Proper insulation will slow the rate of heat transfer, which keeps structures warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Heat loss happens in three ways:
- Conduction – Heat moves through solid materials.
- Convection – This refers to heat loss because of air movement. It is caused by cool air dropping near cold surfaces and warm air increasing close to heating devices.
- Radiation – This refers to heat loss through electromagnetic waves. Heat comes from any warm body such as a window and a wood stove.
The ability of a material to resist heat transfer is expressed in R value. In most commercially available insulations, the R value ranges from R3 per inch to R6 per inch. Generally, the higher the number, the more a material can resist heat transfer.
There are different materials for insulating your home to reduce heat loss. Centuries ago, moss and earth were used as insulators and placed between ceiling joists and wall studs. Manufactured materials containing small air pockets in their fibrous structures are now widely used.
Mineral wool is making a comeback in the US. This was the most common insulation material used decades ago in Europe and Canada. It’s made from spinning or blowing molten rock, glass or slag. Insulations from slag or rock have greater density and heat resistance as compared to those from glass, but all are equal when it comes to cost and durability.
Cellulose is made from consumer paper products. It contains approximately 85% of recycled content. By using this green building material, the carbon footprint of the property can be reduced.
Plastic foams are very resistant to water vapor since their air spaces are completely enclosed. They are very effective in cold-storage applications. Cellular glass, which is another type of foam material, is used for roof decks as well as for hot and cold piping.
Heat-reflective surfaces are used primarily to keep properties cool in the summer. Aluminum foil is the commonly used material. It is made into accordion-pleated layers that are stiffened with paper. This can be stapled between ceiling joists or wall studs. The paper-backed aluminum foil can be applied to ceiling joists in ventilated attics so the foil outside will face toward the source of the heat to be reflected.
Vapor Barrier Material
By attaching a vapor barrier into the inner wall structure, the building can be protected against the condensation of moisture in winter. The warm moisture from the inside won’t pass into the cold areas and condense. The waterproof vapor barrier should face the warm side. Materials used can be brick, concrete block, asphalt coated paper, plywood, glass, and fiberglass. Please call us to set up an appointment today!