Insulation FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Insulation works in your home by slowing the transfer of heat. Heat can move in three different ways: convection, conduction, and radiation. Insulation helps block heat from entering your home in the summer and retains heat during the winter.

The recommended amount of insulation for your home will vary depending on numerous factors, such as your home’s age and where you live. If your home is over 10 years old, you will likely need more insulation to stay comfortable. Many older homes and properties have less insulation than those constructed today.

However, note that even adding insulation to a new home can pay for itself within just a couple of years. Different climates need different insulation R-values. For example, you’ll need a higher R-value if you reside in the Northeast than in Southern California.

Several parts of your home should be insulated, such as the attic, basement, and walls. Besides walls and attics, you should install insulation in ceilings with unheated spaces, floors above vented crawl spaces, basement walls, cathedral ceilings, and floors over unheated garages.

Insulating your attic is one of the most important steps in home insulation. This is because heat rises and can easily escape through an uninsulated attic.

In most cases, you can easily add new insulation on top of old insulation in your attic, unless the old insulation is moldy, wet, or vermiculite. Unless your insulation is moldy, wet, or infested with pests, there is no need to remove it before adding new insulation on top of it.

However, if the old insulation is dry but seems to have previously been wet, you should identify the cause and repair the problem.

The choice of insulation material for your home will depend on many factors, such as your budget. Closed-cell foam is the best, with an insulation value of about R-6.2 per inch of thickness. Although closed-cell foam has a higher R-value and offers stronger resistance against air leakage and moisture, this material is also much denser and more expensive.

Open-cell foam cells aren’t as dense and are usually filled with air, giving the insulation a spongy texture. Fiberglass is the most popular insulation material. It is made of fine glass fibers and is usually used in rolls, batts, and loose-fill insulation.

Fiberglass insulation is made from spun glass fibers, while cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper and other natural materials.

Fiberglass insulation comes in batts or rolls and is typically installed by cutting it to fit between the studs or joists in walls, ceilings, and floors. On the other hand, cellulose insulation is often blown or sprayed into place, filling all the nooks and crannies of the space being insulated.

Every house or property is unique, so the times to install insulation may vary considerably. Most insulation installation jobs will take one or two days from start to finish.

Both open-cell and closed-cell spray foam insulation will dry and cure sufficiently fast and your family will be able to enjoy the benefits and convenience of insulation within hours.

R-value is a measure of thermal resistance used in the construction and building industry. It is a measure of how well insulation materials resist the transfer of heat. Note that a higher R-value indicates greater resistance. The higher the R-value of an insulation material, the better it is at keeping heat from moving through it.

The R-value of any material, such as fiberglass, is determined by its thickness and thermal conductivity. R-value is expressed in units of thermal resistance per unit of thickness (e.g., R-30 indicates a thermal resistance of 30 units per inch of thickness).

Insulation can reduce unwanted noise in your home. However, different kinds of insulation have unique acoustic properties. The best thing is that insulation helps reduce noise from outside as well as between different rooms and levels inside your home.

While most insulation types will help lower noise within the home, high-performance fiberglass, and mineral wool tend to be the best choices.

In most cases, insulation in your attic should be replaced or retrofitted about every 15 to 20 years. However, you may have to replace or retrofit it sooner depending on various factors, such as the kind of insulation installed, compression and movement over time, the R rating of the original insulation, and whether any serious damage has occurred.
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