There is nothing better than insulation to trap heat in your home. Be it cold or warm, insulation will help with slowing down the rate of transfer of heat. It helps to conserve warmth in winter and the cold air during the scorching month of summer.
Now, there are, in general, 5 types of insulation available, and they vary according to location. Hence, you should know which type is perfect for your home. In this article, we will discuss all 5 variations of insulation so that you can choose one for your cozy and cost-efficient home.
R-Value of Insulation Material
All insulation material has something known as R-value, which acts as an indication of its ability to retain heat. As a result, the greater the R-value of insulation material, the higher is its ability to slow down the transfer of heat.
5 different Types of Insulation
In general, there are three types of materials (cellulose, fiberglass, and foam), which are used to make these 5 types of insulation.
1. Rolls and Blanket Batts
This type of insulation is made of cotton, rockwool, and, most typically, fiberglass. Such type of insulation is perfect for DIY jobson any incomplete floor, walls, and ceilings. Be mindful that these materials are itchy and so you need protective wear.
It is inexpensive to install and is convenient to transport as it comes in rolls. If you opt for the rolled version, you need to cut the pieces with a utility knife.
Fiberglass blanket batts are made to fit in between rafters, studs, and joists. It also has a paper or foil-faced variety, which makes it even easier to install. Usual fiberglass blanket batts have an R-value of 2.9 to R-3.8 every inch of thickness.
But if you want one that has better performance, they have an R-value of 3.7 to 4.3 every inch of thickness.
Rockwool batts are less available, but they are more fire-resistant than fiberglass ones. They also have an R-value of 4 to 5 per inch. And they spring back into shape even if pushed. They are easy to install as you do not need to staple it. Another advantage is that they do not itch.
Cotton batts are easy to handle. They are not itchy, has an R-value of 3.5 to 4. Also, it contains fire retardant, but it is not available everywhere and is more expensive than other batts.
2. Loose-Fill or Blown-In Insulation
Loose-fill or blown-in insulation is made out of cellulose materials like recycled newspaper, cardboard, and other materials such as fiberglass, rockwool, etc. The materials are treated to become fire resistant. It is usually blown in the attic walls and floors.
As they are loose, they can be used to fill in every nook and cranny easily. This type of insulation requires professional installers for a job well done, but you can also give it a shot by renting an insulation blower.
The R-value of loose-fill made of fiberglass ranges from R-2.2, and for cellulose, which is denser, the R-value is R-3.8.
3. Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam is perfect for sealing irregular or hard-to-reach nooks and crannies of your home. The insulation is made of liquid polyurethane, which is sprayed on the walls, but it soon hardens and becomes solid. It is effective in blocking air holes and all other gaps.
There are two types of spray foam available. Open-cell polyurethane prevents the free flow of air but cannot stop water vapors from passing through. However, it needs to be installed by a professional. It has an R-value of 3.5-3.6.
And there is also closed-cell polyurethane, which is successful in preventing both moisture and air from passing through. This, too, has to be installed by a professional. It is quite a bit more expensive than open-cell and also has a very high R-value of 6.0-6.6 for every inch.
4. Foam Board and Structural Insulated Panels
Such types of insulation can be used on floors or roofs. As they are made of polyisocyanurate, polyurethane or polystyrene, they do an excellent job of reducing the rate of heat transferred through wood and other materials that are used to make a house.
This type of insulation is very flexible as it can be used on both finished and unfinished walls and floors. It has R-value ranging from R-4 to 6.5, which shows that they are better at insulating a house and minimizing consumption of energy compared to many other types of insulation.
Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are simply insulation foam placed between two oriented strand board (OSB). Sips can be used on walls, crawlspace, floors, crawlspace, etc. Such insulations are typically used in newly constructed places.
The polystyrene version comes in two forms. Expanded ones cost less as it has lesser R-value. And the extruded has a higher R-value (5 per inch) than EPS and is better at preventing moisture from accumulating in the material.
The other type of SIPs available is polyisocyanurate SIPs. This insulation has one of the highest R-value (5.6 to 7.7) and generally comes with a foil exterior in order to prevent moisture from invading the material.
With the high R-value, comes a higher price tag as well. Also, SIPs are not suitable for DIY, so you will need to employ a contractor. But once it is installed, SIPs can save energy from 12-14%.
5. Reflective Insulation
Reflective insulation is different from the other types of insulation, and so it cannot be measured in terms of R-value. This is because the purpose of reflective insulation is to reflect heat away from home instead of minimizing the flow of heat around the house.
Hence such insulations are made of aluminum foil placed on top of polythene bubbles or other materials like kraft paper.
These are usually used in warmer climates and are placed in between joists or rafters or attics. Unlike some other insulation, you should go for having a professional install them instead of doing it yourself.
Types of insulation: Final thoughts
Installing insulation is not only going to keep you warm but if chosen properly, it will also save you money in the long run. While insulation of a lower price may tempt you, remember that insulation with a higher R-value offers better safety features and is more durable.
Choosing the right kind of insulation is very important as it will be extremely difficult, not to mention costly, to redo it again. So whether it’s blanket batts or rolls of fiberglass, spray foam insulation, or SIPs, you now have all the information to make a wise and well-informed decision.