It's that time of year when the weather starts cooling off and we’ll be turning on the heat. If you’re noticing you are needing to turn your heat on high and still feel drafty, you may need more insulation installed.
Insulation acts as a barrier between your home and the outdoors – it decreases the amount of heat let in in the summer, and decreases the amount of heat let in out the winter. You will typically find insulation in exterior walls, attics, basements, and crawlspaces. Insulation typically lasts around 15 years, depending on different factors. So if you’re living in an older home, it’s very possible you still have original insulation that isn’t doing its job. If you do need additional insulation added, here’s what you need to know about the types available.
This is the fluffy pink stuff you are probably used to seeing. It is made of fiberglass and cellulose. This can be sprayed into hard to reach areas, like attics, and is great for filling wall cavities.
These are precut strips of fiberglass insulation. These crease easy handling and work great between wall framing, but can also be used in floors, attics and ceilings. You do not need a professional to install this type of insulation.
These come in pre-cut widths and come in rolls with 20-40 feet of insulation. These are best used in attics or floors. You do not need a professional to install this type of insulation.
Foam Board Insulation
These are actual panels of insulation made from polyester and polyurethane, and can be used anywhere in your home. These give great thermal resistance, about 2x better than most other insulating materials with this thickness.
Spray Foam Insulation
This insulation spray foam is made from latex or polyurethane. It can be sprayed into any place and will fill small cracks and gaps. This is best used for sealing doors, windows or vents. This sets very quickly and can be cut down or painted if needed to help it blend into your home’s décor.
There are two types of spray foam: closed-cell and open-cell. In closed-cell, the cells are closed and filled with a type of gas that helps foam expand in order to fill the space around it. Open-cell foam is not as dense as it is filled with air to give it a more spongy texture. Closed-cell does provide a stronger resistance to air and moisture, but will typically be more costly because of this. Because open-cell is less dense, it should not be used on ground level because it can absorb water.