One of the best ways to save some money when you are building a new home or doing some renovations is including insulation in your strategy. Not only does it save you on your heating and cooling bills, but it can also help protect the environment, depending on which type you choose to use. Some of the materials used in insulation have hydrofluorocarbons, which have a high global warming potential.

Fiberglass is the most common type of insulation used and is environmentally safe, as are mineral wool and cellulose insulating products. This article from House Logic describes the benefits of using fiberglass insulation:

A Guide to Insulation Types | HouseLogic Energy Saving TipsAttic Insulation

Fiberglass Batts and Blankets

R-value: 3.0-4.0 per inch (R-13 for a 2-by-4-framed wall).

Advantages: Widely available and familiar, standard widths and thicknesses are designed to fit between studs, joists, and rafters. Paper- and foil-faced versions have stapling flanges that make installation easy.

Disadvantages: Can be itchy to install — you’ll need protective clothing. Rolls of fiberglass must be cut by hand to fit spaces. It compresses easily, which causes it to lose insulating properties.

Environmental issues: Phenol formaldehyde, linked to cancer, is being phased out as a binder. Labels warning of possible cancer risk from inhaled fibers are being phased out because regulators have concluded the fibers break down quickly in lungs. Recycled content can be up to 60%.

Best use: Walls, floors, ceilings.

DIY or pro? DIY

Cost: 30 cents per sq. ft.

Read the rest of the guide here:  A Guide to Insulation Types | HouseLogic Energy Saving Tips

The author of this video is very detailed concerning the type of insulation that works best for different areas to improve your R-value for your home. R-value is the measure of resistance to heat or cold  flowing through the thickness of the insulation material. He explains the importance of ensuring the insulation is touching the drywall and not allowing air to leak through:

When it comes to insulating your ceiling or attic, there are two main options – loose fill and batts.  Which is better? This article from This Old House provides tips for insulating your home when it comes to top heating and cooling value for the top of your house:

Read This Before You Insulate Your Attic | This Old House

https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/read-you-insulate-your-attic

Image from thisoldhouse.com

For DIY attic insulation, you’ve basically got two choices: loose fill or batt (the common term for blanket insulation). Both can be added to uninsulated attics or layered over existing material. Once you’ve decided which type is best for you, examine the material options and prices to home in on the right product. Always check labels for specifics on whatever you buy.

Loose fill

Insulation fibers are packaged in bags and blown in place to the desired depth and density using special machinery you can rent from a home center. You can pour the fill in place and spread it manually, but the process is much more labor-intensive and the results won’t be nearly as good.

It works best for: • Attics with irregular or nonstandard joist spacing • Attics with lots of obstructions and penetrations to work around • Attics where there is existing insulation to be topped, since it fills gaps and joints well• Low-clearance attics with limited headroom for maneuvering during installation• DIYers who want to get the job done quickly and are comfortable working with power equipment

Batts

This flexible insulation material is most often packaged in rolls that come in various thicknesses and standard widths, usually 16 inches and 24 inches, to fit between joists or studs in a house’s framing. They come with or without a paper or foil facing that acts as a vapor barrier. You add one or more layers to achieve the desired level of insulation.

They work best for: • Attics with standard joist spacing, especially those with no insulation• Attics with few obstructions or penetrations to work around• Attics with sufficient headroom for maneuvering during installation• DIYers who don’t mind cutting the material to fit around obstructions

Read the full post here:  Read This Before You Insulate Your Attic | This Old House

You might be wise to consult with a building contractor to get their advice on the best insulation for your situation. If you are renovating, part of the key is evaluating your current insulation to see if it needs to be replaced. The image below offers some insight on how to measure the current R-value of your existing insulation:

R-value evaluation on existing insulation

Image via the Department of Energy

 

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