Many options are available to you when it comes to home insulation and every option has its own pros and cons. Before you choose a particular type of insulation, it is important for you to check the recommended R-value for your area. R-value is the maximum thermal performance that is required to keep your home warm during the winter months and cool during the summer months.
In simple terms, this value gives you an idea of the ability of insulation to resist heat travelling through it. Better thermal performance corresponds with higher R-value which means you will need to use less energy to heat and cool your home. Here is a list of some of the most common types of insulation available and pros and cons of each type.
One of the most common types is blankets or rows of insulation made from mineral wool, fibreglass, natural fibres such as cotton or plastic fibres. This insulation acts as a vapour barrier and it may come with or without facing. The biggest advantage of this type of insulation is that it is easily available and you can also install it in crawl spaces, attic spaces, unfinished floors as well as in ceilings. As far as the cons of this type of insulation is concerned, you may need to add up to 12 inches of this type of insulation in order to get the right amount as it has an R-value ranging from 2.9 to 3.8 per inch of thickness.
Another option is a foam board or rigid foam which can be used anywhere in the home. The biggest advantage of this insulation type is that these boards have high R-value which means they offer more insulation for the same thickness and these are also easy to work with. The biggest con of this type of insulation is that you cannot use it to insulate the existing walls until you are willing to knock down the wall and do everything again.
Spray form is another option. In this type of insulation, liquid foam is sprayed. This liquid foam then hardens into an effective solid material that offers great insulation value. You can blow it into the walls, below a roof, under the floors as well as on attic surfaces. The biggest advantage of spray foam insulation is that it has twice as much R-value as blanket insulation.
Also, it can be used to fill small cavities to prevent air leakage. This spray foam insulation can be spread around windows, wires, pipes and door frames to prevent any kind of air leakage. The biggest con of this type of insulation is that the closed cell foam insulation tends to be more expensive. The other type of spray foam insulation is open cell which is cheaper but it can absorb water which means you cannot use it below ground level.
As far as choosing the right type of insulation is concerned, it is important to get an energy audit done in order to figure out the kind of insulation needed in your home. Also, do not forget to check any discounts and rebates on offer from your local utility company that can help offset the cost of insulating the home.