Commercial buildings have been constructed for centuries, and with each passing decade, the materials used to build them have evolved. The choices available are vast, from natural materials like wood and stone to synthetic materials such as steel and concrete.
But when it comes to keeping your building warm in winter and cool in summer, two popular options are air sealing and insulation.
At the end of this article, you will better understand the differences between air sealing and insulation, as well as which option is best for your commercial building. Make sure you read until the end to find out more!
What is air sealing?
Air sealing is a process of blocking air leaks from the structure of your building. Typically, this includes filling any gaps, cracks, or holes with unique materials to stop warm and cool air from entering or escaping your property.
The most common materials used for air sealing are caulking and weatherstripping. Caulk is a thick, rubbery substance that is used to fill any gaps or cracks in your building.
Weatherstripping consists of a thin strip of material that is attached to doorways and windows. It’s designed to seal the edges against air leaks, keeping warm and cold air in.
Common parts of a building that require air sealing are:
- Doors and windows
- Attic hatches
- Electrical outlets
- Exhaust fans
- Pipe and duct work
- Foundation and wall penetrations
While air sealing can effectively reduce air leaks, it does not provide any additional insulation or thermal protection. Now that we’ve mentioned insulation, let’s discuss it.
What is insulation?
It is a material or system that reduces heat transfer between two areas. This can be as simple as covering bare walls with insulated panels or as complex as using multiple systems such as air sealing and foam board insulation. It provides an additional layer of thermal protection in addition to air sealing.
Common types of insulation used for commercial buildings include:
- Fiberglass batts: These are made up of small pieces of fiberglass sandwiched between two-facing materials and can be used for both walls and attics.
- Cellulose is a loose fill made from recycled paper sprayed into the cavities within walls or other concealed spaces.
- Spray foam: This type is sprayed as a liquid and quickly expands to form an insulating foam. It can be used in attics and walls and helps fill any gaps or cracks in your building’s structure.
- Polystyrene rigid board: This board is often used around windows and doors and in exterior walls.
- Reflective foil: This type reflects heat away from the building and is often used as a supplement to other types of insulation.
- Mineral wool batt: Mineral wool batt is made from recycled glass and rock and is typically used in exterior walls or attics.
From fiberglass batts to spray foam, each type of insulation has its own unique properties that make it more or less suitable for commercial buildings.
What’s the Difference Between Air Sealing and Insulation?
The main difference between air sealing and insulation is that air sealing blocks drafts while insulation reduces heat transfer.
Air sealing prevents warm or cool air from entering your building through cracks, gaps, and other openings. On the other hand, insulation provides an additional layer of thermal protection by reflecting or trapping heat in the building.
Which Option Is Best for Your Commercial Building?
The best option for your building depends on your goals and budget.
If you want to reduce drafts and save energy, then air sealing is an effective solution. It’s relatively inexpensive and can provide a significant return on investment in terms of long-term energy savings.
On the other hand, insulation is the way to go if you want to maximize energy efficiency and comfort. It provides an additional layer of thermal protection that will help keep your building comfortable throughout the year. None of these solutions is a one-size-fits-all solution, so it’s essential to consider your individual needs and budget when deciding.
If you’re looking for a reliable and experienced insulation contractor, look no further than iFoam. Having professionals help you choose the best solution for your building will ensure that you get the results you’re looking for.
Commercial buildings require a lot of maintenance and upgrades to keep them running efficiently, but air sealing and insulation are two of the most important steps you can take to ensure your building is energy efficient. By combining these strategies, you will be able to maximize energy savings while keeping your building comfortable all year round.
Should you have any questions about the insulation options for your commercial building, comment below or contact the pros for expert advice!