4 Types of Insulation for Your House (Pros & Cons) (2023)

Insulation is hugely important and the right insulation for your home can save you a lot of money in the long run with retaining heat. Read about the four types of insulation for your home here.

4 Types of Insulation for Your House (Pros & Cons) (1)

Installing an insulation system can drastically reduce energy consumption in your house. This is the best way to keep your house cool in the summers while keeping it warm during the winters.

However, most of the modern homes are designed to be energy efficient themselves, and there is no point in installing the system then. Therefore, before installing an insulation system in your house, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Whether or not your house needs insulation?
  2. If you already have an insulation system installed, what type it is?
  3. How much thickness or depth of the insulation your house has?

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Heat Loss Statistics

  • On average, heating and cooling comprise 54% of a home’s annual utility bills.
  • Wall insulation can reduce a home’s heat loss by 67%, while attic insulation can lead to a 40% decrease in heating and cooling costs.
  • 10% of your home heating bill costs stem from uninsulated floors.
  • Insulating basement walls or slab foundation can reduce heating costs by10% to 20%.
  • A home that is well insulated against heat loss can recoup the costs of implementing insulation within 5 to 6 years from the resultant energy savings, also you can find out more about Cavitech-UK here.

4 Types of Insulation for Your House (Pros & Cons) (2)

Where does heat loss happen the most in your home?

  • 26% of heat loss is via the roof.
  • 33% of heat loss happens through the walls.
  • 8% of heat loss is through the floor.
  • 3% of heat loss is through gaps in or around the door.
  • 18% through gaps in and around windows.
  • 12% via ventilation & draughts.

4 Types of Insulation

There are 4 common types of insulation that can alter the heat inside your house depending on the weather conditions outside. They are as follows:

1. Spray Foam Insulation

4 Types of Insulation for Your House (Pros & Cons) (3)

This kind of insulation is done with aid of spray holders. Foam is sprayed from the containers in specific places of the house. The best places to install this kind of installation are new wall spaces, unfinished attics or existing walls. Although the foam is sprayed using spray holders, they can also be applied in large quantities, using the foamed-in-place method.

However, it should be kept in mind that this kind of insulation is much more expensive when compared to fiberglass insulation. In addition, it can also be a messy process. Also, the foam is made up of chemicals, which if inhaled can cause respiratory problems. Therefore, it is always advised to hire a handyman experienced in this task because you should make sure that the foam spread should be equal in every place.

(Video) Which Insulation is Best?!

2. Fiberglass Insulation

4 Types of Insulation for Your House (Pros & Cons) (4)

This is the commonest form of insulation. They are available in either loose fill or batts. The best part of insulating your house this way is that this is way cheap and is also the easiest way to do insulation for your home. Also, fiberglass insulation does not let your house get damaged from damp. This is non-flammable and thus it protects your house. All these characteristics make it preferable for householders to use this type of insulation for their homes.

Fiberglass insulation is done mainly between joists, beams, and studs.

However, you should be careful while installing this kind of insulation for your home because they can affect your lungs and skin. The best idea is to stay away from the place during installation. This material, unless sealed with plastic, must have a vapor barrier to protect the material from moisture. In addition, fiberglass tends to sag over time, and therefore should be re-installed from time to time.

3. Mineral Wool Insulation

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Mineral wool insulation is also known as rock wool insulation. This is almost similar to fiberglass insulation. Mineral wool is easy to install. They come in loose fills, which can be poured directly from bags or be blown to a certain area. The best part of this kind of insulation is that it can tolerate higher temperatures, as in up to 1000oC than the other forms of insulation. The house also remains soundproof when insulated with this material.

(Video) Types of attic insulation-Pros and Cons

However, it is much more expensive when compared to fiberglass insulation and is also not found in the market commonly. One should also wear protective gear while installing it because the slivers in the loose fill are tiny enough to get into your nose and can also cause cancer in the lungs.

4. Cellulose Insulation

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If you are looking for some organic way to insulate your home, cellulose insulation will work best for you. This type of insulation is mainly made from recycled paper, mainly newspapers and sometimes cardboards and other kinds of papers, and comes in loose fills. Cellulose insulation materials are treated with chemicals to make them better in protecting the home from moisture, heat, and pests.

However, it should be remembered that as this kind of insulation absorbs moisture, they can get damaged with time. Therefore, experts advise that you should re-install it every five years. In addition, the overall installation costs for cellulose insulation for your home will be much higher as compared to the conventional fiberglass insulation option. Also, when installed, this kind of insulation is likely to create a lot of dust. Both in the case of dry or wet blown cellulose, it is important that there is a vapor barrier.

Insulation Pricing

Generally, insulation installation costs depend on the R-value of the material. It also depends on the material itself and how lasting it is. For example, if you plan to use fiberglass for insulating your home, it is much cheaper an option than the others.

  1. Cellulose:
    • Loose-Fill: $0.50 to $1 per square foot
    • Damp-Spray: $0.60 to $1.80 per square foot
    • Dense-Packed: $2 to $2.25 per square foot
  2. Fiberglass:
    • Batts: $0.50 to $1 per square foot
    • Blown-in: $0.50 to $1 per square foot
  3. Foam:
    • Open-Cell: $0.44 to $0.65 per square foot
    • Close-Cell: $1 to $1.50 per square foot
  4. Mineral Wool:
    • $0.77 per square foot

What is the best insulation?

One way to assess what is the best insulation is by a measurement called an R-value. R-value is a measurement based on a material’s ability to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better that material is for insulation.

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Below is a chart and details setting out the different insulating materials and associated R-value.

  • Polyisocyanurate: 7.2 R-value
  • Polyurethane: 6.25 R-value
  • Extruded Polystyrene: 5 R-value
  • Expanded Polystyrene: 4 R-value
  • Rigid Fibreglass: 4 R-value
  • Fibreglass/Rock Wool Batt: 3.14-4.3 R-value
  • Cellulose Blown: 3.3-3.7
  • Fibreglass Blown: 1.05 to 3.7 R-value

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How to Reduce Heat Loss

  • Insulation: Insulate your walls and roof well.
  • Chimneys: A removable chimney ballon can prevent excess heat from escaping when you don’t have a fire. If you never use the chimney, get it capped.
  • Windows: Put draughtproofing strips around the windows to prevent heat escaping through thin gaps. New windows can help tremendously.
  • Doors: Draughtproofing strips are also good around doorframes internally and externally.
  • Radiators: If you have cold spots on your radiators, have them bled so that trapped air is released and your heating system is optimised. Also, position a shelf just above your radiators so that heat is thrown forward into the room.
  • Curtains: Heavy-duty curtains are good at keeping heat within a room.

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Author Bio: Ralph Hughes is an interior designer, architect, builder and the founder of Hughes Design and Construction Inc, Inc located in Arkansas. A graduate of the University Of Arkansas School Of Engineering, Ralph enjoys assisting in the design of your project from conception to completion.

Graphics provided by Senator Windows.

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What type of home insulation is best? ›

Overall, if you are looking for the best long-term solution, foam insulation products will create the air seal in your home that will make it more comfortable while saving you money on your monthly energy bills. Foam insulation doesn't settle or sag and it fills all the nooks and crannies where it is installed.

What type of insulation should I use? ›

Depending on where you live and the part of your home you're insulating (walls, crawlspace, attic, etc.), you'll need a different R-Value. Typical recommendations for exterior walls are R-13 to R-23, while R-30, R-38 and R-49 are common for ceilings and attic spaces.

What insulation lasts the longest? ›

Cellulose insulation usually lasts 20 to 30 years before it starts to degrade, and mineral wool also lasts decades as long as it is not damaged. Spray foam insulation is one of the longest-lasting. Many homeowners never have to replace it in their lifetime.

Which insulation is safest? ›

Compared to fiberglass insulation, any of the above options would be safer than insulating your home with tiny glass shards dipped in formaldehyde. However, the safest option of all is cellulose.

What are the pros and cons of foam insulation? ›

A Breakdown Of The Pros & Cons Of Spray Foam Insulation
Pros and Cons of Spray Foam Insulation
Creates a highly energy efficient thermal envelopeUpfront costs are high and installation is expensive
Extraordinary thermal qualitiesPayback takes 2-4 years
Lower ongoing energy costsNot a DIY product
6 more rows
25 Aug 2021

What are the pros and cons of fiberglass? ›

Fibreglass last a long time, it can be coloured, shiny or dull. It is low maintenance, anti-magnetic, fire resistant, good electrical insulator and weatherproof. The disadvantages is that it needs to be re-gel coated about every five years and can result in airborne fibres which may be an issue to asthma sufferers.

Does spray foam devalue your house? ›

In fact, according to Heritage House, they have seen entire roofs rotted and unrecoverable after SPF has been used. They state that by using SPF in your roof, '…you will devalue your home by the amount that a new roof will cost, and more. ' And we agree.

What are the 4 best insulators? ›

Plastic, rubber, wood, and ceramics are good insulators. These are often used to make kitchen utensils, such as saucepan handles, to stop heat from flowing up to burn the cook's hand. Plastic coating is also used to cover most electrical wires in appliances. Air is also a good insulator of heat.

What is Type 4 insulation? ›

Description. This Type 4 shiplapped insulation panel is made of an extruded polystyrene foam board. It is easy to handle, cut and install. Also, it is ideal above and below grade as well as under slabs for both interior and exterior uses. This panel offers a thermal resistance of R7.

Which insulation is best for winter? ›

Fiberglass Insulation

This type of insulation material is widely available and comes in various shapes and sizes. For cold climates, Loose-fill Fiberglass Insulation is the best as it has an R-Value of 60.

What kind of insulation is best for walls? ›

The best insulation for walls when it comes to new build homes or remodels is going to be Nu-Wool, foam board, or open cell spray foam.
  • Open cell spray foam is an expensive option for insulation.
  • Spray foam can't be installed as a DIY project.
  • Some brands of spray foam have an odor when installed.
1 Jul 2020

What type of insulation is best for exterior walls? ›

Best Insulation for Open Exterior Walls
  • Fiberglass Insulation. Fiberglass insulation is one of the options that is going to require tearing down your drywall. ...
  • Foam Board Insulation. ...
  • Spray Foam Insulation. ...
  • Blown-In Cellulose Insulation. ...
  • Injection Foam Insulation.
12 May 2021

Should you remove old insulation before putting new? ›

Expert contractors that specialize in insulation advise that removing old fiberglass insulation is best before installing new cellulose insulation because of possible mildew, mold, or rodent excrement.

Should new insulation go over old? ›

You can absolutely new insulation over old insulation… as long as it isn't wet. Energy Star advises as follows: “If it… appears that the insulation [is wet or] has previously been wet, you should look for the cause and repair the problem to prevent a reoccurrence. Remove any wet insulation.

What is the most cost effective type of insulation? ›

Fiberglass Batt

Fiberglass batts are the most commonly used type of insulation at 52%. It is also the lowest in cost and like all fiberglass carries little-to-no health risks. Batts are typically used between studs in places like the attic and the walls of your home.

What insulation does not mold? ›

Fiberglass, a non-biodegradable substance is resistant to mold. With its sharp, ground glass, mold spores puncture before they can attach to it. Mold can grow on the fiberglass insulation backing, which is made of paper and is a mold food source. Fiberglass insulation without backing may be the best choice.

What is the most breathable insulation? ›

Other types of fill, such as Polartec Alpha and FullRange insulation (used by Patagonia in the Nano-Air series of jackets), offer arguably the most breathable options out there.

What insulation is not itchy? ›

Polyester Insulation - The Itch-Free Solution.

What is the best material to insulate your walls with? ›

The best insulation for walls when it comes to new build homes or remodels is going to be Nu-Wool, foam board, or open cell spray foam.
  • Open cell spray foam is an expensive option for insulation.
  • Spray foam can't be installed as a DIY project.
  • Some brands of spray foam have an odor when installed.
1 Jul 2020

Is it better to use insulation with a low or high R-value? ›

The R-value for insulation is a way to measure how much resistance the insulation has to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the more the resistance and the better the material is at insulating a home.

What insulation is best for interior walls? ›

Because they have a high R-value and can be used nearly anywhere in your home, foam board insulation is one of the most common types of insulation. Best for floors, foundation and basement walls, interior and exterior wall sheathing and low-sloped ceilings.

What insulation gives you the best R-value? ›

Among insulation types, rigid foam panels have the highest R-value per inch.

What is the most important part of a house to insulate? ›

Arguably the most important space in the home to insulate is the attic. This is primarily because heat naturally rises, which means that the attic will hold a lot of the heat generated in the home. During the winter, having that heat escape through the attic will push up energy bills.

What is the most affordable type of insulation? ›

Fiberglass is a low-cost option for insulation. You can choose either to install it yourself or to have it professionally installed. Fiberglass batts are available in a variety of lengths and thicknesses, depending on your needs. They range in price from $0.50 to $1.50 per square foot.

Should you insulate your inside walls? ›

Even if you have good exterior insulation, it's helpful to insulate interior walls of rooms you don't use year round, such as guest rooms, storage rooms, and three-season rooms. This helps keep your warm or cooled air where you are.

What is a good R-value for winter? ›

Winter – ASTM R-value 4.5 + (the colder the temperature the higher the R-value you will require) - suitable for use in Winter temperatures of -10C and below (often combined with a Closed Cell Foam mat in extreme temperatures).

What R-value do you need for winter? ›

R-values 101

For winter camping, you generally want an R-value of at least 5, while three-season campers only need an R-value of 2 or more for most conditions. R-values are additive, so stacking two pads on top of each other provides an R-value that is more or less the sum of their individual R-values.

How much R-value is too much? ›

In most of the United States, achieving an R-Value of 38 is more than sufficient.

Which insulation is best for cold room? ›

Polyurethane is the most commonly used, efficient material in use for cold room panels, being used in over 90% of all panels. It is a rigid cellular foam composed of two liquids: polyol and isocyanate.

What is the cheapest way to insulate a house? ›

6 Inexpensive Insulating Materials For Interior Walls
  • Radiant Barrier.
  • Stone Wool.
  • Fiberglass Batts.
  • Blown-in Cellulose.
  • Rigid Foam Boards.
  • Spray Foam.
23 Sept 2021

Is it better to insulate ceiling or roof? ›

If you are deciding between insulating the roof deck or the ceiling, Insulating your ceiling should be the priority. Not only is it easier but ceiling insulation is beneficial in a number of ways: Keeps the temperature in the building regulated. Saves on energy costs.

What type of insulation goes between floors? ›

Most homes with hardwood flooring use underlayment to add a layer of insulation between the subfloor and floor. So, materials that act as insulators, namely rigid foam, polyfoam, silicone, fiberglass, or rubber are used to keep the surface from getting cold in winter.

What insulation is best for attic? ›

Fiberglass, cotton, and mineral wool can all work as loose-fill insulation material, but the far and away top choice for blown-in insulation is fiberglass. Contrary to batts insulation, blown-in fiberglass insulation is perfect for filling in tight voids around wiring, pipes, or any area with awkward framing.


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