Your walls are some of the most important parts of your home that should be insulated as soon as possible. While knowing you should insulate these areas is a step in the right direction, it’s not always clear the type of material you should invest in. For example, homes constructed with 2×4 studs can benefit from fiberglass insulation with an R-value of R-13 or R-15. In homes with 2×6 studs, fiberglass insulation with a value of R-19 or R-21 should be adequate. However, the exact insulation thickness will depend on when your home was built and if there is already insulation in the walls.
Why You Need to Consider R-Value
R-value may seem like a small detail that doesn’t make a big impact. However, this is something you should pay attention to because it can make a big difference in your comfort and even your energy bills throughout the year. The overall R-value of your home determines how well it can prevent heat from transferring. If you have a high R-value in your home, this means it’s relatively good at minimizing heat transfer and keeping air inside so it doesn’t escape through the walls.
Your walls play a major role in minimizing heat transfer, so insulating them is important. When you choose an insulation material, you’ll notice that it has an R-value per inch, which determines how well it does its job. You’ll need to work with your contractor to determine which insulation is the right choice and how thick it should be applied.
Types of Wall Insulation Material
Fiberglass insulation is a great choice for placing inside of walls, as it naturally minimizes noise and heat transfer from room to room. Fortunately, it also has a decent R-value of 2.9-3.8 per inch, even with being one of the most affordable insulation types on the market. This material also provides natural fire resistance while being efficient at maintaining its R-value over many years. One of the biggest cons of installing this inside of your walls is the fact that it can spread fibers into the air, which can be harmful to those who suffer from allergies and asthma.
With an R-value of 3.1-3.8 per inch, you can expect cellulose to provide adequate insulation when placed inside of the walls in your home. The only challenge of this is installing it, as it has to be done with a special machine that requires experience to properly use. While this will effectively fill gaps, over time it can settle and may lose its effectiveness. However, because of the weight, it’s a good choice for walls and can improve energy efficiency while also reducing noise transfer from each room.
Normally made of recycled materials, this type of wool is a reliable choice to have installed in your walls. It comes in batts just like fiberglass insulation, so it’s easily installed with the thickness that is necessary for your home. For 2×4 walls, wool batts have an R-value of R-11 to R-13, while for 2×6 walls it has an R-value of 23. This makes it a better insulator than fiberglass, although it will cost you more in the cost of materials. As an added benefit, wool provides excellent fire resistance and can also maintain its shape over time, so you can use it for longer without having to replace it.
Cotton or Denim
Natural cotton fiber insulation is also known as recycled denim insulation and is an excellent insulation choice made from denim clothing scraps. It can be installed inside of your walls but also has use in roof rafters and ceiling joists. Many homeowners choose this because it is sustainable, eco-friendly, energy-efficient, and can help minimize indoor sound transfer. The R-value for this material ranges from R-13 to R-19, depending on thickness.
Spray foam insulation can perform well throughout your home, including your walls. The R-value of spray foam inside of your walls should be around R-14 to R-21, which is roughly 2-3 inches with closed-cell spray foam that has a rating of R-7. Fortunately, since this material expands and then hardens, it is easier to apply and won’t degrade over time as it sits. While this is an advantage, it is one of the reasons why spray foam costs more than materials such as fiberglass.
Popular Installation Methods
Batts & Roll
The best way to install fiberglass is by cutting it yourself to fit the exact space inside of your walls. Of course, you can also hire a professional to do this to ensure there are no gaps that can let air through. If you choose to make this a DIY project, make sure you have the proper safety equipment, such as gloves and safety goggles.
The compressed state of cellulose designed for blown-in insulation means it must be installed with a specific type of machine. Fortunately, professionals have access to this machine and know how to use it. They will load the bags of material and apply it to the inside of your walls to ensure the thickness you desire is achieved.
Over-spraying with spray foam insulation is a major problem that’s common with DIY projects. That’s why we recommend working with a contractor who will do the work for you. In addition to bringing the proper machinery, they also know how to control the sprayer to apply just the right amount. Without the necessary knowledge and experience, it can be extremely difficult to achieve these same results.
Tips Before You Insulate Your Walls
- Remove damaged insulation
- Measure the walls
- Invest in safety equipment
- Clear the room
- Prepare materials
- Clean up debris
- Seal gaps
Determine Your Target R-Value
The typical R-value for 2×4 walls should be around R-13 to R-15. For 2×6 walls, the R-value should be anywhere from R-19 to R-21. These values will provide you with adequate coverage throughout the year the minimize noise transfer and energy loss.
How Much Insulation to Buy
You can determine how much insulation materials you’ll need by first measuring the length and height of your walls. Next, multiply these numbers and you’ll have the number of square feet that need to be covered. To determine the amount of material you need, just take your square footage and divide it by the square footage that’s listed on the package of materials you’re having installed.
Do the Necessary Prep Work
Get PPE Equipment
Long pants, socks, gloves, a long-sleeve shirt, and protective goggles are extremely important when working with insulation. It’s also important to wear a mask, preferably one that will filter out small particles to prevent them from going into your lungs.
Remove the Bad Stuff
Removing damaged insulation, especially material that has mold or mildew on it, is crucial. If this is not removed, spores from mold can pass through your walls and into your breathing air through tiny particles that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Seal Air Leaks
To prevent additional air loss, seal the areas around your windows, electric boxes, and rim joists. You should also seal cracks and areas around wood joints for additional coverage. Doing this after the insulation is installed can be extremely difficult, so take care of it ahead of time.
Box Off Electrical Fixtures
Caulking the gap around your electrical box is an important part of prepping for insulation. However, you should also box off the area so it doesn’t get covered with material during installation.
Why Hiring an Expert Team for Wall Insulation Makes Sense
Our priority at Action 1 Insulation is to insulate your home (or office) efficiently and effectively. We charge fair prices and our contractors always do high-quality work. Some of the benefits of working with a professional for this type of job includes: