What Are The Top 5 Home Insulation Materials?

What Are The Top 5 Home Insulation Materials?

Home insulation has gained popularity in the last decade and many people are now aware of which materials used in insulation work best for their home. However, if you are unsure of what materials to use in insulation, we have a list of your top five home insulation materials to use.

With extensive experience in home insulation in and around California for more than a decade, California Insulation (CalInsulation) brings to you the most widely used and top 5 home insulation materials that it recommends and applies in many of its services.

It is, important to note that there are many other insulation materials in the market and depending on the needs of your home environment, other insulation materials may also be used for the best insulation solution. It is best to speak to a home insulation expert to get correct guidance on the material to use for your home.

Here are some of the best home insulation materials being used by insulation installers nowadays:

1. Fiberglass

Fiberglass, as the name suggests, is made of extremely fine and thin glass fibers, and perhaps it is one of the most ubiquitous insulation materials you can find in your area.

Although fiberglass materials of various densities are used for insulation, high-density fibers are usually very good for this purpose.

The usual thickness of wall frames formed by high-density fiberglass is usually of 2 by 4 inch (around 5.1 to 10.2 centimeters). However, very dense fiberglass that form walls of 1-inch is are also available.

BIBS or the Blow-In-Blanket System is material that is blown in dry and is significantly and comparatively better filled than other insulation forms. The currently popular BIBS HP combines BIBS and polyurethane foam that’s economical and has all the good qualities of fiberglass.

2. Mineral Wool

The “mineral wool” term is typically used to refer to two insulation types:

  • Rock wool that has basalt or diabase is man-made mineral wool.
  • Slag wool is obtained from the slag of a blast furnace (the waste produced on the topmost surface during metallurgical manufacturing of molten metals).

Mineral wool usually has 75 percent of post-industrial recycled content. It is self-fire-resistant and it is usually available as blanket (made of batts and/or rolls). It is a common loose-fill material for home insulation.

3. Cellulose

Cellulose insulation primarily refers to papers, and the most common materials are newspapers that are finely cut and then fiberized to fill the pores on home walls.

It has a very high recycled content that constitutes about 80 to 85 percent of its constitution.

Cellulose materials are often mixed with mineral borate and aluminum sulfate to make it insect and fire resistant. Cellulose materials usually need moisture-free walls and do not settle in the cavities of a building.

This material is used in open attics as a loose fill option. In new construction, it is either damp-sprayed or applied dry covered by netting. It gets settled in 24 hours and is a common insulation material in modern buildings.

4. Natural Materials – Cotton, Wool, Straw, and Hemp

Cotton insulations have 85% cotton as constituents, while the remaining 15% is plastic treated with borates. It is an economical option for insulation material and is comparatively easier to install than other forms.

After treating with borate, sheep wool is used as an insulation material. Wool absorbs a lot of water content which can be an advantage for some types of walls. Its thickness usually goes up to 2 by 6 inches with the highest R-value of 19.

Straws fused onto boards without using adhesives can be up to 102 mm thick and modern insulation installers also use multiple-layered and mechanically compressed-straw as a common insulation material. 

Hemp is usually not used as an insulation material in the US but its thickness and performance is as good as other materials.

5. Polystyrene

Polystyrene is a colorless and common micro-thermo-plastic used as a loose-fill insulation material. MEPS or the Molded and Expanded Polystyrene are a common material used as foam boards.

MEPS are often used to fill brick cavities but are very lightweight and acquire static electricity very quickly which makes them hard to control.

Other common fillers such as expanded polystyrene (EPS) and the extruded polystyrene are known as XPS. XPS and MEPS are often used in structural insulating panels (SIPs) and also in ICFs that are also called insulating concrete forms.

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