The traditional pink fiberglass spun insulation of yesteryear may not be your best option when insulating your Chatham home. In recent years many choices have sprung up, providing improved environmental and health benefits for you and your family.

Three Natural Fibers

  • Cotton—mostly cotton fiber, with boron added to retard flame spread. Cotton fiber insulation is available in batts or loose fill. This natural fiber, not suitable for moist areas, is usually more expensive than fiberglass insulation but can be put down without professional help or safety equipment.
  • Cellulose—primarily composed of recycled paper, cellulose insulation does not adversely affect your Chatham home’s indoor air quality, is easy on the environment, and (like cotton) has boron added for fire resistance. This material is blown into wall and ceiling openings, between attic joists, and can even be applied (with a binder) to attic roof undersides. Like cotton, it is not appropriate where moisture could ruin its insulating value (below grade or in crawlspaces).
  • Mineral Wool—also called slag wool or rock wool, this naturally fire-retardant material is made from spun strands of common minerals or the slag from iron-ore furnaces. It is more expensive than fiberglass or cellulose but resists moisture and is much more durable. Professionals can blow it into your home, or you can purchase it in batts and do it yourself.

Three Foams

  • Polyisocyanurate (nicknamed polyiso)—rigid foam board (often foil-covered). The legions of tiny air bubbles trapped in the foam insulate extremely well, so even a thin sheet can add a high R-value.
  • Polystyrene—extruded (sold as XPS) polystyrene is the blue foam board you often see applied on the exterior of the building and home construction before the outer architectural surface is attached. Expanded (EPS) is nicknamed beadboard and, like XPS, can be used in moist conditions with a foil film.
  • Polyurethane—Sprayed on-site by professionals, this expanding foam fills irregular nooks and crannies, making it an airtight and waterproof barrier for foundations, walls, and attics.

To learn more about your choices for insulating your Chatham home, contact us at Pipe Works Services.

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