Choosing the Right Type of Insulation For Your Home
July 13, 2015
Choosing the right type of insulation for your home begins with understanding the fundamentals of insulation. There are so many products on the market today, and so many marketing claims, that decision-making is made more confusing than need be. To be sure, having a good insulation contractor is a very good start - a good company will work with you to choose the right product and the right installation method to best suit your needs and your physical space. Probably the most relevant thing about home insulation is R-Value. And without getting overly technical, it's a measure of the resistance (of the insulation) to heat flow. The experts will refer to "thermal resistance" - and will explain that R-Value is a measure of how much heat can flow through a portion of insulation. Simply put, the higher the R-Value - the more resistance to heat flow - and that means that heat stays in during the winter and stays out during the summer. Good insulation companies do more than just sell and install. They will consider any building code requirements, based on geographical location. They will consider floors, walls, attic, and basement as a house "system". And finally, they will recommend a strategy that will ensure energy efficiency for the home, and cost savings from season to season. For the homeowner, it means insulating with a plan, and not just installing the products suggested by the staff at the home center. The fundamental idea behind insulating (regardless of the final product choice) is to make a given area totally airtight. This is something that all contractors can agree on, and a reputable insulation contractor will endeavour to install the product that achieves this objective. And while the market is full of product options, some of them truly excel. For the homeowner, its important to establish a viable project budget, and to base product choice and installation on which will bring results. Today, the top product on the market is spray foam insulation - it's the favourite of insulation contractors, and allows for a one-time application that has many benefits at the same time. It creates a solid, effective air barrier - it serves simultaneously as a vapour barrier - and it provides an R-Value superior to any of the other insulation products on the market. As the best, spray foam is a premium product and may not suit all project budgets, although the results are worthwhile. Traditional fibreglass-batts are another good option for insulation, and when these are installed together with spray foam, the outcomes are quite impressive. This combination install is referred to as a "hybrid" approach, and combines the spray foam product and fibreglass-batts in one. The products work in tandem with each other, and with excellent results. For most project budgets, a "hybrid" install will assure energy efficiency, seasonal savings, and above all, cost effectiveness. Apart from choosing the right type of insulation, choosing a good contractor is also part of the mix. And because product and installation can get complex, the relationship between homeowner and contractor is critical for achieving results.