When the winter chill or summer heat settles in, things can get a bit uncomfortable – both physically and in your bank account. In the Quinte region, where temperatures can have big swings throughout the year, the right home insulation is not just a matter of comfort but also of energy efficiency and cost savings. To help you stay comfortable in your home and reduce utility costs, this blog post looks at the pros and cons of different types of insulation and offers some tips for deciding when, why, and how to successfully upgrade.

Assessing Your Home’s Insulation Needs

Since every home is unique, so are its insulation requirements. And in areas like Belleville, Trenton, and Prince Edward County, weather conditions are more unpredictable with each passing season, making it tough to make the best long-term decision. Investing in an energy audit is a great way to assess your home’s current insulation status and identify areas for improvement. Local energy auditors can provide detailed insights into heat loss and recommend the best insulation strategies for your specific needs.

Types of Insulation Suitable for Quinte Homes

There are several options to choose from, each with its unique properties and applications:

Fiberglass Insulation


  • Widely Available: One of the most common types and readily available in various forms such as batts and rolls.
  • Affordability: One of the more affordable insulation options.
  • Easy to Install: DIY-friendly for those comfortable with home improvement projects.
  • Non-Flammable: Fiberglass doesn’t burn, making it a safe option.


    • Irritant: Can irritate the skin and lungs during installation, requiring protective gear.
    • Settling Over Time: May lose some insulating ability over time as it settles.
    • Moisture Issues: Can absorb moisture, potentially leading to mold and mildew problems if not properly installed.
    • Costs: Prices can vary based on thickness and R-value (a measure of thermal resistance).

    Spray Foam Insulation


    • High Energy Efficiency: Provides an excellent air barrier, reducing air leakage.
    • Fills Gaps and Voids: Expands to fill spaces, making it ideal for irregular or hard-to-reach areas.
    • Moisture Barrier: Helps to repel water and moisture.


    • Higher Cost: More expensive than fiberglass and typically requires professional installation.
    • Chemical Sensitivity: Some types can off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during application.

    Cellulose Insulation


    • Eco-Friendly: Often made from recycled paper products.
    • Good Sound Insulation: Dense material that helps reduce noise.
    • Effective for Retrofitting: Can be blown into existing walls without much disturbance.


    • Settling Over Time: Can settle over time, reducing its effectiveness.
    • Moisture Sensitivity: Can absorb moisture, which reduces its effectiveness and can lead to mold growth.
    • Moderate cost: less expensive than spray foam but usually more costly than fiberglass.

    Mineral Wool (Rock or Slag Wool)


    • Naturally fire-resistant: provides an added safety factor.
    • Soundproofing Qualities: Good for reducing noise transmission.
    • Does Not Settle: Maintains its effectiveness over time.


    • Weight: Heavier than other insulation types, which may require additional support.
    • Costs: Higher than fiberglass but a worthwhile investment for its durability.
    • Installation Specifics: Must be installed correctly (with a gap) to be effective.

    Types of Insulation in Quinte to Upgrade


    Vermiculite is a flat and shiny mineral in its natural state, but when exposed to extremely high heat expands to a puffy state. This expanded form is a good insulating material, especially since vermiculite is fireproof. It was a popular insulating material between the 1940s and 1990s for new homes and renovations.

    Vermiculite from this period is likely to have come from a mine that also processed asbestos, which we now know is a potential health hazard. If your home was insulated with vermiculite before the 1990s, there’s about a 50/50 chance it contains asbestos. It’s important to have your home assessed by a professional to determine if it contains vermiculite insulation and potential asbestos contamination.

    Urea-formaldehyde Foam Insulation (UFFI)

    UFFI was widely used for insulating and retrofitting in the 1970s. It’s an efficient and effective low-density foam that expands to fill spaces before hardening. It provides good thermal insulation and can reduce air movement within walls, enhancing its insulating abilities.

    However, the use of a urea formaldehyde-based resin in UFFI manufacturing can lead to the release of formaldehyde gas while it cures. Exposure to formaldehyde gas is a health hazard, which is why in December of 1980 the Government of Canada prohibited the advertising, sale, or importation of UFFI. If your home was built in the 1970s, it may have been insulated with UFFI, and you may want to consult with an experienced professional to assess possible replacement options.

    Installation and Upgrading Tips

    When installing or upgrading insulation, it’s essential to focus on areas where heat loss is most significant (typically attics, walls, and basements). Ensure that the insulation is evenly distributed without gaps and compressions. In older homes, particularly those in historic areas like Picton or Wellington, structural limitations can create additional challenges. For such homes, consult with insulation experts who have experience working with older structures.

    Effective home insulation is a key to building a comfortable, energy-efficient home. By choosing the right type of insulation and ensuring proper installation, homeowners can enjoy a more consistent indoor climate and lower energy costs. Whether you’re building a new home or upgrading an existing one, investing in good insulation is a smart choice for your and your property’s long-term well-being.

    The experienced realtors on the Quinte Living™ team can help you assess the insulation status of your home and other houses on the market. Whether you’re ready to make a move or just exploring your options, we’ll make sure you have a clear picture of what to expect and what to consider. Your comfort and peace of mind are our priority!

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