Houston Types of Insulation

Loose fill. Fiberglass is the most common loose fill material. Loose fill is preferred for finished wall spaces, attics, and hard-to-reach areas, because it can be blown in to fill around gaps, cracks, and wiring. This type of insulation is relatively inexpensive, and many cellulose-based varieties are made with up to 80 percent recycled materials.

Blankets. Fiberglass 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.

Spray Polyurethane Foam. Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) is a mixture of two components that form a dense but expanding material, which can be sprayed into walls and crevices, on concrete slabs, or on the interior side of wood sheathing. The foam is highly mold-resistant and can easily be sprayed to fill irregular spaces. The foam also meets air barrier requirements in building codes, without the use of additional materials, which gives it better performance versus traditional loose-fill or blanket insulation.

SPFs are usually classified as either an open-cell foam or a closed-cell foam.  Closed-cell foam is stronger and has a higher R-value than open-cell foam. Because of its higher density, much more of the material can be needed to complete certain types of projects, thereby significantly increasing cost; however, closed-cell foam has the additional attribute of stopping moisture vapors, making it preferable for damp areas like crawl spaces.

One downside of spray foam insulation is that the initial cost is significantly higher than most other insulation materials, but the savings achieved by spray foam may be much greater than other forms of insulation. SPFs are commonly used in existing homes; however, the process can be much more involved than simply adding insulation over an existing product.

Radiant barrier foil or reflective paint. Radiant barriers are foils, films, or paints 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. The radiant barrier foil is typically stapled to the underside of the roof rafters, while in paint form it is applied directly to the underside of the roof decking.