Building a new home can make for exciting times. But there are a lot of decisions to make both before and during the construction process. One of the most important things to consider is how you will insulate your home. There are a plethora of options out there, but here are the pros and cons of the four most popular choices, so you can decide which one is best for you.
Constructed as batts or loose fill, fiberglass is the most popular choice for many newly constructed homes. It's composed of incredibly small glass fibers and insulates your home by trapping small pockets of air.
- Fiberglass is one of the least expensive ways you can insulate your home.
- This type of insulation can be installed virtually anywhere inside the home: walls, ceilings, floors, and between beams, studs, and joists.
- Fiberglass usually comes in blankets that are either stapled in place or as loose fill that can be blown in the appropriate areas.
- The glass fibers are reinforced with plastic, increasing the strength of fiberglass insulation.
- For some, fiberglass can irritate the skin and lungs when handled or disturbed. However, most homeowners won't be subjected to this irritation unless they are actively involved in the installation process. So this "con" won't apply to most people.
- Fiberglass isn't the best insulator available as it still allows for the passage of air.
- The glass fibers can trap allergens as well as moisture, making it a better option for those without allergies.
Also known as rock wool or mineral wool, this type of insulation is often compared to fiberglass in many ways. It's made of mostly recycled material, making it a good choice for those who want environmentally friendly products.
- Mineral wool has a high R-value at 15, whereas fiberglass is typically either 11 or 13.
- Wool can be blown, poured from bags, or hung as blankets, making it quick and easy to install.
- Wool offers better protection against fire than other insulation types.
- Because wool insulation is denser than fiberglass, it not only insulates better, it also acts as a soundproof barrier.
- Wool is usually more expensive and can be harder to find in certain areas. It costs, on average, about $0.80 per sq. foot, whereas fiberglass is about $0.60.
- This insulation type can harbor moisture and allow mold to grow.
Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam is a type of plastic that's commonly sprayed into oddly shaped areas, but it can also be used as an all-over insulation. It comes out as a liquid then expands to fill cracks, making it highly effective at reducing air flow through the walls.
Spray foam is either open or closed cell. The former can still allow air and moisture to seep through whereas the latter is impermeable to both.
- Both closed and open cell have a high R-value that ranges from 3.6-6.5 per inch of material used. Because it expands so much, most homes have a thick layer of spray foam, bringing about maximum insulation.
- Spray foam is water resistant and does not contain compounds that encourage the growth of mold, mildew, or allergens.
- Because it offers maximum insulation, you'll save more on your heating and cooling costs than with other insulators.
- Closed-cell foam can run up to $1 per sq. foot, making it a little pricier than others.
- It should only be put in by a professional with experience. Without this, you run the risk of shrinking and gaps.
Another environmentally friendly option, cellulose insulation is made of recycled paper that's been treated to resist moisture and pests.
- Because cellulose is made of 80% recycled newsprint and treated with non-toxic compounds to resist fire, mold, and pests, it's one of the greenest options out there.
- Cellulose is one of the cheapest ways to insulate your home.
- In new homes, cellulose is either sprayed or blown in place and doesn't require a lot of skill.
- Cellulose has an R-value of about 3.5 per inch, making it comparable to other types. However, it tends to block air flow better than fiberglass.
- Over time, the cellulose fibers can settle, so you may have to add to or replace this insulation down the road.
- If you have a furnace with a duct system installed in your new home, some of the cellulose dust may spread through the system.
Talk to your constructions service, a place like Genuine Home Builders Inc, for more ideas and information.