Home insulation is very important, especially when it comes to maintaining indoor temperatures and a healthy home. There are a few different types of insulation on the market, each with its own pros and cons. There are some that work for specific styles of home and there are others that work for all home types. Here are some common insulation types and their respective pros and cons.
Sprayed Foam Insulation
This type of insulation is used to seal leaks and gaps in a wall cavity. It comes in two forms, closed cell, and open cell foam. Closed cell foam insulation has an R-value of 6.0 – 6.5 per inch, the highest of any insulation. It is great for stopping moisture and air movement and works best for walls, floors, and ceilings. The downside is that it is expensive. This is definitely not a DIY project. If you’re interested in closed-cell insulation, you’re going to need a professional.
Open-cell spray foam also stops air movement but has a low R-value of 3.5 to 3.6 per inch. Despite being good for blocking air, it does nothing for moisture and water vapor.
Fiberglass Blanket Insulation
Fiberglass blankets have an R-value of 3.0 to 4.0 per inch. That’s about an R-13 for a 2 by 4 framed wall. They are designed to fit between wall studs and are easy to install. They work best for floors, walls, and ceilings. However, because they compress easily to fit into tight spaces, they lose their insulating advantage. Fiberglass blanket insulation is also bound with phenol formaldehyde which has been linked to cancer. This part is being phased out, but if you choose to go with fiberglass blanket, be sure to read the warning labels for installation. A professional can install this, but if you want to save money it can also be a DIY project.
Loose-fill insulation comes in two forms, fiberglass, and cellulose. Fiber glass fill has an R-value of 2.2 to 2.7 value per inch. It is light weight and works best installed in ceilings. It can be a DIY job if you know what you’re doing but it is recommended to use a professional.
The loose filling is fluffy and loses effectiveness in cold temperatures. For best efficiency in cold temperatures, it has to be topped with a blanket insulation.
Loose-fill cellulose, on the other hand, is effective and efficient for all temperatures. Unlike loose-fill fiberglass, it works best in cold temperatures. It has an R-value of 3.2 to 3.8 per inch. It works best for ceilings, hard to reach places and attic floors. However, over time, it loses about 20% of its effectiveness after it settles.
There are many more types of insulation on the market but these are just a few of the most popular ones. What kind of insulation do you have in your home? Is it working as well as it should? You can find out for sure with a home energy inspection. Sign up today!