Exterior Insulation & Energy Efficiency

Home Heat Loss

To maintain comfort in your Toronto home, the heat lost in winter must be replaced by your heating system, and the heat gained in summer must be removed by your air conditioner - costing you money twice a year. Your walls are the biggest source of heat loss in your home (accounting for up to 35%). This is primarily due to 2 reasons: heat loss (or gain) and air leakage. The exterior insulation in EIFS will help reduce the transfer of heat through walls, to carying degrees depending on the thickness of insulation.

Need help determining what thickness of insulation you should use? Request a quote from the form on the right to have a professional contractor evaluate the current state of insulation in your walls and suggest the appropriate thickness of insulation.

Select your average monthly energy costs from the drop-down menu below to calculate how much money you can save over just the first 10 years on heating bills if you were to reduce your heating and cooling bills by just 35%.

Average monthly cost:  

(Estimated over 10 years)

Isn't that incredible? That is only over the first 10 years. These numbers are at today's energy costs. Imagine the difference it will make 10 years from now and beyond when energy prices are double (and then some) what they are today.

Note: Calculation includes inflation. Requires Javascript to work.

Heat Loss and Gain

Heat flows naturally from a warmer to a cooler space. In winter, heat flows directly from heated living spaces to the outdoors; directly through your walls - wherever there is a difference in temperature. During Toronto's summer season, heat flows from outdoors to the house interior. Traditional home insulation is only between the studs in your walls; spaces between the insulation and studs, and areas entirely lacking insulation may have a profound effect on the entire effectiveness of the between-the-stud insulation.

While between-the-studs insulation provides effective insulation where it exists, it exists only between the studs. That leaves the studs uninsulated and is a great source of heat loss (known as thermal bridging). If wall studs are 2" thick, and are placed 12", 18" or 24" apart, then the average home has somewhere between 8%-16% of it's wall uninsulated.

Air Flow

In all homes, there are areas between wall studs, at wall penetrations (wiring, windows, doors, lights) and improperly sealed building paper (the list goes on) which allow air to flow through it. An area as little as 5% of your wall's total surface can reduce the effectiveness of insulation by as much as 75%. To many peoples' shock, the hundreds of tiny holes in a home can add up to as much as 3%-5% of their wall surface. See: http://bpi.org/documents/Yellow_Sheet.pdf from the Building Performance Institute, Inc.

Insulation Options

Exterior Insulation Thickness

While your walls may have R-12 batt insulation between the studs, the effect of discountinuous insulation (due to studs) and air flow results in a much lower insulating value, known as overall R-value. Having a typical home in the GTA, a wall with R-12 may actually only provide an overall R-3 insulating value (if it's insulated at all).

This makes exterior insulation one of the most attractive options to home owners who want to reduce their energy bills. By placing the insulation on the exterior of the walls, you are no longer forced to leave gaps where the wall studs are. Styrofoam insulation boards can be butted directly up against one another - covering 100% of the wall's surface, and eliminating air gaps.

Exterior Insulation Finish Systems

Insulating the exterior walls of your Toronto home with EIFS (Exterior Insulation Finish Systems) can be done over existing surfaces such as brick, or can entirely replace ugly old vinyl or wood siding. Stucco in toronto is the most common phrase refering to EIFS within the Toronto area. Typically, the walls are stripped of the siding, right down to the underlying substrate (plywood or other material). If the plywood is rotting, this presents the perfect opportunity to have it replaced to prevent it from spreading and damaging the health of your family. From there, a weather barrier is applied to prevent air flow and moisture from entering the home, insulation is adhered, a strong basecoat is applied to protect the styrofoam and a beautiful finish coat finishes off the exterior. Home owners have the choice of an unlimited amount of colours, various textures and decorative window trim and wall mouldings.

Home owners may also look to replace their between-the-studs batt insulation with polyurethane spray foam insulation, and can find a very detailed article at: http://www.cufca.ca/foam/R-Value%20Fairy%20Tale.pdf.

Home Heat Loss FLIR

In this thermal imaging picture; dark purple represents a cool area, and the temperature moves up through red, orange, yellow and white as it gets warmer. You can tell that it is a cool night by the colour of the ground, and likely early in the evening, as the concrete wall beside the driveway is still warm (concrete has what's known as thermal mass). You can see that the overhang on the house(purple) is properly insulated, as there is very little heat being lost through it. You can also see (on the wall next to it) where the insulation is between studs (red squares) and how much heat the studs are allowing to escape (orange). The first floor appears to contain only drywall, and no insulation.