The world of insulation has become sophisticated, with many options to consider. From blown-in to the blanket batts and rolls, to mineral wools, to the spray foam insulation, to the foam board and rigid panels, all of these options come in different R-values. Keep in mind, the higher the R-value, the better the thermal resistance.
Blown-in insulation is a type that is best applied while the framing is still exposed. The most common type of blown-in insulation is fiberglass, which is made of glass fibers and is best handled using protective gear as it causes lung cancer and irritability to the skin and eyes.
Blanket Batts and Rolls
Blanket batts and rolls are the most common among the DIYers for their ease of installation. These come in different materials such as fiberglass, mineral wool, rock wool, or cotton. This type of insulation comes in 16″ or 24″ widths that can easily fit between studs of unfinished ceilings, walls, and even floors. They also come in different R-values based on homeowners’ needs.
Rockwool, also known as stone wool, is composed of mineral wool and is made from molten volcanic rocks. This type of insulation is used in external walls as it is vapor permeable. Allowing moisture to pass through helps avoid mold from growing inside the walls. When used within wall cavities, Rockwool also provides the added benefit of acoustic insulation. Meaning the pores within the wool structure absorb the sound and reduce its impact inside the building. Stone wool’s other advantage is that it’s completely non-combustible, which means that it will effectively help contain and prevent a fire from spreading.
Spray foam insulation is a foam that, once it is sprayed, insulates, forms moisture and vapor barrier, seals all gaps, and can create condensation and vapor barriers. This type of insulation is known to be heat resistant, and since it fills all voids, it reduces any air infiltration that can creep in through the cracks.
Foam board or Rigid Panel Insulation comes in 2’x8′ or 4’x8′ panels that can be are cut to fit into unusual spaces. These panels are also water and pest-resistant. They can act as an air barrier when they are sealed at joints with tape and spray foam. They can also be a radiant barrier based on the type you select. This type of insulation is applied to the exterior of the home once the house is sheeted. Rigid panel insulation is an excellent choice of insulation that is easy to handle.
In conclusion, depending on your needs, some of these insulations offer added benefits that may be worth the investment. Make sure to do further research on your chosen form of insulation and determine what kinds of homes it might be best for. If your home doesn’t fit the bill, you might want to move on to another type of insulation. Don’t be afraid to do some DIY, but don’t try your hand at insulation forms you feel uncomfortable doing yourself.