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Batt Insulation Guide for 2020

August 14, 2020

Batt insulation is an effective and affordable type of home insulation. With a proper install it is capable of making tremendous improvements to your home. Batt insulation can be installed in many areas of a home, making it a versatile option for many different home upgrades. To maximize its effectiveness, GNI recommends that you combine all batt insulation upgrades with air sealing improvements as well. This helps create an even stronger building envelope and further assists in improving air quality. 

If you have any questions about installing batt insulation in your home, please fill out the form below with your contact details. Our Customer Experience Team will be happy to help you make sense of where you sit in terms of making an upgrade, and can even arrange for you to have a free insulation assessment done by a GNI insulation expert.

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What is Batt Insulation?

Batt insulation is a type of home insulation that is cut into large thick pads, or ‘batts’. These pads can be made with either fibreglass or mineral wool and are pre-cut into standard sized rectangles for easy installation. Fibreglass batts are made from bits of woven fibre and glass, whereas mineral wool insulation is made from small stone fibres. Both fibreglass batts and mineral wool insulation are capable of making tremendous improvements to a home, such as:

  • Stronger energy efficiency
  • Lower cost of utilities
  • Less stress on HVAC systems and less need to run them as often
  • More continuous and comfortable temperature on every floor
  • Higher resale value (home insulation upgrades are valued by homeowners)
  • Improved sound deadening
  • Increased resiliency and greater comfort

What is the R-Value of Batt Insulation?

The total installed R-Value of batt insulation depends on the thickness of the install. It also depends on if you use fibreglass batt insulation or mineral wool insulation, as mineral wool batts have a marginally higher R-Value than fibreglass batts. The Rockwool insulation mineral wool batts that we have used for countless installs have a listed R-Value of 14 for a 3.5 inch application (R 4 per inch). A professional install that includes air sealing will ensure that you are able to maximize your R-Value per inch, and help prolong the lifespan of your newly installed home insulation. 

Does Batt Insulation Need a Vapour Barrier?

Yes. Unlike spray foam insulation, which can create its own air barrier and vapour barrier all-in-one, batt insulation will require a vapour barrier install. This is to ensure that moisture levels remain under control during a wide range of temperatures. As an alternative method to adding a vapour barrier to batt insulation alone, spray foam insulation and batt insulation can actually be combined within the same wall cavity. This not only creates a terrific blend of performance and affordability, but the spray foam insulation also functions as an effective vapour barrier. This type of hybrid insulation does not require an additional vapour barrier to be added, unless it is a specific request by the homeowner or builder. 

Is Batt Insulation Sustainable Insulation?

When you currently compare batt insulation to other types of home insulation that use blowing agents, such as spray foam insulation, batt insulation stands out as the option with lower embodied carbon. Even though the blowing agents used in spray foam are moving to even more sustainable options that puts it on par with batts, batt insulation is still one of the more sustainable choices when looking to install insulation. To further target energy performance with sustainable insulation, batt insulation can be combined with cellulose insulation, made from recycled paper, or with spray foam insulation. This allows you to enhance your home’s energy performance, while still using sustainable insulation with low embodied carbon.

Mineral Wool Insulation or Fibreglass Insulation?

You may be wondering if you should choose mineral wool insulation or fibreglass batt insulation for your next home insulation upgrade. While both are capable of making similar improvements to a home, there are some minor differences that can help you make a choice. For example, both are fantastic at improving sound deadening, and both are water and fire resistant. However, while neither material is particularly attractive to mice, they are much less attracted to mineral wool insulation. That might be something to consider depending on where you live and where you are making the upgrade within your home. An industry expert can further outline the different benefits of each type depending on your specific scenario.  

Where Can Batt Insulation Be Installed?

Batt insulation can be installed throughout a home. While it is often thought of primarily as wall insulation, it can actually be used in nearly any open cavity in a home. This includes areas such as ceilings, floors, and attics. Due to its ability to restrict sound from traveling in a home, batt insulation makes for a great addition to home theatres or for any homeowners looking to improve the quietness of their home.

How to Install Batt Insulation in Walls

Batt insulation makes for terrific wall insulation. It comes pre-cut in the standard wall stud sizes, allowing for a straightforward and easy install for most wall cavities. To fit it into smaller spaces, it can be cut with a knife. Although the install may appear easy, GNI strongly recommends that you consult with a professional insulation contractor before you attempt any DIY insulation install. A professional assessment can highlight potential problems you may run into, and can ensure that you are taking the most cost-effective route for your install. It is also an important step for safety, as there may be hidden health hazards which could be disturbed during a DIY install. 

How to Install Batt Insulation in Attics

As attic insulation, batt insulation is installed in nearly the same manner as in a wall cavity; the pre-cut batts are able to form fit in between standard sized studs. However, air sealing is of the utmost importance in an attic due to the stack effect. With strong attic insulation and proper air sealing, your entire home stands to see tremendous improvements by reducing the stack effect. 

How to Combine Batt Insulation with Spray Foam Insulation

As mentioned earlier while discussing vapour barriers, batt insulation and spray foam insulation can be combined with great results. Spray foam is extremely versatile and can be used in even more areas than batt insulation. It also carries a very strong R-Value per installed inch, creates its own vapour barrier, and greatly enhances air sealing. The installation method of spray foam with batt insulation differs depending on a few variables, such as the age of your home, but fibreglass batts can largely be used for the bulk of the install, with spray foam being used in a strategic manner to enhance the performance of your batts.

As a professional insulation contractor, we can show you how batt insulation and spray foam insulation would be best combined within your home. They can also show you how to use the combination to maximize your performance and affordability. To learn more about combining different types of insulation, our Customer Experience Team can be reached at 1-800-265-1914, or through the GNI live chat feature on our website. 

How to Combine Batt Insulation with Cellulose Insulation

While not a common practice, it can be done. Similar to spray foam, blown in cellulose insulation can be effectively combined with batt insulation in the same upgrade. However, unlike spray foam, blown in cellulose only uses air as its ‘blowing agent’. This contributes to its low amount of embodied carbon, and is part of the reason why cellulose insulation is considered to be sustainable insulation. By combining batt insulation with cellulose insulation, you can make significant improvements to your home while using two different types of sustainable insulation. You also need to take extra steps to ensure proper air sealing has been completed.

Batt Insulation and Air Sealing

Air sealing is an extremely important part of any home insulation upgrade - and batt insulation upgrades are no exception. With proper air sealing, a home with batt insulation is fully equipped to maintain a comfortable temperature and strong energy performance all year long. A simple airtightness test can indicate any problem areas or air leaks within your home. This helps ensure that your batt insulation upgrades will have the level of air sealing they need to maximize their performance. Fortunately, many airtightness improvements are simple to make, but can carry significant performance improvements when combined with a batt insulation install. 

Batt Insulation Rebates

In Ontario, there are several rebates available to homeowners who make home insulation upgrades. Batt insulation installs can qualify you for these rebates, but GNI recommends that homeowners start with a home energy audit before they start making improvements, since it is a part of the qualification process for certain rebate programs. To learn more about the rebates you may be eligible for, stop by the GNI Insulation Rebates web page, or contact our Customer Experience Team at 1-800-265-1914.

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