Insulation Materials

There are many insulation materials from which to choose. We will look at several of the most popular, and give an overview of each.

You may also want to ask locally what is most commonly used in your area, and then decide if you want to go with that, or choose a "greener" type to order. One thing is for sure: you won't likely run out of options!

Following is a listing of some of the most popular insulating materials:

Types of Insulation Materials

Under each category are subdivisions listing numerous forms in which the insulation material may be found.

* Fiberglass insulation is the most common type used in North America. It is a somewhat soft type of material that is made from glass fibers and binders. It is dangerous to produce and to install, as the tiny glass fibers are small enough to get into the skin and to breathe into the lungs. Precautions must be taken by workers and installers.

Fiberglass insulation comes in the following forms:
  • Roll insulation (blanket or batt)

  • Formaldehyde free batts
  • Spray in fiberglass insulation
  • Encapsulated batts

* Cellulose home insulation has become quite popular - especially among those who call themselves green builders. Cellulose fiber insulation is typically made from recycled newspaper and often sprayed with a flame retardant. Cellulose may be installed dampened or dry.

* Foam insulation comes in many forms:

  • Foam board insulation

This is the type of insulation used in

SIPS homes as well as ICF homes. It is also known as rigid foam insulation and may be made from recycled foam. Check with the manufacturer to see if they recycle.

  • Spray foam insulation
    This insulation material is growing rapidly in popularity, especially since the expanding foam insulation came on the market. It makes the builder's job easier when it comes to building as airtight a home as possible.

    * Cotton or denim insulation is becoming more popular as an insulation product that is completely safe for the installer. The homeowner can install the product with ease and with no danger of toxic chemicals or cuts in the skin or lungs.
    Made primarily of recycled denim blue jeans, this product is ultra soft and is touted to be a great noise muffler.

    * Wool insulation
    There are two types of wool insulation. The first is manufactured from sheep's wool. One brand is made by the Thermafleece company.

    The other type of wool insulation is mineral wool (rock and slag wool). Rock wool is made from basalt, a volcanic rock, mixed with limestone, while slag wool is created from blast furnace slag.

    * Radiant Barrier insulation (foil)
    Radiant barrier, or radiant heat barrier insulation can be installed in the roofs of homes, particularly in hot climates. This reflective insulation does not absorb the great amount of heat typically attracted through the attics of homes. Thus, the cooling load of the house is greatly diminished, saving energy.

    Go from Insulation Materials to Types of Insulation

    Expanding Foam Insulation

    Crawl Space Insulation

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    Building Your Green Home Page


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