Insulation & soundproofing

The energy efficiency and sound transmission of a home is determined largely by the construction and insulation of the building envelope. These pages will help you chart a path towards a well-insulated and quiet home.

Blown cellulose insulation in a ceiling
Blown cellulose insulation in a ceiling © Therm-o-comfort


The healthiest, most energy-efficient and durable home is one that you have complete control over. This is accomplished by creating a well-insulated and airtight building envelope with proper ventilation.

Humans create moisture and contaminants through indoor activity, but also just breathing and existing. A home requires a steady influx of fresh air for the health of occupants and the durability of the home. This is not hard to do, but involves the inclusion of mechanical ventilation within the systems of a house. See our pages on ventilation for more information.

Condensation happens when warm moist air meets a cold surface and the humidity in the air turns into water droplets. That water can lead to mold, and damage both your insulation and framing structure. It’s important to understand that in order to understand the importance of protecting your insulation, and the inclusion of a proper and durable air barrier.

You will hear terms like ‘wall system’ and ‘building envelope’ when designing and discussing the performance of a home, as your wall is a series of barriers that function together. Your wall system needs to manage as best as possible the transfer of heat, as well as the movement of moisture through walls. Insulation should be seen as a defense barrier against cold, and you cannot leave weak points in a defense.

Homes built in the early part of the century leaked so much heat and moist air that chapped lips were a bigger problem than mold. When builders did start insulating, they used sawdust, newspapers, old blankets and ugly Christmas sweaters. Rest assured, there have been noticable technological advancements since then, the following pages should help you create a durable and energy efficient home.


Noise from neighbours is a common source of annoyance in multi-family buildings. Occasionally the annoyance is so great that one occupant decides to alter the structure to try to reduce the intrusive noise. These pages are meant as a guide for such people. They deal only with sound transmission between adjacent homes and not with reduction of aircraft, traffic or other external noises. In the latter cases, sound enters the home most often through the windows.