Do you know if the insulation in your home is the correct R-value? Are you using the correct type for the right rooms? It is important to ensure that you are using the correct insulation in your home.
If you have recently used drywall in your garage or you are finishing your basement, it becomes important to not only know the type of insulation that is required to fill this space, but also the thermal resistance that is needed. This is determined by the R-value of the insulation.
Here is more information on the right insulation type that you should be using, what R-value means, and how much it costs.
Pink fiberglass is one of the most common insulation types. It comes in rolls or soft batts that vary in thickness and lengths. This insulation is installed between the studs in ceilings or unfinished walls. It is the most affordable insulation type, available at around 30-cents per square foot.
Fiberglass is moisture and fire-resistant, but care needs to be taken before handling this product since it sheds very small fibers that will irritate your eyes or your skin.
Foam boards are another popular home insulation option. These rigid boards come in polyurethane, polyisocyanurate, and polystyrene. These boards also go by the name of SIPs (structural insulated panels) that provide high insulation-value at a minimal thickness. However, they should have a fire-resistant coating or gypsum covering to match up to safety standards.
Spray foam is another product that has gained popularity for newly built homes when it comes to filling in spaces that are hard-to-reach and for its exceptional insulating value. This is a plastic product sprayed into ceiling cavities and walls, where the product expands. Once sprayed the foam can be cut to ensure smooth surfaces. This product also forms an excellent air barrier.
Open-cell spray foam will not stop moisture or water vapor but it only costs $1 and $1.50 per-square-foot. Closed-cell foam stops moisture, at a cost of around $2 to $3 per-square-foot. You can use spray foam to insulate smaller spaces like around windows or doors with a foam-in-a-can product. For larger jobs, you will require an experienced professional.
How Do You Know If Your Home Has The Right R-Value?
R-value is the measurement of the ability of a material to resist the transfer of heat. Before 1945, this was known as the “U-factor”, with the low values translating into a lower heat-transfer rate. Consumers (used to seeing a higher value as preferable) did not react well to the low U-factors, which is why the term R-value (the reverse of U-factor) was born. Insulation with a higher R-value means that the transfer of heat is slower. In your home, this will mean that warm or hot air inside the home will take longer to escape through your ceilings or walls, which assists with maintaining a more consistent temperature.
The Energy Star government website states that where you reside in the U.S, will determine the lowest R-value that you will need. While it is possible to use multiple layers of fiberglass, other options like spray foam or polystyrene might provide you with more value for your money, since fiberglass that is improperly installed (like batts that are stuffed or shoved into a small space), can end up lowering your R-value by as much as 50%.
Certain rooms in homes, which include garages won’t need a high R-value. Between R10 and R20 is usually more than enough to maintain heat in your garage and stop your home from losing heat. Any higher values might not be the most cost-effective option.
The Benefits Of Hiring A Professional To Install Your Insulation
Spaces that are simple like a basement or well-framed garage are ideal for DIY homeowners that don’t mind working with structural panels, rock wool, or fiberglass.
However, for a complete insulation replacement, or working in an attic, or you would like to achieve the maximum benefits of closed-cell spray foam, it is best to hire a professional for these jobs. Look for the companies that mainly provide insulation services and ask about the suggested R-value. Knowing about the available types and what you can expect to pay is a great way to get started. You can also avoid overpaying for a product you actually don’t need or want.