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Six questions to ask when choosing the right insulation

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Architects can consider spray foam insulation in their commercial designs

There are a myriad of insulation options available on the market nowadays, each with their own range of benefits. With so many options available, it can become confusing as to which is the right insulation product that best suits your design project. Taking time to evaluate the products available is an important step for any architect or builder to do to ensure the right insulation is specified into the project. Below are six questions to ask yourself (and your contractor) when choosing what type of insulation to use.
 

  1. How well does the insulation control air leakage that can account for up to 40% of a building's energy loss?
     
  2. Can the insulation create an air barrier without the use of extra finishing materials such as tape, gaskets, plastic wrap and labor?
     
  3. How well does the insulation reduce air leakage in hard-to-insulate areas such as rim joists, catheral ceilings, crawlspaces, garages etc without extra materials?
     
  4. Is the insulation a qualified air barrier that minimizes air infiltration to help keep out allergens, dust and other pollutants?
     
  5. Will the insulation maintain consistent performance at the rated R-value* through the life of the building, or will it settle over time, creating gaps and voids and losing its R-value*?
     
  6. Can the insulation help control sound (around plumbing, between rooms, street noise)?

* R means resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power. Compare insulation R-values before you buy. There are other factors to consider. The amount of insulation you need depends mainly on the climate you live in. Also, your fuel savings from insulation will depend upon the climate, the type and size of your house, the amount of insulation already in your house, and your fuel use patterns and family size. If you buy too much insulation, it will cost you more than what you'll save on fuel. To get the marked R-value, it is essential that this insulation be installed properly.

 

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