Insulation Types : Materials & Application

By: Smart Zero Home
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Once you have identified that leak or the wall or the roof that needs to be air sealed or insulated, you have to decide and choose between the various insulation materials available as well as how much to apply. Our intelligent designer generates the exact insulation design specifications that are best suited for your home. Insulation can be applied in a variety of ways – Blown-in, applied as Batts, or Sprayed-in the space. The choice of Insulation installation method is driven by a number of factors:

Where to Apply: Roof | Walls | Air Sealing

The choice of insulation material depends on where it needs to be applied. For best results - in Roofs/Attics, Cellulose can be blown-in on the attic floor, or Spray-foam can be sprayed on the roof ceiling.

Spray foam is an effective and the least intrusive insulation option for retrofitting

In walls, Spray-foam is the preferred choice as it can easily be sprayed in the cavity of an existing wall with minimal intrusions (instead of tearing down the entire wall to install fiberglass batts). Spray-foam insulation thus allows for fast, easy and effective (one of the highest R values/density) retrofitting options. It also automatically air-seals any existing leakages.

Insulation Materials: Foam | Batts | Cellulose

Foam, Fiber Glass batts, and Cellulose insulation are the top insulation preferred insulation materials. Liquid foam is sprayed-in the space (spray foam insulation), whereas Cellulose is usually blown-in, and Fiberglass is primarily used as batts.

Cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper and plant fibers and is thus the most environmentally firendly and helthy option available. However, cellulose can absorb water and can settle down vertically and is therefore preferred in less humid climates, and for application in flat horizontal surfaces such as the attic floor. 

Your Need: Retrofit Existing Home | New Home

When retrofitting an existing home, spray foam insulation is preferred for wall cavities, as the insulation can be added with minimum breakage/intrusion and it also seals any existing air leakages. Batts are usually installed while constructing a new home. Builders usually prefer Fiberglass batts or Polystyrene boards as intrusion is not an issue during construction.

Also see our post on top air sealing products, and our pick of the best wall insulation products in the market.