services we offer

There are a variety of insulating products and systems that are used in homes, buildings or other projects and each have their own unique characteristics and cost.

Most insulation companies provide a limited number of these products or services. As Alpine Insulation is the only full-service insulation provider on Vancouver Island, we are not limited in terms of the options that we can provide to our customers. We try to fit the best system to your needs, your building and your budget – rather than simply selling you a single service.

Polyurethane:

The most common type of spray foam insulation, was developed and used by the military in the 1940s and applied to airplanes. It wasn’t until the 1970s that it started to be used as foam insulation. The vapours that are present when spraying and for a period of time after spraying can have serious health implications if proper protocols aren’t followed. When quality foam is applied in a proper manner, the material stops off-gassing within 24 hours and becomes completely inert. Spray foam comes in different types. Spray foam insulation can be categorized into two different types: open cell and closed cell.

Open Cell Foam Insulation:

Open cell is a type of foam where the tiny cells are not completely closed. Open cell is less expensive because it uses fewer chemicals. It is a very good air barrier but does not provide any type of water vapour barrier. It is much more sponge-like in appearance. It is often used for interior walls because it provides sound reduction by damping the movement of existing insulation. It is not recommended for outdoor applications or where moisture may be present.

Closed Cell Foam Insulation:

Closed cell foam insulation is much denser than open cell. It has a smaller, more compact cell structure. It is a very good air barrier as well as a water vapor barrier. It is often used in roofing projects or other outdoor applications, but can be used anywhere in the home.

What are the potential health impacts of spray foam vapours? 

While being applied and during curing, spray foam emits a gas that can cause blurred vision and trouble breathing. The Isocyanates that are contained in sprayed foam are also in most building products within your home. They are inert once they have cured, however they can be powerful irritants to the eyes, gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts before cured. Direct skin contact with isocyanates can cause marked inflammation and some people say that their eyes feel like they have sand in them at the onset of problems. Overexposure to isocyanates can sensitize people, making them subject to asthma attacks if they are exposed again. Respiratory irritation may progress to a chemical bronchitis. Future exposures can make the onset easier with less isocyanate needed to start an attack. Sporadic cases of hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) have also been reported in workers exposed to isocyanates. Individuals with acute HP typically develop symptoms 4-6 hours after exposure. This is why it is so important for anyone working around sprayed foam take the proper precautions to prevent exposure during its application. Quality foams in recent years have nearly eliminated of these problems; however some problems still arise with untested and non-certified foams or when foam is installed improperly. Once cured, a quality foam becomes inert. Alpine has a detailed exposure control plan in place with protocols to protect workers and homeowners from exposure.

Alpine’s Safe Work Protocols and Exposure Control Plan

Alpine Insulation has developed a detailed Exposure Control Plan which outlines all of the environmental health and safety protocols that must be followed by those working with or around the product to avoid negative impacts from its use. This has been submitted to and accepted by WorksafeBC as meeting a standard acceptable to the board. This document is available to any Alpine customer for their review and education. All of Alpine’s spray foam crews have been educated and trained in its content and application. Alpine Insulation Ltd. often cannot restrict or control access to multi-use work areas or private property; however, sprayforam crews post signs identifying the need for respiratory protection, poly off work areas and will not spray if they are aware that an unprotected individual is in close proximity to their work area. It is highly recommended that all homeowners and other trades vacate the area that is being sprayed for a period of 24 hours, until after the product has cured. If a poor quality product is used or is not installed properly, it can off-gas for a much longer period of time. That is why it is so important that customers know that their contractor is using a high quality, certified product in the proper manner.

What we do to ensure safe use and proper application of SPF (Product choice, Third Party Training, Adherence to National Standards, our Quality Assurance Program & Third Party Warranty)

Some benefits of using SPF:

  • Caliber Quality Solutions
  • Commercial and Residential Applications
  • Marine Applications such as Boats and Docks
  • Exterior Building Envelope Applications

Learn more about our spray foam insulation services.

Monoglass® Insulation is a spray applied, non-combustible thermal and acoustic insulation material. Since 1979 Monoglass® has been the leading spray applied glass fiber insulation in North America.

Monoglass® provides architects and building owners with a solution to difficult to insulate areas. Monoglass® can be applied to concrete, steel, wood, glass, gypsum, fireproofing or other insulation materials. It can be sprayed to a depth of 5″ / 125mm on to almost any surface configuration to achieve an R-20 without need for mechanical support.

“Green Spec” lists Monoglass® as a green building product. Monoglass® is non-toxic and contains post-consumer re-cycled glass. Because Monoglass® is inorganic, it will not support mold or bacterial growth.

Across Canada in diverse climate conditions, Monoglass® permanently maintains our environment – warm / cold and quiet.

Monoglass® is a complete system of soft glass fibres combined with patented binders that are machine applied to a carpet-like texture, trapping air, for high thermal insulation and sound energy absorption. Upon curing, the systems adhesives are not chemically or water soluble – assuring permanent performance. It is non-combustible, and complies with or exceeds applicable Canadian building codes allowing use in all building structures.

Learn more about our spray fibre insulation services.

If you have ANY specialized insulation needs, contact us to discuss them.

We have done a VARIETY OF unique projects such as:

  • Sanitation tanks and Digesters
  • Large and small docks
  • Storage bins/Sea Cans
  • Pools
  • Interiors of trailers, buses and vehicles
  • Refrigeration units
  • Shoring up between buildings/concrete work

Plus, anything else you can think of. If you need it insulated, sealed or fireproofed, we will help you get the job done right.

Learn more about our specialized insulation products and services.

Attics are probably the first place that homeowners should consider when looking to upgrade the insulation in their home. Heat tends to rise, and a properly insulated attic will help to retain as much heat as possible. It is not uncommon to have homeowners say that they have never looked in their attic or that it has been years since they did. Having an Alpine representative look at your attic is a quick and easy way to check for potential problems with your roof, pests, ventilation, bed and bathroom fan performance and venting, skylights, air or water leakage and the state of your insulation. An inspection by our professionals will provide information on much more than just your insulation.

The current BC Building code calls for R40 insulation in attics, while BC Hydro is recommending homeowners install R50. The depth of insulation that is required in an attic depends on the type of material that is used to insulate an attic. See the table below for some general guidance on attic insulation:

Ventilation:

It is very important that attics are well ventilated to avoid damage from moisture, mildew or odors. Soffit and roof vents are critical components of a roof system and when insulating, precautions should be taken to preserve the flow of air from the soffit, above the insulation, to the roof vents. Alpine estimators and installers will inform you about your existing ventilation situation and what they can do to either preserve it or improve it.

Draft Proofing:

The ceiling below your attic is full of holes, gaps and penetrations. Warm moist air escapes through cracks, gaps and holes in your ceiling into your attic. When this moist air meets the cold air in your attic it can condense which can lead to significant moisture issues such as mold, mildew and rot. While a properly insulated attic will help to slow down your heat loss, further actions can be taken to minimize the movement of warm moist air into your attic. Sealing air leaks is one of the more inexpensive home improvement activities you can undertake and yet it yields some of the highest paybacks in terms of time and money spent. Alpine Insulation offers draft proofing services with every attic installation that it does. Prior to adding insulation, crews will take a Hilti gun with a long nozzle and spray low expanding sprayfoam into and/or around fireplaces, electrical wiring, holes, or penetrations in the ceiling, potlights and other areas. Energy auditors have identified draft proofing as “one of the best bangs for your buck when insulating your home.” Ask your estimator to provide you with a quote to have this work done before you add new insulation as trying to come back and do it later is more expensive and difficult.

Learn more about our attic insulation services in Victoria.

Depending on the age of your home, you may or may not have any insulation in your exterior wall cavities. There are large savings in heating costs and increased comfort available for a reasonable cost if you decide to upgrade the insulation in your exterior walls. The return in comfort and savings will more than justify the initial capital outlay.

If your home was built prior to 1955, it may not have any insulation in its exterior walls. Homes built between 1955 and 1970, generally have an R8 product that is often a rockwool with a paper backing. After 1970 R8-R12 fibreglass and cellulose started to be used more often. It is often hard to know what a house contains given the variability in construction methods, builders and renovations that have occurred over time.

Adding Insulation

It is extremely important to know if and what type of insulation is present in the exterior walls as this will determine if anything can be added to them. Homeowners who have conducted renovations may have a very clear idea of what was in their walls. If you do not know, Alpine’s estimators will try to find areas where there are holes or openings into the exterior walls (such as under sinks or wherever there is exposed plumbing, a void in your drywall or at electrical fixtures/boxes) to try to figure out if insulation is already present; however, this is often very difficult or unreliable. If our crew drills its first few holes and finds that they cannot add any additional insulation, not only will you have unnecessary holes in your walls, we will charge you a $350 patching fee. We hate this outcome because not only do both parties lose money, it negatively impacts our scheduling a great deal. For this reason, your estimator will ask if they can drill two or three small holes into your exterior walls in different locations in order to try to assess the possibility of adding insulation before a crew arrives and dates are set.

Ways to insulate exterior walls

The 1 inch hole method

Alpine does not employ this method because we feel that it does not provide homeowners with the end result that they are paying for. This method does not allow for the blowing hose to extend down into the wall cavity and as a result, the blown insulation is simply dropped into the void, with the hope that it not only finds its way to the bottom but also that it somewhat packs down. Often it does not do either of these and leaves large voids in your walls; somewhat defeating the purpose of the whole enterprise. Companies that employ this method need to use infra-red cameras in order to check their work because there are so many problems getting a complete fill. Alpine has found this technology not to be reliable and it does not address the issue of loose filled insulation settling after installation.

2 inch holes method

Instead, Alpine drills 2 inch holes and uses a flexible hose, dense pack method. We will insert a flexible hose down into the bottom of the wall cavity and then using our pressurized system, we backfill the entire cavity with a more densely packed blown cellulose. Only a pressurized back-fill method will guarantee that you are getting full value and maximum insulation in your walls. It also has the added benefit of allowing the workers to direct the hose past many of the everyday obstructions found in wall cavities. If Alpine crews encounter any cross blocking in the cavity, which prevents them from getting to the bottom of the wall, they will drill another hole below the blocking and fill that section separately.

Once the wall cavity has been filled, the holes are patched and best efforts are made to match the existing finish/colour. In the case of exteriors that have been painted more than 3 months prior to the work being done, it is virtually impossible to match the existing colour of the walls when patching – even when homeowners provide the same paint. For this reason, Alpine cannot take responsibility for or commit to ensuring that the paint or finish of its patches match the remainder of the walls exactly. Crews will colour and texture stucco patches and add rocks to patches for rock dash stucco finishes, in order to best match the existing walls.

Prior to commencing any work, the crew will walk through the interior of the home to look for areas where the interior wall may not fully cover the wall cavity. If insulation is added without having the interior wall cavity closed off, dusty cellulose material can enter the home. Homeowners are asked to inform crews if they are aware of any areas where the interior wall may not seal off the entire wall cavity. Occasionally “blow-outs” occur where there is a weak spot in the wall and Alpine crews will need to clean up any material that enters the interior of the home. Homeowners are asked to remove pictures or other materials on their walls that could be disturbed while filling takes place.

Quite often, the garage is overlooked when it comes to older homes insulation needs. If you have a heated garage or have living space above your garage, you will want to ensure that it is insulated properly. Your garage ceiling is no different from an attic in terms of its importance in terms of retaining heat in your home.

For flat ceilings, you will want to achieve a minimum of an R-40 rating and for vaulted ceilings a rating of R-28. Flat ceiling typically have insulation blown into them while vaulted ceilings have batts installed in them.

Basements are often one of the most overlooked areas of a home when it comes to insulation as people feel that they do not use them much and that they do not need to keep them warm. Studies have shown in fact thought that they are one of the highest priority areas for upgrading insulation.

Some of the areas that may need improvement are:

Adding fiberglass batt insulation to wood walls (or blowing in insulation into the wall cavity if there is little or nothing present, adding a vapour barrier to the warm side of any insulation or unsealed areas around doors and windows. The space between the floor joists where they meet the exterior walls also often need to be insulated as there is none present or it has been previously removed during a renovation etc. The underside of bay windows, cantilevers, dormers or any floor that extends beyond the line of the exterior basement wall will require 6-8 inches of insulation. In terms of insulating concrete walls, it depends on what the basement is going to be used for before deciding how to approach them. At a bare minimum the building code requires that in any heated area, 2 feet below grade of exterior concrete walls must be insulated. Typically this is done with a foil faced or rigid insulation. However, if the area is going to be finished or drywalled at a later date, a homeowner may want to insulate the full height of the basement wall.

Basement Insulation

Basement walls are unique because they must handle significant moisture flows from both inside and outside the house. The preferred method, from a building science perspective, is to insulate the wall on the outside with rigid insulation suitable for below-grade installations, such as extruded polystyrene or rigid fibreglass.

The advantages are as follows:

Insulating the outside of the basement works well with dampproofing and foundation drainage. Rigid fibreglass or mineral wool acts as a drainage layer, keeping surface and ground water away from the foundation. The basement walls are kept at room temperature, protecting the structure, reducing the risk of interior condensation and increasing comfort.

The disadvantages are the disturbance of landscaping, the need to cover the insulation above grade, and the relatively high cost.

Interior insulation can be used. This can be done when finishing the basement by using batt insulation in the stud cavities or by installing extruded polystyrene and strapping on the face of the perimeter walls. If the basement won’t be finished, you can install rolls of polyethylene-encapsulated fibreglass over the wall. The advantages of interior installation are cost and ease of construction. The disadvantages of interior installations are as follows: The basement walls are now at the temperature of the soil or the outside. Any moist air moving through the wall from the inside will condense on the wall.

Usually, there is a moisture barrier against the foundation wall and a vapour retarder on the room side of the insulation. As a result, the wall has poor drying potential. Never apply interior insulation to a basement with moisture problems. Fix the moisture entry problems before insulating (see CMHC’s publication A Guide to Fixing Your Damp Basement).

Learn more about our Victoria basement insulation services.

Not all homes have crawlspaces but for those that do, it is important that they are considered when trying to manage the heating/insulation of your home.

There are two different approaches that can be used when dealing with a crawlspace.

A cold crawlspace approach is designed to allow cold air and full ventilation through the crawlspace. To insulate the home above, insulation is added to the ceiling of the crawlspace to help prevent the cold air in the crawlspace from moving up into the home. Ideally, the floor joist above the crawlspace will be 8 inches deep to allow for an R28 batt to fit into it. For 2×6 floor joists, a high density product can be used, which is a bit more expensive but will provide the necessary insulating R value. Batts are installed and strapped in place with a breathable material to ensure that moisture is not trapped between floors.If the floor of the crawlspace is concrete, there should not be any moisture issues; however if it is an exposed dirt floor, a ground seal should be installed to prevent overly moist air from permeating the batt insulation which causes it to lose its insulating properties as well as becoming heavy which makes it difficult to keep in place in the floor joist pocket. Ground seals can vary in price depending on how thick and elaborate a homeowner wants to get. For most basic situations, a 6mm poly is adequate to keep moist air at bay while not costing the homeowner a huge amount. Heavier and more elaborate options are available depending on the situation.

A warm crawlspace approach is used when there is a source of heat or ignition located in the crawlspace. In this situation, an insulated blanket or rigid insulation is fastened to the exterior walls of the crawlspace or even sprayfoam is applied to insulate the concrete. (If sprayfoam is used, it is important to use 2lb closed cell foam which forms its own vapour barrier. It is also important to note that sprayfoam and some rigid insulation products give off dangerous vapours if they are exposed to flame and fireproofing of them may be required. Alpine is one of the few companies that applies a fireproofing substrate to its foam in these instances.) Exposed Joist ends are insulated with fibre glass batts and the vents to the crawlspace are closed off. A ground seal should also be applied in this design if there is an exposed dirt floor in order to eliminate the amount of cold moist air entering the space. No insulation should be added to the ceiling of the crawlspace as the heat in the crawlspace should be allowed to move upwards, keeping the floors above warmer.

While all new construction requires heated crawlspaces, cold crawlspaces also have their merits. It is essential that whichever design is utilized, that it is installed properly with the right components.

Removals: Often it is best to remove, old, wet, sagging insulation as it has lost its thermal properties and carries an odour that can permeate up into the living areas above.

There is nothing more annoying than hearing everything that is going on in the room above you. Often this is the result of a variety of sound factors working together, which means that no one solution will remove all of the different forms of noise that are being created.

There is noise that is created when objects make contact with the floor surface above. The harder the materials are that are making contact, the louder the noise. (Hardwood floors are particularly bad for creating this kind of noise.) This type of noise can largely be eliminated with the installation of carpeting or area rugs.

There is also noise created when there is no insulation between floors. Insulation acts as a baffle and mutes the sound that comes from above. If the noise that you are hearing is hollow or drum-like, you can probably eliminate it by blowing insulation into the cavity between the floor joists in the ceiling. Alpine will drill a series of 2 inch holes in your ceiling and then fill the joist cavities using our dense pack pressurized hose injection system. Upon completion, we will patch and texture the holes that were created making our best efforts to match the original finish.

Finally, there is vibrational noise which is a result of the transfer of sound through building materials. Drop ceilings or res bar can help to reduce this kind of noise but typically these systems cost at least double what the other two options cost combined. Understanding what type of noise you are trying to eliminate is a critical first step when looking at possible solutions for your noise problems.

Monokote Fireproofing:

Monokote cementitious fireproofing offers many significant advantages to the architect, owner, applicator and building occupant. These include:

  • Proven in-place performance
  • Low in-place cost
  • Fast, efficient application
  • UL fire tested and factory inspected
  • Building Code compliant (ICBO, SBCCI, BOCA, ICC)

Monokote Fireproofing is a cementitious spray-applied material, was developed by Grace Construction Products to provide high fire resistance with fast, reliable application and low in-place cost. Monokote is easily spray-applied directly to steel, concrete and other substrates requiring fire protection. It is a single component, mill-mixed plaster which requires only the addition of water on the job site to form a consistent, pumpable slurry.

HiBAR Spray-Applied Fire-Resistive Material (SFRM):

HiBAR is a ULC listed, spray applied semi cementitious mineral fibre insulation, for fire rating structural steel. HiBAR also has thermal and acoustical properties. It can be spray applied over rigid structural substrates and exterior of partition walls. It provides acoustical treatment for ceilings and walls in noisy production areas or large rooms such as gymnasiums or swimming pools where both sound absorption and aesthetic enhancement is desired. Condensation control is also provided on exposed structural components that are in contact with cold exterior surfaces.

Basic Uses

  • Spray-applied fireproofing for use over rigid structural substrates such as open web steel joists, beams, colums, floor/ceiling assemblies and exterior or partition wall units.
  • Thermal insulation for prefabricated mental buildings, corrugated metal roof assemblies, underside of concrete slabs and masonary or metal wall assemblies.
  • Spray-applied acoustical treatment for ceilings and upper walls in noisy production areas or in large rooms such as gymnasiums or swimming pools where both sound absorption and aesthetic enhancement is desired.
  • Spray-applied treatment to provide condensation control on exposed structural components that are in contact with cold exterior surfaces.

Why would I get a removal?

To remove the existing insulation that is in your attic or crawlspace because it has been compromised by moisture, mildew, birds or other furry pests. Alpine has specialized equipment that will vacuum away all of your existing insulation so that you can replace it with a fresh, new, properly functioning insulation system.

Removal Facts:

  • Removals can be very difficult and expensive depending on the situation.
  • Removals are difficult and time consuming and in some situations costly. Removals should therefore not be entered into lightly.
  • If you have had a moldy or pest riddled attic or crawlspace, it is sometimes necessary for your health and peace of mind to remove the damaged insulation, sanitize the area and start over with a fresh, new, insulation plan. It is even more important to understand why your insulation system failed the first time and address that problem prior to adding anything new; otherwise you run the risk of having the same outcome later down the road.

Our estimators are experts at creating the best solution particularly if it is a moisture or ventilation issue. Please note, if you are having pest issues these can be addressed by a professional animal control expert.

What is Vermiculite?

  • Vermiculite was an insulation product that was used prior to the mid-1980’s and SOME of it has been found to contain asbestos fibres.
  • Not all vermiculite installed prior to the 1990’s contains asbestos; however, to be safe if your building has older vermiculite-based insulation, you should assume that it MAY contain some asbestos.
  • Both Health Canada and WorksafeBC say that vermiculite containing asbestos poses little risk unless it is going to be disturbed (asbestos fibres have a small “hook” on the end of them which makes it very difficult to get rid of them once they have been inhaled.)
  • If the vermiculite is sealed behind wallboards and floorboards, isolated in an attic or otherwise kept from exposure to the interior environment it poses a low risk.
  • We have seen more recently that if a homeowner has untested vermiculite in their residence, when they go to sell their home, it may be difficult for a potential purchaser to attain financing until it has been tested and addressed.

 

Steps to Test and Remove Vermiculite

There are various specialized companies who deal with the testing and removal of vermiculite some of which are listed below:

  • Island Environmental
  • Removean

 

Alpine’s Safety Mandate

If you want to upgrade your home’s insulation and you have vermiculite present, Alpine requests that you notify your estimator prior to their visit so that they can bring the appropriate safety equipment to conduct their assessment.

Alpine will request a copy of your test results prior to doing any work that may disturb any vermiculite that is present.

When doing attic upgrading there are certain activities (such as draftproofing, soffit preparation or insulation removals) that Alpine will not undertake unless the vermiculite has been removed.

It is possible to simply insulate over-top of “negative” tested vermiculite; however, Alpine will take the utmost precautions in these cases to ensure that the vermiculite is not disturbed in order to protect our workers

This information was gathered previously from the Health Canada Website and from WorksafeBC.