Insulation

The insulation in your home is very important. The purpose of insulation is to keep heat from going in and out of your home. Insulation is an extremely cost effective way to make your home energy efficient and saving  you money on your electric bill and even on your insurance bill.

Insulation Types Pros and Cons

Blanket batts and rolls. Blankets or rolls of insulation can be made of fiberglass, mineral wool, plastic fibers, and natural fibers, like cotton or sheep’s wool. This type of insulation comes with or without facing, but facing made of Kraft paper or foil-Kraft paper is desirable since it acts as a vapor barrier. You can also get batts with flame-resistant facing if the insulation will be left exposed, as in a basement.

Pro

Fiberglass blankets and batts are very easily available and can be installed in ceilings, unfinished floors, attic spaces, and crawl spaces.

Con

Fiberglass blankets and batts have an R-value between R-2.9 and R-3.8 per inch of thickness, so you may need to add 10-12 inches of insulation to achieve the right amount of insulation. If you’re insulating an attic or crawl space that’s already been built, you’ll need plenty of room for installation.

 Concrete blocks.  These are used to build foundations and walls. If the cores don’t need to be filled with steel and concrete to support the structure, they can be filled with insulation to increase the wall’s R-Value.

Pro

 Insulated concrete blocks take advantage of building materials used in creating the foundation to add an extra layer of insulation to the home.

Con

Insulated concrete blocks don’t actually improve insulation that much because heat can still pass through the un-insulated concrete. For maximum insulation, you should still install insulation over the surface of the blocks either on the exterior or interior of the foundation walls. Concrete blocks are better suited to new construction or a major addition.

 Rigid Foam or Foam Board. These rigid panels of insulation can be used on almost any part of the home, from the roof to the foundation.

Pro

 They offer higher R-Values than other insulating materials of the same thickness, and they’re easy to work with.

Con:

 You can’t use rigid foam or foam board to insulate existing walls until you knock the wall down, install the board, and then re-drywall and paint.

 Loose-Fill and Blown-In Insulation.  This type of insulation is made up of small particles of fiber, foam, or other materials. It’s blown into spaces so it can be used for walls, ceilings, attics, and crawl spaces without much disruption.

Pro

It’s environmentally friendly, since it’s made using recycled waste materials. This can could include cellulose made from recycled newsprint; fiberglass, which contains 20% to 30% recycled glass; and mineral wool, which is usually derived from 75% post-industrial recycled content.

Con

 You’ll need to thoroughly air seal and instal soffit venting if needed. If you’re blowing cellulose over existing fiberglass, you may need to cut and refit poorly laid batts and insulate plumbing first. Blown-in insulation can succumb to mold and rot if it comes in contact with a lot of moisture over an extended period of —which is why it’s important to ensure the area is sealed before blowing. And unlike fiberglass batts—which you can install yourself with proper precautions, cellulose must be blow in by a professional.

Sprayed-Foam and Foamed-in-Place Insulation.  Liquid foam insulation is sprayed where it is needed, then hardens into an effective insulation material. It can be blown into walls, onto attic surfaces, below a roof, or under floors.

Pro

Sprayed foam insulation can be twice as insulating as batt insulation. It can fill small cavities to reduce more air leakage. Homeowners can spray foam insulation around pipes, wires, and window and door frames to insulate even more.

Con

There are two types of sprayed-foam insulation: open-cell, and closed-cell. Closed-cell is most effective, but it is also more expensive. Open-cell, while cheaper, should not be used below ground level because it could absorb water.

 

 

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