Choosing the Right Type of Home Insulation
When building or rehabbing a home, choosing what goes inside your walls is a detail many people don’t stop to think about. Whether you live in a hot, humid climate or a winter wonderland, the type of insulation you use can ensure a comfortable environment inside your home. Here are a few options to consider, including some of their lesser-known benefits.
Spray Foam Insulation
There are two types of spray foam: open cell, which is spongy, and closed cell, which is rigid. To apply spray foam, professional installers spray liquid polyurethane into the walls of your home, where it expands and hardens quickly, sealing even the tiniest nooks and crannies.
Using spray foam insulation Maryland is a great choice to keep your home a consistent, desired temperature. Closed-cell foam has one of the highest R-values, a rating scale used to measure the rate of heat transfer through an insulator, ranging between R-6.2 up to R-7.0. This makes it one of the most effective insulators.
Open-cell foam has a lower R-value but is more effective at controlling noise. If you live in a townhouse or condo — and don’t want to spend all day listening to your next-door neighbors — this is great option.
Another little-considered benefit of spray foam is its ability to keep rodents, bugs and even allergens outside where they belong. Even the smallest critter will have a tough time finding a way into your walls.
Blanket insulation, the most common option, comes in batts or large rolls. It is most often made of fiberglass but can also be constructed from plastic or natural fibers such as cotton. These large pieces of material need to be cut down to fit between wall rafters, so they will not be as effective as spray foam in ensuring every little space is fully insulated. Blanket insulation is, however, a cost-effective and easy DIY option.
Fiberglass blanket insulation is also often used in large commercial buildings and warehouses to minimize noise. It is one of the best sound-dampening materials.
Blow-in insulation is applied using a special machine that blows material, typically fiberglass or cellulose, into the walls of your home. It has an R-value ranging from R-2.2 for fiberglass up to R-3.8 for cellulose. Although it can be effective in sneaking into small areas, it doesn’t expand the way spray foam does to fill every little gap.
Reflective Barrier Insulation
Reflective barrier insulation does not work the same way as other insulation types. Instead of resisting conductive heat, it is designed to reflect radiant heat. Made of a reflective material such as aluminum foil, it is most often used in the attic of houses in warm and sunny climates. Because reflective barrier insulation doesn’t actually absorb heat, it does not have an R-value.
Although insulation is most known for controlling the temperature inside your home, don’t forget to consider some of the unique benefits offered by different options.