Insulation is an often overlooked component of your house.
While most of us take it for granted, the truth is that insulation makes a huge difference to our comfort and energy bills.
Having a well-insulated house keeps you from getting cold in the winter. If you’ve ever been in an older house when it’s chilly outside, you understand how unpleasant it can be when a house lacks insulation.
Additionally, having a well-insulated house helps you keep your bills lower. When your house is poorly insulated, it lets all of the hot or cold air from your heater or air conditioning out.
The result is that you wind up burning more energy to keep your house warm in the winter or cool in the summer.
Not only is this bad for your wallet, but it’s also bad for the environment. That energy waste can be a significant contributor to your household’s carbon footprint.
All of this should make it apparent that having a properly insulated house is crucial.
But how do you choose the right kind of insulation? What are your options?
This article will explore the different types of insulation so you can make the best decision for your home.
The first kind of insulation we’ll look at is fiberglass.
As the name implies, fiberglass is made of a special kind of glass. It’s made of fine fibers that, when compacted, slow the transfer of heat through the air.
Fiberglass insulation comes in loose fill, batts, and rolls.
Loose fill is a type of insulation that is pumped directly into your walls. What’s nice about loose fill is that it can easily conform to most spaces.
The downside of loose fill is that it can be a bit more difficult to compact, making it slightly less effective in some scenarios.
Batts are premade insulation blankets. Batts are conveniently made to fit directly into the space between your wall frames, making them easy to install.
Additionally, batts have the advantage of being prepared specifically for these spaces, making it easier to gauge the amount of insulation they’ll provide. This means you’ll know ahead of time how warm they’ll keep your house, letting you plan your energy consumption and budget.
Finally, we come to rolls. Rolls are similar to batts in that they can be purchased pre-cut to fit between your wall studs.
That said, rolls aren’t always pre-cut. You can also purchase rolls in larger, uncut sizes. This makes rolls a great choice for unfinished floors and ceilings as well as for walls.
As far as fiberglass itself, the material has a few unique advantages.
One of the most obvious is that fiberglass is a great insulator. The material does a fantastic job of slowing heat dissipation, making it a natural choice for insulation.
On top of that, fiberglass is usually quite cheap, at least compared to other insulation options. This makes it a great choice for those looking to build or renovate a home on a budget.
That said, one of the downsides of fiberglass is that it is a skin and lung irritant. While this doesn’t matter much once it’s sealed up in the wall, it can be annoying to deal with when you’re installing it.
Fiberglass also tends to have a lower R rating than other materials. The R rating is a measure of insulation’s effectiveness.
Since fiberglass has a lower R rating compared to foam, this means you may wind up paying more for your electric bill down the road.
Still, for milder climates, fiberglass can be a fantastic insulation choice.
The next kind of insulation we’ll look at is preformed foam boards.
The foam used to create these foam boards is typically made of polyurethane or polystyrene. These materials are extremely effective at slowing heat transfer, making them powerful insulators.
When used in foam boards, the foam is sprayed into a ready-to-install panel that you can place between your wall studs.
Foam boards can also be purchased uncut. These larger, uncut boards are great for insulating large, flat areas like unfinished ceilings or floors.
The R value of foam boards will almost always be higher than similar fiberglass insulation, making them a good choice for those who live in harsher climates.
Finally, we have spray foam.
Like foam boards, spray foam is typically made from polyurethane or polystyrene. The main difference between spray foam and foam boards lies in how it is applied.
Where foam boards are already sprayed and molded when you purchase them, spray foam is not. Instead, spray foam comes in a canister that allows you to spray it directly into the areas you need to apply insulation to.
This gives spray foam a few unique advantages.
For starters, spray foam can easily accommodate any space in your house. Odd-shaped spaces that would be quite difficult to cut out of a board or roll can instead be sprayed to produce a -fitted insulation.
Additionally, this precise fit gives spray foam a higher R rating. Spray foam tends to be the most powerful insulation of the three, meaning it will help keep your house warm while keeping your energy bill down.
But spray foam does have its downsides.
Spray foam tends to be the most expensive option, making it a bit harder on the budget renovation project.
Spray foam is also more difficult to install. Typically, you’ll want to hire an expert to apply the foam rather than attempt to do so yourself.
If you work from home or spend a good deal of time heating or cooling your house, good insulation can have a huge impact on your energy bill and environmental footprint.
The three most common types of insulation are fiberglass, foam boards, and spray foam. Each has its unique strengths and weaknesses, but using the information above, you can pick the perfect insulation for your house.