The insulation in your home is the first line of defense against cold winters and hot summers. Damages caused by inappropriate insulation can cost you a considerable amount of money.
It’s said that home insulation isn’t a one size fits all solution. Depending on your goals and the type of house you live in, many combinations of insulation materials can work together to improve comfort and reduce energy bills.
When choosing the right insulation for your project, it’s recommended that you know what you’re looking for. This guide might help you understand what each option does, the different prices, and the corresponding installation guides.
Concrete Block Insulation
Concrete block is a popular choice for insulating crawl spaces, basements, and exterior walls.
How it works
The spacing in the blocks allows air to circulate, but it still provides a high-mass solution that acts as an excellent heat sink to help slow down transfer between inside and outside air during the summer season. It means you can keep your house cooler and reduce the need for air conditioners and heating units.
A concrete block should be installed with a layer of vapor barrier liner, such as polyethylene, to prevent moisture leaks in your walls or crawl space.
The installation process can be tricky, and you might need to call in a professional team like the ones at Raycore.com. You can also check out other options like them available to you.
Fiberglass Insulation Pipes
Fiberglass insulation comes in the form of pipes that are made from recycled glass and cotton strands.
How it works
This insulation option is popular among homeowners looking to improve their existing homes’ energy efficiency. Fiberglass insulation pipes provide an excellent level of insulation that helps lower your home’s operating costs by reducing heat loss in cold seasons and preventing excessive heat gain during the hot months of the year.
Insulation pipes are non-combustible and can be installed in walls, ceilings, or floors to resist fire and leak damage. The process of installation is comparable to how you would install fiberglass in your home’s windows.
Fiberglass has many advantages: it’s inexpensive, lightweight, and comes in various colors that you can choose from to fit your home’s interior. However, if not installed correctly or with proper ventilation, fiberglass insulation runs the risk of moisture and leak detection causing mold growth.
Foam Board Insulation
Foam board insulation can be an excellent way to insulate existing walls from drafts without tearing down current wall coverings. The boards can also be used as vapor barriers for attics and crawl spaces. They’re also a good solution for insulating lower floors in basements or around your home’s foundation.
How it works
The foam boards are made from expanded polystyrene (EPS), a rigid white foam with excellent thermal properties. EPS insulation also offers good sound absorption qualities, so if you’re concerned about how your home sounds when it’s quiet, this might be the option for you.
It’s important to note that the use of foam board insulation can result in a loss of structural support, so it’s important to use the boards properly. The foam board should be sandwiched between two layers of sheathing before being installed as paneling on walls or ceilings.
Wood Fiber Insulation
Wood fiber insulation consists of recycled wood and cotton fibers pressed together to create a soft, pliable material like fiberglass. It’s best used as an affordable solution for insulating low-rise buildings such as detached garages or sheds.
How it works
Wood fiber insulation is also considered nonhazardous because it breaks down at the end of its service life, produces less volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than other types of insulation, and contains no formaldehyde or asbestos. Even so, wood fiber insulation isn’t as efficient against fire and heat loss as other choices on this list. It also attracts moisture.
Wood fiber insulation is applied similarly to blown-in cellulose and some types of fiberglass insulation. It can be installed as part of a spray foam insulation project too.
Cellulose insulation comes from recycled paper and is compressed into hard blocks. It’s an excellent environmentally-friendly option because it breaks down at the end of its service life without producing harmful chemicals or byproducts. It’s one of the myriads of options for those looking for insulation material alternatives.
How it works
When installed, the insulation expands and coats all surfaces it is in contact with, including wood studs. It helps to increase energy efficiency by preventing heat transfer through conduction and convection.
Cellulose insulation is also resistant to pests, mold, mildew, and rot. It has comparable insulating properties as fiberglass for only half the cost.
During finishing, cellulose insulation should be applied in a continuous single layer with all joints tightly packed with fiberglass batt or wool blanket insulation. It makes it an excellent option for attics and crawlspaces.
Cellulose insulation may not be the best option for exterior walls depending on your climate and the amount of moisture in your area. It can also be damaged by pests such as rodents or termites, which is why it’s essential to choose an experienced professional when installing this type of insulation.
Reflective insulation is often used as a radiant barrier under the roof of homes with unvented attics. It’s made from thin aluminum foil bonded to low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and is an inexpensive alternative to traditional reflective insulation materials.
How it works
Reflective insulation works by reflecting the sun’s radiant energy instead of allowing it inside your home. It works best in houses with unvented attics. It’s also fire-resistant, completely safe for use in homes, and doesn’t produce hazardous fumes or byproducts when it breaks down at the end of its service life.
Reflective insulation is installed under the existing roofing material in attics, rafters, and walls. It can be used with traditional reflective insulation materials to create an inexpensive radiant barrier for your home.
Reflective insulation may trap moisture which could lead to some moisture-related problems, including mold growth and wood rot – so it’s vital to check for signs of moisture before installing this type of insulation underneath your roof.
In all cases, it’s important to verify the R-value of any insulation material before you buy it and install it in your home. It doesn’t matter if you’re installing regular fiberglass insulation or blown-in cellulose or foam insulation – always choose a product with an R-value that matches the needs of your specific project.
And finally, if you’re new to the DIY home improvement industry, then it’s a good idea to hire a licensed professional contractor with experience in installing and finishing insulation projects. The last thing you want is to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on your insulation project only to find out later that it wasn’t done properly.
Author Bio: Helen Rienhardt is a professional carpenter for decades now. They run a small construction company in a little quaint town in the American Midwest. Having recently discovered the wonders of the Internet, they ought to share their passion for home construction and improvement via the informative blogs they post online.