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Different types of home insulation

Published by on August 23, 2021

Home insulation methods can save you money in the long term, by reducing energy bills. Up to 35% of energy is wasted from heat escaping from your walls, with a further 25% of energy being lost due to poor roof insulation.

Deciding to insulate your home is a great first step, however, you then need to consider the type of insulation you want to use in your home. Considering both the cost and eco-friendliness of available materials, selecting the right insulation can be a daunting choice.

In this article, we will walk you through the different types of insulation. We will discuss the effectiveness and cost of each option, as well as the various installation methods.

Types of insulation

There are a wide variety of different types of insulation, suited to different insulation needs. From cavity wall to loft insulation, the type of insulation you need will depend on the space available, your budget, and the structure of your home.

Here are the top five most common types of insulation found in modern homes.

Cellulose insulation

Cellulose insulation is an eco-friendly option. This loose-fill insulation is made up of approximately 85% recycled paper fibre. The other 15% of the loose fill is comprised of fire retardant materials, such as boric acid or ammonium sulphate.

This type of insulation is sustainable and cost-effective. Perfect for insulating horizontal areas such as lofts or floors, you can evenly cover large spaces and apply more loose-fill insulation to achieve the desired thickness.

Installation of cellulose insulation is fairly simple. You can simply break up the loose-fill into a light fluffy, consistency and spread in the desired area. Alternatively, cellulose insulation can be blown into the empty space using a specialist machine. Blown-in cellulose is particularly useful in awkward or tight attic spaces.

Polyurethane foam

Specialists can mix chemicals to create a polyurethane foam. Polyurethane foam expands on contact to create an air seal and insulate your home. It also acts as a much-needed moisture barrier.

Traditionally, polyurethane was used as a closed-cell insulation foam. It set quickly to form a rigid layer. Making it perfect for roof and cavity wall insulation, particularly where more stability was needed. In recent years, polyurethane has been used to create an open-cell foam that is lightweight and breathable. Since non-chlorofluorocarbon gas is typically used as a blowing agent, this helps decrease the amount of damage caused to the ozone layer.

To install polyurethane foam, you need to consult with a professional. Specialist equipment is used to blow or inject the foam into the required area. Careful assessment and care must be taken in order to not under or overfill the empty space.

Fibreglass insulation

Fibreglass insulation is the most common material found in modern homes. It is made by weaving fine strands of glass into an insulation material to minimize heat transfer. It is an excellent non-flammable material, making it low risk for fire hazards.

Fibreglass insulation is usually available as either loose fibreglass wool or as a blanket of fibreglass batts. Both types of fibreglass are a low-cost yet effective option. It is available at a relatively cheap price point when compared to other insulation methods such as cellulose or sprayed foam.

One downside of fibreglass is the installation method. Whilst it is relatively simple to install, the glass fibres pose a serious risk of injury. Damage can be caused to the eyes, lungs, and skin if adequate safety equipment is not worn. Eye protection, masks, and gloves should always be used when installation fibreglass.

Mineral wool insulation

Mineral wool actually refers to several different types of insulation. Mineral wool insulation can be comprised of glass (fibreglass), basalt (rock wool), or waste from steel mills (slag wool).

As these different types of wool insulation are often made from recycled materials, they can help to protect the environment. One downside is that they do not usually have additives to make them fire-resistant. This makes them difficult to use in situations where extreme heat is present., although they are combustible.

Mineral wool is great for insulating large areas such as a loft or under the floor. Again, mineral wool insulation is available as large batts or as a loose material. Care should be taken when installing and the use of proper protective equipment is essential to eliminate the risk of injury.

Polystyrene insulation

Polystyrene insulation is a thermoplastic foam with waterproof properties. Polystyrene insulation is available in two forms: expanded polystyrene and extruded polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam.

This type of insulation is typically cut into blocks or polystyrene insulation boards. It is perfect for wall insulation, particularly since it works well for sound insulation. This lightweight material can cover large areas, making it somewhat cost-effective.

The installation of polystyrene insulation can be pricey, however. The foam is flammable and therefore it must be coated in a fireproofing chemical. This can only be performed by specialists, meaning you will almost certainly need to hire professional help to use this insulation method.

Final thoughts

All of these insulation methods are reasonable choices. The best option for your home will depend on a wide variety of factors that are specific to your individual property.

For this reason, it is always best to consult with a professional when selecting house insulation. Get in touch with our friendly, expert teams today. They are more than happy to discuss your circumstances and find the best result for your home.

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