Home Insulation Basics

R-value is important and helps measure energy efficiency of your home insulation.

Being a homeowner is amazing, but we can’t all afford our own maintenance crews. That is why it is important to know the basics of home maintenance and things like home insulation. While you can always hire a professional, knowledge is power. That is why we have put together a basic guide on home insulation and what you need to know.

Unless your home was recently built with energy efficiency in mind, you can probably benefit from better or more insulation. Older homes tend to have less but even newer homes might need an upgrade if built within the last couple years. First things first, you should determine whether you need more insulation. How do you do that? Usually, a qualified home energy auditor is the way to go. The upside is that they do a whole-house energy assessment, from windows to roof. If you prefer to check it out yourself, read on.

What You Should Know

Some things you need to determine if you are trying to assess your own insulation. To start, know what R-Value means. This is related to the thickness or depth (in inches) to the insulation you have. More specifically, R-value is an insulating material’s resistance to conductive heat flow or thermal resistance. The higher the R-value the better. It means it is more effective at insulating. While R-value is related to the thickness, it can also depend on aging and moisture. This is particularly true for attics.

Another thing you should know is which insulation materials you have in your home. There are a lot of different options out there. The most common is fiberglass, which comes in batts or rolls. Think pink cotton candy. Luckily in 2012, the World Health Organization removed this from their list of possible carcinogens. However, still make sure to wear a mask and gloves as it can irritate your skin and throat. If you have a lightweight, shiny material (kind of looks like mica flakes) then you have vermiculite insulation. If you have this, we highlight recommend not touching it and calling a professional.

Next Steps

Installing more insulation can help increase the R-value. It is important that the insulation is installed properly as compressed insulation will not provide its full rated R-value. If you plan to inspect your insulation, follow these steps recommended by Energy Saver. If you determine you do need more insulation, Friel Lumber can help. We offer board, blow-in, spray-on, foundation, water heater and pipe insulation, batts, rolls, and more. Friel carries brands like Dow, MD-Building products, Owens Corning’s insulation, and ZIP System by Huber.

If you are not sure what you need, feel free to contact us today to learn what products are the best for your project. We are also happy to work with any contractors or professionals of your choosing.


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