Insulating walls is one of the excellent ways to help lessen your energy consumption and allow you to enjoy savings on your utility bills. In fact, insulating your internal and external walls can make a huge difference to your home’s livability and comfort.
Proper wall insulation doesn’t only regulate heat but also offers acoustic benefits. If you’ve decided to insulate your walls, here are some tips for choosing the right wall insulation:
Speak To An Expert
Wall insulation may seem simple, but it’s a complicated home improvement project. So, when undecided with the right wall insulation suited for your home, never hesitate to speak to an expert like in Raycore.
Insulation experts who have been in the industry for years know the right insulation process and materials to use. Besides, even if you decide to take the do-it-yourself (DIY) route and use the highest quality insulation materials, they might ineffectively work if not properly installed. Therefore, working with an insulation contractor can make a difference between having well-insulated walls and uncomfortable space.
To find the right insulation expert to do the job for you, here are the ways to select the best one in the industry:
Opt For A Highly Experienced Professional
Hiring a new insulation contractor doesn’t always mean that they won’t do an excellent job. However, if you settle with a highly experienced professional, you can be sure that their skillset is more refined.
Working with an experienced contractor may also increase your chances of getting great results and might as well improve your home’s insulation effectively. Moreover, experienced insulation professionals know the best insulation materials fit your budget and needs.
Check For Reviews And References
An insulation professional may boast all day about their superior services. But, their opinion is a bit biased. To get an impartial take on the quality of insulation contractors, check for reviews and references.
Testimonials from your previous customers will provide valuable insights into whether they’re satisfied with the company’s services. If you notice more negative reviews, you must opt for a more reliable company.
Ask For Estimates
Any trustworthy contractor will provide you with estimates of the overall cost of the insulation installation project. Moreover, they’ll provide you with a timeline to help you determine how long the work will take.
If your preferred contractor doesn’t provide you with estimates, they might try to charge you an expensive fee after completing the project. So, do your best to avoid this trick and get initial estimates from the contractor before beginning the project.
Check Their Insurance Coverage And Licensing
Any reputable and high-quality insulation contractor can adhere to all insurance and licensing requirements in their service area. Failing to meet those requirements must serve as a red flag to potential customers. If the business isn’t willing to stay updated on essential insurance and licensing requirements, they might not provide you with the best quality service possible.
Select The Right R-Value
Generally, the R-value measures how well insulation materials can prevent heat flow outside and inside the property. For example, if you live in a colder region, your insulation material must have a high R-value to keep your home warm.
Higher R-value means better insulation performance and more savings on your next cooling and heating bill. Fiberglass, cellulose, and spray foam have the same R-value. However, every type of spray foam may vary. For instance, polyurethane foam’s R-value is almost twice as the other insulation materials. Its price is also higher.
Nevertheless, you don’t need to choose the insulation materials with a higher R-value as they may vary depending on the climatic conditions of your region. The lower your outside temperature is, the higher R-value is needed.
Before buying insulation for your walls, make sure to research what’s recommended in your area. This way, you won’t only choose the right insulation material, but you’ll also save time from shopping around.
Consider The Installation Process
Another tip to consider when selecting the right wall insulation is the installation process. Do you need to hire professionals, or do you prefer a DIY insulation project?
Every type of insulation has a particular method of installation. For example, the batt-and-blanket variety is preferred by homeowners because it’s easy to install and affordable. On the other hand, plastic foam and loose-fill varieties require the skills and know-how of professionals.
So, whether or not you’re considering DIY wall insulation, make sure to understand the different types of wall insulation:
Fiberglass is a common insulation material as it’s inexpensive, non-flammable, resistant to moisture damage, and easy to install. You can purchase fiberglass pre-shaped blanket rolls and batts, or you could get loose fills to make your insulating partitions.
Pre-shaped rolls and batts are DIY-friendly because they are made to fit into the standard width between wall studs. They are also available in different density options, which vary in R-values.
There are two kinds of fiberglass insulation, including unfaced and faced. Unfaced only insulate, while faced insulation has plastic or paper and keeps the moisture out. Faced insulation is also used for ceiling, attic, and floor. On the contrary, unfaced is used to conserve energy and reduce noise.
When handling fiberglass, it’s critical to wear protective gear because it’s a harmful skin and lung irritant. Be sure to wear gloves and a mask, and never let your bare skin come into contact with fiberglass. If possible, read the instructions first for safety and guidance.
Spray Foam Insulation
Typically made of polyurethane, spray foam can be injected or sprayed into the walls, which expands to fill the wall cavity and hardens over time. This kind of insulation has a high R-value, but it’s more expensive than loose-fill insulation. Also, special equipment is needed for installation.
Unlike spray foam, cellulose is a loose-fill, organic material made from recycled papers, making it an eco-friendly choice for wall insulation. This kind of insulation is treated with chemicals to ensure better resistance against pests and moisture.
Loose cellulose can be an excellent option for working around obstructions and filling oddly-shaped areas. If you prefer installing cellulose insulation yourself, you may pour it directly into your desired area, or you can use an insulation blower from a reliable hardware store.
Placing cellulose insulation can be a little tricky, as it may sag or damage your home’s structural integrity. Hiring a professional specializing in blown-in insulation may help avoid any costly mistakes.
Rigid Board Insulation
More often than not, rigid panels or boards are used for insulating walls from within. Such boards can be made either of fibrous materials, such as plastic foam, rock, fiberglass, mineral wool, and more. These can be purchased in batts, which are small portions of boards designed to fit into particular areas like cavities in your walls.
Rigid boards are used inside interior walls for insulating inner spaces in between. It may be done either using bigger panels or batts that are cut and measured to fit precisely against your wall’s inner surface. They’re best for limited spaces that need excellent insulation for small areas.
Among the benefits of using this type of insulation is the high R-value it has. Since it’s strong and light, it improves your wall’s structural strength and provides acoustic insulation aside from thermal insulation. It also doesn’t rot as long as rigid boards aren’t exposed to prolonged dampness.
Radiant Or Reflective Barriers
Reflective barriers work in completely different ways from other types of wall insulation. One of their primary differences is that they don’t have an R-value and don’t lessen the heat flow in a property.
Instead, reflective barriers direct the heat away from your house. They’re constructed from painted-on reflective coating or lightweight foil, other than a sturdy base made from bubbled polyethylene or thick paper.
Such barriers are DIY-friendly, cost-effective, and great in reducing energy costs during the summer. But they’re useless during the winter. So, if you need insulation that works year-round, reflective barriers are not a good option.
Mineral Wool Insulation
Mineral wool, also known as rock wool insulation, is comparable to fiberglass. It’s costlier than fiberglass but doesn’t carry the same health issues.
Mineral wool is also an excellent fire retardant aside from being heat-resistant, moisture-resistant, and noise-resistant. It’s also available as a loose-fill that’s blown into your preferred area. You may also find pre-cut batts for mineral wool, making the installation process easier. However, this insulation material is quite heavy, so check your wall’s structural integrity before placing it.
Evaluate The Material’s Safety
The safety of insulation materials is gauged by their ability to resist fire. Usually, such materials are embedded in strategic areas, including the floor, windows, walls, basement, attic, and ceiling. Thus, you don’t want combustible materials in case a fire breaks out.
Since safety should be your priority, choosing insulation material with a Class 1 fire rating is essential. This rating means that the material resists the speed of spreading fire.
Consider The Overall Costs
The kind of wall insulation you choose will depend on your budget. For example, the most popular is the batt-and-blanket variety because it’s very affordable for homeowners. While other varieties offer more benefits, they tend to be more expensive.
So, before making your final decision, make sure to consider the price of the related expenses and materials. Remember that categories such as plastic foam and loose-fill may require special tools for the installation process. The choice is yours on whether to hire professionals or pay extra for the necessary equipment to ensure proper installation.
Think Twice Before You DIY
People with years of experience in DIY projects may take on nearly all wall insulation types if they have the right tools and feel comfortable about it. However, you have to remember that a slip-up may lead to a low R-value and a greater chance of drafty rooms, higher utility bills, and replacing insulation altogether. But, boards, batting, insulation, and blankets are DIY friendly because of their stability and pre-cut shapes.
Unfortunately, many blown-in and cellulose insulation often require a manufacturer’s note to hire professionals. Blown-in insulation needs complex tools, so it’s wise to skip the DIY in this situation.
Benefits Of Wall Insulation
Wall insulation is no doubt a good investment for any homeowner. However, some people might hesitate to invest in wall insulation due to its cost. If you’re having second thoughts like others, here are the benefits of wall insulation you must know:
Insulating your walls may minimize annoying sounds from outdoors, and it lessens the sound carrying from one room to another. Through insulating your walls, you’re minimizing sound transmission and maximizing your enjoyment of each room in your home. With properly insulated walls, there’s also less worry about whether the television is too loud as the sound won’t carry as much as when your walls are well-insulated.
Efficient Cooling And Heating
Excellent wall insulation stops the flow of heat out or into your home. With this, your house will be more energy-efficient throughout the year.
Insulation serves to keep both air conditioning and heat in the house, which means your heating and cooling system won’t need to work as hard, and your utility bills will be lessened. Insulation on exterior walls puts blanket-like barriers between your extreme outdoor temperatures and living area. Insulating walls may also prevent it by reducing air movement, allowing you to save up to 40% in cooling and heating bills.
Better Moisture Control
The moisture trapped within your walls may cause various problems. If the water condenses within your walls, it may result in mildew, rotting, and staining, especially if frozen patches of moisture start to melt. Insulating your walls with a vapor-resistant membrane material can lessen condensation due to moisture caused by cooking, washing, and bathing.
Adding wall insulation can help reduce the cost of your monthly utility bills and make your home more energy-efficient. The better insulated your walls are, the less energy is required to keep your house at a comfortable temperature. So, if you want to reap the perks of wall insulation, don’t think twice and look for the best insulation contractor to get satisfactory results.