Insulation is done in order to improve the energy efficiency of one’s home. Home insulation makes use of various materials, depending on which part of the house it will be installed.
When insulating your home, the first thing you should do is to identify the following:
- Where you want to set up insulation. There are five areas of the house where you can insulate: attic, walls, floors, basement, and crawlspace.
- The R-values for the areas you want to insulate. R-value refers to the maximum thermal performance of insulation. This specifies your insulation’s heat flow resistance.
- The type of insulation to be used.
You can begin insulating your home by sealing the openings such as windows, doors, vents, and ducts. Several homes do not have a proper seal. A typical home has leaks and sealing those will prevent the heated or cooled air from being wasted.
TYPES OF INSULATION
Insulation is made from materials such as rolls and batts, loose-fill, rigid foam, and foam-in-place.
ROLLS AND BATTS
Rolls and batts, or blankets, are made from fiberglass, natural and plastic fibers, and mineral (rock or slag) wool. These can be installed in floors, ceilings, and unfinished walls which include foundation walls. This type of insulation is the easiest and is suitable for do-it-yourself home insulation projects. Rolls and batts are appropriate for standard stud and joist spacing that’s free from obstructions.
- Fiberglass blankets
R-value: 3.0 – 4.0 per inch
- Rockwool blankets
R-value: 4 – 5 per inch
- Cotton batts
R-value: 3.5 – 4 per inch
Loose-fill insulation is typically made of cellulose, fiberglass, and rock or slag wool. It is applicable in enclosed walls or open wall cavities and uncompleted attic floors. It is blown, sometimes poured, into place with the use of a special equipment. This is ideal for insulating an existing or finished areas, around obstructions, and irregularly shaped areas.
FOAM BOARD OR RIGID FOAM INSULATION
Foam boards are used to insulate any parts of the house. This type of insulation is more expensive compared to rolls and batts but is more efficient in thermal resistance and in reducing heat conduction. The most common materials used in making foam boards are polystyrene, polyisocyanurate, and polyurethane. Rigid foam insulation R-values range from 4 to 6.5 per inch — about 2 times greater than other materials of the same thickness.
There are three ways in which foam-in-place insulation can be installed: blown into walls, on attic surfaces, or under floors. To reduce the air leakage in windows, doors and other holes and cracks inside your house, you can use the small pressurized cans of foam-in-place insulation.
Foam-in-place insulation comes in two types— closed-cell and open-cell. Both of these are usually made with polyurethane. With closed-cell foam, the high-density cells are closed and occupied with a gas that supports foam expansion to fill the spaces around it. This is the most effective as it has an R-value of about R-6.2 per inch of thickness. While open-cell foam cells are lighter and are filled with air. Open-cell foam R- value is just 3.7 per inch. Open-cell foam insulation is less expensive compared to the closed cell type.
The insulation type you choose will depend on your budget and how you will use it. Consult a skilled insulation installer to pick the right insulation type that’s best for you.
HOME INSULATION TIPS
Here are some helpful tips that you might want to consider before and during the installment your home insulation:
- Upon choosing the insulation type for your home, take into consideration the following: climate, home structure, and budget.
- When insulating exterior walls, make sure to use higher R-value insulation like spray foam to get more insulation with less thickness.
- Set up wind baffles as wind barriers in the entire attic eave to ensure proper airflow. There is no need for you to ventilate your attic if you have insulation underneath the roof. Better yet, ask an experienced contractor for references.
- Be cautious of the insulation placement. If you install it next to a recessed light fixture, you need to ensure the distance in order to avoid a fire hazard.
- Follow the manufacturer’s installation guidelines and wear protective paraphernalia when installing insulation.