Q&A – Types of Insulation

Bonded Logic Denim Insulation

When you insulate your house, you’re going to be confronted by a dizzying array of choices. How do you know which one to use? How much do they cost? Are some better than others or is it all hype? In this article, I’m going to do my best to sort through the options and help you make sense of them. Be warned – there’s a LOT of material here, so I’m going to have to break this into several articles.

First, let’s survey the types of insulation that you’re likely to encounter. I’m also going to provide links where appropriate.

  • Fiberglass – batts
  • Fiberglass – dense batts
  • Fiberglass – compressed
  • Fiberglass – shredded / loose fill
  • Fiberglass – Johns Manville Spider – sprayed in
  • Cellulose – loose fill
  • Cellulose – damp sprayed in
  • Cellulose – dense packed
  • Spray foam – open-cell, Icynene
  • Spray foam – open-cell, soy based
  • Spray foam – high-density closed-cell
  • Spray foam – high-density closed-cell, soy based
  • Board foam – expanded polystyrene
  • Board foam – extruded polystyrene
  • Board foam – polyisocyanurate
  • Board foam – foil faced polyisocyanurate
  • Denim – Bonded Logic batts

This list is long enough. There are other insulation materials that have been used over the years, from vermiculite to horse hair to rice hulls to straw bales, but I’m not going to touch on anything that isn’t commonly available in the United States. Sorry!

Insulation Characteristics

Before we go into analyzing all the details of insulation materials, let’s spend a moment defining the basic characteristic of insulation – the R-value.

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