We all want a comfortable, cozy home, but if your home insulation is not up to par, it’s nearly impossible to achieve. Many of us have experienced a room that’s too cold in the winter or too warm in the summer that you just don’t want to spend time in. Roughly a third of a home’s air leakage comes through floors, ceilings and walls, so insulating these areas is key to comfort.

Insulation vs. Windows: Which Renovation Should You Tackle First?

If you have to choose one home improvement project to increase the comfort in your home, where should you start? The answer is simple: upgrade the insulation!

The key to ensuring a comfortable, energy efficient home is a tight building envelope—a building that is properly insulated and air sealed—including exterior walls, ceiling/attic, foundation, roof, windows and doors. The comfort of your home can also be impacted by issues with sub-systems such as HVAC, plumbing, ventilation and electrical.

Understanding air leakage pathways

home insulation and sources of air leaks

Air leakage occurs through a variety of areas in the home. Note that floors, walls and ceilings contribute 31% of total air leakage in the home, whereas windows only account for 10%. In other words, insulating and air sealing are 3 times more important to home comfort and energy efficiency than windows.1

The benefits of insulating for comfort

Adding insulation to above-grade walls can take the R-value of an uninsulated wall of R-4 to an R-13 or R-19 wall. Adding insulation to the attic or ceiling can achieve an R-30 to R-49 rating—that means more insulating power at a lower cost than replacing windows. If improving comfort is what you’re after, insulation should be the first solution you turn to.



  1. Source: U.S. Department of Energy