Insulators (NOC 7293)

About this job

Insulators apply insulation materials to plumbing, air-handling, heating, cooling and refrigeration systems, piping equipment and pressure vessels, and walls, floors and ceilings of buildings and other structures, to prevent or reduce the passage of heat, cold, sound or fire.

People in these occupations:

  • may specialize in areas such as industrial insulation, fire insulation or sound insulation, while others alternate between commercial and residential, and between blown insulation and batting
  • work for construction companies and insulation contractors
  • work in Manufacturing and other industries, but in a smaller number
  • may be self-employed
  • should be comfortable working at heights and in cramped spaces
  • need to pay close attention to detail when cutting and fitting insulation
  • must keep their skills and techniques up to date in order to adapt to new insulation materials, building codes and energy efficiency guidelines
Common job titles
  • applicator, insulation / foamed insulation
  • installer, soundproof material-insulation
  • insulator, asbestos
  • insulator, journeyman / journeywoman
  • insulator, refrigeration and a / c equipment
  • mechanic, insulation
  • applicator, insulation / foamed insulation
  • installer, soundproof material-insulation
  • insulator, asbestos
  • insulator, building / ship / boiler & pipe
  • insulator, fire protection / fire-stopping
  • insulator, journeyman / journeywoman

Duties

Insulators perform some or all of the following duties:

  • read and interpret drawings and specifications to determine insulation requirements and select type of insulation required
  • measure and cut insulating material to required dimensions using hand and power tools
  • apply and secure insulation using spraying, blowing, pasting, strapping, taping and other application and installation methods
  • fit insulation around obstructions and between studs and joists
  • install vapour barriers
  • apply waterproofing cement over insulating materials to finish surfaces
  • remove asbestos or urea-formaldehyde insulation from buildings when required

Work environment

Insulators typically work a standard 40-hour workweek, however, they may also be required to work longer hours to complete projects on time. Insulating work in the Construction industry is often project based and workers may experience gaps in employment between projects. For the same reason, insulators sometimes travel to where the work is.

Insulators generally work indoors. They often work at heights and in confined spaces. The work environment can be dusty and workers can be exposed to particles of insulation material that can be irritating to the eyes, skin and respiratory system. Workers strictly conform to health and safety procedures to protect themselves from exposure to airborne particles and skin irritants.

Heat and frost insulators who work on large industrial, institutional and commercial construction projects work both indoors and outdoors in all regions of Canada.

Insights from industry

Of the opportunities that arise in the coming years, approximately one-half will come from retirements.

Government funding for capital projects has been an important source of construction employment. Major investments are planned and are underway in B.C.'s transportation infrastructure, including ports and airports.

Industry sources report that demand for workers may be higher for those who work mainly in spray foam.

At present, experienced insulators are in relatively short supply, and in general the experienced workforce is approaching retirement age; however, training is provided to those requiring experience.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

New hires often begin by working with the batting and sprayed two part polyurethane foam as well as working on a blowing truck. With experience and additional training, insulators can become insulation estimators.

Progression to supervisory positions, such as crew leader, site foreman, general foreman or project manager is also possible with experience.

Some experienced insulators may also choose to become independent contractors or company owners.

Additional resources