There are several types of insulation available, including batt or roll, blown-in and spray. Before purchasing any kind of material, you’ll need to determine not only how much insulation is needed to fill the space but also how much thermal resistance is ideal, determined by the insulation’s “R-Value.” Ensuring appropriate R-values is key to increasing energy efficiency, saving money, and reducing outside noise.
To help you choose the best insulation for your home, we have broken this guide down into two parts: Insulation types and determining R-value.
Types of Insulation
Fiberglass Batts and Rolls. This is the most common type of insulation. It comes in convenient batts or rolls for easy transport. It is most suitable for walls, floors, and ceilings. R-values are generally 3.0-4.0 per inch. Foil-backed versions are appropriate for insulating garage doors. Advantages include do-it-yourself projects (protective clothing required) and reasonable costs. It can also be cut to fit tight spaces.
Loose-Fill Cellulose. Composed of recycled paper products, cellulose insulation is environmentally friendly and blown into place using specialized equipment, which is operated by professional installers. Best uses include existing or new wall cavities, unfinished attic floors, and other hard-to-reach areas of your home. Cellulose provides highly efficient R-values.
Rigid Boards. Rigid insulation panels can be used to insulate every part of your home. They are very effective in crawlspaces and attic spaces. Rigid boards provide good thermal resistance and reduce heat conduction through structural elements. The most common materials used in the construction of this insulation is polystyrene, polyisocyanurate, and polyurethane.
Spray Foam. Spray polyurethane foam (SPF), available in either open-cell or closed-cell, provides stellar thermal performance. Once applied, it expands to fill hidden gaps, cracks, and holes. The result is reduced air and moisture infiltration. SPF can be professionally applied to attics, roofing, and interior wall cavities. It is also good for adding insulation to irregularly shaped areas in attics or basements.
According to the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, your region’s climate and home type determine R-value. For example, Washington is classified as Zone Four, necessitating your need for R38 to R60 in the attic and R25 to R30 in the floor. These are the most cost-effective values. Installation of R5 insulative wall sheathing is also recommended. Consider this project should you decide to replace your home’s siding.
Insulation’s performance is very dependent on proper installation. The recommended strategy is to hire an insulation contractor. Carrig and Dancer has been providing insulation services to Washington residents and businesses since 1982. Our insulation services include new construction, retrofits, and upgrades. We also provide sound control and new window installation services. Contact us at (253) 584-7704 to learn more.