Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019 by Alaina Marra
We all can agree Cape Homes are adorable, charming and they help give New England our reputation for classic, proportional, and traditional beauty. We have all fell in love with their gable roofs often sporting stunning window dormers. Their perfect pentagon shaped profile has provided us with that classic abstract motif of a house that symbolizes the idea of home for most north Americans. They are often sought after by buyers looking for a respectable, but affordable home and are truly a New England Treasure. With all this positivity, we now must discuss the negatives… cape cod style homes can be a HORROR to insulate.
They were originally built in the north east of America by colonials with barely any materials but lumber and their own hands. Capes were purposefully given such a low profile in order to help them avoid the severe wind. They were originally designed with one main floor containing a living room/kitchen area and often a smaller second floor with low cathedral ceilings where they slept. At the heart of the home was the fireplace and chimney which warmed the house during the cold winter months.
This humble lifestyle has changed drastically as homeowners now want much more space and have installed more technologically advanced heating and cooling systems in their homes. With larger, more complicated constructions, these homes quickly become trickier to properly insulate. They provide the ultimate challenges to insulation specialists, who often turn clients away saying it is too complicated or tricky. If they give it a try, they often cut corners, giving minimal relief to the homeowner’s concerns.
If you happen to own a Cape Cod Style home, you might think you are out of luck, but we are here to say you are not! Dr. Energy Saver of Connecticut are the PIONEERS of insulating capes properly thanks to years of research. Keep reading on to learn about how we can help make your home more comfortable and save you money while we do it.
Cathedral ceilings are the first culprit for an uncomfortable Cape Cod style home. This is when your living spaces have tapered ceilings butted against your roof. It offers a lovely, aesthetically pleasing space and takes full advantage of the space provided. Its downfall, however, is without a typical attic space, it is nearly impossible to achieve that same amount of insulation value. Often home builders will add fiberglass batts within the rafters during construction, but usually they miss spots, compress the batts, and do not properly air seal. Even when they are installed properly, fiberglass does not insulate your home well, it mostly filters air and absorbs all the dust and dirt for years and years.
Dr. Energy Saver of Connecticut typically suggests dense packing the cathedral ceiling with our TruSoft Blown Cellulose Insulation. This product consists of recycled newspaper material treated with the chemical borate, which provides a pest and fire-resistant coating making it perfectly suitable for walls and attics. It is installed by removing the ridge vent on your roof and revealing the cavities between the roof’s rafters. Our trusted crew members then will blow the cellulose into the roof using a pressurized hose and completely fill the space between the roof and the inner sheathing. They finish by reinstalling the ridge vent and leave the exterior of your roof looking as if we were never there! The true magic is in what you cannot see. Cellulose insulation typically offers an R-value of 3.0 per inch, but when densely packed into a cathedral ceiling, it can provide much higher insulating values.
Knee walls are the second culprit of uncomfortable Cape Cod style homes because they often lack insulation and allow your valuable heated air to leak through the wall and out the eave’s vents during the winter and allow hot and humid air to enter during the summer. A knee wall is a short wall, usually under three feet in height that is built to support the rafters in the roof. It creates a tricky triangular shaped space that is confusing to some contractors to insulate.
Dr. Energy Saver of Connecticut has a solution! We use 4” SilverGlo Rigid Foam Insulation to completely encapsulate the space with a continuous layer of insulation. SilverGlo is a foam insulation infused with graphite to increase the R-value by 24% over standard EPS foam and has an added radiant barrier on its face to reflect heat, adding to the insulation value. We seal the sheets of SilverGlo with an expanding foam sealant in order to give an airtight seal. This encapsulation offers you the ability to continue using the space for storage and gives you a much higher insulation value than most other solutions will offer.
Insufficient amounts of insulation in walls are our next issue with Cape Homes. Most homes built more than 20 years ago do not have enough insulation. Thanks to the age Cape style homes typically are, they rarely have enough insulation in their walls. This means there is another weak point in your house for you to lose heat in the winter and gain heat and humidity in the summer. Dr. Energy Saver of Connecticut will install TruSoft Cellulose insulation inside your walls to add additional insulation value. This is done by densely packing the material into the wall cavities of all your exterior walls using a pressurized hose. Removing the existing insulation is not necessary during this process because the cellulose will simply add to the R-value the fiberglass is already providing.
Finally, the basement or crawl space of a Cape style home is our final culprit. Like any home, cold air in the winter and hot, humid air in the summer typically enter the house through the bottom. Cape style homes specifically are often older and were not constructed as airtight as most homes now a days. Their basements or crawl spaces often deal with moisture issues and need ample air and moisture sealing. Dr. Energy Saver of Connecticut are the experts in fixing energy inefficient basements and crawl spaces. We will install our water proofing products including a CleanSpace vapor barrier liner and drainage matting in case any water enters the space. We typically insulate using Spray Foam at the rim joist, TerraBlock foam insulation on the concrete ground, and SilverGlo insulation around the walls.
With these services, Dr. Energy Saver of Connecticut have proved to thousands of satisfied homeowners across the state we are the most qualified home energy experts to fix uncomfortable homes, especially Cape Cod Styles!