What Insulation Should I Use?
If you’ve ever climbed into your attic or tore out the drywall of an exterior wall, you’ve most likely seen this wonderful invention. Fluffy and pink, most insulation today is made with fiberglass; just be sure to resist all temptation to touch it bare-handed. Other common materials used include cellulose or foam.
It can be compared to lineman in a game of football or the A/C; it’s only noticed when it’s not properly working. The goal of our blog is to arm you with correct and sufficient knowledge so the next time you decide to insulate your home, you do it properly. Available in many different shapes, forms, sizes, and textures, knowing the proper insulation for your project is crucial.
There has always been a demand for keeping your home cozy; older methods included horsehair, newspaper, hay, or anything that might fill the cavity between your walls. Ancient efforts to keep homes warm included materials such as mud, tapestries, asbestos (whoops), and cork.
Its main purpose is to keep the desired temperature of your home; this means it will help you keep a warmer temperature in the winter and a cooler temperature in the summer, even though mother nature is working hard to do the opposite. The goal is to reduce heating efforts, energy bills, and air infiltration; we want to limit heat flow and the reduce the amount of time your heating and cooling system works.
Thermal insulation drastically helps your home in terms of energy efficiency, lowering your electric bills. This means it WILL eventually pay itself back, making it a wise investment. More than just for temperature control, insulation acts as a fire retardant, reduces noise pollution, and often comes with a paper backing, acting as a vapor barrier and helping to control the flow of air.
Before we continue with the blog, we would like to stress the importance using PPE. Insulation is a wonderful invention in terms of home building, but that does not mean it’s completely safe for humans. Total Restore recommends everyone use a minimum of safety glasses, gloves, long sleeves/pants, and a respirator to avoid breathing airborne fiberglass particles. Additionally, we recommend washing your hands after handling fiberglass insulation, especially before touching your eyes/skin.
It’s not uncommon for you to have never seen blown-in insulation; it’s commonly found in attics (where it works best). It is placed in a large machine which feeds the insulation through a long tube, eventually blowing it out wherever the user desires. The reason it is commonly used in attics because its best when blown in odd shapes, places, and cavities.
With or without facing, this type of insulator comes in fluffy sheets of rolled up fiberglass; it must be measured and cut to fit flat surfaces, making it best for long, unobstructed spaces. Since it doesn’t come in predetermined lengths, rolls are also great when trying to fill in missing spaces. It’s main application is between living spaces and unconditioned areas.
Fiberglass batt insulation and roll insulation are basically the same exact thing but with one little difference. With or without facing, batt insulation comes in pre-determined, pre-cut lengths. This little difference is the reason why you’ll most likely find it between walls in your living spaces (most ceilings across the U.S. are at a standard height, and most drywall framers place their studs 16 inches apart). The main application occurs between living spaces and unconditioned areas.
Spray Foam Insulation
Unanimously voted by all Total Restore associates as the most fun and aesthetically pleasing job duty, insulating foam typically comes in a pressurized container. For best results, use it together with batt or roll insulation to ensure a tighter, fuller seal. Once applied, spray foam expands as it cures and hardens; it’s engineered this way so it can access places where traditional insulation might have a hard time reaching. You can find spray foam kits at your local hardware store.
Designed for moisture control, foam board insulation comes in pre-determined sheets of expanded or extruded polystyrene. You’ll typically find foam boards in basements and crawlspaces since these places typically suffer damage from moisture. Acting as a partial vapor barrier, rigid foam boards can be combined with spray foam for better results.
Insulation doesn’t exist for just your walls, basements, attics, and crawl spaces. Other items like hot water pipes, water heaters, and ducts use insulation for energy efficiency.
The short answer to the title of this blog; yes, you need insulation. Like we said, there has always been a demand for keeping your home at a desired temperature; traditional methods/materials offer a MUCH higher R value (resistance value, used as measurement of an insulating materials’ ability to resist heat flow; the higher the better).
Our team of expert insulation installers at Total Restore Inc. can help fill all of your needs! Visit the Total Restore contact page or give us a call to schedule your assessment!
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