When one thinks of insulation, the first thing that comes to mind for some might be the Pink Panther. Better known as Owens Corning and the big pink rolls of fiberglass insulation usually found in your attic space. Insulation plays an integral part of your homes overall health, and when installed properly can help save money on your utility bills. Insulation comes in many different shapes and sizes and some are better suited for certain applications. Let’s go over some of the different types you may encounter on your next trip to the attic. You are making trips to your attic right?
Fiberglass Batt Insulation
Fiberglass batt insulation is the most common form of insulation. It is found in all the big box stores and is somewhat easy to install. I say somewhat, because, most inspections I conduct have the kraft paper or “faced” side installed improperly and not in substantial contact with the unfinished/unexposed sides of walls. Floors, or ceiling surfaces. The paper side should always face and be in substantial contact with the unfinished/unexposed sides of the wall, floor, or ceiling surfaces. The kraft paper is highly flammable and precaution should be taken when installing paper faced batts of insulation. With an R-value between 3.1 and 3.4 and its ease of install for the DIY’er it’s no big mystery why batt insulation is widely popular.
Blown Cellulose Insulation
Blown cellulose is an extremely popular choice for insulation these days because of its recyclable nature. In fact, cellulose has the highest recycled content of any insulation available. No wonder it’s such a big hit. It is comprised of 85% recycled paper, usually old newspapers and the other 15% is a fire retardant such as boric acid or ammonium sulphate which also acts to repel mice and other rodents. With an R-value at around 3.0 per inch, it is a viable alternative to fiberglass.
Rock Wool Insulation
Rock wool or mineral wool like cellulose contains about 75% recycled material. It is non-combustible and fire resistant up to about 1,400 degrees. Rock wool is highly water repellant and offers excellent sound deadening properties. With an R-value between 3.1 and 4.0 somewhat higher than that of fiberglass, you may be asking yourself why is it not the most popular choice in insulation? Price, simply put. Although upfront costs are higher than previous insulation types, the saving from rock wool’s insulation capabilities and long-term durability will more than make up for it over the long haul.
Blown Fiberglass Insulation
Blown fiberglass works in much the same way as blown cellulose. Fiberglass manufactures have worked hard at recycling and although they’re not at 75%, they have been getting better with 35% recycled material. Fiberglass is comprised of glass, therefore, will not burn. Blown fiberglass insulation is less likely to settle than blown cellulose helping make it the go to insulation for many. With an R-value between 2.1 and 2.7 per inch.
It is important to remember when using any type of insulation that your recessed lights must be IC (Insulation Contact) rated and have a UL listing. IC rated fixtures can be installed in insulated ceilings without having to leave a gap between the fixture and the insulation. Non-IC rated recessed can lighting must be installed in areas without insulation or there must be a gap, failing to do so increases the risk of fire considerably. Carefully read the manufacturer’s installation instructions and when in doubt install a barrier between your lights and your insulation.