If you have problem with heating during the winter and keeping your home cool during the summer, this could signal you that you should do something about your home insulation. Insulating your home is a complex process, but at the same time, it has numerous benefits. If will save the heating or cooling energy within your home, not letting it to escape. Also, proper insulation will help you lower your energy bills, since the air conditioning won’t have to work all the time. However, before you even think about undertaking such venture, you need to be well-informed. Here are some things you should keep in mind all the time.
How to Choose a Proper Insulating Material?
There are numerous types of insulation, and their choice depends on the needs of your home. Firstly, you should determine the R-value of an insulation material. R-value refers to the resistance of the material to the heat. This automatically means that there is a reciprocal relationship between the height of the R-value and the insulating quality of the material.
However, although the R-value is the basic characteristic of every insulating material, it isn’t the only thing that needs to be taken into consideration. Other properties such as the material’s combustion or permanence are also very important.
What types of Insulating Materials Are There?
The choice of insulating materials is really wide, ranging from vermiculite, perlite, fiberglass, rock wool, polystyrene, cellulose to urethane. They all have completely different characteristics. For instance, vermiculite and perlite are great insulating materials and they are fire resistant, but at the same time, they shrink during the time, leaving the holes in our walls or ceilings, which automatically lowers their insulating quality.
Fiberglass and rock wool are fireproof and easy-to-install, but they may cause skin irritation and allergies. Moreover, fiberglass is also famous for its strange odor when it is damp, which is its huge disadvantage. That is why you should maybe choose cellulose over these two for it has the same characteristics, plus it doesn’t cause irritations or develop strange odor when wet.
Finally, one of the most popular insulating materials is the Styrofoam, which is a great means of insulating and at the same time, it is easy to install. Since it is moisture resistant, you can use it when insulating your basement. However, Styrofoam is flammable, thus cannot be the final insulating layer, which means that there should be something that will cover it.
Where to insulate?
You should determine where you home needs to be insulated. Most often insulated spaces are: the space between the floor and the basement or between the ceiling and the attic, then between the attic and the roof, inside the exterior walls of the unheated buildings.
Insulating the Attic
This is probably the easiest room to add insulation. If you didn’t do it before, you should definitely insulate it for several reasons. The basic one is that the heat simply escapes through the attic during the winter and it is easily collected there during the summer.
When it comes to the preparation, you need to measure the square footage of your attic and to buy the appropriate material. Then, you should repair your roof, if needed. You should use plywood as a movable floor and planks as walkways. Don’t forget to provide the room with the sufficient amount of lighting and to bring your safety equipment.
You should start with the eaves and cover them with the batt or blanket, which should be pushed with a long stick. You should first attach the polyethylene between joists, which will have a function of a vapor barrier. When you finish that, you need to cut the insulating material to fit vents, light fixtures or any other equipment. Finally, if you live in hot climate conditions, installing the radiant barrier would be a great solution.
Insulation of the walls is probably the most complex procedure. The entire process depends on your home’s structure. If you have the access from the attic, you will insulate your walls in an easier manner. However, if you don’t, you will have to cut the holes about every sixteen inches and blow the insulation in. The next step is drilling the holes in the wall, either from the inside or the outside. If the cavities are going to be open, you should use spray foam or wet spray cellulose insulation. If your wall cavities are not going to be open, you could consider spray foam insulation. The only thing you should pay attention to is whether you walls have some kind of decorative molding. If they do, you need to remove them in order to make the entire process easier.
When it comes to the sole installing of the insulation, you should follow the instructions provided. The procedure is different when it comes to building a new house from adding the insulation to the existing house. Since we are dealing with the second case, you should consider using advanced wall framing techniques, which will provide you with the safe installation and increase the quality of the insulation.
Once the insulation is installed, you need to patch all the cavities. For such venture, you can use the remains of the insulation materials and then cover them with spackling compound. When all this dries, you can paint the wall.
The insulation of floors is related to the area between the basement and the first floor. The space between the first and the second floor doesn’t have to be insulated since they are heated equally. That is why floor rugs will be more than enough. They are cozy and provide a perfect insulation from freezing concrete or wood.
However, this process of adding insulation is quite complicated and requires numerous steps. First things first, you need to measure the R-value and to pay attention to the combustion and moist controls. The next step is buying everything you need, including batts, strips of wood, chicken wire strips and heavy-gauge wires. You need to make sure that the batts won’t sag during the time, which will certainly lessen the quality of your floor insulation. Before attaching insulating sheets, you should install vapor-repellent coating.
Finally, the entire process of adding insulation to the existing home can be very complicated. Keeping these basic things in mind, you will manage to decide what kind of insulation you actually want. For some more detailed information, you can always contact someone proficient at this field, who will help you or give you useful pieces of advice. Home insulation is almost inevitable if you want to boost the quality of your life and you should consider it as a long-term investment.