Making the decision to insulate your attic, crawlspace, or other part of your home or business and selecting the best insulation material [see our page on Insulation Materials] to meet your needs is a good start. But you also need to consider the insulation method or methods you'll want to use as you seek to upgrade the energy efficiency of your building.
At Pure Eco, we can accommodate you with a number of different insulation methods and explain to you the differences between them and the advantages and limitations of each.
We have deep experience in using the best possible methods and techniques to maximize the energy efficiency and eco-friendliness of L.A. Area and Southern California homes/businesses. We can inform you on all the crucial points and help you make a wise decision you will never regret.
To learn more or for a free, no-obligation insulation consultation and free quote, contact us today by calling 877-778-2551.
The Importance of Selecting the Most Appropriate Insulation Method(s)
The combination of material and form of your preferred insulation product will determine its R-value, durability, affordability, and the appropriate installation techniques that should be used. And it's the structure of your building, the climate zone you live in, and your values and expectations that will combine to decide which exact type of insulation to choose.
At Pure Eco, we have deep experience in helping home/business owners select the best possible insulation methods and materials to use in each part of their building. Often, more than one product will be used, and which one is best in each situation depends on a variety of factors.
Batts and loose fill (blown in) insulation are the two main insulation methods. But rock wool insulation, though technically a form of batts, is different enough to virtually be in its own category. And the material selection interacts with the form (batts/blown) so that you can't just make these two insulation decisions totally separately.
The three major factors you need to typically consider in choosing an insulation method/material are: cost, R-value, and environmental impact. We at Pure Eco can give you detailed information in these three important areas and more concerning each insulation option.
Below, we will look at the pros and cons of both batts and blown insulation, and then separately at rock wool insulation. We will mention how the material impacts the value of batts versus blown-in along the way as well.
"Batts" of insulation are long, rectangular pieces that are typically rolled up into a large circle, though they can come in individual pieces as well.
They are like solid continuous "blankets" of insulation that you simply position between rafters or studs and then staple into place. The batt will be covered with a paper vapor barrier on one side for moisture protection, and that paper will have flanges that extend over the studs and over the flange of the neighboring batt, so that the pieces can be connected to form a solid wall of insulation.
Pros of Batts
Batts fit snugly between standard spaced studs and rafters. They work well on ceilings, in walls, in crawl spaces, and in many other applications - so they are very versatile.
Batts are fast and relatively simple to install, requiring very little equipment and tools. And they typically come with the vapor barrier already attached. Also, batts installation is virtually mess free.
You can get batts in a variety of different materials and in standard, medium, or high densities (for corresponding degrees of insulating power - "R-value").
Batts are often the most affordable type of insulation, though prices vary with the material of course. They are certainly far and away the most popular insulation method.
Limitations of Batts
Batts are sufficient for most R-value demands and in most structural situations. But they aren't best for non-standard spaced joists/studs. And they lose much R-value if you try to squish them into small, odd-shaped spaces, so you have to cut small pieces to exact size.
And batts at their best can't fill in spaces as compactly as can loose fill insulation. It may be sufficient but blown-in insulation could probably get a higher R-value due to compactness, depending on the material used.
And you likely don't want to rip up a wall to install new batts insulation. So blown insulation is often put inside existing walls and batts only used in new construction or new additions - or in open spaces like between rafters on an attic ceiling or crawlspace ceiling.
Different Batts Materials
Different batts will get different R-values depending on the material used. Fiberglas sis the most common batts material and the most affordable.
Fiberglass batts is often covered with a paper or foil vapor barrier and is relatively fast and easy to install. But the material can be very itchy to the touch, so you have to wear gloves, a face mask, and protective clothing during installation (but we take care of that for you!)
However, contrary to popular myth, there is no good evidence that fiberglass material can cause cancer - at least not in modern fiberglass batts. Some earlier versions with phenol formaldehyde which are being phased out could pose such a risk, regulators have concluded, if inhaled.
Cellulose (made from recycled newspapers or other paper products) has up to 85% recycled materials, the remaining ingredients being chemical additives that make it fire, mold, and insect proof.
Cellulose batts will tend to have a slightly higher R-value than fiberglass, but also cost a bit more. They have the highest recycled ratio of any insulation material on the market and are, thus, very "earth friendly." Cellulose can sometimes cause dust to come into the home through vents, but there are ways to install it so as to reduce this risk.
Denim batts are made from recycled blue jeans or other cotton products. This material also has a high recycled rate and is resistant to fire, moisture, insects, and rodents due to additives. It is sometimes called "cotton batts" instead of "denim batts."
Blown In Insulation
The main alternative to batts insulation is blown-in or "loose fill" insulation. This insulation method involves using heavy duty machinery (transported in insulation trucks) to blow in loose pieces of more or less "fluffy" insulation through long hoses.
At Pure Eco, we can place blown-in insulation into any nook or cranny of your building to eliminate "cold spots" or drafts that form due to irregularly shaped wall, ceiling, or floor cavities going un- or under- insulated.
The size of the pieces of blown-in insulation will vary and it also comes in a wide range of materials, if not in quite as many varieties as does batts.
Pros of Blown-in Insulation
Blown in insulation does not require standard spaced studs. It can fit into spaces of any shape and size and reach down into even tiny nooks and crannies.
Loose fill insulation also lays down more compactly, not leaving as many or as large of air gaps, which boosts R-value. It must, however, be laid down evenly to get the most out of it.
It's much easier and cheaper to blow in loose insulation into existing walls or ceilings rather than rip them up to put batts inside. And loose fill is usually the best method to use for insulating attic floors, which are so crucial to a building's overall energy efficiency level.
Limitations of Blown-in Insulation
Loose fill insulation typically costs a bit more than batts, at least, and it does require special equipment to install properly.
If not done right, blown-in insulation can be messy. And you do need to drill holes in your walls (behind the exterior siding) to blow it in. But these holes are small and are tightly plugged, then covered up again.
Loose Fill Insulation Materials
You can get loose fill versions of fiberglass, cellulose, and denim (cotton) insulation, the same materials use with batts insulation.
Cellulose can safely be blown in "wet" so it will stick in place before sealing off walls/ceilings with new construction. Other types of loose fill can be blown in dry on new construction if a netting is used.
But basically, the pros and cons of each material are the same regardless of if it's batts or loose-fill in form. The weight of the material can play a role, however, since it has to be blown in and then lay in an open-faced layer rather than with a paper vapor barrier over it.
And fiberglass loose fill may need batts over its top or a denser loose fill blown on top of it in colder climates. In Los Angeles, however, that's not really an issue.
Cellulose can settle too much if not blown in in a sufficiently thick layer. And you really need 5/8 inch drywall or standard 16-inch spaced studs when using cellulose loose fill in ceiling cavities.
So, there are a few adjustments and requirements when you use the same material for blown-in versus for batts, and you want to maximize effectiveness, so it's worth worrying about these details. But again, the basic worth of the materials don't change with the method.
Rock Wool Insulation
At Pure Eco, we also offer a form of rock wool insulation called "Roxul soundproof insulation."
These come in batts only presently, but they are much denser and heavier than ordinary batts.
The R-value of Roxul, a form of "rock wool" insulation (made from volcanic rock and metal slag whipped up into steel wool like fibers), is the best on the market, we at Pure Eco believe, when it comes to soundproofing a room or house.
When you go with Roxul insulation, it will cost more than lower grade options. But you get an incredible R-value and exceptional soundproofing results. And the material is also resistant to practically everything, from fire to mold to insects.
Additionally, Roxul's version of rock wool insulation is around 90% made from recycled materials.
Roxul also has board and pipe-covering forms of their rock wool insulation, which are used in conjunction with the batts on insulation projects. But there is not blown-in version of this product.
Enhancing Your Insulation's Effectiveness
To get the most out of any insulation, be it bats or blown or any material, you first have to air seal the area to be insulated. We at Pure Eco offers air sealing and other preparatory or auxiliary services that can enhance the overall results of your insulation job.
Drafts, even small ones, can severely cripple your insulation's R-value, so air sealing and initial inspection to see if any air sealing is needed are virtually required for any insulation project.
Increasing ventilation with new fans and vents, attic cleaning, crawl space cleaning, rodent proofing of attics, installation of a radiant barrier to keep your attic (and hone below) cooler during the hot Southern California summer months, and more are all on our list of insulation related services.
We can do everything necessary to upgrade the energy efficiency of your home, not just the actual installation of the insulation product of your choice.
Why Choose Pure Eco?
We at Pure Eco know how to install batts and loose fill insulation and all manner of insulation materials and brands to get the absolute highest possible R-value out of them. We know how to prepare the area and install according to manufacturer's instructions and how to ensure the insulation will last for many years to come.
Pure Eco has transformed many energy inefficient buildings in Los Angeles neighborhoods and beyond into maximally efficient and environmentally friendly buildings.
We will work with you to help you achieve your insulation and energy efficiency goals for your building. We can give you a free, upfront quote that is accurate even over the phone, and we can give you a more detailed quote after an on-site inspection of the area to be insulated.
At Pure Eco, we catch your vision for a more energy efficient home and give you the information you need to make wise insulation decisions that you'll benefit from for years and decades to come!
To learn more about our services or about the different methods and types of insulation, feel free to contact us today by calling 877-778-2551. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you upgrade your home or business' insulation!