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Photo by Mike Pearson

Photo by Mike Pearson

From left, homeowners Michael and Giselle Smolikiewicz pose for a photo with Ryan Belo, who holds a piece of spray foam insulation removed from their attic.

If you insulate your home, be sure to get a permit

By Mike Pearson, News staff

When Michael and Giselle Smolikiewicz noticed a large crack in the ceiling of their master bedroom, they patched and painted it, thinking the problem would go away.

But two years later, a new crack surfaced. Small droplets of water suggested the roof may be be leaking.

“That’s when I said, ‘We have to call someone and really look at that roof,’” said Giselle.

As it turned out, a leaky roof wasn’t to blame. The culprit was a faulty spray foam insulation job, completed in 2005, which cut off air flow through the soffit, creating excess condensation.

When Ryan Belo peeked into the attic, he saw mounds upon mounds of spray foam installed improperly on the south side of the east Mountain home. The north side appeared to have the spray foam product properly installed.

To correct the problem, Belo and employees from his Stoney Creek construction firm, Triple R Inc., spent days removing the spray foam from the home’s south side and installing a new wool-based, flame retardant insulation in its place. The labour-intensive job cost thousands of dollars, which could have been averted with a proper installation nine years earlier.

Belo hopes the couple’s story will serve as a cautionary tale for homeowners thinking about insulating their attics.

“This situation was a bad installation,” said Belo.

Belo said homeowners should secure a general building permit before going ahead with any spray foam installation. It may cost a few dollars in the short term, but in the Smolikiewicz’s case, a permit could have saved thousands in repairs.

Belo said that by purchasing a permit, homeowners can help ensure the job is performed properly, with a pre-inspection, in accordance with the latest building code. Once a permit is secured, the homeowner should also select a lisensed contractor who can show you a master building repair licence.

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