Should You Pay More For A Quality Insulation Job? - Insulation - Contractor Talk

Should You Pay More For A Quality Insulation Job?

 
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:05 PM   #1
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Should You Pay More For A Quality Insulation Job?


Some insulation contractors think that you should.
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California’s Title-24 energy code includes a compliance credit for hiring a third party HERS rater to verify that the insulation was installed per the QII Quality Installation of Insulation guidelines which ensures that the building envelope is truly insulated and sealed correctly. For homeowners reading these posts, if you have an insulation contractor who is resisting the idea of the Title-24 HERS QII Quality Installation of Insulation requirements and charging more for an insulation installation that meets the QII protocols from the insulation contractors own industry trade association, NAIMA, will provide some helpful leverage.
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NAIMA, The National Association of Insulation Manufacturers of America’s, own industry guidelines for proper installation of insulation are virtually identical to California’s HERS QII checklist.
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Why should you pay more for a quality insulation job that is performed according the NAIMA’s own guidelines for all insulation contractors?

I'm not allowed to post url's yet so I'll repost with links to the NAIMA guidelines after my 15th post.
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What has been your experience? As an insulation contractor do you charge more for an insulation installation that must meet the QII requirements or the Energy Star Thermal Bypass checklist?

If you are an insulation contractor I'm interested in your opinion on this issue.
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:44 PM   #2
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Re: Should You Pay More For A Quality Insulation Job?


Well I'm glad someone brought it up in my region Alberta Canada it is that way. We have some towns where there is inspections and yes contractors charge more for it than in the major cities where there are no inspections.
In fact 90% of the contractors in the major cities couldn't pass an insulation inspection if they tried there hardest. I've built my business on reputation and ref-feral and it is tough sometimes out there to compete with the hacks. We have in the past offered a lower standard of envelope seal as an option to level the playing field, and in the end the customer usually has seen the value in the building code.interested in others opinions.

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Old 12-04-2012, 01:18 AM   #3
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Re: Should You Pay More For A Quality Insulation Job?


Damn straight you should.The "inspections" are a joke. I live in St.Albert and work in Edmonton. I can "pass" an inspection easily.
Bottom line? At the rates that piecework is paying, you're not going to get a quality job...period. sorry. What you get is "what the market can bear" (or so I'm told).
With all of this Kyoto crap and Mike Holmes running ariound with a thermal imaging camera, you can bet your ass that it's coming. We've already got people waving their arms in the air when they get their new houses shot with IR cameras.
The problem is with the industry. It's multifold. Foremost is the utter lack of respect for the very few, who do a rather "undesireable" job. Nobody gets it...this **** is very important and the best time to do it right is at the onset, before the boarders ("hangers"; for our US friends) show up.
Prople place an inordinate amount of trust in the "codes"...documents they have never read, will never read, and would not be able to interpret/understand, in any case.
Bottom line?
Building a new house in the Edmonton area?
Plan to live in it for twenty or thirty years?
Want to pay me a couple of grand now and save many tens of thousands in heating costs over the life of the house? PM me.
I do the "best I can" for every house I'm given...but I can't afford to take the time to "do it right" with what I'm being paid on piecework.
You want it done right?
It costs money for my time...far more than your builder is willing to pay.

My two cents.

Truth. I've been doing this for 25 years.
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:01 AM   #4
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Re: Should You Pay More For A Quality Insulation Job?


Or

You could build your walls with ICF and realize I have installed the best way to insulate a house and no way to cheat as the guts above of mentioned
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:11 AM   #5
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Re: Should You Pay More For A Quality Insulation Job?


The last time I recall an inspector checking over a house for insulation, he walked through and said "looks good", then signed it off. There were some large bare spots the insulators had missed, I don't know if the inspector didn't see it or didn't care. Anyway, I walked through with the insulators and pointed out all the spots they needed to correct, they kept complaining and laughing telling me "It passed inspection didn't it?".

So I guess it depends what you mean by quality, if you're talking about not missing spots in the wall, then no that should be a given, you shouldn't leave any bare spots uninsulated. If you're talking about stuff such as adding sound walls, then of course you should charge more for it. Another thing I've noticed is that some insulators will split their batts to fit around every electrical wire and pipe. Some guys say screw it and run their batts right over them leaving a void in the wall behind it. I'm not sure how much time it takes to split your batts over a wire. But if you're too cheap to do this, at least tell the G.C or your boss that you don't split your batts around any obstacles, and give him a price for doing so if he chooses.

I'm not sure on the details of this QII, but my advice is to make it clear in your contract the details of your work so the builder knows what he is getting.
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:44 PM   #6
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Re: Should You Pay More For A Quality Insulation Job?


I began doing foam insulation in 2004. Every job is sealed to the same level, no exceptions!
If someone isn't willing to pay for the quality to do it right the first time, then they can live with the higher utility bills later on or condensation in the walls or ceiling/roof. Not my problem.
I seldom do any work for tract builders as they push their subs to go faster than reasonable, resulting is lower quality homes. Envelope sealing should always be the same across the board for all contractors. Those who fall below the line of acceptable workmanship will eventually fall the wayside and relocate to an area where there lack of work ethic doesn't matter; like near the equater.
As for inspectors; many are a joke, since they "don't" inspect insulation. The scarey part is they allow the ICC Evaluation Service Report to determine useability, not if the ESR meets and exceeds the minumum requirements.
One of my comeptiors violates building codes on a daily basis as well as the foam manufacturer's guide lines for installation in attics. If some one is uncomfortable with under going an inspection, the question should be; "Why? What is there that they do not want seen?"
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:58 PM   #7
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Re: Should You Pay More For A Quality Insulation Job?


What I refer to here is the system that we empoly, in the rather severe climate of North Western Canada. If one takes the proper amount of time, still working with the "conventional" products that predominate in this market ("unfaced" RSI 3.5 wall batts, unfaced RSI 7.0 ceiling batts, 6 "mil" (thou) poly VB, accoustical sealant and PU foam...one can deliver a very efficient envelope.
Let me expand on this.
At prevailing rates, for me to make what I need to see to cover my overhead, administrative time and hit a reasonable profit number, my only option is to hire unskilled labor, just so I can pound through enough houses every two weeks. And this is where the wheels fall off the apple cart.
Training takes time and available wages (what I can afford to pay, while still meeting my margins) make retention difficult.
If I were to do your house (by myself, top to bottom) you would have one very well insulated house. No compressions, no "sketchy" cuts, a 100% efferctive vapor barrier system.
I bang through two or three of these a day and meet my margins. By myself (going to the minimum to pass inspection) I would be in the house for 2.5-3 days. To "do it right"? I would need a week by myself.
Doesn't that give you a warm and fuzzy feeling all over?
It's sad.
The best time is when I'm there (with wide open walls) but I can't afford the time to do a proper job of it. This has been endemic to this market for many years.
Is it the fault of the drywall contractor who's cutting my cheques?
No...he has his own business model to meet; it's a cut-throat world of "nickles and dimes" to him as well.

Many of the "new improved" products (2lb foam walls, for one) are subject to the very same flaws that I speak of...inexperienced installers being primary. I could do it with fiberglass/poly and deliver a better job. E-Rim boards? What a joke. You should see the frost lines that develop at the joints on these things once the ceiling is closed up.
Improper installation. Nobody provides adequate oversight to any of this...the City guy comes in...looks at the poly job and the fact that no daylight is showing through the batt work and puts a big green sticker on the wall. I'm already three houses along by this point...pounding it out...meeting my margins.
The Really sad thing is? It used to be far worse...

To Chris? Any ICF job is only as good as the experience level of the people who put it together. I've seen tons of badly "botched" ICF nouses out here as well...it's endemic, like I said. GIT 'ER DUN!!!
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:29 AM   #8
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Re: Should You Pay More For A Quality Insulation Job?


What are you doing for the exterior cladding?

If you are going traditional stick build, rigid foam to the exterior is definitely the way to go.
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:02 PM   #9
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Re: Should You Pay More For A Quality Insulation Job?


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Originally Posted by WindowsonWash View Post
What are you doing for the exterior cladding?

If you are going traditional stick build, rigid foam to the exterior is definitely the way to go.
Sure is, but that's not common here; Tyvek and D4.5 Vinyl predominate: with "cultured stone" accents...ugh. Some of the better quality builders are doing the "Akrylon" system (over 50mm styrofoam), but only when the HO is paying for it. Seems like a no brainer to me...but I'm a little more in tune than the average HO...LOL!

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