Beware, this time of year is ripe for insulation contractor scams!

Beware, this time of year is ripe for insulation contractor scams!

It’s around this point in the year that many residential owners find cold spots, frost on second floor ceilings just under the attic space, cold walls and drafty rooms. Many people open their attic hatch only to find low levels of insulation or, in some rare cases, missing insulation or spotty coverage. This may be the reason for increasing costs to heat your home.

Typically, with a lack of attic insulation comes mold. This happens because the warm air of your home, which is moist, escapes past poor insulation in your attic, meets the extremely cold underside of your roof and condenses. You know have the optimum conditions for mold…moisture, wood and warm temperatures.

Now many people will reach out to an insulation company for information and costs involved with adding insulation and this is where you may run into an attic insulation scam.

Here’s a few points you should keep in mind when you are considering a blown in insulation product.


Cellulose or Fibreglass?

Not a scam, just a bit of background knowledge. Insulation companies make more money providing a cellulose material as insulation than they do providing fiberglass. Cellulose insulation is an organic product composed of between 75% and 85% recycled paper fiber, usually post-consumer newsprint. It also usually contains a fire retardant such as boric acid or ammonium sulphate and may contain a moldicide.

Blown in cellulose insulation is sprayed into an attic. Be aware that it contains up to 85% organic material, a mold food source.

Typical Cellulose Installation

Inorganic fibreglass is a better product if you are concerned about mold growth.

Typical Fibreglass Installation

Fibreglass insulation is an inorganic product that contains plastic reinforced by tiny glass fibers.

Forget using spray-foam in an attic –…ld-contamination/


Scam 1 – Shorting

This Is where an insulation contractor tells you he’s installed the right amount but will not add the correct amount by 20% – 40%…putting the amount he’s saved into his pocket. People typically do not have a trained eye to notice the difference or usually don’t go up into their attic.

Scam 2 – Fluffing

Fluffing is where an insulation contractor will adjust his machine when he’s installing blown in insulation so that it puffs up the level of insulation so that it looks like the right amount, (typically an R-value is determined by measuring the depth of the newly installed insulation).

In Ontario, the Ontario Building Code states that a minimum value for attic insulation in a new home is R60, which, if you’re using a blown in loose fill fiberglass product, is 24” deep. For a blown in loose cellulose product it’s 16” deep),

Scam 3 – The Insulation / Mold company Scam – The bait and switch

We’ve recently run into a dual role Insulation / Mold company that was engaged to supply a fiberglass blown in product into an attic. A few days before the job was to start they phoned the client and indicated that they couldn’t get fiberglass insulation product from their supplier and would have to provide a blown-in cellulose product, for the same price without a discount. This company then went on to install the blown in product without installing soffit vent baffles and clogged up the natural ventilation process of the attic causing mold, which they offered to gladly remove for a fee!

So, how do I avoid these potential problems?

  1. Really research who you are going to hire – Referrals are a good way of finding a top quality insulation company but don’t rely just on that. Check their on-line presence and look for subtle clues…reviews that kind of look the same like they came from one writer, a lack of certification, licensing and lack of insurance. Don’t believe someone who says they have insurance, certification and / or licensing. You have to verify they are in good standing.
  2. Do you have any friends of family members that had similar work done? Can they provide you with their experience with this firm?
  3. Look at their past projects if you can. Usually I can talk about mold all day long because I believe I know what I’m talking about and would show you photo after photo in boring detail of the work we’ve done J. Scammers talk fast and are loose with the facts.
  4. Have their work verified by someone who is in the industry or a knowledgeable friend before you pay the bill. Make sure soffit vent baffles are installed and that your vents at the edge of the roof are not clogged with insulation. Measure the depth of the insulation.
  1. Reputation – It really does make a difference

Here are few links to more news about scamming insulation contractors;

And how to prevent mold in the winter months……he-winter-months/


Maple Leaf Mold Inc. is a certified  mold / asbestos removal and biological disinfection / air analysis company located in Toronto that uses certified IICRC technicians for all testing and remediation projects.

We are a professionally licensed firm experienced in testing, verifying  and removing Mold / Asbestos / Lead and other environmental contaminants as well as providing disinfection services to control and kill biological contaminants.

Call 416-254-7256 to talk with us about your issue anytime.



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