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Man installing spray foam insulation

What is the proper thickness of spray foam insulation?

Many factors determine how thick spray foam insulation needs to be. All insulation is rated by R-value which is a rating of thermal resistance. The higher the R-value, the higher the thermal resistance. When installing fiberglass insulation, cellulose insulation or mineral wool insulation R-value is clear. Understanding the R-value of spray foam insulation is a bit different. Spray foam insulation R-value depends on the type of spray foam insulation being applied.

There are two types of spray foam insulation: open cell and closed cell. Depending on the manufacturer, open cell spray foam insulation has an R-value of approximately 3.5 per inch. It is a low-density product that is often used in interior walls and other areas that require some moisture permeability. The R-value of closed cell spray foam insulation is different. Depending on the manufacturer, closed cell spray foam has an R-value ranging from 5.0 to 7.0 per inch. Closed cell spray foam is more rigid than open cell spray foam and is used in areas where moisture permeability and a higher R-value are necessary.

To be sure your home has the right amount and type of insulation, consult a qualified insulation contractor. Whitson Insulation of Grand Rapids has the training and expertise to properly advise you on the amount of insulation your home needs. Contact us to discuss your next project.

What is spray foam insulation?

Spray foam insulation insulates and seals air leaks in one application. Spray foam insulation is comprised of two products that react when combined. This reaction causes the foam to expand and, when installed, fill cracks and crevices. Spray foam insulation also dampens sound transfer and deters mold growth.

There are two types of spray foam insulation – open cell spray foam insulation and closed cell spray foam insulation. Open cell spray foam is lighter in weight than closed cell spray foam and is flexible. Closed cell spray foam insulation is heavier and more dense than open cell spray foam. Closed cell spray foam has a higher R-value than open cell spray foam and is more resistant to moisture. It is frequently installed in areas such as crawl spaces where there is higher moisture composition.

If you would like a free estimate for installing spray foam in your home, contact the professionals at Whitson Insulation Company of Grand Rapids.

 

How much insulation do I need?

There is no “one” answer to the question of how much insulation your home needs. The short answer is that your home needs enough insulation to properly protect it. There is a lot more involved in determining how much insulation your home needs. Your climate is the biggest factor that determines how much insulation your home needs, followed by local building codes, air leakage, your home’s construction and so on.

In a cold climate like Michigan, a higher R-value is required than would be necessary in warmer climates. Attic insulation in Grand Rapids, Michigan should be an R-value of R-48 to R-60. How thick this should be depends upon the type of insulation that is installed (e.g., fiberglass versus spray foam).

When adding insulation consider sealing air leaks in addition to insulating. Insulation creates a thermal blanket that helps reduce heat transfer. This thermal blanket helps keep conditioned inside air from escaping the home. This thermal blanket may not prevent all conditioned air from escaping. Traditional insulation materials such as fiberglass insulation and cellulose insulation are porous materials that allow some air flow, not to mention the air gaps around the insulating material. Sealing air leaks around wiring, duct work, etc. is an important step to help keep even more conditioned air in your home. Spray foam insulation is a unique product that insulates and seals air leaks in one step.

If you have questions about adding insulation to your home, ccontact us at Whitson Insulation and we can help.

 

 

What is cellulose insulation?

Cellulose insulation one of the oldest types of home insulation. Cellulose insulation is plant fiber that is manufactured mostly from recycled newsprint.

Cellulose insulation is manufactured as a loose-fill product and is installed with a machine to either blow in or dense pack. Cellulose insulation can be blown into attics to add R-value to this open space. Densely packed cellulose is typically used for retrofitting a home or office. By dense packing the cellulose into wall cavities it provides thermal resistance and reduces sound transfer.

Stabilized cellulose has water added to it and is typically installed in new construction before drywall is added. It provides the same thermal insulation and soundproofing as dense packed cellulose insulation but is used in open walls before the cavity is closed.

If you have questions about cellulose insulation for your home or office, contact Whitson Insulation and our experienced professionals can help you.

 

 

What is Insulation?

Insulation is any material that is used to fill spaces in your home including gaps and crevices. The purpose of insulation is to reduce heat flow by stopping heat transfer or reflecting heat. Insulation is also used as a sound barrier. Different types of insulation are best used for different purposes for electrical, thermal and soundproofing.

Insulation comes in many different types:

  • Fiberglass insulation is manufactured from recycled glass and is widely used. It is installed as a batt (also known as a blanket) or as loose fill (also known as blown-in).
  • Cellulose insulation is made primarily of recycled paper. It is often used to dense pack into closed spaces and is commonly used for soundproofing.
  • Spray foam insulation is applied as a liquid and expands to fill a space. As spray foam insulation expands it fills leaks. Spray foam insulation insulates and seals air leaks in one step.
  • Radiant barrier insulation is often used in warm climates and helps reflect heat away from a building.
  • Rigid foam insulation is manufactured in sheets. It can be cut to fit any space and is often used in new construction.
  • Mineral wool insulation is also called rock wool insulation. It is manufactured from rock that has been spun into fibers.

We offer a variety of insulation products for residential and commercial applications. If you have questions about insulating your home contact Whitson Insulation today.

 

 

Basement Insulation: Why It Matters and Installation Methods

When thinking about insulation, the attic is the first area of a home that comes to mind. Many homeowners never think of the energy lost through an uninsulated or under-insulated basement.

Basements are a major source of energy loss. Basement box sills, located around the perimeter of the basement ceiling where the walls of the home meet the foundation, are the thinnest points in a home’s exterior, allowing outside air to leak into the basement.

Basements are constructed from concrete which easily transfers cold, damp air from the surrounding earth into your basement. This creates a cold basement and the cold air can also affect the temperature of your home’s first floor.

Basements can be successfully insulated with rolled fiberglass insulation with an attached vapor barrier. This product is often (and appropriately) called basement roll. Basement roll is taped to the top of the concrete walls near the box sills and covers the entire concrete wall. If a basement is partially above grade, areas surrounding the windows are insulated with fiberglass batt insulation and covered with drywall. As a final step, box sills are insulated with fiberglass batts or spray foam.

Increase the comfort of your home’s living space with basement insulation.

Contact our office to learn more and schedule your free estimate.


 

Why Insulate Your Crawl Space?

Controlling the moisture in your crawl space is a priority for keeping it dry. Improper drainage can lead to more significant problems including structural damage, infiltration of pests and mold.

Moisture control begins around the exterior of your home and many problems can be avoided here early on. Installing gutters is fairly inexpensive compared to the benefits. Gutters direct the rain water away from your foundation and your crawl space. If you are unable to install gutters, hire a professional to grade the ground around your home so water flows away from the structure.

After external issues have been handled, closely inspect the inside of your crawl space. Dirt floor crawl spaces are a great place for pests to live. This direct exposure to the earth creates moisture that can lead to mold and affect the structure of your home’s foundation.

Insulating and sealing your crawl space can protect your home’s structure and make your interior more comfortable. Our team will insulate the walls of your crawl space with 2-1/2 inch Thermax board or line the floor and walls with basement roll (fiberglass insulation with FSK backing). Following this step, box sills are insulated and with spray foam.

Take care of your crawl space issues now before they create a larger problem with your foundation or your health.

Contact us if you have crawl space issues or questions.

 

 

 

It’s Summer! Time to Think About Insulation!

If you see sky-high summer energy costs, we have a lesson for you about home insulation. Insulation isn’t something to think about only during the winter. Your home uses energy year round, whether you’re heating or cooling. Energy loss can occur just as easily during the summer when you’re running your air conditioning system.

To keep energy inside your home, the thermal envelope needs to be conditioned. This is done by ensuring your home’s wall and attic insulation is at the proper R-value and by sealing air leaks. Air leaks carry heated or cooled air away from your targeted area. An air leak as small as your thumb can allow an enormous amount of conditioned air to escape. Sealing air leaks prevents conditioned inside air from escaping and hot, humid outside air from entering.

How do you know if your home needs an energy upgrade?

  • The age of your home can be a factor. Homes built before the mid-1950s have little or no insulation.
  • Pay attention to how often your air conditioning system runs. If the system has been checked and is working properly, your home can benefit from air sealing and upgraded insulation.
  • If your home has hot or cold spots, air may be leaking in from the outside. Air sealing can help.

For a more comprehensive analysis, consider a home energy audit. A home energy audit is like getting a physical for your home. An auditor checks your entire home for energy loss – everything from insulation to duct work, and your HVAC system, water heater and more.

Schedule a free estimate with our experienced insulation team to review your home for energy improvements. Contact our office today with questions or to schedule an estimate.