Insulation is key to helping reduce a homeowner’s heating and cooling costs. A home with proper insulation will effectively distribute heat throughout the winter and block the cold air from entering the home. Conversely, during the summer months, insulation can help maintain a comfortable, cool environment. R-value, a metric of thermal resistance, measures insulation’s effectiveness; theoretically, the higher the R-value, the more effective a building’s insulation is said to be.
There are multiple types of insulation to be utilized, with various levels of cost and effectiveness. Read on to learn about all the options on the table for your home.
Blanket Insulation: One of the easiest and most convenient types of insulation, blanket insulation is offered in large rolls that are easily cut to size, depending on the area you’re insulating. This type of insulation is comprised of fiberglass and mineral wool, as well as plastic and natural fibers. Typically, blanket insulation is used in unfinished walls, flooring, or ceilings and also fitted between studs, joists, and beams. The process of installing blanket insulation can be handled by a homeowner and is a relatively inexpensive project. R-value for blanket insulation is between 3 and 4 per square inch – providing a good degree of insulation considering the low cost - but it is easily compressed, causing it to lose its insulation properties and effectiveness.
Spray Foam: Spray foam insulation has a higher cost than blanket insulation, but provides better coverage. This mix is used to insulate an existing enclosed wall, new walls, or unfinished attic flooring and is applied by spraying the mixture onto the surface. It works best to add an extra layer of insulation to an already finished area, or similar to blown-in insulation, around irregularly shaped areas or obstructions. Spray foam typically provides a home with an R-value of 3 to 6 per inch, depending on the type of foam used. Most often, spray foam does not provide a moisture barrier, so this type of installation typically requires an additional moisture seal.
Concrete Block Insulation: Commonly used in major renovations or new construction projects, these insulated concrete blocks are made of foam board or a mixture of foam beads, air, and concrete to increase R-value and limit air infiltration. This type of insulation is definitely not the right choice for the DIY-type, as it’s less efficient then some of the above options - concrete block insulation typically provides a home with an R-value of 1.9 to 2.5 – and requires a certain set of tools and skills to install, making that process extremely difficult and costly.
Foam Board: Also known as rigid foam, foam board is made of polystyrene, polyisocyanurate, and polyurethane and is commonly used for insulating foundation walls, floors, ceilings and unvented low-sloping roofs. Advantages include a high insulating value with relatively little thickness, however the type of foam used determines the R-value provided. For example, expanded polystyrene foam provides a home with an R-value of 3.6 to 4, whereas a layer of extruded polystyrene foam has an R-value of 4.5 to 5. Foam board insulation provides excellent coverage, but can quickly become damaged by mold and mildew growth.
Blown-in Insulation: Used to fill in an existing enclosed wall or new, open walls, unfinished attic floors, or generally hard to reach places, blown-in insulation is made of cellulose, fiberglass, and mineral wool. Special equipment is required to install this type of insulation, but it works well for a number of applications, including adding insulation to finished or irregularly shapes areas. Blown-in insulation also makes filling in space around obstructions a simpler process. The R-value for this type of insulation depends on the thickness of the material, which is generally measured in inches; for instance, 3-inches of blown-in insulation provides an R-value of 10.8. The glaring drawback is that blown-in insulation can lose its effectiveness in the cold if it is not topped by blanket insulation.
Solar Eclipse: Power Home Remodeling Group offers Solar Eclipse – a product that combines elements of the best methods of insulation currently available on the market. A combination of blown-in insulation and high-density reflective insulation helps recycle warm air throughout your home in the winter and cooler air in the summer. Power’s experts take special care when installing this unique insulation, covering all areas of an attic to ensure a proper seal and minimal energy loss. This method of insulation can save homeowners a great deal on their utility costs, keeping home temperatures comfortable and livable throughout any season.