Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right Insulation
We’ve touched on how important insulation is for your attic, roof, and overall feel of your home. If you have an unfinished attic, it is important to check your attic periodically and to take a look at what’s there if you are moving into a new home.
But what if you don’t have an unfinished attic? Or what if you don’t have one at all? Insulation is important for more than just your attic, as well.
No two homes are the same, so there’s not just one way to insulate a home. If you’re in the position of choosing new insulation, you have to consider your climate, how much you want to spend, and research which products perform the best.
How to Choose the Right Insulation
Insulation comes with what’s known as an R-value. That’s the thermal performance rating each type receives. The following are 5 types of insulation you may like to consider.
Fiberglass is probably the most common type of insulation. It’s the batt and blanket insulation you see – the pink stuff. It comes in rolls and fits nicely between standard width joists (in the ceiling) and studs (in the walls).
It is an affordable option. One drawback is that inhaling the fibers can cause lung and respiratory issues, so installers make sure to wear masks and coveralls. Once it’s in your walls or attic, you are out of harm’s way.
Loose fill insulation is a great option for an attic with a lot of small corners to fill. It’s ideal for an area – like an attic – where it can lie undisturbed. This, too, is made of fiberglass or cellulose. It gets blown in using a special machine – so you have to call a company who specializes in this.
It’s may also be green – up to 90% recycled material. However, inhaling the fibers is dangerous as well. In addition, if its cellulose based , it can be a great place for mold to grow if it gets wet.
Mineral wool is a type of batt and blanket insulation. This is also “more green” as it is up to 90% recycled material – and holds its shape better than fiberglass. It’s made of rock or slag wool. Inhaling it can be dangerous and it can also foster mold if it gets wet.
Foam board insulation consists of panels which slow down the heat transfer through your structure. It’s made of polystyrene, polyisocyanurate or polyurethane. It can be cut to size and wedged or glued to surfaces. It’s more expensive than batt and blanket insulation and more difficult to fit around obstacles.
Spray foam insulation is the modern gold standard of versatility. It has a very high R-value and has the ability to be applied to tight spaces. It dries hard, making a perfect air barrier. It’s not a DIY option, so you need professional installation. However, it makes for an overall better barrier, cutting down on the need for caulking. This is a great product for finishing an attic space, as it can be applied directly to the underside of your roof decking.
If you are having an addition or a new house built, or if you are just replacing the insulation in your attic, there’s nothing you can do that will get you a better return on investment. It will show up in energy savings and also adds to the resale value of your home.
Ask your roofing contractor about insulation options and research the best option for your needs before you dive in. If you’re in the Southeast Michigan area, please give us a call. We would be honored to help.