How to Pick the Right Insulation for the Job

If you’re working on a project that requires you to add more insulation to your home in Seattle, WA, such as finishing off a basement or a garage (or replacing the insulation in an already-finished space), it’s important to consider the kind of home insulation you’ll use and what will give you the best results for your needs.

A primary consideration any time you’re in the market for insulation is the material’s R-value. The R-value is the measure of a particular material’s ability to resist heat transfer. The higher the R-value, the slower it transfers heat, which is what you want for insulation—you want it to take a long time for heat to soak through ceilings or walls so it’s easier for you to maintain consistent temperatures in your home.

The minimum R-value you’re looking for will depend on where you live and the climate you experience. Those who live in places that see wider temperature swings and cooler winters will want higher R-values for their insulation so they can maintain good levels of heat even during the freezing winters, and keep their home cool during the hottest parts of summer.

Of course, you should also consider the part of your home that’s being insulated. A garage doesn’t require as high an R-value as a living room or bedroom.

Here’s a quick overview of what you can expect from some of the most common types of home insulation on the market in Seattle, WA:

  • Fiberglass: Pink fiberglass is probably the most common type of insulation. You can purchase it in rolls or batts of different thicknesses and lengths. It’s designed to fit in between studs in walls or ceilings, and usually will be the cheapest kind of insulation you can purchase. It is fire and moisture resistant, but you need to take care during the installation process because the small fibers can be a skin and eye irritant, and can be damaging to the lungs if breathed in.
  • Foam boards: Another popular option for home insulation purposes, foam boards come in materials such as polystyrene, polyurethane and polyisocyanurate. They need to be covered by gypsum or a fire-resistant coating to be safe for use.
  • Natural fibers and plastics: Also available in roll and batt form, these insulation alternatives are easy to install and cut. They’ll be more expensive than standard fiberglass, but are better for the environment (containing up to 85 percent recycled material) and do not cause irritation.
  • Spray foam: Rapidly gaining popularity in homes across the country, spray foam will give you the best R-value on the list, because it is designed to fit into even the hardest-to-reach spots. It gets sprayed into wall and ceiling cracks and cavities and expands to fill the entire space, and then can be shaved to create a smooth surface and tight air barrier.

To learn more about the different kinds of home insulation on the market in Seattle, WA and find out which will give you the best results for your specific project, we encourage you to contact the team at Stewart Lumber & Hardware Co. today.

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