A term you will often hear thrown around, when you’re talking to other homeowners or contractors about insulation, is the R-value the insulation holds. You may hear that more is better, or that different parts of your home require different R-values, or even that different climates will need lower or higher R-value. It’s confusing, to say the least. Starting with the basics can help to establish exactly what your home needs, whether it’s foam insulation or any other type of insulation such as fiberglass or cellulose.
R-value is best defined as an insulating material’s resistance to heat flow. Most people, contractors and friends alike, will tell you that the higher the R-value, the better the insulating material. However, it’s important to note that if your insulation is installed improperly, it can lose as much as 50% of its R-value.
If there happen to be any gaps left between the insulation material and the places where it is installed, it is possible for air to leak into and out of the house. This can lead to increased monthly heating and cooling bills. Not to mention, traditional insulation materials have the potential to sag over time, which can create additional gaps in the insulation leading to air leaks. This scenario is something R-value doesn’t happen to take into account: the energy lost through the air leakage which can occur through traditional insulation.
Different materials have different R-values, and different parts of your home require different R-values to be most effective. With R-value being measured per inch, you may assume that some materials will allow you to fit more into a given area, giving the insulation a higher R-value and therefore making it “better.” R-value isn’t the whole story, however. You can have very high R-value insulation, but if the rain is pouring and the wind is blowing, it’s having your home air sealed that will help make all the difference.
One of the most effective ways to air seal your home is by having a licensed contractor install spray foam insulation like Icynene. One of the reasons Icynene is great is that it expands upon application to fill any small holes or gaps that might otherwise be missed with traditional material insulation. Its ability to air seal, combined with its excellent R-value, makes it an ideal choice of insulation for most homes.
Talk to a licensed Icynene spray foam insulation contractor in your area to find out more reasons why Icynene is the best choice for your summer home, or your project.