing the Garage and Bonus Room Properly
Every joint and bay in the exterior walls of the garage needs to be sealed first. Only then should you install the fiberglass insulation and add the drywall. The batt should be properly fitted so it fills the entire bay. This will prevent air movement and stop cold air from reaching the floor of the bonus room.
Contractors are very good at building, but they are not always as knowledgeable in what is needed from an insulation perspective.
This is where spray foam is a superior product to the pink insulation. The foam is applied to the subfloor and provides both insulation and a permanent air barrier, keeping your home more comfortable, winter or summer, saving you a great deal on heating and cooling costs. Spray foam never settles, which prevents air from entering permanently!
Keeping Your Extended Family Comfortable
We installed spray foam insulation for the family we talked about above. This was a fairly simple job and costing them about $5,000. Just after the New Year, I was rewarded when the husband sent me a photo of their 2-year old sitting on the floor of the guest bedroom, playing a game with grandma. Both of them were toasty warm and comfortable. How much is that peace, quiet and comfort worth to you?
Isn’t Spray Foam Expensive?
I get asked that question quite often. My answer is, not really. While the initial dollar outlay is more than traditional insulation, the cost savings over time will be enormous. Spray foam insulation will drastically lower your heating and air conditioning bills for decades to come!
Speaking of another issue, let’s not forget about comfort levels. No one wants to spend a small fortune “heating” their home, only to find that they are shivering on the sofa or that they are wearing a coat when working from the home office. You pay money to heat your home, so you aren’t cold?!
I have heard people say that even though their thermostat is set for 75 or even 80 degrees in the winter, they can’t seem to get one or two rooms (sometimes the entire house) to reach just over 60 degrees!
Imagine the money you will save when you can set your thermostat at 72 degrees and every room in the house reaches that temperature, stays there, all while your furnace works part-time!
Comfort is Only a Foam Call Away
This isn’t a pipe dream! You can be comfortable and save money by calling the professionals at Chicago Green Insulation. We are experienced in all aspects of foam insulation, drywall replacement, and more. You can enjoy all of your living spaces again, both winter and summer, not just a few!
Trust Chicago Green Insulation to help you maintain the temperatures in your home, regardless of the temperatures outside. No one wants to be cold in their own home, especially if you are trying to keep peace among a multi-generational family.
Are you wondering if spray foam insulation will work with your home construction? Call us today at 847-987-3626. Whether you are calling pre-construction or post-construction, we can solve your insulation problems.
Remember, Comfort is only a Foam call away! Call us today!