Which kind of insulation is right for my home?
A previous blog spoke of the need for insulation as well as ventilation in the attic to protect the house and the roofing materials. Insulation keeps the heat in the summer and cold in the winter from entering the house from the attic. These are important tasks in the Grand Rapids and West Michigan area, where cold winters cause ice dams and summer sun can cook roofing materials.
Insulation comes in many forms, the most common of which are shown below. Ideally, there is a vapor barrier between the house and the insulation to minimize moisture entering the attic from the house. This vapor barrier can be attached to insulation batts or is installed separately. The major forms of insulation used in homes are fiberglass, cellulose, foam boards and spray foam. Each of these has its advantages.
Fiberglass insulation can also be blown into the attic.
Cellulose insulation is made of paper (recycled, in part) and is generally blown into the attic.
Foam-board insulation can be used for a variety of applications. Above Roofing uses this to fabricate insulation around whole-house fans.
Spray foam insulation has a high R value for its thickness. It also isolates the roof deck from the attic, so ventilation needs are greatly decreased. In some cases this is the best solution for insulating slanted ceilings that follow the roof line.
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