Fix Your Foundation Before It’s Too Late

Common Types Of Insulation For Your Home

by Howard Barnett

You probably don't go to parties and rave about insulation in the same way you might rave about, say, new granite countertops. However, added insulation not only decreases your utility bills, it increases the value of your home. As Bank Rate points out, your return on investment can be 95%. You have several options for insulation – choose the one that best fits your house's unique character.

Fiberglass

When you think of insulation, you may imagine giant rolls of fluffy pink or yellow material. Those rolls are fiberglass batts. Constructed of strands of fiberglass, these batts are built to fit between the standard spacing in house frames. The paper backing blocks moisture, while the fiberglass fibers trap pockets of air. If released into the air, the fiberglass fibers can be unhealthy to breathe. However, this rarely occurs outside of construction. Fiberglass insulation is the most budget-friendly option.

Cotton Batts

Cotton batts look similar to fiberglass – fluffy and constructed of the same width as the space between studs. Interestingly, the blue color of the cotton batts comes from the fact that they're made of recycled blue jeans. This makes them ideal for an eco-friendly home. What's more, not only do cotton batts not release unhealthy fibers into the air during installation, the cotton provides better soundproofing than fiberglass. However, cotton is a more expensive insulation material.

Cellulose

Cellulose is another form of eco-friendly insulation. Typically, it's made of hammer-milled waste newspaper that's treated with a fire retardant. Dry cellulose can be blown into wall cavities from the top. It's also possible to dense-pack the cellulose in the cavity to avoid spaces opening up due to settling. For roofs and attics, contractors often combine the cellulose with adhesive to keep it in place. Like cotton, cellulose insulation is more expensive than fiberglass. It also requires specialized equipment to install. However, cellulose works well in small or odd-shaped compartments.

Spray Foam

Spray polyurethane foam is another method for insulating small or oddly-shaped areas. Spray foam consists of a heat-activated polymer that contractors spray into the wall cavities. Heat and chemical reactions turn the mix into a foam, which expands and hardens in the wall cavity.

Contractors have two types of application methods. One is the open cell method, which is an airy foam that doesn't completely seal air pockets. Closed cell application requires a denser foam that does seal air pockets. Both are a lot more expensive than fiberglass. However, both methods provide superior insulation properties.

Decrease your energy bills by adding wall insulation to your house.

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