Types of Home Insulation and Their Benefits
Insulation is crucial in many homes because it conserves energy and saves money. Although a majority of modern houses are built to be energy efficient, insulation might still be necessary. You need to find the best way to retain heat when it’s cold and cool air when it’s warm. Without proper insulation, you could spend a good chunk of your monthly budget on energy bills. Over half of your annual utility expenses go to heating and cooling. Insulating the walls and roof reduces heat loss significantly. Additionally, it makes your home energy efficient and comfortable. Which insulation should you get, though?
Different Insulation Options
No one material can be said to be perfect for improving heating and cooling. Therefore, you know what to look for in different insulation alternatives like those available at Materials Market. Learn what makes one choice better than another one. This guide compares the most popular home insulation and highlights each product’s pros and cons.
Spray Foam Installation
Also called expanding foam, spray foam involves applying foam to the intended surfaces with spray holders. The insulation is used on existing walls, new builds and unfinished attics. It’s particularly suitable for ground-level and intermediate floors. The application can also be foamed-in, meaning used in large quantities. Open-cell spray foam is lightweight, with minute spaces that allow moisture to pass through. Closed-cell is dense and provides better insulation than open-cell, which is why it is more expensive.
The material doesn’t require cutting to suit specific surfaces, making the installation process fast and uncomplicated.
Spray foam gets to the holes and gaps, sealing all spaces that could let heat or cool air escape.
You can set up the insulation without joints because the foam is sprayed directly onto the surface.
Spray foam forms an airtight seal that prevents draughts from getting into a room.
The material is costlier than other traditional insulation alternatives, especially closed-cell.
Poor installation causes cracking and shrinking, with the insulation failing to stick to the surface.
If the foam needs to be replaced, removing it or even accessing it is difficult.
Rigid Foam Installation
Boards are some of the most common insulation materials for homeowners. With rigid foam, you buy pre-formed sheets and fit them on the required surfaces. The boards provide excellent thermal efficiency and are suitable for floor insulation because they can withstand pressure. Rigid foam is available in different types.
Polyurethane (PUR) is a closed-cell, rigid sheet with a low density. It has low thermal conductivity due to the air trapped in the closed-cell structure.
Phenolic boards are thinner than PUR sheets and have a higher thermal insulation coefficient (r-value). They are also closed-cell, meaning they don’t absorb moisture. A major disadvantage of phenolic boards is that they are costly.
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) has a low r-value and is the cheapest among the three. However, since it is not closed-cell, moisture penetrates over time.
Another go-to for homeowners searching for cost-effective insulation is fiberglass. Loose-fill and batts are the main types. The insulation works well for ceilings and walls. A big plus side of using fiberglass is that it doesn’t burn, which increases safety in your home.
Fiberglass is highly effective for insulation because it is flexible.
Insects can’t nibble on the material, thus, preventing damage.
This insulation type also prevents surfaces from getting damp.
Fiberglass is dangerous to install and requires protective gear. Alternatively, you can hire professional installers.
The material loses its thermal efficiency over time due to sagging.
You have to include a vapor barrier with fiberglass insulation to prevent moisture from seeping through.
Sheep Wool Insulation
For eco-friendly insulation, sheep wool is a common pick. The material contains 5-20% polyester for strength and flexibility. Since it’s naturally soft, sheep wool allows the formation of air pockets that trap moisture.
You reduce your carbon footprint by using an environmentally-friendly material.
Sheep wool is non-flammable and durable.
The installation is uncomplicated.
Sheep wool has a lower thermal efficiency than other alternatives.
The material is expensive and so is the installation.
The roof and walls are the biggest sources of heat loss, at over 50%. You also have to worry about the windows, door security and draughts. The right insulation can cut back heat loss, hence the need to find the best option for your home. Fiberglass, rigid foam, sheep wool and spray foam are popular, but the market offers a host of others.