The great room has become a central fixture of the Muskoka cottage. With cathedral ceilings and vast view-framing windows, it’s hard to imagine a cottage without these architectural details.
If you’re designing a home or cottage with a large, two-storey family room, Curtis Hinksman, owner of Soundseals Insulation, says it’s critical that your ceiling and walls are insulated correctly to withstand the added challenges posed by the large windows, added ceiling height, and exposed roof peaks.
“Your insulation is an invisible defence for your home,” says Curtis. “Done correctly, you shouldn’t think about your insulation at all.’’
However, if not done correctly, your great room can feel drafty from the convective air currents, chilly as the heat rises to the ceiling in the cooler months, and uncomfortably hot from the radiant heat coming through the windows in the summer.
Apart from being uncomfortable, poor insulation can also be problematic for your cottage structure.
“Winter heat loss combined with poor ceiling ventilation can cause ice damming on the slopes of your roof, especially in the valleys, and on flat ceilings,” says Curtis. “And that ice build-up can quickly become dangerous and damage your roof.”
It can also become more taxing for your HVAC system, which will have to work harder to try to maintain a comfortable temperature.
While challenges exist with soaring cathedral ceilings, Curtis says there’s no need to scrap your design plans. With the proper planning, you can have the design you love with the energy efficiencies you need.
The key is to make sure your building team has planned for the proper type of insulation and has budgeted for an adequate quantity to relieve energy inefficiencies.
In truss roofs, blown-in blanket systems (BIBS) can be ideal, as the insulation gets between the trusses to ensure continuous coverage.
In stick-frame designs, Curtis suggests using spray foam insulation. If strapped, spray foam can completely cover the joists through the strapping. “It can grow and fit into any space, and adheres itself to the joists for maximum coverage.”
In tricky areas where two types of roof are being joined, and where valleys, corners, and other architectural details can pose insulation issues, it’s even more important that you have your insulation installed by professional installers.
“We’re here to make sure you have proper coverage and ventilation, to mitigate issues before they have a chance to occur.”
If you’re currently planning a cottage build or renovation, Soundseals offers free onsite consultations.
“We’ll review your plans with you, and make sure you have the proper insulation coverage to keep you and your family comfortable, season after season.”
TEXT SHELANNE AUGUSTINE