Common Types of Insulation
Loose fill. Fiberglass is
the most common loose fill material. It is preferred by insulation
contractors for attics, because it can be blown in. A special truck
with a strong blower is parked in the driveway. An approximately
four-inch diameter hose is run from the truck-mounted blower to the
attic, usually by way of an upstairs window located near the pull-down
attic steps. One technician unloads bags of insulation into the blower
hopper in the truck, while the other technician spreads or sprays the
loose insulation around the attic, creating a blanket.
One advantage of loose fill is that it is easily installed around
pipes and other attic obstacles as well as on top of existing
insulation. Also, the blower simplifies the installation process by
carrying the insulation from truck to attic. Loose fill may also be
used to insulate empty wall cavities. One drawback of loose fill is
that it can only be used in areas where it is completely contained or
where gravity holds it in place. For example, it cannot be used to
insulate crawl space or basement ceilings.
blankets are usually precut into either rolls or batts. Batts are
sheets specifically sized to fit between wall studs. They are typically
used during the building process to insulate walls before sheetrock is
hung. Fiberglass rolls are commonly used to insulate basement or crawl
space ceilings. Because little equipment is required to install
fiberglass batts and rolls, many do-it-yourselfers prefer them. One
issue with installing fiberglass rolls or batts over existing
insulation in the attic is that keeping the individual blankets
parallel, so that there are no gaps between them, is often challenging.
Radiant barrier or reflective insulation. Radiant
barriers are foils or films engineered to reflect radiant heat back in
the direction from which it came. Radiant barriers can be installed in
a number of areas in the home and are commonly installed in the attic.
The radiant barrier is typically stapled to the underside of the roof