Installing House Insulation

Phase 2: Insulation

Insulation is used to minimize heat loss from your house. When you build your home, materials used for other structures such as wall or ceilings have low heat resistance, which is why it is important to use insulation. Heat resistance is measured by an R-value (thermal resistance). Since energy sources are expensive, good insulation is key to minimizing long-term costs. Also, this plays into the healthy housing principle of energy efficiency.

The amount of insulation you will use when building your house will depend on codes and also the climate zone you are living in. Degree-days are used to determine how much insulation to use as well. Basically, this is a calculation that determines the mean temperature for every day in the year. All of the ceilings, floors and walls that separate heated space from unheated space or the outside air need to be insulated. There are various ways to install insulation, and your builder can determine which methods are best.

You can choose from 4 basic types of insulation; each of them is made from a variety of materials and come in many forms. The four types are described below:

  • Rigid:  made from wood fiber, expanded or extruded foamed plastic, and is purchased in sheets or boards.
  • Loose Fill:  made from glass, mineral wool fiber and cellulose fiber and is placed by pouring or blowing into place.
  • Foamed-in-place: made from under pressure materials such as polyurethane and isocyanurate that can be sprayed or injected in a foamed liquid state.
  • Semi-rigid: made from glass and mineral wool fibers, and come in flexible insulation boards.

Manufactureres are becoming more and more environmentally conscious for energy efficiency. When you choose your insulation and are installing it in your house, remember that occupant health should also be taken into consideration. Any that is exposed can cause health problems. Also try to avoid products that are made from heavily processed chemicals. All of the foundation walls that enclose heated spaces need to be insulated fully. Any insulation that is installed on the inner parts of the foundations walls, or below-grade, should be protected by a moisture barrier. Floor insulation should be done for floors that are over unheated crawl spaces or unheated garages. Walls between dwelling units and garages need to be insulated the same way as the exterior walls.