Insulation Foam vs Fiberglass

Insulating your home can save you a considerable amount of money each month in heating and cooling costs. The insulation provides a barrier between the interior of the home and the outside. A home that is properly insulated is also more valuable on the resale market than those without insulation.

Fiberglass batting and spray foam insulation are the two most popular types of residential insulation. Each one has its benefits and drawbacks. Deciding which type of insulation to use for your home will be a personal choice based on the overall benefits

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam is one of the most popular types of insulation because of its high R-value. R-value stands for resistance-value, meaning the ability to resist outside air from penetrating the home. Spray foam, when applied properly, has an R-value of 3.5 to 6.5 depending on the type of foam used. Closed-cell foam has the highest value of 6.5, and when used correctly, can help a house be classified as “green.”

The foam almost looks like mud when it is mixed and must be applied using a special sprayer. Foam insulation will require the use of professional services because of the special equipment needed to mix and spray the foam.

The Benefits of Spray Foam Include:

  • Higher R-value
  • Ability to reach small areas such as over vaulted ceilings
  • Average lifespan of the insulation is 80 years
  • Instantly seals areas around electrical boxes and wiring
  • Has significant moisture control

The Drawbacks of Spray Insulation Include:

  • Requires a service to install because of equipment needs
  • Priced higher than fiberglass insulation

Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass insulation is a batting made from plastic and glass threads that have been spun together into a batting. The batting is usually backed with tinfoil like backing, although some companies use a heavy paper stock for the back of the batting. This backing is what allows you to handle the batting without causing damage or gaps to the insulation.

Fiberglass batting comes in different thicknesses. Of course, the thicker that the batting is, the more protection you will have from the outside air entering into the home. Many people do not realize that they should buy batting that is thicker than the actual space that they are filling so that it can be compressed down when installing for more protection.

Fiberglass batting only has an R-value of 2.5- 3.25 This type of insulation will help reduce your energy consumption for heating and cooling, but not as effectively as foam. Fiberglass batting can be installed by the homeowner and can be purchased at any local hardware store. However, personal protective equipment is necessary when installing.

How to Instill Fiberglass Batt Insulation

Anyone who is installing fiberglass insulation must wear protective clothing (clothing that covers the entire body and is made of heavier materials). Eye and had protection are necessary. A face mask must be worn because inhaling fiberglass strands can damage your lungs.

To correctly install fiberglass batting, you must secure each side of the sheet at least six times per section. Building codes in your area may require more, and you should verify it prior to installing it. You must also cut holes in the batting to allow for wires and electrical boxes.

Benefits of Using Fiberglass Insulation Include:

  • DIY project
  • More cost-effective than foam insulation
  • Can be purchased at a local hardware store

Drawbacks of Fiberglass Insulation:

  • Not very protective for moisture
  • Lower R-value than foam insulation

Which Insulation Is Best For Me?

There are several things that you must take into account when deciding which type of insulation you want to use in your home. Some of the factors you should consider include:

  • Local building code requirements for insulation
  • Do you want your home to be considered “green”?
  • Do you plan to make this a DIY project?
  • How much do you want to invest in the overall project?

If you have any type of questions about insulation, building codes in your area, or questions about having insulation installed, you are encouraged to speak with a professional installation service. Having your home insulated will help you save money and improve the value of your home. However, incorrectly installed insulation could cause problems in your home that would require having to have the insulation removed and replaced.