A few DIY tips on insulation materials and things you should and should not do when insulating your home.
There are several types of home insulation.. The most popular and widely used type of insulation is fiberglass (which is actually made from spun glass). Fiberglass insulation is typically used to insulate floors, walls, ceilings and attics. It comes faced and un-faced, in various widths and R-values. R-value is simply the measure of thermal resistance (how much the insulation slows the transfer of warm air to cold air). So the higher the R-value the more resistance the insulation offers.
There are many other types of insulation such as;
- Rigid foam (extruded polystyrene), used primarily for exterior applications.
- Cellulose (made from recycled paper), used for insulating walls, ceilings, attics and floors.
- Radiant barriers (closed cell foam faced on both sides with foil) use for insulating floors, walls, ceilings, attics, garage doors, water heaters and metal commercial buildings, and
- Spray foam (a two-part liquid containing a polymer and a foaming agent) used for insulating walls, ceilings and other interior closed spaces.
These products all have different R-values, material cost and installation cost.
Do It Yourself Insulating Do’s & Don’ts:
- Do not crush or stuff fiberglass insulation into a space. Crushing the insulation reduces the effectiveness of the product. More in a space is not better.
- Do wear a mask and protective clothing when working with fiberglass insulation. Who wants to breath spun glass into their lungs.
- Do not block soffit and gable vents when initially insulating or adding insulation to your attic. Good air flow is critical to preventing condensation. Condensation/moisture will ruin most insulation and create an environment for mold to take hold.
- Do install a moisture barrier (plastic/polyethylene) over your insulated walls and seal (tape) all seams as well as the top and bottom of the walls. This will help insure that there is less transfer of warm air to the cold air, thus virtually eliminating condensation.
- Do not dispose of any insulation by burning. Burning insulation is toxic, harmful to you and the environment. You can easily dispose of the extra or old insulation by placing it in plastic bags and taking it to your local refuse disposal station (dump).
- Do use radiant barriers to insulate the inside of your garage door and around your water heater. This is a great way to save energy and it is quite inexpensive. Radiant barriers are less expensive than rigid insulation, are far more effective and easier to use. Radiant barriers are also fantastic for use as a moisture barrier for laminate floors over concrete. Since the radiant barrier acts as a thermal break the cold and moisture can not move from the concrete up through the flooring. It also adds just a bit of cushion to the floor for comfort.
Always remember, reach out to a professional before getting into a job you can’t handle! Everyone has different skill levels, and it’s better to know than not know.
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