Throughout time the development of
insulation has occurred as a product of many interest as a concept and a
practice that is sometimes not very well understood. For architecture,
insulation has long remained abstract and undetermined. Insulation in building
are used for thermal purposes, and material will be chosen for its ability to
perform several techniques.

           Insulation usually, revolves around
the heat flow following by radiation, convection, and conduction. These
systems, conduct in different ways. Conduction is the way the heat moves
through the material, convection in the other hand is how the heat circulates
through liquid and gases. Which helps homes feel cooler. Radiant, travels in
straight light and the heat absorbs its energy. Most of the materials work by
slowing the conductive heat flow. Despite the system of insulation, heat flows
from warmer to cooler until the temperature differs. Meaning that during the
winter the heat usually flows from living spaces to basements or the outdoors.
Though here in Florida is a bit different. Up North, the heat flows from the
outdoor to the interior of the homes during cold weather.

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            R-Values is a rated term and
insulating material that resist to conductive heat flow. Typically, the higher
the value the better the effects, depending on the thickness and density. The
effectiveness of the insulation material also depends on how its installed.

          There are type of insulation. To find
the best one for your house or building, you would have to know where to
install it and what the R-Values you need. Sometimes it varies depending on the
climate and location. R-Values are typically the max thermal performance to
keep your house warm during the winter and cool during the summer.  Some types of Insulation include the
following; Blanket, concrete block, foam board, Loose-full and blown-in,
Reflective system, Rigid fiber, and SIPs (Structural insulated panels).

           Blanket: Batt and Roll insulation
are made from fiberglass, mineral wool, plastic fibers and natural fibers like
cotton and sheep wool. Which are very available and are easily installed in ceiling,
floors or even crawl spaces.
Fiberglass is one of the most available material as of today. Most of them have
higher R-Values than other standard batts. One of the best advantages is that
you can install it yourself, which inexpensive. It is also very suited for
standard studs and joist spacing. Its applied on unfinished walls, floors and
ceilings unlike Rigid Fiber Insulation. They are usually sold in bundles or
rolls, but when cut into 4ft or 8ft each piece is called a batt and then the
insulation is sold in rolls, they are called blanket. These insulations are
said to be bad for basements, due to the fiberglass being air permeable and the
dangerous of the warm moist air that can pass through the fiberglass, as
condensation can occur on the cold surface. The mineral wool insulation, in the
other hand, is made from molten slag, a steel product or natural rock. It has a
higher density than fiberglass and its more fire resistant than the fiberglass.
Though it is not really used as much like fiberglass.

 
      Concrete Block Insulation are also used on
unfinished walls, new renovation or construction and concrete wall blocks.
Unlike the Batts and Rolls insulation, Concrete block are harder to still and a
required professional to do it. Is the most effective to install over the
surface of the block on the exterior or the inside of the
wall foundation.  Placing the insulation
in the outside gives the advantage to have a neutral thermal mass of the block,
giving the interior a greater temperature. They are usually stacked without
mortar and with a bonded surface. Is incorporated with foam insulation. Many
manufacture make the concrete blocks accommodating the foam inserts. Some are
also made with coat polystyrene bead and put a thin film of concrete. The
easiest way to make them is by mixing Portland cement, sand and chemical
additives. Concrete blocks are typically with perlite pellets. This block
insulating system have 10 times the insulating value of conventional concrete
unlike the other.

Foam Board are made of Polystyrene,
polyisocyanurate, and polyurethane – same as concrete blocks. They can be used
to insulate mostly any part of the house. The R-Value of the rigid foam or Foam
board are very effective and much higher than any other insulation systems. They
provide better thermal resistant and minimizes the heat conduction through the
structural elements.  

      
    ICFs – Insulating Concrete Forms, are poured
concrete walls which typically creates wall with higher thermal resistance and
the R-Values are approximately R-20. They consist foams connected, and
insulation blocks, and fasten using plastic ties. To make the foam board much
stronger; rebar is added before the concrete is mixed, it also strengthens the
walls. Loose-Filled insulation in the other hand, also called Blow-In
insulation, are made from small particles of fiber, foam and other kind of
materials.

Compare to the Batt, Blow-In insulation
provides better  performance. Is made from cellulose,
fiberglass and mineral rock wool. Cellulose can be installed by drilling holes
in the wall sheathing, plaster or drywalls, better for a good installer to do
the job. For a lot of green builders, cellulose insulation is the first choice
compare to others, for top-grade walls and ceilings. It is ECO friendly and
very cheap. It is more resistant than fiberglass, and blows into finished areas
and irregular shaped areas, sometimes it better to poured in. The R-values of
the fiberglass depends on the density, but of course the higher the value the
better.

     
   Unlike the usual insulation systems, Radiant
Barriers and Reflective insulation systems, reflects radiant heat far away from
the living space. As mentioned before the heat travels from warm to cold areas
by combining conduction, convection and radiation. They are more effective in
warm climate, and can lower the cost of A/C, when used in sunny climate.
However, during cold weather it is more expensive to install thermal
insulation. Most of the material woks by slowing the conductive heat flow. It
consists of aluminum foil, some of the products are fiber-reinforced which is
great for durability. To installed Radiant barrier, is best to use a
professional or certified installer. In new homes, rolled foil radiant barriers
are faced down between the roof rafter to minimize the dust on the double faced
radiant. It is suitable for framing at a standard spacing and at preventing
downward heat flow.

          Sprayed foam, is also made from
Polyisocyanurate, polyurethane, cement and phenolic. Usually for enclosed walls
that exist already, open new walls, and unfinished attic floors. Usually
sprayed, so it’s very easy to install if you carefully know how to. It’s great
for adding insulation to existing finished area and around barriers This insulation
however, are not used as much due to the chlorofluorocarbons that can affect
the environment. There are two types of sprayed foams, the open cell is less
dense than the closed cell which are filled with gas that helps expand the
foams and fill the spaces perfectly. They also are expensive compare to the
batt insulation. But also has a great resistance to fire and air intrusion.

 

        

 Structural Insulating Panels or SIPS, are made
from foam board or straw core. It’s also great for unfinished walls, ceiling,
floor and roof of new construction or renovations. They provide superior
insulation compared to the tradition construction methods. Giving energy saving
when installed property. They also have high R-Values and high strength to
weight rations. Though have in mind that the quality of this insulation is very
important if you wish for it to last long and have a great performance. When
installed, it’s better to use a certified installer as well, they should meet
all building codes requirements and pass the ASTM standard of Safety. SIPs are
very important insulation compare to all the previous mention above and
required a lot of attention. Fire Safety is also a concern, when is covered
with a fire rated material such as gypsum board, it protects the people
in the building to scape in case of a fire. Also, have in mind that insects
also get in between the SIPs.

 

  
    All these types of insulation are great for homes;
especially for cool climate areas, ceilings, attics, and especially
floors.  It can be used basically for any
purpose, though mostly used for thermal purposes. When we say insulation, we
think of all new ideas to make it ECO friendly and GREEN. Having a great
insulation is like having an energy efficient house. Some of the ecofriendly
insulation, include recycled denim, wool, icynene and nanogel. So, when
thinking of putting insulation on your home, we must think on how to make it as
ECO friendly and GREEN as possible.