The Different Types of Insulation: Which One Is Best for Your Home?

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Insulation is a crucial component of any energy-efficient property. If having an energy-efficient home is among your priorities, you’ll need to consider the different types of insulation and their perks to choose a befitting one.

Insulation is designed to reduce the heat in your home during the summer and the rate at which heat escapes in the winter; it’s installed in locations where air escapes, like between stud cavities in walls and in the attic.

Proper insulation helps seal air leaks in crawl spaces, attics, and basements, saving homeowners up to 15% on heating and cooling costs.

Poor insulation translates to energy waste and increased energy bills. Perhaps you’re looking to upgrade your home’s insulation; this article highlights the different types of insulation and provides other helpful information to help you make an informed decision.

Types of Insulation for New Construction and Home Remodeling

Blanket Batt and Roll Insulation

Blankets and rolls are perhaps the standard options regarding insulation and are primarily made from fiberglass. However, you’ll find options made with sheep’s wool, cotton, plastic fibers, and mineral wool.

Blanket and roll insulation are among the most affordable and DIY-friendly since they fit the standard width between floor joists, wall studs, and attic rafters. They’re the best DIY insulation for floors, unfinished walls, and ceilings.

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation is excellent for sealing gaps and leaks in existing walls. Liquid polyurethane expands, hardening into solid foam when sprayed into wall cavities. Consider using pressure-sprayed foam insulation if you’re working with a large area.

Spray foam has two forms: open-cell foam and denser closed-cell foam. Closed-cell foam presumably has the highest R-value of any insulation (R-6.2 per inch) and can be expensive.

In contrast, the R-values of open-cell foam insulation are around R-3.6 per inch. Consider hiring a professional for spray foam insulation, as it’s not as straightforward as installing blanket insulation.

Blown-in Insulation

Blown-in insulation is applied with a machine that blows paper-like material into the area to be insulated. This type of insulation is often made of rock wool, fiberglass, or reclaimed cellulose material, and it conforms to fit nearly any space.

Blown-in insulation R-values range from R-2.2 to R-3.8 per inch. This insulation type is best for irregularly shaped and hard-to-reach areas that require insulation. It’s also environmentally friendly, as it’s manufactured from recycled waste materials.

Rigid Foam Panels or Foam Boards

Foam board and rigid foam insulation are sturdier than most insulation options. Foam boards are excellent for areas like floors or an unvented low-slope roof.

They reduce the amount of heat that moves through wall studs, wood, and other building materials in a home.

Their R-values range from R-4 to R-6.5 per inch, suggesting that foam boards and rigid foam panels will likely reduce energy consumption better than many other insulations.

Loose-fill insulation

Loose fill, also known as cellulose, is a type of blow-in insulation that is most often used in horizontal spaces and on attic floors. Cellulose from recycled denim or newspaper is sprayed with a chemical to deter bugs and pests from making the insulation their home.

Ideally, the installer blows the cellulose into an open attic floor or a similar area. However, DIYers looking to save costs can spread the loose fill installation by hand in small spaces. Remember to fluff up the cellulose to avoid compacting it.

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)

These insulation panels were a significant advancement in post-and-beam and timber-frame insulation. Structural insulated panels are high-performance components consisting of two rigid board sheathing materials sandwiching foam insulation.

These panels provide insulation and strength for open wall spaces that may not have any insulation. They are often installed during building construction, allowing electrical wiring, pipework, and other utilities to pass through the sandwiched foam.

SIPs are heavy and come in significant sizes, often requiring a crane for placement. If you choose SIPs, your best bet is hiring a professional for a satisfactory job.

Radiant Barrier Insulation

Radiant barrier or reflective insulation works by reflecting heat, unlike most conventional insulation, which resists heat flow. Hence, this insulation doesn’t have an R-value, and it’s an excellent choice for attics, especially in the summer.

It stops radiant heat from moving and gaining heat in application areas, keeping the inside cooler. Reflective insulation comprises reflective barriers like aluminum foil placed over substrate materials such as plastic film, cardboard, polyethylene bubbles, or kraft paper.

If you live in a warmer region, consider this insulation to effectively maintain a cooler indoor environment while lowering heating and cooling costs.

Types of Insulation Materials

Foam Insulation

Foam insulation is often made from plastics like polyurethane, polystyrene, or polyisocyanurate. The polystyrene form can be extruded or expanded and is available as a loose fill and board.

Polyisocyanurate (PIR) and polyurethane (PUR) have similar compositions with slight variations. PIR is an upgraded form of PUR, a better insulator, and more fire-resistant.

Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass is among the standard insulation materials, and it’s made from fine glass fibers that are spun or blown to create rolls, boards, loose fill, and batt insulation.

Perhaps you choose the DIY route to install fiberglass-based insulation; remember to wear protective clothing and a mask, as fiberglass is a lung and skin irritant.

Cellulose Insulation

Cellulose insulation comprises about 90% of the shredded paper that is fiberized into the final product, insulation, which is usually a loose fill. This insulation material is best for inhibiting airflow in building cavities.

Mineral Wool Insulation

Mineral wool is available in two forms: rock wool and slag wool. While both are synthetic, their raw materials differ. Rock wool is made from minerals like diabase or basalt, while slag wool is made from blast furnace slag, a waste product of molten metal.

Choosing the right insulation for your home can be a daunting task

At Efficiency Plus, we understand that choosing the right insulation for your home can be a daunting task. That’s why we’re here to help. We offer a range of insulation products and services designed to meet your specific needs.

Insulation plays a crucial role in improving your home’s energy efficiency. It helps keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, which can lead to significant energy savings over time. With the different types of insulation available, it can be challenging to know which one to choose.

That’s where our team of experts comes in. We’ll help you understand the pros and cons of each type of insulation, from batt and blown-in insulation to spray foam and rigid foam insulation. We’ll also evaluate your home’s insulation needs and recommend the best insulation for your home.

At Efficiency Plus, we’re committed to providing exceptional service and top-quality insulation products. We use only the best materials and the latest installation techniques to ensure that your insulation is installed correctly and performs to the highest standards.

So, if you’re looking for the best insulation for your home, contact us today. Discover the different types of insulation available and find out which one is right for you. Start improving your home’s energy efficiency and enjoy long-term savings today!

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