Understanding Insulation


It comes as no surprise that insulation is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when building a home. Proper insulation is necessary to trap heat and provide a proper barrier for sound. It’s also a crucial element in securing the home against moisture, which causes mold and mildew, and leads to decay. When you begin this process you will have many options available. Insulation can cost as little as a few cents a square foot, or reach up to over a dollar a square foot, depending on which route you take. Below are a few options to compare, in order to start your journey understanding and choosing the right insulation for your home.

1) Cotton Batts Insulation.

This is a newer form of insulation that has been gaining popularity due to its environmentally friendly nature. It is also appealing because the installation is very similar to that of traditional fiberglass insulation, making it a convenient option. Cotton Batts uses recycled denim for construction, and contains none of the toxic substances traditionally found in fiberglass. It uses boric acid as a flame retardant, and the manufacturing process is also friendly to the environment. For those who are health conscious, there will be no carcinogenic air fibers released from this either.

With all the claimed benefits that this new insulation provides, it’s no wonder that the price will demand a little more, averaging between seventy and seventy-five cents a square foot. New constructions may find this a wise choice!

2) Polyurethane Spray Foam.

For those with no desire to slice and install sheets of insulation, an alternative option to consider is a spray foam. This insulation does require professional application as it uses high-pressure sprayers. Spray foam has been around since the 1940s and used in residential construction since the 1970s. It is not flammable, needs no vapor barrier as it restricts air flow, and absorbs sound well. This is a thorough option that would be well considered for a basement, or masonry construction. Recently, there have been some concerns over the environmental and health attributes of some older types of spray foam. You might want to check out new technologies before looking at this option.

Because this is such a strong and thorough option, this insulation can be high in price range, nearing two dollars a square foot.

3) Mineral Wool and Cellulose.

These are two forms of insulation that are blown into place. Mineral Wool is spun and inorganic, whereas Cellulose is made from newspapers treated boron. Both are fire resistant. Cellulose is also pest resistant, and Mineral Wool is resistant to mold and mildew growth. Both are quite sound resistant.

These are two simple options for those working on a tight budget. For either of these you can stay under twenty cents a square foot. However, you will likely have to invest in vapor barriers as well which would become an added cost, as neither of these are moisture resistant.

There are many more variations on the market. Most people think of pink fiberglass when they hear insulation, and while that is still an available choice, you may be surprised to discover the amount of options available to you. If you have any questions or doubts, always check with a contractor you trust. Insulation will protect your home for years to come, so don’t take any chances!

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