Whether you are building a home or remodeling existing premises, plans for insulation must be fool-proof and ready before you start on the project. As a homeowner you are perhaps aware that you could cut down your energy consumption by as much as 20% if your home is properly insulated. Home insulation needs as well as costs vary according to the design and the climate zone in which the premises is situated. With the wide variety of insulation options to choose from, you must plan for your insulation during the planning stages itself. Knowing the particular type of insulation you wish to have installed in your house could save you a lot of money in the operating costs and result in a reduction of your utility bills substantially. To start with you program of home insulation, it is important to know the R value of the materials used for insulating. This is a measure of a material’s ability to resist heat conduction. Remember the higher the R value, the better is the material which performs as a insulator. If you compress or in other words, reduce the thickness of the insulation material, you will be reducing its ability to resist conduction and its R value. So depending on the location where you stay in the country, you will have to consider the R value for your walls, floors, ceilings, attic and basement. For instance, if you live in a hot climate, you will need materials with a high r value to ward off the heat and keep your home cool during summer. Similarly, if you live in colder climates, the same high r value will keep your home warm during winter months. In milder climates, lower R value materials could be considered. The roof design of the house can impact the amount of insulation you need for the house. For instance, if the roof has an attic you might need a thick batt insulation to get to the correct R value to attain the specific building codes. On the other hand, if you are considering insulation of a home which has plenty of glass windows with cathedral ceilings, your option lies between choosing wider roofing studs which can hold the thickness of batt insulation or go for another type of insulation which would offer same R value of smaller roofing studs.
Each and every area of the United States is governed by building codes which monitor the amount of insulation a home needs. This means that every element of your home would have to be inspected and approved by the home inspector to ensure that your home is built based on the codes specific to that area. Here are some of the common insulation options available:
– Blanket or Batt insulation: Made from fiberglass, mineral or plastic fibers, this form of insulation is available in rolls or strips in a variety of thickness and R values. It is easy to install and many DIY enthusiasts choose this option for home insulation.
– Blown in insulation: This type of insulation is ideal for irregular spaces or spaces where you need extra insulation, like an attic, etc. it is made from synthetic materials which are loosely filled.
– Spray foam insulation: This type of insulation is more expensive than the other options. It is advantageous in the sense that its r value is higher than any other material and it can expand 100 times of the original volume sprayed in any cavity and then solidifies. This is excellent in preventing air leaks which happen with the passage of time.
– Rigid foam insulation: This also has a high R value. It is not sprayed but is made into board like forms which are pinned to the studs. Used in basements or as additional layer to reach a specific R value.
– Natural fiber insulation: Materials like cotton and wool which are recyclable are currently great favorites with home builders. These insulators are bio-degradable with only a portion (15%) plastic added to it.