The Best Types of Insulation
Unless you’re building a new home, the best insulation types to use are those that match the existing insulation in your home. If the insulation in your attic is fiberglass batts, it makes sense to replace or augment it with those. However, if you’re adding a space or rehabbing an existing space, it’s helpful to know about these major kinds.
- Batt insulation. The most cost effective type of batt insulation available is fiberglass, and in this climate, it does an effective job keeping hot and cold temperatures from moving through the attic and walls.
- Loose insulation. The most common loose insulation is cellulose, a mixture of shredded, recycled newspaper treated with borates, which is a chemical that retards mold growth, vermin and acts as a fire retardant. Loose fiberglass is another option. These products are blown into attics and wall cavities when insulating existing walls.
- Sprayed foam. Of all the insulation types, this is the most expensive and less widely used except in tight spaces because of its cost. It takes special equipment to apply it, and most of time professional contractors install it.
It’s available in thicknesses for walls made from 2 x 4s, as well as 2 x 6s. Besides fiberglass, you’ll find recycled batts available at some home improvement centers that reuse denim and other materials.
Sprayed foam insulation has the highest ability to resist temperature change. It’s often used in small wall spaces, and applied to the underside of roof sheathing.
Each of these products has its own advantages. Fiberglass is inert, but it sheds microscopic particles when working with it that can lodge in the respiratory tract. Some people object to cellulose because it’s been chemically treated. The cost of sprayed foam, in spite of its effectiveness, can be prohibitive.
Each of these insulation types has its uses and all increase the energy efficiency of homes and buildings.