It is very important to insulate your winter cabin when it comes to your comfort and the cost-effectiveness of maintaining the property. No one wants to be cold when they are inside during those winter months, and you certainly don’t want to be wasting your hard-earned money on heat that is escaping through the walls, ceiling, and floors.
Reasons to Insulate
Whether your winter cabin is a much-loved vacation spot or your permanent residence, there are five main reasons as to why you need to insulate this structure.
1. Keep Your Cabin Comfortable
Being cold in the wintertime is not always caused by a problem with your heating system. It could be a lack of insulation in your floors, walls, and ceiling. If you investigate, you just might find several places where the warm air is leaking out or the cold drafts are seeping in. A home energy evaluation will help you determine exactly where your cabin is losing energy, so you know where to focus your attention when it comes to insulating.
2. Increase Your Cabin’s Current Amount of Insulation
One of the best reasons to insulate your cabin is the lack of insulation you currently have. The North American Insulation Manufacturer’s Association estimates that as much as 90% of existing homes in the United States are under-insulated. Don’t assume that your cabin is insulated correctly, especially if it is older. Only 20% of the structures built before 1980 are properly insulated.
3. Lower Your Energy Bills
If your cabin’s energy bills seem to be higher than you expected, it could be from energy loss. Sealing your cabin with a good quality insulation product will definitely help. Make sure that all walls, both interior and exterior, are fully insulated with the proper type of insulation for your cabin’s individual needs. Don’t forget the ceiling, as much of the cabin’s heat can escape through the roof. Even the floors should be insulated to help ensure the heat stays inside and you stay comfortable.
4. Reduce Noise
In addition to helping lower your energy bills and keeping you and your family comfortable, having the cabin properly insulated can reduce noise. Exterior walls that are properly insulated will keep noises such as barking dogs, highway traffic, or other sounds at bay. Insulated interior walls will keep noises from traveling from one room to the next, which can result in a much more peaceful night’s sleep.
5. Be Environmentally Responsible
For those that are concerned about the effect energy use has on the environment, good insulation is a must. Reducing the amount of energy it takes to warm your cabin will reduce the number of energy resources used. Whether you use electric, gas, wood, or coal to heat, you don’t want to waste these resources by allowing heat to escape through the cabin’s walls. Understanding the types of insulation available and how each affects the environment will help you choose the best product for your needs.
Types of Insulation
The first step in properly insulating your cabin is to determine what type of insulation will work best for you. Knauf Insulation has several forms of insulation that can protect your cabin from moisture, keep it comfortable, and lower your energy costs.
Blankets and Batts
Batts and blankets are the most common type of insulation used. It comes in large rolls, and it will need to be cut to fit around your existing plumbing. It comes in three versions.
Fiberglass batts and blankets come in a variety of thicknesses and widths that make it suitable for many winter cabins. Cancer-causing Phenol formaldehyde that was once used as a binder for this type of insulation is being phased out, so there are no longer any major concerns associated with using this. It can have up to 60% recycled content, and it has an average cost that ranges from $0.64 to $1.19 per square foot.
Rockwood has more fire-resistant qualities than fiberglass. It springs into shape around plumbing and beams, which eliminates gaps. It is made from up to 90% recycled content, and it costs around $0.80 per square foot.
Cotton is 15 – 20% pricier than fiberglass, but it fits nicely around pipes and deters insects and pests. It has 85% recycled fiber in it’s construction, and it takes very little energy to produce.
Loose-fill insulation has fluffy fibers that are blown into your cabin’s walls. It eliminates cold spots by filling all spaces fully. It comes in two different varieties.
Fiberglass loose-fill insulation is lightweight, which makes it ideal for ceilings. It is made with 60% recycled content, and it does not contain any formaldehyde. It is quite affordable at roughly $0.30 per cubic foot.
Cellulose loose-fill insulation performs well in colder temperatures. There is 85% recycled paper used in its production, and it is 15% fire retardant. In addition, this form helps deter pests. Another affordable option, it costs an average of $0.31 per square foot.
Structural Insulated Panels
Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) are a pricier option when it comes to insulation, but they offer a 12 – 14% energy savings. These panels come in 4 by 8-foot sheets that are placed within the walls. There are two varieties to pick from.
Polystyrene SIPs come in an expanded or extruded design. Extruded will be much costlier, but these panels are excellent at blocking moisture in addition to holding the heat in.
Polyisocyanurate SIPs have a foil face that acts as a moisture barrier, and they provide the highest rating when it comes to insulation performance. They are expensive. Each panel can cost roughly $22.
Spray foam creates an air barrier that can eliminate the need for additional weatherizing. It is applied as a liquid and expands to fill all spaces within the walls. It is available in two forms.
Open-cell spray foam stops all airflow, but it will need an additional moisture barrier. Expect to pay an average of $0.44 to $0.65 per board foot.
Closed-cell spray foam will prevent moisture in addition to air loss. It is more expensive than open-cell, and it can cost an average of $1 to $1.50 per board foot.
Your insulation provider can help you determine which types of insulation will work best for your cabin according to your existing insulation and what benefits you are looking for. Regardless of which one you choose, having your winter cabin insulated will ensure that you will be comfortable throughout the colder months, save money and energy, and help out the environment.