Cool Your House (and Costs) With the Ideal Insulation

Due to rising energy costs, insulation has become a crucial part of all new building and remodeling jobs. In the past, insulation could be badly installed, incomplete or lost entirely — none of which is a choice these days. Reasonable utility bills depend on sufficient and well-installed insulation. New criteria can make homes so well insulated that many do not even require a heat source.

Insulation has one of the quickest payback times of all investments in your house; if you can afford the upfront costs, it always makes sense to add more insulation. Read on to learn a little about a few of the kinds of insulation used now.

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Insulating a house isn’t a DIY job unless you have done your research and are certain that you understand what you’re doing. One glance at this spray equipment should be sufficient to give you pause, but even something like a fiberglass batt may cause major health problems if installed incorrectly. Consider this article that an introduction into the subject — not the last word.

Like all building products, there are regional differences in insulation practices. But in regards to code requirements, vapor barriers and local practices, insulation is one place where the house’s location actually matters.

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Spray Foam Insulation

Even if you don’t have a truck filled with spray foam equipment, you will probably use spray foam someplace on your job. Many homeowners are familiar with the only use cans of spray foam available at home centers. The most common types tend to be the kind that expands a lot along with the formulas that expand less for around windows and doors (too much growth may bow the jambs so windows do not open and doors do not close).

The spray foam insulation used in this photo is a fire-blocking foam. The orange shade helps building inspectors understand what was utilized. Spray foam is the only insulation that blocks air flow; other forms provide R-value (a rating of the power of the insulation that measures thermal resistance) but do not block air flow. Unless you’re having foam everywhere, you need to caulk, tape and foam all gaps and penetrations on your house where air could get through. If you’re likely to use more than just three or four cans of polyurethane to the job, invest in a foam gun. You’ll have the ability to restrain the foam with ease and you won’t have to utilize all the foam in the can in one sitting.

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There are two main forms of spray foam used in residential building: closed cell and open cell. This is an area where your architect and insulation contractor should weigh in. Factors like climate, room for memory and cost will get involved.

Closed cell foam includes a greater R-value per inch. A fiberglass batt will give you an R-value from the teens to get a 2-by-4 wall, closed cell memory can give you an R-value from the 20s — possibly two times as much. This comes at a cost however: Anticipate spray foam to be just two to three times as expensive as batt insulation.

When you have space on your roof rafters or 2-by-6 walls, then a method called flash and batt may be a cost-effective way to get the air sealing and R-value advantages but avoid paying for 4 or more inches of spray foam. This technique employs 1 to 2 inches of spray foam , then batts afterward.

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Batt Insulation

Fiberglass batts are the most typical kind of insulation because of this; they’re the cheapest. If you have ever walked through the insulation aisle in a house center, you have smelled the odor of formaldehyde, a common ingredient in fiberglass batts that off-gases into the house for decades after the job is finished. Look for batts that do not contain formaldehyde. Johns-Manville and other manufacturers create these at marginal or no extra cost.

UltraTouch Denim Insulation

Other kinds of batts include those produced of recycled denim jeans (pictured here) and Roxul batts made from rock wool, a byproduct of volcanic activity. Do not worry, rock wool isn’t heavy or rough like rock. It is more dense than fiberglass and is often utilized in scenarios where soundproofing is demanded. All insulation will add some amount of sound loss.

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Additional kinds of Insulation

Rigid foam boards are another way to get the R-value of foam at a more user-friendly shape. These boards are good for applications like insulating material under concrete slabs or on the outside of a base, like in the job pictured here. The boards are easy to score using a razor blade to snap, and several include tongues and grooves to partner boards together.

Rigid foam may also be used on the outside of a building to decrease the impact of thermal bridging. Thermal bridging occurs when heat moves through the timber studs in the wall, because most insulation is installed between the framing.

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Blown-in insulation is a good choice for attics. Fiberglass comes at a loose shape and may be blown in, but cellulose is the most eco friendly choice for blown-in insulation. Cellulose is made of recycled newsprint and handled using an additive to make it flame resistant. Ensure recessed lighting are rated to touch the insulation and no knob and tube wiring is present.

Ecofriendly Cool — Insulated with Wool, Cork, Old Denim and MoreMore manuals to remodeling

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