Tag Archives: residential insulation

Foam Insulation Pros And Cons – An Analysis

Before we go into the details about foam insulation pros and cons we have understand there are many types of foam insulation and the advantages and disadvantages of each vary.

The types of foam insulation are spray foam insulation and rigid foam insulation.

Spray Foam Insulation:

Spray foam insulation is mainly used to spray large surfaces with fast-rise foam that expands and fills all the gaps, hole and crevices. It expands and seals off the surface of the wall thus preventing air movement and heat transfer. Another variant of the spray foam insulation is the slow-rise foam that is used to insulate wall cavities, spaces above the roof, attic and other hidden and hard to see/reach places in a building.

Holes are made in the wall and machine is used to pump the spray into the gaps using the hose. The slow-rise foam expands under low-pressure to seal of the wall. Closed cell foam is better than open-cell foam. There are do it yourself (diy) kits to help homeowners do the insulation job themselves

Let’s take a look at spray foam insulation pros and cons:

Spray Foam Insulation Advantages:

  • – Walls don’t need to be dismantled unlike in fiberglass batts. Drilling two small holes at the top and bottom of the wall is enough to spray the foam through.
  • – It stops airflow and cuts of leaks and gaps in the walls.
  • – The foam insulation acts as vapor barrier. It also, reduces moisture build up and prevents growth of mold and meldew
  • – It strengthens the walls and seals of any leaks etc.
  • – Where there is very little gap or space for insulation spray foam insulation works well
  • – Another advantage is acts as sound barrier.
  • – As it expands it fills in between bypasses, joists and rafters which other insulation like loose-fill can’t do.
  • – R-value reduces a little as stability is reached with the environment. Even this reduced R-value is much higher than other traditional insulation materials.
  • – No danger of dry wall being blow-off as the foam expands under low-pressure.

Spray Foam Insulation Disadvantages:

  • – Requires warm tank (65 degree F – 75 degree F) temperature to give maximum yield of insulating material
  • – It needs a drywall protection or a thermal barrier
  • – The cost is high compared to fiberglass batts and cellulose
  • – If it catches fire, it releases toxic fumes, which can be harmful.
  • – Hydrocholorflurocarbons are used as blowing agents, which is harmful to environment.
  • – Protective masks, eyewear and clothing are needed while spraying

Rigid Foam Insulation:

Structural insulation panels or rigid foam insulation is actually a core of insulation material backed by two skins of half inch OSB. The skins can be plywood or metal too depending on its end use. The core insulation is made of either polyurethane, expanded polystyrene or Polyisocyanurate. The thickness of the panel determines the r-value.

Let’s take a look at the rigid foam insulation pros and cons:

Rigid Foam Insulation Advantages:

  • 1. Gives structural strength to the building and is used instead of the standard wooden frames. It’s 3 times stronger than traditional stud frames
  • 2. Prefabricated panels come with required provisions for doors, windows and electricals. So, lot of time is saved in building homes
  • 3. Can be used for building walls, ceilings, floorings.
  • 4. Effectively insulates the home against airflow and heat-transfer.
  • 5. Has the highest energy efficiencies, saves up to 50 percent of energy usage for heating and cooling
  • 6. Is moisture resistant, heat resistant, pest resistant.
  • 7. Acts as a sound barrier.
  • 8. Saves time in construction, money in labor costs and energy savings, labor in reduced time needed to build homes, installation of insulation etc.

Rigid Foam Insulation Disadvantages:

Expensive when compared to other insulating materials like fiberglass batts, cellulose, cotton batts etc.

We have discussed foam insulation pros and cons for rigid foam and spray foam. Depending on our needs we can choose the option that is most advantageous and least harmful for our purpose.

Related Posts


Roof Insulation Batts – Are Batts The Best Option For your Roof Insulation?

Everyone starting out with residential insulation wonders if roof insulation batts are a good option.

Fiberglass and cellulose are available as roof insulation batts. These are pre-cut to different sizes, widths and r-values. Measure your roof size and find out the local building codes about the minimum required insulation and buy the insulating materials that you need. This will allow applying for grants and concessions from the governments.

What Are Roof Insulation Batts?

These insulation materials are also available as blankets, which come as rolls of continuous material. For attics and roofs batts of r-value 30 to 38 are needed. For basements and walls different r-values are needed. Basic minimum values will be mentioned and these are not written in concrete. So, buy what is optimum for your needs while following all the rules.

These batts will lose their effectiveness if they are compressed. Another problem arises when it is cut to allow for appliances and electrical wiring as this allows air a free passage through the cavity. This again negates the whole purpose of having insulation, which is to prevent air transfer.

Having even small gaps will defeat this. Special care is needed in installing fiberglass batts. Installation experts will have the required experience and knowledge on fixing these problems and also get the maximum benefit out of the fiberglass batt insulation.

More on Metal Roof Insulation

Installing Roof Insulation Batts

Fiberglass insulation is available in the form of batts and blankets. You can use a combination of both to insulate your roof. When opening the batts be careful to get the package lengthwise and it will quickly expand to the full volume once the package is fully opened.

The batts can be laid perpendicular to each other in two layers and the blankets can be used to go over the joists and other uneven surfaces, studs and other gaps where the batt can’t go.

Any gaps between the batts can become bypass for air movement. This can also become sites for moisture condensation. Fiberglass does not absorb moisture but moisture reduces the effectiveness of fiberglass insulation and reduces its r-value drastically.

A snug fit is important for the batts to give maximum benefit. If it is not possible use blow in loose-fill into the gaps left between the roof insulation batts. This will reduce air infilteration. Adding a layer of radiant barrier on the exterior will further reduce energy loss.

Pros and Cons of Roof Insulation Batts

Fiberglass batts are not the best option for insulation as other better options are available. An expert can guide you towards the best options in your areas for effective sealing of homes from air transfer and heat transfer. Some are also moisture resistant. They have several advantages over fiberglass as roof insulation batts.

Cellulose and cotton batts are also gaining popularity for roof insulation, which is considered environmentally safe. They have a higher r-value of 3.7. The materials used are recycled clothes, industrial scrap and other naturally available materials. No chemicals or petrochemicals are used in the manufacture of these batts.

So, as a green option this is highly recommended.

A few disadvantages are that they don’t have high efficiencies in terms of insulation like polyurethane foam. Also, moisture if it gets into the batts can play a major spoilsport, as it would be very difficult to dry a cotton batt.

Advantages for cellulose batts are the higher r-value compared to fiberglass batts, the use of recycled materials in manufacturing, the lack of toxic substances, no cancer risk from airborne fibers etc. Disadvantages are that the cotton batts are difficult to cut. Contractors will charge extra to cut these batts and it needs skillful handling to fit the batts into the cavities and spaces.

Related Posts


Insulated Panels – An Energy Efficient Roofing Solution

Rigid Foam panels also known structural insulated panels have gained prominence in the building industry for the many benefits they offer over the ordinary wooden frames traditionally used in construction. The core made of rigid foam insulation is sandwiched between two sheets of oriented strand board (OSB), plywood or metal.

Contractors use OSB backed panels for residential buildings. Every part of the home including the roof, walls and floors can be built with OSB foam panels. Pre-fabricated rigid panels come pre-cut to the required dimensions with necessary openings for doors and windows.

Insulated Foam Panels

Homes constructed with insulated foam panels are extremely energy efficient as the house is completely air sealed. The construction is stronger as these panels are structurally stronger than traditional wooden frames. Also, the ease of setting up cuts down on the construction time drastically.

The pre-fabricated, pre-cut walls come with provision for electrical wiring and fittings. Independent studies say the building time can be reduced by as much as 50 percent as jobs such as assembling of the wooden frames, adding insulation ,backing it with sheathing or drilling for electricals in the wooden structure are eliminated. Building homes with rigid panels saves money, time and also labor.

These rigid foam panels are manufactured in various sizes and thickness. The r-value for is dependent on the thickness of the insulation and also the core insulation material used. The usual r-value range is R-7 to R-8. The core can be polyurethane, expanded polystyrene or Polyisocyanurate. Field tests conducted reveal that these insulated panels homes far outperform homes constructed with other insulating materials in terms of energy efficiency.

Alternative Residential Insulation

Other residential insulating materials like fiberglass batts, cellulose batts, cotton batts have R-values of R-4 to R-5 maximum.

Pour foam insulation, spray foam insulation have better R-values but they suffer from disadvantage as some parts of the house like wooden structure and metal frames are made of conducting materials and conduct heat to and from the house.

Blow-in cellulose, and other insulation material do not completely seal the house and suffer when moisture gets into them.

Why Insulation Panels Are Popular

The reason for the effectiveness of insulation panels is because it uniformly covers all parts of the house – ceilings, walls and floors. There are no structural members like wood or metal to conduct the heat away or into the home. Other insulation materials are usually blown or sprayed around these structures, which are naturally bad insulation materials.

Long-term and even in the short-term the cost savings and other benefits are quite plain to see. First your home benefits greatly from thermal-resistant, pest-resistant and moisture-resistant properties of foam insulated panels for years to come. You will also start saving on your energy bills. Your heating and cooling costs come down by almost 50 percent because of the insulation.

There is lesser building waste to dispose during and after construction. There is no need for any special equipment or DIY kits to set up the rigid panels. You save on labor costs as the time for setting up these pre-fabricated panels is huge almost 50 percent according to some estimates.

Your home appraisals will be higher as benefits of insulation are long term. But the initial cost of the insulated panels is higher than construction with usual frames and materials. But the many benefits they offer offset the higher initial costs of the panels.

Related Posts


Residential Foam Insulation – Which One Is Right For You?

Residential foam insulation is a newer replacement for low-rise homes that used to be insulated in the form of loose-fill materials like cellulose and fiberglass. The use of foam insulation for houses carries many benefits like enhanced effectiveness and lack of moisture build-up within wall spaces. But there are many different options available and choosing the right one for your residential insulation needs is important.

Spray Polyurethane Residential Foam Insulation

Spray foam (SPF) is a more recently popular material used in diy residential foam insulation by contractors who are aware of the significant benefits of this material. SPF comes in open cell and closed cell forms for residential spray foam insulation purposes. Both are chemically identical, but have some different properties that make the choice of one over another individual.

Both forms provide excellent air seals, a point that’s important for residential foam insulation ceiling fillers. As the liquid ‘sets’ it expands filling up any gaps, which makes this an attractive material in the opinion of many residential foam insulation contractors. It beats out older materials like cellulose and loose fill materials, making it the first choice that residential foam insulation homeowners demand from their contractors.

The one drawback, if it may be called that, when using SPF for residential attic insulation is that it is combustible, and needs to be formulated with fire-retardants and additives that minimize the risk of inflammation and smoke. A thermal barrier is necessary while insulation work is going on in residences for this reason.

Residential Foam Insulation Options

When it comes to residential home insulation, the two forms of SPF are not entirely interchangeable. The air leak impact is better with open SPF and it has a lower installed cost too. Residential insulation contractors will also point out the ability of the foam to absorb water from leaks, moisture, and condensation.

Closed cell SPF, like residential styrofoam insulation, is hydrophobic and doesn’t absorb water. It also hardens as it dries, trapping air bubbles within it and being harder to compress. Since it is denser, there is a need for more material in apartment foam insulation, making this a slighly more expensive installed option.

Local foam insulation contractors will usually be willing to offer a free quote and assessment of your home to decide which kind of building insulation material is ideal for your needs. Residential foam insulation is a market that is growing so rapidly that contractors are competing against each other for more clients, and you can get some nice freebies thrown in and negotiate a good price if you shop around before making your choice.

Like with commercial foam insulation, residential building foam insulation also has some problem areas. Roofs are more likely to failure from local foam insulation than walls and other areas. When leaks happen in the roofing, it is hard to recognize them early because the insulation is water-proof. This means water and moisture can seep into walls unseen, and cause more damage than when picked up and repaired early.

Residential foam insulation using polystyrene foam, because of a high R value and the ease of application, water-proofing and adaptability to fit into all crevices and niches, has a higher rating and popularity among home owners who are seeking to insulate their buildings. Making sure you choose the right kind of residential foam insulation will ensure that you enjoy the highest benefit from your home.

Related Posts


Blown In Attic Insulation Or Loose-Fill Insulation – Which Is Better?

Cellulose, cotton, wool, wood shavings, recycled glass and spray foam are used as blown in attic insulation for roofs and lofts. This type of insulation material is useful to fill gaps in walls or wall cavities, attics and other hard to see and reach areas, which need insulation. It’s extremely convenient for this type of insulation as the loose-fill or spray foam can reach every recess, cavity and crevice, fitting in and adapting to the shape of the space that needs to be filled in.

For materials like cellulose the loose fill is usually blow in with some moisture so it can go and stick to the walls. After all the insulating material is sprayed to fill the space it has to be allowed to dry completely. Wet cellulose or similar insulating materials are bad insulators and there is rapid loss of r-value. So, give enough time for it to dry before sealing it off.

What is the procedure for Blown In Attic Insulation?

It’s fairly simple. Two holes are drilled in the wall – one at the top and other at the bottom. if it’s in attic or basement cavity – then two holes for each cavity or section needs to be drilled. Blow in the loose-fill from bottom. Then top-it up by blowing in more material through the top hole. Wait till the insulating material is completely dry. Use hot air if necessary. Then seal off the holes.

Advantages of loose fill insulation

Blown in attic insulation has certain advantages that are environmentally friendly – most of these are recycled materials like newspaper, recycled cloths, wool and safe for people working with these insulating materials. With an r-value 3.4 – 3.8 per inch. With batts it’s difficult to seal of odd-shaped spaces. Loose fill has no such problems. No petrochemicals or chemicals so, no danger of any toxins getting into the air.

Disadvantages of loose fill insulation

There are certain shortcomings of blown in attic insulation that we need to consider. It does not seal of bypasses as well as spray foam insulation. If the insulating material is very heavy the ceiling might sag. The contractors will know how to avoid this problem. Cellulose settles over time. This reduces its r-value significantly.

It can absorb moisture so suitable provision needs to be made prevent this. If air infiltrates fiberglass loose fill then it can severely affect the r-value of this loose fill. Fiberglass loose fill does not absorb water but if it gets wet then its insulating properties gets affected.

Compared With Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam poly urethane insulation has a higher r-value compared to cellulose of fiberglass loose fill. The foam once sprayed expands and seals of all the nooks and crannies in the spaces much more effectively than blow in cellulose or fiberglass. The adverse impact of hydrochloroflurocarbons on environment and ozone layers is well known.

Also, if this insulation material catches fire, it releases toxic fumes, which are bad for health. All foam insulation need fire retardants and drywall backing.

Building codes for insulation change from place to place. So, some place like Houston will have different requirement than say New York. Find out if you can opt for green and safe blown in attic insulation for your home.

Related Posts


Residential Insulation Types – A Guide To Understanding Home Insulation

Understanding residential insulation types and learning about technical terms like “residential insulation R value” or wrapping your head around the vast range of residential insulation materials is one of the most bothersome parts about owning a home. Let’s try and simplify the different residential insulation types for you so that you are able to make intelligent and informed decisions regarding your home insulation needs.

Insulation is something every home requires in order to be more energy efficient and save on power consumption for heating or cooling. Home insulation is essentially the process of filling up spaces between wall panels with insulating material that traps heat and prevents loss or leaks. There are many different residential insulation examples that are all efficient.

Residential insulation contractors can help you find all the information you require to make the right decision about home insulation. You’ll need to know the home insulation type and the R value of residential insulation that best meets your local weather and other conditions. All this will govern the kind of insulation you will choose, and direct you towards researching foam insulation types or cellulose insulation types as is appropriate.

A good guide to residential insulation types will also be able to point you towards any financial incentives you may be eligible for when you choose particular building insulation types.

Economic Benefits From Residential Insulation

Homes can reap rich energy savings from choosing the right apartment insulation types. That makes it all the more important to carefully choose between spray foam insulation types which have certain advantages even if a little more expensive, and other alternatives like fiberglass insulation types. Spray foam requires specialized equipment, making installation more costly, but because the insulation covers all niches and crevices, it is more effective and has a higher R value.

Residential insulation causes may be leaks in roofs or attics, older constructions with outdated insulation processes, or damage to walls and ceilings. Attic insulation types were different many decades ago, and residential insulation types based on cellulose or loose fill material often develops leaks because of the settling down effect of the material used to line the gaps. This leads to a fall in efficiency over time.

Be sure to explore all the common residential insulation types like blankets (roll and batt insulation), rigid insulation types (like foam sheets and boards), loose fill (cellulose, fiberglass, foam), liquid (spray foam, polyurethane foam and other compounds) and also other natural home insulation options before picking the one best suited for your specific needs.

There are many books and guides to help you along this path. Browse the Internet and you’ll find many articles, some of them by expert contractors, which will help you understand the nuances better. A residential insulation contractor can give you any further information you need and answer your questions or clear up your doubts regarding residential insulation types.

After this you’ll be in a position to make sense of the various residential insulation types and choose the one best for your own home, and then enjoy rich savings by way of lowered energy costs.

Related Posts