Archive for the 'Insulation' Category

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Founded in 1934, with ten lumberyards in New England, National Lumber has the experience and quality building materials you need for every project. Let National Lumber be the single source for all of your building and remodeling products. The National Lumber Family of Companies includes Reliable Truss, Pro Insulators, National MillworkKitchen Views, National Building Products, and Oxford Lumber — covering everything from the rimboard at the foundation to the roof shingles along with everything in between. Visit our websites to see all we have to offer.

Our blog will share information about the wide range of products and value-added services available to you. If you’d like to follow the blog via email, you can easily subscribe using the box at the right. Keep up-to-date with the latest events hosted by National Lumber as well as new products and services by joining our Constant Contact mailing list.

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Insulate Your Attic for Year-Round Comfort and Cost Savings!


Construction worker thermally insulating house attic with glass wool

The Cost vs Value Report released every year by Hanley Wood Remodeling is a benchmark for homeowners to see the potential return on investment of popular home improvement projects. This data is compiled by taking various recently remodeled homes that sold. One of the best projects for return on investment is installing new insulation in the attic. In particular, new fiberglass insulation is installed to cut down on potential heat loss. Because heat rises, this is one of the most important areas of the home to insulate. Good insulation saves on heating and cooling costs year-round!


Installation of Fiberglass Batt Insulation

The national average of installing fiberglass insulation in the attic is about $1268 according to the Cost vs Value Report. At resale, this upgrade recoups an average of $1468. That’s a 117 percent return on investment. When you look at the regional statistics for New England, the cost is roughly the same, $1292. But the average.return on investment is $1858, a return of 144 percent. This doesn’t even include the residual savings in heating and cooling costs during the life of the new insulation, which can be up to 20 percent. ENERGY STAR has a good tool for estimating energy savings from effective air sealing and insulation.


Installing Spray Foam Fiberglass Insulation Into Wall Cavity

Aesthetically, installing attic insulation isn’t exciting. But because of how much it adds to a home’s energy efficiency and performance, it’s becoming more of a focus than ever. Being highlighted in the Cost vs Value Report is making attic insulation more popular to install than ever. When it comes to comfort, it’s well worth the $1200-1300 of investments. Knowing you can get all that money back plus 20 to 40 percent at resale is a big selling point, plus as much as a 20 percent cost savings in energy costs.


Retrofitting an Older Home with Blown-In Fiberglass Insulation

Also, having properly installed quality insulation is necessary in gaining ENERGY STAR certification for your home. Pro Insulators, a division of National Lumber, has expert installation teams and the best available insulation products. Homeowners and contractors alike are quite happy with the work of the Pro Insulators teams. We provide the expertise to meet ENERGY STAR certification requirements for builders and timely, reliable service to homeowners retrofitting older homes.

Being one of the most cost-effective home improvements for homeowners and a selling point for newer homes, proper attic insulation and air sealing is well worth the investment. Not only can Pro Insulators bring your home up to the latest local and state building codes, but you can enjoy a more comfortable home for decades to come.

Fiberglass vs. Spray Foam Insulation: Which is More Effective?

With home performance energy efficiency standards becoming higher than ever, competition between different types of insulation is stronger than it has been in the past. While many homeowners may think of insulation primarily for staying warm in the winter, proper insulation also saves on summer cooling costs. While fiberglass batts are still the insulation of choice for builders, spray foam insulation has posed a serious threat to batt insulation’s dominance. However, recently builders seem to be leaning back towards batts as their primary choice. So is one type significantly more effective than the other?

According to Pro Sales Magazine, there has been some extensive testing done with the two types of insulation. The findings suggest that fiberglass batts can be as effective as spray foam. Also, they provide statistics on the drop of using spray foam vs. fiberglass batts by builders. The bottom line appears to be that either is effective, if it is installed with best practices. Whether builders out in the real world are using such best practices is the unknown variable.


Our spray foam insulation installers have all the necessary safety gear and are trained in best practices, to ensure the best results. (Image © National Lumber & Pro Insulators)

Spray foam insulation certainly does have its benefits in certain specific construction conditions. Like with any insulation, proper installation of spray foam is key to maximize air tightness. Some tests have actually found that spray foam, even with voids, can still perform better than fiberglass at extremely cold temperatures. Spray foam also shows significantly lowered air leakage under extreme conditions. Other arguments in favor of spray foam are that it’s more environmentally friendly and better for those with allergies. It also doesn’t make a good home for pests. Are these benefits worth the added cost over using fiberglass batts instead?

It appears that the economic downturn was a major factor for builders moving back to the use of fiberglass batts as a cost-saving measure. This is because they can install them more easily with their own crews rather than requiring the special equipment and training for spray foam. In areas such as typical exterior walls, with proper air sealing practices, fiberglass will certainly perform just as well as foam. However, the detriment to fiberglass insulation is when the air sealing is not done correctly, allowing air to enter the cavities and pass through the fiberglass, effectively robbing its insulating value. Fiberglass is much less expensive compared to the foam product, even after the builder adds the extra expense of the air sealing products and labor to install with the appropriate fiberglass products.

The benefit to both contractors and their clients is that National Lumber provides the quality materials they need to do the job, or Pro Insulators can provide expert teams to install insulation quickly and thoroughly with best practices using either fiberglass batts or spray foam. Hiring that expertise saves time for the builder’s crew and they move onto the next step of the building process sooner. If their high-end clients want to know they are getting the best value in their insulation, then professional best practices can provide that with either product.

What it comes down to with either type of insulation is that the quality of the installation and air sealing are key. Pro Insulators can tell you which type will perform better for a particular project. Also, it’s important that the installer be up to date with the latest energy codes, which today are always evolving. Pro Insulators always stays on top of these codes. Both types of insulation, properly installed, can meet these codes. Simply put, the choice really is the preferred material.

Our team will leave the jobsite clean and ready for the next stage of work. (Image © National Lumber & Pro Insulators)

Just as you subcontract other specialized portions of every project, make Pro Insulators part of your team for expert results that benefit your profits. We all know that time is money, and getting the insulation installed faster by our experienced crews means that your building crew gets on to the next stage of the project faster. In addition, if a regular building crew makes mistakes installing the insulation, that will lead to failed insulation inspections. When such work has to be done over, it increases costs. The work will be done right the first time with guaranteed insulation installation by Pro Insulators. When word gets out that your homes are more energy efficient because the insulation was done expertly, word of mouth reputation for your company will grow. It’s good for the builder and good for the homeowner having Pro Insulators do the job.

Did you know? Our insulation installers deliver outstanding results.

Closed cell spray foam insulation being applied

Closed cell spray foam insulation being applied

Pro Insulators delivers the difference between insulation products and outstanding results. Our insulation installers specialize in fiberglass battsblown-in fiberglass, and spray foam insulation. Having the right specialists on your team can keep a project running smoothly as they apply their specialized experience to your building project. Just as you have traditionally subcontracted work to a trusted plumber as part of your team, you can hire the insulation installers of Pro Insulators (HIC #161268), a division of National Lumber.

“I am an Energy Star builder and I use Pro Insulators exclusively because of their knowledge on what is needed to meet or exceed Energy Star levels. They are always on-time, the staff is courteous and professional, and they leave the jobsite very clean. They are one of the best subs that I have!” – Roger Lucier, RS Lucier Contracting

Building code compliance and OSHA safety compliance are met when you hire Pro Insulators. We have all the proper safety and work equipment. Most importantly, we are up-to-date on meeting codes for energy efficiency and current building standards. Whether your project is residential or commercial, new building or a retro-fit project, we have the products and installation expertise you need. Whichever type of insulation you choose, our professional team of experts will leave your jobsite clean and ready for your next phase of construction.

We’ll provide a free evaluation of your project and an estimate. Call 978-423-6051 today to discuss your project insulation needs. Then you can decide if it’s cost-effective to subcontract this work and leave yourself free to work on other items.

If you work with a specific National Lumber representative, please ask about these products and services. If you don’t have a specific contact, you can email and we will have someone contact you.

Thank you for your business. We are honored to be your supplier for building materials and more!

The National Lumber Family of Companies

The Warm Weather Is Here. Now Is The Perfect Time To Insulate Your Space!

Image of Pro Insulators employee installing insulation

Properly insulating your home can save you money on your heating and cooling costs.

Are you looking for ways to decrease your heating and cooling energy costs? Have you considered checking into what type of insulation surrounds you? By insulating your structure properly, you will able to save money on your energy bills.

Many people only think about insulation during cold weather, when they want to keep their spaces warm. However, the same concept holds true to keep spaces cooler in the summer months, saving costs on air conditioning.

With the warmer months upon us, here in New England, now is a perfect time to insulate your space. Our Pro Insulators professionals are exceptionally versed in recommending what type of insulation would best suit your needs. Learn more about our Pro Insulators division.

Six Things Builders Should Know About Insulation

Guardian Fiberglass Batts Installed by Pro Insulators

Guardian Fiberglass Batts Installed by Pro Insulators, a division of National Lumber

ProSales Magazine recently published a great article entitled “Six Things Dealers Should Tell Builders About Insulation.” As a lumber & building materials dealer, we feel that it is our duty to share these six things with you.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

“Properly installed insulation can save a homeowner a bundle on energy bills, keep a house more comfortable, and make the pro who installed it a hero. Improperly installed, however, that same product will do nothing to improve the comfort or energy efficiency of a home-and can create complaints about the material, the installer, and the dealer who sold the insulation.”

The six main points of the article are:

  1. Most homes don’t need more insulation
  2. Insulation doesn’t last forever
  3. Building codes demand thicker insulation today
  4. Not every builder installs insulation correctly
  5. It’s possible to over-insulate an attic.
  6. Re-attaching or adding insulation could save a homeowner from replacing the HVAC.

To learn more about each of these points, be sure to read the full article at ProSales’ website.

Consider hiring Pro Insulators, a division of National Lumber, as your sub-contractor to make your job easier and to be sure that insulation is installed correctly on your jobs.

Understanding R-Value and Avoiding Insulation Scams

Green Building Advisor has a great article on understanding R-value and avoiding insulation scams.

Here is an excerpt of this article:

“Some marketers of radiant barriers or spray foam insulation imply that R-value measurements are meaningless. On the contrary, R-value is a useful measurement. But just because you know a product’s R-value doesn’t mean you know everything necessary to predict heat flow through a wall or ceiling. R-value is just one factor among many to be considered when deciding which insulation to use. Builders must also understand many other topics, including air leakage and moisture movement. No one has yet invented a ‘magic number’ that replaces the requirement for builders to study and understand building science principles.

Does radiant heat pass through insulation like radio waves?

Another scare tactic employed by some marketers of radiant barriers is the idea that conventional insulation materials — sometimes called ‘mass insulation’ — allow radiant heat to pass right through them. Scam artists have been known to warn builders that ‘mass insulation is transparent to radiant heat.’ The implication is that a layer of aluminum foil is necessary to prevent radiant heat from traveling like radio waves right through a deep layer of cellulose.

In fact, most mass insulation products do a good job of stopping radiant heat flow. Radiant heat easily travels through air (for example, from a wood stove to nearby skin) or a vacuum (for example, from the sun to the earth). But radiant energy can’t travel through a solid material.”

Read the entirety of this article on the Green Building Advisor blogs.

National Lumber is here for all of your insulation needs. We are a proud retailer of Guardian insulation products. Learn more by calling 1-800-370-WOOD (9663) or by visiting

Unventilated Roof Decks Require Roofing and Insulation Expertise

Today we have a timely roofing challenge for your consideration: proper roof ventilation.

In our last blog posting about our recent Green Building seminar, we mentioned that expert Peter Yost, Technical Director of Green Building Advisor, spoke on the importance of examining the building science in each situation. For example, while new insulation materials and methods bring higher “R” values, they also bring new challenges in understanding how all the elements work together in the building over time. We included a photo from Peter (shown again here) of a roof in the Northeast that rotted when good materials were used, but proper roof ventilation wasn’t included in the plan.

Rotted Roof in the Northeast

Surprisingly, this happened to a roof in the Northeast constructed by an experienced building company

In regard to roofing and insulation, if spray foam is to be applied to the underside of the roof deck, an unventilated roof deck could be one result. Or, it could be a situation where there is no ventilation and the rafter bays are going to be filled with dense packed blown-in fiberglass insulation.

How will that impact the roof shingles? How does the lack of ventilation impact the warranty on the roof shingles? Unventilated roof decks are considered “HOT” roof decks, which stirs up some issues with most roof shingle manufacturers. You should check the shingle warranty information of your preferred brand.

Should you wish to have foam insulation done in the roof, but want to provide ventilation so that there are no issues with warranty, National Lumber can provide a system for running a slightly different prop-a-vent the entire length of the roof slopes as necessary to carry air from the soffits to the ridge vent. Pro Insulators can also provide the benefits of spray foam and keep the attic ventilation by spraying foam down from the attic space on top of the sheetrock ceilings, as long as there is access and space to get around within the attic.

National Lumber not only supplies everything needed in building materials, but also expert services to provide solutions to building challenges. If a particular building provides a challenging roofing and/or insulation situation that you have not encountered before, contact our experts for advice.

Pro Insulators, a division of National Lumber, provides installed insulation for residential and commercial buildings. You can subcontract the installation of any kind of insulation for new construction and retrofitting. Spray foam in particular has become a popular choice.

For more information, contact Pro Insulators at 978-423-6051 or

To get a 33% discount on annual subscription to Green Building Advisor, click here to sign up at the National Lumber landing page.

Wall Construction Comparisons to Meet New Insulation Code Requirements

There’s more than one way to meet the new R-19 wall cavity insulation code. The 7th Edition Building Code is being implemented in most areas of Massachusetts as of July 1, 2010. National Lumber offers four options for your consideration. Three options work with traditional 2×4 framing, to accommodate the way most builders are still constructing walls. The fourth option shows the new recommended 2×6 construction, which is actually the least expensive option when you consider the cost of materials.

Read all about the options and their estimated costs here: WALL CONSTRUCTION / INSULATION COMPARISON

Whichever you choose, National Lumber has the materials you need, at prices that will keep you competitive. Also, consider subcontracting your insulation work to Pro Insulators, a division of National Lumber. They offer expert installed insulation services for residential and commercial construction. Call Chris Kirouac at 978-423-6051 for a free evaluation and estimate.

Home Energy Audits Really Save Money

Now that the cold weather has arrived, we’re all more aware of drafts in our homes. If you’ve recently received an outrageous home heating bill, you will really appreciate this information from Remodeling magazine:


Some clients may balk at paying for the audit, which usually costs between $300 and $500, but as Paul Eldrenkamp, who owns Byggmeister in the Boston metro area, says, “If they won’t spend $450 on an audit prior to us doing a significant amount of insulation work, then we feel it’s a good gauging device for their seriousness.” In other words, it’s a good way to ferret out clients — early in the process — who may not be a good fit. Eldrenkamp focuses on larger sustainability projects with clients who are mostly “true believers.”

What are the reasons that a proper home energy audit is necessary?

“The priorities of applied building science are health and safety, number one; comfort, number two; and energy efficiency, number three,” says Ed Voytovich, a former remodeling company owner and insulation contractor and now executive director of the Building Performance Contractors Association of New York State. Changing one part of the system will affect another, and remodelers need to learn how to avoid changes that could make a home unhealthy or dangerous. For example, air sealing and attic insulation may greatly improve energy efficiency in a leaky house and show the quickest return on investment, but without also providing for proper ventilation, tightening the envelope could trap noxious gases in the living space.”

Read the rest of the article above at

After a proper home energy audit, you will know just what will improve your home’s atmosphere and energy efficiency. When you’re ready to insulate, contact Chris Kirouac at Pro Insulators for all your insulation needs. You can call him directly at 978-423-6051 or visit for more information.

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