Types of Insulation Back to Blog

Types of Insulation

There are a variety of different types of insulation to choose from. Different types of insulation are best suited to different areas and they provide different levels of insulation. Insulation ratings are shown as an R-value, which is also known as thermal resistance. Depending on the type of insulation, you may be able to install it yourself. However, some types of insulation are more complicated and need to be installed by a licensed professional. Note that you should always get quotes from a few different tradesmen to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Blanket Insulation

Blanket insulation is the most common type, used throughout homes today and is available in rolls or batts. It’s usually made out of fibreglass, but sometimes contains other flexible fibres.  It can be bought in a variety of shapes and sizes designed to fit different spaces, or it can be bought in continuous rolls that can be cut to size. Blanket insulation can be bought with or without facings, which are used as a protective cover and vapor retardant. If you’re adding to existing insulation, it’s best to use insulation without facings. Standard blanket insulation has an R-value between R-2.9 and R-3.8 per inch of thickness and denser blanket insulation has an R-value between R-3.7 and R-4.3 per inch of thickness.

Foam Board Insulation

Foam boards are able to be used to insulate just about any area of your home and are generally made out of polystyrene, polyurethane or polyisocyanurate. Polystyrene foam boards have an R-value between R-3.6 and R-5.0 per inch of thickness. Polyurethane foam boards have an R-value between  R-5.5 and R-8.0 per inch of thickness, whereas polyisocyanurate foam boards  have an R-value between R-7.0 and R-8.0 per inch of thickness.

Concrete Block Insulation

Concrete blocks are used in the construction of walls and foundations and, assuming they aren’t filled with concrete or steel, can usually be filled with most types of insulation to increase the R-value. However, it’s more effective to install the insulation on the outside of the walls, inside or outside. Some concrete blocks have polystyrene built in and the surface-bonded versions of these have an R-value of R-1.0 per inch of thickness.

Foam Boards

Foam boards are rigid boards of insulation that can be used to insulate the vast majority of your home. They have a high thermal resistance and reduce heat conduction. They’re generally made from Polystyrene, Polyurethane and Polyisocyanurate.

Insulating Concrete Forms

Insulating concrete forms are forms poured for concrete walls. They have an extremely high thermal resistance, Roughly R-20. Insulating concrete forms are made from interconnected foam boards, that are connected by plastic ties.

Loose Fill

Loose fill insulation is made of foam, mineral wool, cellulose or fibre particles. Combined, the particles form insulation that can be used to insulate any space. Loose fill insulation is great for awkward places that other insulations aren’t well suited for. Loose fill insulation has an R-value between R-2.2 and R-3.8.

Liquid Foam

Liquid foam insulation is extremely flexible and can be used to insulate even the smallest spaces and can potentially have twice the R-value of blanket insulation. There are a few types of liquid foam insulation, such as, polyisocyanurate, cementitious, polyurethane and phenolic.

Structural Insulated Panels

Structural insulated panels are prebuilt insulated structures that can be used in roofs, walls, floors and ceilings. They are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and are generally airtight. Structural insulated panels are generally made from polyisocyanurate or polystyrene. They usually have an R-value of around R-4.0 per inch of thickness.

Now that you know the different ways to insulate your house, you can decide what best suits you and get down to work.

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