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Insulation Explained Part One: Foam Insulation vs Blanket Insulation

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When building a new home, or renovating an existing one, you can choose from numerous types of insulation. Making that choice on your own can be overwhelming, which is why we have published this article to help you. In this post, we examine everything you need to know about two of the most common types of insulation: foam insulation and blanket insulation.

Foam Insulation – The Basics

This is a relatively new method of insulating your home. You can spray polyurethane foam into ceilings and walls and when it expands, it forms an air tight seal. In some cases, this seal can also be moisture tight. You can use it to insulate a new home or to add to the insulation of an existing one, especially since it makes it very easy to deal with small crevices and cracks along the perimiter of the home.

Types Of Foam Insulation

You can find foam insulation in various forms:

  • Aerosol cans with one-part formulas – ideal for DIY jobs like insulating your doorways
  • Low pressure sprayers with two-part formulas – ideal for smaller jobs
  • Two-part kits that need to be applied with high-pressure sprayers – ideal for bigger jobs

Irrespective of how it is applied, spray foams are divided into two major categories:

  • Closed cell – denser and more expensive, with a 6 to7 per inch R-value and moisture tight
  • Open cell – with a 4 to 4 per inch R-value

The Benefits Of Foam Insulation

  • Energy efficiency – foam expands naturally after applying it, so it seals off the crevices fiberglass cannot reach
  • Durability – it does not break down as easily as your typical fiberglass
  • Ideal for other types of damage – pests and mold are kept away by this high quality foam insulation

The Drawbacks Of Foam Insulation

  • Price – for the energy efficiency and durability foam brings, it can be more expensive than other options and requires expensive equipment at times
  • Hard to apply – unless you are using an aerosol can for a small job, this is a job best left to professionals
  • Messy installation – even when done by professionals, foam insulation is tricky, as it is very easy to miss your target, spray certain parts unintentionally and have it seep through holes before it dries off.

Blanket Insulation – The Basics

Fiberglass insulation in the form of a blanket is ideal for new construction and spaces that are easy to access, like attics. Since it comes in rolls or batts, you can easily cut it and fit it in any space, including around electrical boxes and pipes. The R-value per inch of blanket insulation varies between 3.2 and 4.3 (for the high density varieties).

The Benefits Of Blanket Insulation

  • Affordability – blanket insulation can be much cheaper than foam insulation
  • Ease of installation – it is very easy to install blanket insulation on your own, especially if your house does not have problematic areas or a lot of small crevices that need to be sealed off
  • Easier to find professionals – fiberglass has been around for much longer than foam, so it is much easier to find people who have experience in installing it properly
  • A neater workspace – fiberglass is not as messy to install as foam

The Drawbacks Of Blanket Insulation

  • Lower energy efficiency – with its lower R-value, fiberglass is not as efficient as spray foam
  • Less durable – blanket insulation tends to settle and break down faster, which means the thermal protection decreases over time

Learn More

While improving the insulation in your home can deliver great benefits, both for comfort and financially, it is important to know all the options and potential pitfalls out there.


Air_sealing_and_insulation_transparent.pngTo learn more about the various types of insulation, best practices around installation, maintenance and what to expect during insulation upgrades – download this free ebook on Air Sealing and Insulation.


Looking For An Expert?

If you prefer to speak to a specialist about how properly insulating your home can help you save on your energy  bills not only in the winter but also in the summer, months please contact Windows on Washington today.



Topics: Insulation