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Tips for Choosing the Right Wall Insulation for Your Home

Home Efficiency
January 31, 2017

If you have attic insulation but you still feel like the temperature inside your home mirrors what’s outdoors, then it may be time to add or update your wall insulation.

Wall insulation will prevent heat from escaping your home during the winter and sneaking into your house in the summer. It can make your home more energy efficient, lower your energy bill, and keep you more comfortable throughout the year.

Types of Wall Insulation

You may be familiar with batting, the type of insulation comes in rolls and is often used for the attic. While this same material can be used for walls, it’s usually for new construction, when the wall cavity is exposed before drywall is put in place.

For existing walls, the most common types of insulation are loose-fill or blow-in insulation and spray foam insulation. The installation process is similar for both types. The insulation is inserted into your home’s existing external walls from the inside via small holes, which are later patched.

Let’s take a look at each type.

Loose-Fill or Blow-In Insulation

The most common materials for loose-fill or blow-in insulation are recycled:

  • Cellulose, which is recycled newsprint
  • Fiberglass, made of 20% to 30% recycled glass
  • Mineral wool, made of 75% post-industrial recycled content

One benefit to choosing this type of insulation is that it conforms to the space it fills. It’s also less expensive, especially if you’re a DIY homeowner and rent an insulation blower from a home improvement store. Of course, if you don’t want to go the DIY route, you can always hire an installer.

One disadvantage, however, is that over time, the material may compress inside your wall. Also, it’s somewhat inexact. You’re not sure how completely it’s filling every crevice, so the R-value isn’t guaranteed. The R-value of an insulating material refers to its capacity to resist heat transfer. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulation.

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation is made of polyurethane, a synthetic material, or other types of polymers. It can be sprayed or injected into walls and it expands to fill the wall cavity – even the smallest crevices – and eventually hardens.

This type of insulation has higher R-values, but it’s typically more expensive than loose-fill insulation. It also requires special equipment to install, which means you’ll probably need to call a professional.

Also, some homeowners have complained of a lingering smell after this insulation installed, according to The Old House Web. This may have to do with the installers and their technique or different conditions at the time of installation, such as temperature and humidity.

Not Just for Exterior Walls

Wall insulation doesn’t just make for comfortable temperatures in your home. It can also lead to privacy, particularly in the case of interior walls.

We’ve all heard embarrassing or just plain annoying sounds from our families and house guests through the walls. Wouldn’t it be more pleasant for everyone if we didn’t hear such things?

Insulation can also be installed in interior walls. Not only does it act as a noise barrier, but it adds to the physical comfort of your home.

Learn more about unique financing for home energy upgrades, including wall insulation, available through Renovate America’s HERO Program.

Sources:
http://www.oldhouseweb.com/how-to-advice/hvac-and-insulation/heating-systems/revisiting-sprayfoam-insulation.shtml
http://www.oldhouseweb.com/how-to-advice/hvac-and-insulation/heating-systems/interior-walls-insulation-is-a-sound-decision.shtml
https://energy.gov/energysaver/types-insulation
https://energy.gov/energysaver/insulation
https://energy.gov/energysaver/where-insulate-home