We’re proud that our team at Action 1 Insulation can help our customers with any type of insulation they’d like to have installed in their residential or commercial space. However, we often see that there’s confusion about what the differences between each material are. If you’re interested in learning more about the most popular options and how they may benefit you, then we’ve shared a quick guide below to help. This may help clarify some questions you have about insulation and what it can do for your space.
This type of insulation is made from small pieces of insulation materials that are blown in through a large machine. This can be used to quickly spread insulation in attics, floors, walls, and other areas that would otherwise be hard to reach. The amount of insulation layered into the area of choice will be controlled by the person holding the machine, which takes skill and experience. The R-value of blown-in insulation depends on the type of material and the depth that’s applied.
- Blown-in Fiberglass: 2.2 – 2.9
- Blown-in Cellulose: 3.1 – 3.8
R-values of these materials are given per inch, which means more insulation will increase the R-value. To ensure you have the right R-value for the climate you live in, it’s important to work with your contractor to determine the depth of the material that should be applied. You can expect to pay $1 – $1.50 per square foot, with the higher price being the result of thicker insulation. You can discuss material options with your contractor to find which blown-in material fits your budget the best.
Rolled and Batt
Insulation batts are pre-cut to make installation easier in hard-to-reach areas (or for those who are doing DIY installation). Rolled insulation is not cut into strips but instead comes in a large continuous roll that can be cut by the installer. Both offer excellent protection, although many contractors prefer rolled insulation because it has fewer gaps once installed. This insulation is normally installed in attics, flooring, and inside of walls.
R-value for batt insulation (per square foot):
- Fiberglass: 2.9 – 3.8
- Cotton: 3.0 – 3.7
- Stone Wool: 3.3 – 4.2
You can expect to pay around .30 to .90 per square foot for either batt or roll insulation. This makes it one of the most budget-friendly materials you can insulate with. Fortunately, you won’t sacrifice the benefits this has to offer because it’s still quite effective at insulating any space it’s installed in.
Spray foam insulation is a great option if you’re looking for a material that is effective and affordable. The price for open-cell spray foam varies from .44 – .65 per square foot while closed-cell spray foam will cost around $1 to $1.50 per board foot. Since spray foam expands into small spaces, it’s extremely effective at sealing holes and creating the most solid coverage possible.
Closed-cell spray foam has an R-value of 6.5 per inch, while open-cell spray foam has an R-value of 3.7 per inch. Open-cell is mostly used for walls, ceilings, and roofs because it has low density. Closed-cell spray foam is much denser but can also be used in walls, ceilings, and roofs. It can also be used under slabs to help create a water and air barrier.
While it can be tempting to install spray foam on your own, Action 1 Insulation does not recommend this. Without the proper experience, it can be easy to apply too much or too little and miss spots that should be addressed.
Although radiant barriers are excellent at improving energy-efficiency, they aren’t the same as typical insulation. This is why this material has no R-value, as it does not absorb heat. Instead, radiant barriers will reflect heat thanks to the reflective properties on their surfaces. This can block up to 90% of heat from coming inside of your home, keeping the temperature low even when it’s hot outside.
Most contractors recommend having radiant barriers installed in attics and garages to help reflect heat where the sun will hit the hardest. The cost per square foot will vary from .10 to .90, depending on the coverage needed and the brand of material being used. While radiant barriers are effective, it’s best to use them in addition to your choice of insulation rather than instead of it.
Rigid Foam Board Insulation
Rigid foam panels are high-performing insulation materials for both commercial and residential structures. There are three main types of foam panels you can choose from, including PIR (polyisocyanurate), XPS (extruded polystyrene), and EPS (expanded polystyrene). PIR insulation is normally installed with aluminum facing on commercial and residential roofs.
However, it’s generally not recommended for walls in colder climates, as it’s not as effective as other types of material. XPS panels have an R5 rating per inch, although most contractors agree that they lose performance over time. However, by choosing above-grade foam rather than low-grade foam, you’ll find that the material is able to resist moisture and will perform beautifully. It can be used on roofs and areas underneath slabs for improved insulation performance. With so many differences in XPS panels, it’s crucial to work with a contractor who will take the time to find the best quality material for you. EPS has a slightly lower R-value of R4 per inch, although it does not retain moisture because of its structure. The thicker EPS boards you have, the better the outcome will be. It’s best used in existing walls, especially if combined with additional insulation to enhance the benefits it has to offer.
How the Action 1 Insulation
Team Can Help You With the Right Choices
Insulating your home properly means achieving the R-value that’s appropriate for the climate you live in. At Action 1 Insulation, our contractors will help you make sense of what R-value you need in each of the rooms of your home. In general, the R-value for exterior walls should be around R-20, ceilings should be around R-35, and attics should be R-35 as well. We’ll work with you to assess your needs, including how much sound transfer you’d like to cut between rooms or the outdoors.
Once we know what R-value you’d like for each area in your home, we can discuss the different types of insulation. We’ll talk about your budget, the size of the space, and how long insulation will take overall. Once your contractor lays out your option, it will be easier to decide which is right for your home. Many homeowners choose more than one insulation type, especially if they are adding to the existing installation. We’ll make sure we answer your questions and address all options so you can choose exactly what’s right for your home.
The last step our team at Action 1 Insulation takes to complete your insulation project is to take care of the installation. Fortunately, our team has the experience, knowledge, and know-how to do this right from the start. Whether you need insulation added, are replacing your insulation completely, or are starting from scratch, they’ll be able to take care of the job. We pride ourselves on excellent service with every job, including installation that is always done with care and quality.