What are the benefits of insulation?
Insulation is an easy way to lower your electricity bill and reduce home heating temperatures.
Different types of insulation offer various levels of thermal (heat) protection, sound reduction, durability under humid conditions, moisture resistance, bug blocking capabilities and fire resistivity. Some insulate better than others; in addition, some insulation has the ability to address more than one of these benefits. The best way to choose insulation is by first determining how it will be used and then deciding which type would offer the greatest benefit for that particular function.
R-Value is a standard unit of measurement for thermal resistance; it measures how effective an insulator (material ) is at preventing heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater level of thermal protection provided by that insulator. The materials that provide better insulation (highest R-values) are those that contain voids such as glass, foam and air; these types of materials also tend to be relatively expensive and/or moisture resistant.
Insulating values can range from R-11 (low) up to R-38 (super high). Building codes all recommend getting as close as you can to achieving at least 10K of U-Factor; if the building code allows, you should try for 15K or higher. You can calculate how much insulation you need by measuring its effectiveness with a U-value meter, which measures thermal conductivity using units of Btu/hr-ft²-°F. The total square footage multiplied by the U-value provides an approximation of not just how much energy will be lost but also how much it costs annually in utility bills - the difference between an R-13 wall and an R-19 wall could be up to $100 per year.
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What is block foam insulation?
Block foam insulation is a type of insulation made by overheating and melting polystyrene (PE) beads with dry ice instead of water, then extruding the resultant foam into blocks that can be stacked together to form an insulated material.
Block foam insulation is typically used in an outdoor setting such as a crawl space, attic, concrete slab floor under finished living area floors or as closed cell spray-in insulation on timber frame houses. In this article we will examine: What is block foam insulation, why use block foam insulation and what are the precautions when using block foam insulation.
Why use block foam insulation?
Block Foam Insulation blocks have excellent compressive strength which means it can be used to fill cavities for thermal and sound insulation in many types of buildings. Unlike some other insulation materials, block foam insulation does not absorb water so it is less likely to deteriorate over time.
Uses of block foam
The most common use for block foam insulation is as a thermal insulation material under concrete slabs/floors. By filling the cavities formed by the floor joists with these blocks, you can significantly reduce the amount of heat escaping from under your concrete floors.
The other major use for this type of insulation is as a cavity fill before tiling, finished floor or wall coverings are added to ensure that no thermal bridging occurs throughout the construction period. By doing this you will reduce the risk of ongoing heat loss through these cavities once the home is finished.
Other uses of block foam insulation include: Thermal insulation under slab floors, soundproofing and thermal insulation for walls and ceilings
Block foam insulation can also be used as a structural or filler insulation in some types of buildings such as timber framed houses, steel office buildings and most other steel structures .
When using this insulation, it is important to follow the manufacturer's recommendations for both types of installation detailed above. This will ensure that you achieve the best possible results with your block foam insulation.
As a thermal insulation material, how does block foam compare with other types of insulation? Generally speaking, polystyrene is not as efficient an insulating material as some other types of insulation available today, but it has the advantage that it does not absorb water.
If you are looking for a high-efficiency thermal insulation solution there are several products on the market which will give better results than block foam insulation. However, these materials generally have to be installed by specialist contractors who understand the installation process and they will almost certainly be more expensive than block foam insulation
Does block foam insulation need to be waterproofed? No, as long as the cavity you are filling is dry and relatively free from water vapour intrusion these blocks can be installed with ease. If you install the insulation in a damp or wet area you will need to look at different insulations materials.
Pour some water on the surface of the insulation and if it stays there, this indicates that your cavity is moist or may be actively leaking water into it. As soon as possible remove these blocks and re-insulate with dry insulation. Repeat this process until you no longer see any water on the surface of the block insulation when pour water over it.
Precautions to take
What are the precautions when using block foam insulation? There are a few things to consider when using this type of insulation, below we have listed some of these points for your consideration
Do not use in direct contact with concrete or masonry walls due to the potential for thermal bridging
Do not use above ground, keep blocked insulation below ground level wherever possible
Use in conjunction with vapour control layers if installing above ground or in very damp conditions
Ensure that there are no electrical cables passing through any cavity you fill. If you have old thick paper insulated cabling, you will need to remove this before filling the cavity with insulation
The thicker and denser your block insulation is, the more it restricts airflow around the building. Remember that if there is air movement through a structure this helps to ensure condensation does not form
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What is fiberglass batts insulation?
Fiberglass insulation is an economical and environmentally safe material made of glass fibers held together with a binder to create small air pockets.
Fiberglass insulation provides good, economical protection against the cold in winter, the heat in summer, rodents or insects, water penetration*, air infiltration*, outside noise and helps maintain home temperatures at optimum levels year-round.
One layer of fiberglass will cover 10 square feet of wall space, meeting building code requirements for its respective climate zone. Fiberglass insulation is resistant to damage from water and insects. It will not promote the growth of mold or mildew. The fiberglass material breaks the surface tension, inhibiting moisture penetration.
A fiberglass batt can be installed in either new construction or retrofit installations. The following are guidelines for proper installation of fiberglass batts.
The following are guidelines for proper installation of fiberglass batts.
The materials should be stored in a dry, well-ventilated area.
Before installation, the clean surface on which the insulation will be installed must be cleaned and/or covered with a sealant to prevent any fibers from sticking to it.
Ensure that all air gaps have been sealed, including those under refrigerators, soffits and the edges of the home
Do not compress fiberglass insulation if using a staple gun or adhesive to install it as this may create air gaps where drafts can travel through.
For safety purposes, wear gloves when installing fiberglass insulation to avoid becoming injured by the sharp fibers.
Resistance to water vapor
Fiberglass batts insulation does not prevent water vapor from entering or passing through the wall assembly, but it slows down the migration of moisture in exterior walls and protects the framing cavity from unwanted thermal movements. In order to minimize condensation problems fiberglass batt insulation has a high resistance to air infiltration as well as moisture vapor transmission.
Protection from insects
Fiberglass batts insulation can provide protection from insects. Insects invade a building via the roof, so it is very important to install a good water barrier and flashings on all penetrations in walls and roofs. In addition, air infiltration prevents condensation from forming inside the wall cavity, which could be an entry point for pests.
*Due to high density of fiberglass material it does not allow any leakage through cracks or gaps in permeable materials.
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What is spray foam insulation?
With spray foam insulation, particles are combined with air and compressed into a liquid that is then sprayed into wall cavities.
Two different types of spray foam
Spray foams are available in two types of 'open' systems. The most common type of open foam system is the wet-spray process, in which resin and/or insulation materials are mixed together with an activator solution to produce a liquid mixture which is pressure-applied through the spraying nozzle onto the surface in need of insulation. The other type is manually applied manually by passing it through an electric field at low resistance in order to break down the material into fine droplets which then clump together on close contact with surfaces or by passing it through heated tubes under high pressure to produce a thin , uniform, high density foam.
How it works
In spray foam insulation the liquid formulation contains both the agent that forms the foam as well as small beads or granules of polyurethane (with a density of around 0.5 pounds per cubic foot). There are some systems that contain a single agent, such as water or water with an additive.
The two component foam is then applied to the structure in several thin layers that will be allowed to expand and form a thick layer of insulation between wall studs, floor joists and rafters.
Use a home inspection service
One suggestion for homeowners who are considering investing in spray foam insulation is to use a professional home inspection service, as these professionals can help you identify any areas of concern that may not have been readily visible as well as give expert advice on how to address those concerns. In addition to checking out your insulation, these pros often check electrical wiring and the condition of roofing materials, to name just a few possible issues that may need attention in older homes.
Save on energy bills
Powerful insulation like spray foam can save homeowners hundreds of dollars on their energy bills and it can also add value to your home when you go to sell it. If you are thinking about venturing into the world of DIY, good luck! Spray foam is not easy to install if you are not experienced in this area, so if you want to ensure your home is properly insulated it's best to call the pros.
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What is blown in insulation?
Blown in insulation is dry, porous material that is made from fiberglass, rock wool or cellulose. It can be installed between roof rafters and studs to provide continuous insulation, eliminating the need for separate exterior wall insulation. Out of all three types of blown in insulation materials, cellulose is the most environmentally friendly, because it is made from 100% recycled newsprint and provides a higher R-value per inch of thickness.
Most insulation is installed using an airtight supply hose that pulls through loose-fill insulation with the appropriate pressure to fill all cavities. Once the material is blown into place, it is securely anchored with baffles or pins inserted across the opening of the cavity, which prevents materials from falling out after installation is complete. For maximum humidity control, installers use a moisture barrier instead of loose fill insulation for heated spaces at temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. We recommend protective masking during installation for those who are sensitive to high concentrations of dust particles indoors.
Cellulose insulation has been installed in walls since the 1970s. It acts as an air barrier on exterior walls by stopping drafts from coming through windows and doors, reducing condensation on windows that can lead to rot, mold and water damage
Rock wool insulation
Rock wool insulation is made from non-toxic minerals, such as volcanic rock fibers that are melted at high temperatures. It is often used on exterior walls of homes to reduce the risk of condensation on windows and leakage. Since it's usually blown into wall cavities, this option is considered a more efficient method of insulation.
Insulation made from fiberglass refers to two types: blanket and blown in. Blanket insulation, which is laid between joists or studs, works best to insulate high-level floors such as attics and basements. Blown in insulation can be installed in any cavity and comes with a higher R-value. This type is usually made from recycled materials, such as denim and other cotton products, which adds to its environmental appeal.
There are many advantages of blown in insulation as it keeps the material protected from moisture damage and keeps them dry so they can be used again. It has an advantage of providing all around insulation for the home and results in added energy savings and structural stability. It also improves sound reduction.
Blown in insulation is an environmentally friendly option because it's made from 100% recycled newsprint and cellulose which has a higher R-value per inch of thickness. This provides people with more value for their money, while protecting the environment at the same time .
Blown in insulation can be installed quickly and is a one-time installation which provides maximum humidity control. It also has a lifetime warranty and can withstand extreme temperatures.
Disadvantages of blown in insulation
Cellulose insulation may not be suitable for those with allergies to dust, as it does pose a risk of creating an allergic reaction. Cellulose can cause respiratory problems, such as a runny nose and coughing. Blown in insulation made from fiberglass is less likely to cause an allergic reaction but can lead to health problems, such as nosebleeds or respiratory problems
Dust created by the installation process of blown in insulation may require those with allergies to wear a protective mask. Installing blown in insulation only in the winter months may be a good idea to avoid exposure to harmful dust particles
Blown in insulation can also trigger asthma symptoms. Those who suffer from this illness should consult their doctor before installing this type of insulation because it could worsen symptoms and require more specialized care.
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What is spray foam insulation?
Spray foam insulation is the latest green alternative for insulating your home. It does not require outside ventilation like traditional fiberglass, which means you can push all that cold air right out of your house with traditional cellulose insulation. Spray foam insulation is also more fire resistant than fiberglass, and has better moisture barrier properties than both cellulose and fiberglass!
Spray foam also installs faster than either type of insulation; it's about five times faster to install since there's no wait time for fibers to dry before applying the next layer like with fiberglass or wait time for the whole layer before beginning on another side like with cellulose. This means you can cut installation time down by more than half!
How much does spray foam insulation cost to install?
It can cost anywhere from $2.50 to $5 per square foot, depending on the amount of insulation you need for your home.
The total cost of spray foam will depend on the size of your house and how much insulation you need to fill in your residence. You can find an estimate by entering measurements into an online calculator (such as this one).
Be sure to include walls, ceilings, and floors in all dimensions when calculating the amount you'll need! Normally it's not the type of job that one person could attempt alone; make sure you account for time needed for prep work before spraying or risk uneven application.This includes removing furniture, cabinets, wallpaper, etc. We highly recommend seeking professional help if you're not familiar with the spray foam application process.
Can blown-in insulation solve my insulation problems?
Blown-in insulation can solve your insulation problems, but it will never be as effective as solid wall insulation, especially if the duct system is in poor condition.
Blown-in insulation only solves between 80 to 85% of all thermal ills that are found with typical building walls. The most common problems are poorly sealed air leaks that need insulated patches.
Blown in fiberglass R-5 is cheaper than spray on, so some feel it's worth the savings in materials and labor for blown in fiberglass. However blown in fiberglass does not work for tightly spaced brick or block homes either because the gaps created by the brick or blocks are too big for a little quantity of fibers to seal them off adequately, nor can they be patched.
How to remove spray foam insulation?
It can be challenging to remove spray foam insulation.
You may want to hire a professional removing it for you if your skill level isn't quite there. Otherwise, using a long-handled scraper, chisel, or metal putty knife with care is the best way to apply some force and cut through the outermost layer of insulation on horizontal surfaces. When cutting vertically down walls or other vertical surfaces, you should use caution because removal can release harmful amounts of pressure which may have built up inside due to explosion during installation of the product. It is important to wear protective equipment when removing spray foam insulation like gloves, safety goggles and a disposable respirator.
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Why should you choose Insulation Hayward, California?
We have a quality staff, ready to take on any insulation project you can throw at us. For years we've been the go-to name in Hayward for all kinds of insulation projects and materials.
We have a wide variety of foam and fiberglass insulation products, suitable for different uses and budgets. We offer spray foam insulation services that expand to fill cracks and holes in wall surfaces.
We have a dedicated staff that's devoted to customer satisfaction . We offer services for both residential and commercial properties, with no hidden fees or charges. Call us today to learn more!
Insulation Hayward California is your trusted insulation contractor in Hayward, California, call us to learn more about the benefits of foam insulation and how we can help you today!
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