According to experts, home insulation has many options to choose from ranging from the most efficient to least efficient. Choosing the right insulation therefore depends on the levels of efficiency required and the budget set aside for the process. Perhaps the degree of efficiency is directly proportional the installation cost of a particular method; expensive insulation methods tend to be more efficient and energy saving. Before insulation a home, one should take into consideration, the R-Value of the insulator. This is the material’s measured ability to resist conduction of heat. Materials with higher R-value act as better insulators since they conduct heat low amounts of heat. The R-value of each material is noted on the package during its manufacture.
Ways of insulation
The following are some of the best ways of insulating your home;
I. Blanket: Batt and roll insulation
Blanket is the most frequent insulation method. It utilizes materials such as natural and plastic fibers, mineral rock or fiberglass. Just as the name suggests, it consists of rolls and batts. Rolls are made of long, rolled-up strips of material and work best when casing a large open area while batts are cut into standard lengths and are more efficient in wrapping exteriors or interiors of walls. Fiberglass is the commonly used material due to its easy nature of installation; it can be done without the necessity of hiring a professional. The fiberglass is integrated in between beams, joists and studs. On the other hand, plastic and natural fibers are placed in floors or ceilings and have an easy installation procedure that saves on costs. They tend to be relatively cheap since they are mostly made of recycled material.
II. Concrete block and foam insulation
During building, a poor heat conductor is incorporated into concrete to add insulating properties to the walls. These materials are placed either on the exterior or interior of the walls to limit heat conduction. Materials such as form boards are placed inside or outside walls. They are also placed in unfinished walls or foundations to increase their R-value. In spite of their effectiveness in insulation, they do require specialized expertise to do the installation. Other materials such as concrete block are also used for new constructions and are done by insulating the outside of concrete blocks with an insulator that tends to control indoor temperatures. They are then dry stacked and surface bonded during building resulting in a high thermal resistant walls. Sometimes, beads or air particles are incorporated into the concrete mix used in making walls to increase its ability to resist heat conduction.
Concrete foam insulation is also an effective insulation method that involves installation of foam boards or blocks as part of structure of the building by interlocking hollow foam blocks. These materials are effective insulators due to their high warm air endurance
III. Blow-in or loose-fill
This type of insulation consists of materials loose enough to be blown into a wall cavity or hidden positions such as corners and edges using a blowing machine. These materials include loose cellulose, fibreglass which are generally cheap, easy to install and can easily be blown into position by drilling of holes into exterior of houses. They are mostly used in wall cavities, attic floors and other hard to reach areas such as non-conforming spaces and around framing. They are appropriate in insulating areas with obstructions or irregular shapes as well as already finished areas.
IV. Reflective systems
This type of insulation has a facing made of foil or Kraft attached to it for vapor and moisture control. The foils are incorporated between wooden frames, joints and even beams giving them the ability to reflect heat from the outside; which in turn reduces costs associated with cooling. Reflective systems can also be made of materials such as plastic film, polyethylene bubbles or cardboard. These materials are relatively cheap and help conserve energy. They are easy to install and don’t require specialized expertise and can be fitted in floors, ceilings or even unfinished walls. They are very applicable in areas with several blockades and crooked framing due to their high dynamism. They are mostly used to prevent vertical flow of heat such as roofs.
V. Sprayed foam
This type of insulation utilizes materials such as polyurethane, polyisocyanurate, cementitious phenolic to impede the transfer of either heat or cold. Spray foams are majorly of two types.The two-pound closed-cell foam inhibits the transfer of both air and vapor. It is usually applied on ceilings and roofs or in tight areas due to its high R-value. The half-pound open-cell foam is primarily installed in addition to the presence of a vapor inhibitor and usually used in vapor-free regions and walls. They are both effective in insulating irregularly shaped areas that may have several barriers. They are applied using specialized spray containers which then harden and take the shape of the cavity forming a barrier that inhibits moisture.
VI. Structural insulated panels (SIPs)
SIPs are made up of materials such as straws, form boards or liquid forms. Incorporation of these materials is done by fitting them together to form the floors, walls ceilings, and roofs of a house. They are more energy efficient in that, they are very good insulators that also offer noise proof abilities to a house. SIPs when used to build a house therefore offer the ability to build and insulate at the same time. They have high R-values enabling them be an ideal home insulators. Building of houses using SIPs takes a shorter time since the construction involves fitting together of pre-manufactured panels that make the walls and roofs of a house. Houses made with SIPs have been known to offer the highest insulation properties.
VII. Rigid foam and rigid fiber board
The rigid fiber board uses materials such as fiberglass or mineral wool to offer insulation properties. These materials are able to withstand very temperatures making them applicable in insulating very hot surfaces. The rigid foam board method uses materials such as polystyrene, polyisocyanurate and polyuthane that are installed in walls, floors, ceilings and roofs. They are thin but offer have very effective insulation properties. They lower conduction of heat due to their high thermal resistance ability