Home insulation options to warm to

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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When constructing or refurbishing a building, there are numerous elements that are vital. However, including the insulation factor is imperative if you want to enjoy a snug and comfortable stay in your home.  

Insulation is a barrier for a house (or any building) that serves to keep the cool air in and the warm air out – or vice versa. By correctly insulating your home you are rewarding yourself with a host of numerous advantages, such as reducing your energy bill, cutting long-term costs, and providing yourself and your family with a cosy place to live. 

In addition, limiting your need for constant use of appliances like air conditioners and heaters consequently lowers the volume of greenhouse gases that your house produces.

So then, how does one choose the ideal type of insulation? Climatic conditions are a huge determining factor, as are the country and region in which you live. homify recommends contacting an expert  in the field to ensure you obtain the relevant type for your requirements.

But until then, enjoy reading about the different insulations options that can be perfect for your home.

Concrete block insulation

New build detached family home:   by WHITTAKER DESIGN
WHITTAKER DESIGN

New build detached family home

WHITTAKER DESIGN

Materials used: foam board, foam beads sometimes added to increase R-value (a measure of thermal resistance).

Used for: new construction of homes, extensions, walls, foundation walls 

Choose if: you want high R-value insulation and a way to insulate concrete block walls. 

This insulation method often comes with an insulated core made with beads or aerated cement. These insulated core blocks can often have 10 times the insulating value of conventional concrete. When building with these concrete blocks, individuals often also insulate the exterior of the walls, which can help to keep the interior of the home cool during extreme heat.

Blanket: batts and rolls

Materials used: natural fibres, man-made fibres, mineral wool, fibreglass. 

Used for: foundation walls, floors, ceilings, and unfinished walls. 

Choose if: you have a set budget, want to install it yourself, or you have minimal obstructions and a simple house design. 

The most common type of insulation, this method is available in a range of different styles supplied by different companies. Be sure that you check whether it is rated for fire and complies with the regulatory standards. As it is easy to install yourself, this is ideal for a DIY project, and can be purchased at a reasonable price.

Sprayed foam

South Crown Street Bedroom: modern Bedroom by Brown + Brown Architects
Brown + Brown Architects

South Crown Street Bedroom

Brown + Brown Architects

Materials used: cement products, phenol products, PIR plastic, PUR/PU plastic polymers.

Used for: new wall openings, enclosed existing walls, loft flooring.

Choose if: you want to add insulation to an already existing internal area without breaking down walls. This option is also very beneficial for awkward nooks and curious-shaped spaces. 

Sprayed foam is added to the internal enclosed wall space with special spray containers that can pressurise the foam within the area. Although it is ideal for a strange-shaped space, this option is out of most DIYers’ range, and needs to be completed by a professional.

Foam board or rigid foam

Materials used: polystyrene, PIR plastic, PUR/PU polymers.

Used for: foundation walls, unfinished internal walls, floors, roofs, ceilings.

Choose if: you require thin insulation with a very high R-value. 

When installing this insulation, you will need to cover the interior with gypsum board or other building-code approved material to ensure fire safety. Additionally, any foam board or rigid board that is used outside needs to be covered in a waterproof and weatherproof coating. As this insulation is generally best installed by a professional, we recommend chatting to an expert to get some advice before trying this as a DIY project.

Structural insulated panels (SIPs)

Guildford House: modern Houses by C7 architects
C7 architects

Guildford House

C7 architects

Materials used: straw bales, foam board, liquid foam core insulation. 

Used for: unfinished walls, ceilings, floors, roofs.

Choose if: you prefer to take the more environmentally friendly route to insulation. SIP-built houses also provide superior and uniform insulation compared to more traditional construction methods, and take less time to build. 

SIPS are quick, inexpensive, natural and highly versatile. This option is the ideal solution to many insulation problems. Whether you choose to build your entire home from SIP panels, or simply insulate your roof, SIP is definitely on a higher level compared to more traditional insulating methods.

Rigid fibrous or fibre insulation

Materials used: fibreglass, mineral wool.

Used for: insulating ducting and other areas of the home that experience very high temperatures. 

Choose if: you require an insulation that will come in contact with items that may produce extremely high heat.

Rigid fibrous or fibreglass insulation is a fine choice for areas such as ducting or around electrical appliances. As the fibreglass can endure extremely high temperatures, it is often used in areas of the home that might experience raised climatic conditions, like cooking spaces.

Speaking of heat, be sure to check out these: Modern Fireplaces.

Reflective system

Materials used: foil coated paper, plastic or PU film, cardboard. 

Used for: ceilings, walls, and floors

Choose if: you want to install it yourself, you wish to add insulation to strangely shaped spaces, or need to prevent downward heat flow. 

The reflective system works well for homes that have exposed wall spaces, especially living areas, and the reflective nature is sometimes utilised as a trendy feature of this material.

Loose-fill and blown-in

Materials used: cellulose, fibreglass, mineral wool. 

Used for: walls that have enclosed cavity, awkward spaces, loft flooring, and difficult-to-reach areas.    

Choose if: you need to add insulation to existing areas of your home, as well as irregular shaped spaces. 

As this interesting option is literally blown into place with special equipment, this insulation is the answer to oddly shaped nooks that would be impossible to insulate any other way.

Insulating concrete forms (ICFs)

Materials used: foam boards or blocks. 

Used for: foundation walls, new homes and unfinished walls. 

Choose if: you are building a new home and want to maximise your home's thermal resistance. 

Insulating concrete forms are built into the home's structure. This results in some of the highest R-values and thermal resistance possible. Although this is a difficult option to employ during a renovation or refurbishment, it is perfect for new constructions and properties.

Which insulation option is perfect for your house? We'd love to hear from you in the comments, below...
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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