Which type of insulation is best for your home? Selecting an appropriate form of insulation for your home can be a difficult decision, but the goal remains the same. You want to select insulation that can provide an even layer of protection throughout every space and crevice in your framing, regardless of where it’s being installed.

There are basically four different types of insulation you can use in your home:

Spray Foam

Spray Foam provides a convenient form of home insulation that is completed through a one step process. It offers an air tight, gap free barrier that is resistant to moisture, and adheres effectively to basically any surface. Not only does it provide unsurpassed performance, it significantly reduces energy consumption, resulting in lower utility costs.

The material is applied using special equipment, and once dry, it offers excellent thermal protection and can even contribute to a house’s structural integrity. Spray Foam Insulation offers more R-value per inch of thickness than most other insulation products.

Spray Foam Insulation is Often Installed in:

  •  Exterior walls
  •  Ceilings
  •  Floors
  •  Attics
  •  Basements

Key Advantages of Spray Foam:

  •  Saves energy operating costs. 30-50% per year
  •  Reduces air and moisture infiltration, resulting in a more consistent temperature
  • Limited dust and pollen infiltration
  • Adds structural strength to the building
  • Has the highest performance of all insulation
  • Provides permanence and will not sag or settle
  • Decreases the chances of mould
  • Reduces noise
  • Reduces HVAC capacity requirements
  • R-values remain consistent over time

Batts

Batt fiberglass insulation tends to present more difficulties when it comes to the installation process, and its overall functionality. This type of insulation is designed from glass strands that create a baffle like matrix which assists in slowing down air flow. Like all insulation variations, the goal is to reduce the transfer of thermal energy from your interior and exterior environments. A poly plastic layer and sealing is needed to provide an air/vapour barrier; this barrier stops air and moisture from entering one environment to the other (indoors to outdoors / outdoors to indoors). Unlike Spray Foam Insulation that acts on its own, fiberglass batt insulation and poly plastic require one another for the system to be effective.

Batt Insulation is Often Installed in:

  •  Exterior walls
  • Basement or crawlspace ceiling
  •  Attic floors

Keep in mind that Batts are not a good choice in areas subject to moisture intrusion.

Unfortunately there are many issues associated with batt insulation – generally due to installers who are rushed or lack the training and quality control required. During installation it can become too compressed, or lack compression resulting in gaps. This gap formation gets bigger overtime, resulting in even larger voids. Prominent gaps means reduced R-values and increased heat loss in your home.

Disadvantages of Batt Insulation:

  •  Energy intensive to manufacture (not as environmentally friendly as Spray Foam)
  • Low R-value relative to Spray Foam Insulation (approximately R-3.2 per in.)
  • Air Leaks are very common, resulting in significant energy loss
  • Irritating and potentially hazardous to handle
  • Creates an attractive living space for mice & other rodents
  • R-value decreases when compressed or wet
  • Susceptible to moisture and mould growth

This is the comparison on spray foam vs batts:

Habitat For Humanity’s Study on Spray Foam

I’m sure you’ve heard of Habitat For Humanity.  That’s the non-profit group that builds affordable housing for people.  Well, Habitat for Humanity decided to conduct a little experiment on two identical houses that they built.

In one house, Habitat for Humanity used fiberglass insulation.  In the other house, they used spray foam insulation.  They monitored the electricity use of each home, and guess what they discovered after five months?  The house with fiberglass insulation owed $547 more in electricity bills than the home with spray foam. Click Here to read their actual case study.

I don’t know about you, but I can think of plenty of fun things I’d rather spend $500 on than electricity bills.  And that was just five months, imagine how much cash you could save over the next 20 or 30 years.