Types of Floor Insulation

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Types of Floor Insulation
Insulating floors can decrease energy costs. (swimming pool cover image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com)

With energy costs rising, many people are looking at ways to cut down some of the energy costs associated with heating their home in colder climates. Attic and wall insulations seems to be most effective in cutting down some of the energy costs during colder times of the year. However, the floors do not receive the same attention. Although not as much heat is lost in the flooring of a home or building, insulating the floors can still decrease energy costs. There are several types of insulation that can be used for floors. It is important to look into each type to determine which one is most efficient and cost effective in your home.

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Batts and Blankets

The most common types of insulating material used in batts and blankets types of insulation is fibreglass or rock wool fibres, but natural wool and polyester have also been used. Batts are sold in strips that are precut, while blankets come in rolls and are typically thinner and denser than batts. They are both sold in widths. Batts and blankets are installed simply by pressing or stapling into place. Batts and blankets are a popular type of floor insulation for do-it-yourselfers because they are the most affordable and easiest to install.

Loose-fill

Loose-fill insulation commonly consists of cellulose fibre, natural wool fibre, fibreglass or rock wool fibres. Loose-fill insulation comes in loose form; the fibres are usually granulated or made into pellets. Loose-fill insulation is typically sold in bags or in bales and can be poured, stuffed or blown into place. This type of insulation must be installed evenly to ensure sufficient insulation coverage, so the supplier usually installs it. Loose-fill insulation is also relatively inexpensive, but can settle over time, which reduces its effectiveness.

Liquid Foam

Liquid foam insulation is typically made of polyurethane but is available in latex as well. Liquid foam insulation comes in the form of a liquid and is sold in either spray containers or pressure sprayers. Liquid foam is sprayed into place and expands and hardens as it dries. Professionals should install liquid foam insulations so that the mix and application can be monitored. This type of insulation tends to be more expensive than both loose-fill and batts and blankets, however it is more beneficial because it does not shrink or settle into place. It also provides better air filtration and blocks more drafts.

Rigid Foam Board

Rigid foam board insulation is mostly made up of polystyrene, but can also be made from asphalt-impregnated fiberboard, polyurethane and polyisocyanurate. Rigid foam board is sold in panels and can be purchased with or without the foil facing used to reflect heat. Rigid foam board is easier to install than the liquid foam so do-it-yourselfers are able to install it. Although rigid foam board is easier to install than liquid foam, it is not as effective as liquid foam and is also a more expensive alternative.

Reflective

Reflective insulation is made from very aluminium foil laminate designed to reflect heat from its surface. Like the batts and blankets type of insulation, reflective insulation can be sold in precut strips or rolls and is installed similarly as well. Although reflective installation can be installed by do-it-yourselfers, it is recommended to have it professionally installed because its efficiency is based on proper installation. Combining with batts and blankets or loose-fill types of insulation can increase the effectiveness of reflective insulation.

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