9 Tips To Beef Up Insulation So Your Wall Can Support Cabinets

November 07, 2017
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During kitchen renovation, the insulation you use should not only be durable and air-tight, but it should also be strong enough to support your kitchen cabinets. Here are a few tips that will help you if you are remodelling a traditional 2x4 wall on the inside without touching the outside.

 

USE ¾ INCH PLYWOOD

 A layer of plywood ensures there will always be somewhere for your screws to bite into. It is common practice to install ½ inch plywood beneath the drywall where cabinet mounting screws will be caught. However, if you want to go the plywood way, ensure it is at least ¾ inches to increase its holding power.

 

AVOID BLOCKING

It is also common practice to screw cabinets on blocking. However, it is very difficult to pass 3-inch screws through insulation and to catch blocking at the right place. This option also adds to thermal bridging by introducing more voids in the insulation.

 

PREVENT MOISTURE ISSUES

When you add form on the inside during remodelling and leave the outside intact, you reduce the amount of heat and air going out of the wall and this means the wall may not dry well. Moisture from outside will be collecting in the cellulose installation and you should, therefore, consider Roxul instead of cellulose. You should also consider adding asphalt felt to the exterior sheathing before adding the foam. This way, any water that is pushed through the wall from the outside will prevent water penetration while still making the wall vapour-permeable. Another advantage of this option is that the wall will reduce inward solar vapour drive.

 

USE THE RIGHT FOAM

According to the Department of Energy, loose-fill materials such as cellulose are the predominant insulation supplies Toronto. These are usually sprayed into the wall through holes on the outside of the building and these holes are then filled with finishing materials. The type of foam to use should be determined by what you want to achieve since they have different characteristics. As an example, blown-in insulations are ideal for existing wall spaces while batts are ideal for unfinished walls, ceilings and floors. Your contractor should be able to advise you on what to go for. So, what are the available options?

  • Blanket insulation: This is the most widely used insulation and it comes in rolls or batts and it is made of fiberglass or other flexible fibres. They could also be made from minerals (slag and rock), natural fibres like wool and cotton or plastic fibres.
  • Foam board: These are used to not only walls, but also roots and foundations. They are particularly effective in sheathing exterior walls and sheathing basement interior walls. They are known for their good thermal resistance and reduced heat conduction through such structural elements as steel and wood. They are made of polystyrene, polyurethane, or polyisocyanurate.
  • ICFs (Insulating Concrete Forms): ICFs are forms that are used in concrete walls. They give concrete walls high thermal resistance in the region of R-20. These forms make concrete wall homes look like they are stick-built.
  • Blown-in and loose-fill insulation: These are made of small particles of foam, fibre or other material. The particles can fit into even the smallest spaces without disturbing finishes or structures.
  • Reflective insulation systems and radiant barriers: Radiant barriers and reflective insulation is different from most common insulation systems which work by resisting conductivity and sometimes convective heat flow in that they reflect radiant heat away from living spaces. They are usually used in attics to reduce summer heat gain (effectively lowering cooling costs).
  • Rigid fibre board/fibrous board insulations: These insulations are made of mineral wool materials or fiberglass and they are usually used to insulate air ducts because they withstand extremely high temperature.
  • Foamed-in-place and sprayed-foam insulations: These are made from liquid foam materials and are sprayed, injected, poured, or foamed-in-place. Some of these insulations have 2 times the R-value per inch of batt insulation and they are popular because they fill even the smallest cavities. The most commonly used liquid foam materials are Cementitious, Phenolic, Polyisocyanurate, and Polyurethane.
  • SIP (Structural Insulated Panel): SIPs, as the name suggests, are prefabricated installed structural elements used in walls, floors, roofs and ceilings. These panels are popular because they give energy savings of between 12% and 14% and they lead to a more airtight home (which is more comfortable and quieter).

 

AVOID STUFFING

Stuffing full-width batts into narrow spaces is a no-no. This is because it creates uninsulated air pockets, which leads to a low R-value since heat and cold will escape. Instead, you should cut batts into exact widths, adding only ¼ inch or so for a snug fit. The best way to cut the batt using a utility knife is to use a 4 to 6-inch-wide strip of plywood as your straightedge to guide the knife.

 

AVOID PAPER-FACED INSULATION

Paper-faced insulation should be avoided because it makes it hard to create a tight vapour retarder. Unfaced friction-fib batts are a better option. When using a 4-mil poly vapour retarder, ensure you seal the gap between the bottom and top plates and the wall with caulk or acoustical sealant and you should then press the poly into this sealant.

 

USE THE RIGHT RATIO

When spraying in foam, ensure you have the right ratio of spray and injection foam for proper chemical reaction. This ratio is given when you buy the spray foam.

 

GET THE SUBSTRATE RIGHT

This is particularly important in cold areas. Cold substrate can pull enough heat from the chemical reaction to ensure there is no proper expansion of the spray foam or there is no proper bond to the substrate.

 

HIRE A PROFESSIONAL

You could do DIY insulation, but hiring a professional ensures you use the right materials and it leads to a better job since a contractor will have the training, experience and tools necessary for the job. Hiring a pro also saves you money since you will not need to buy the tools needed and because contractors buy insulating materials in bulk. 


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