Are your energy bills rising significantly year after year with no clear cause? The culprit could be that your home has poor insulation, or R-value in this instance. R-value refers to the capacity of insulation to resist the flow of heat, with a higher R-value indicating a higher level of heat insulation. Improving the R-value of your home improves your energy-efficiency by limiting the amount of heat loss your home is experiencing, and ultimately, lowering your energy costs.
If you are planning on building a new home or renovating your existing home, it is important to understand the difference between nominal R-value and effective R-value to select the best insulation for your home. Nominal R-value is the heat insulation power identified on the product. However, this value is only accurate under specific testing conditions, which are set up for optimal R-value performance and often very different from the conditions we experience during a typical Canadian winter. For example, installing 6” fiberglass batt insulation with a listed R-value of R-20 may only perform at an effective R-value of R-15 when insulating a typical wood-framed home in Canada with our varying temperatures.
Below, we have provided our insights on some of the most popular types of insulation –fiberglass batt insulation, ROXUL® stone wool insulation, and spray foam insulation – to help you identify which insulation is best suited to each area of the home in order to maximize your home’s R-value.
Fiberglass Batt Insulation
Fiberglass batt insulation has a typical R-value of 20 and is used to insulate unfinished walls, basement walls, floors and ceilings. While fiberglass batt R20 insulation is commonly used in new home construction and existing home renovations with R40 batt insulation for the attic, we would be inclined to suggest a different insulation product other than the R20 for the foundation insulation. Basements are always cooler than any other area of the home and without inslab floor heating, you will find that your basement does not hold its temperature which is less than comfortable to enjoy.
Batt insulation is fairly simple to install, sold in blankets or rolls, and placed loosely between the framing. However, the fibres that make up this batt insulation can be particularly troublesome during the insulation process, irritating the skin and eyes, and causing harm if inhaled. Hiring a professional for this process is the best way to ensure a safe and effective installation.
ROXUL® Stone Wool Insulation
Stone wool (also referred to as rock wool or mineral wool) insulation offers similar heat resistance to fiberglass insulation, and comes in R-values of R-14, R22, R28, and R32 to deliver top thermal performance. While moisture significantly reduces other common brand name insulations, Roxul comfortbatt does not store or transfer moisture leaving your R-value unchanged every year. Stone wool insulation offers better fire resistance and moisture resistance, and the Roxul safe’n’sound reduces sound transmission so it is more ideal for soundproofing interior walls and ceilings of the home. In addition to its density, soundproofing ability, and fire resistance, Roxul is very easy to cut and is much easier to fill a stud bay because it holds its shape so much better to fill the gaps.
Spray foam Insulation
There are two main types of spray foam – a low density open-cell polyurethane is ½ lb and a closed cell polyurethane that has a higher density is 2lb. Closed cell is the more popular choice for attics and exterior walls as it helps to create a stronger, more airtight home, is resistant to mold growth and has the highest R-value. While there are DIY kits available, it is highly recommended that spray foam insulation is applied by a professional in order to prevent (a potentially costly) improper installation and to get the full eco-benefits of it.
Insulation should be installed by a professional Contractor to ensure optimal coverage and prevent the occurrence any air leaks or moisture condensation issues. Are you looking for a trusted Contractor/Builder in Calgary? Contact TriLink Builders for a free consultation and estimate today!