Different Types of Insulation and Some of Their Uses

Properly insulating your home is a step that serves several purposes. It will greatly reduce the cost of heating and cooling your home, but it will also go a long ways in making you more comfortable in your home!

There are so many different types of insulation available, it may seem like an impossible task to know which one you should use. Knowing a little about each material can make the job easier!

Fiberglass insulation is probably the most commonly known material. It can be found in rolls with various widths that you just cut to fit the needed areas and staple into place.

Rolls of insulation are typically used inside walls and even in attics. You can purchase either low, medium or high density rolls. The higher the density the better the protection and the more it costs.

Another form of rolled insulation is reflective foil insulation. This can be any insulating material that is combined with a radiant barrier. This is a popular type of insulation for floors and attics.

Like any rolled insulation it’s quickly installed and is used most often in construction of new buildings. But, any rolled insulation can be installed in the walls of existing homes if you’re replacing drywall.

Rolled insulation is also great to add to floor joists if you have a basement that’s not finished. It will greatly reduce the leakage of cool or warm air and save energy.

Rigid insulation comes in sheets or boards usually in four foot by eight foot pieces. It’s mostly used on the exterior of a house, but can be used when finishing basements or any other inside project as well.

It’s generally made of fiberboard which is water resistant and cost efficient. It’s very durable and since it’s coated with asphalt, you won’t need to use building paper. Usually used during new home construction, it can be added if you’re replacing or adding siding to your home.

Loose fill insulation is blown into the wall or attics with a machine. It’s usually made of cellulose or mineral wool and is great when you want to add insulation to an existing home. If you’re doing the job yourself choose cellulose, it won’t irritate your skin as much as wool.

Foam insulation can be pretty expensive if you’re insulating a large area. It is often used around windows and doors to seal cracks, but can be used anywhere in your home.

It’s injected into small holes made in the walls or exterior of your home and expands and hardens. Foam insulates better than most other materials, because it will expand to fill even the smallest of cracks.

Foam insulation is a little tricky to install. You have to know exactly how much will be needed to fill each cavity, or only part of the opening will be insulated leaving lots of cracks that will leak air.

If you live in an area where the winters get cold, then you should consider pipe insulation. It comes in tubes that are made of a foam material and are slit down one side.

You just measure and cut the tubes to the desired length, open the slit and slide it over the pipes. Insulating your pipes can prevent you from having to replace them if they freeze and burst!

Pipe insulation also comes in tape form, you just wrap it around the length of each pipe. If you live where the winters are really harsh, you can purchase heated cables that wrap around your pipes. The cables can be very expensive though and they use electricity to warm the pipes.

With the high concern over conserving energy today, insulation is becoming a needed addition to any building. But, with a little knowledge and work, you can offset the expense of insulation by doing it yourself!