There are many insulation options available on the market, each with its own advantages. Installation methods also differ based on the type of material used. Types of insulation that require professional installation include concrete block insulations, foam boards, loose fill, fiber insulation, sprayed foam, and structural insulated panels.
Concrete blocks are used in foundations and walls. They may be filled with insulation, but it is more effective to install insulation across the surface of the blocks. This type of insulation is applied during new building construction or major renovations. Foam boards, on the other hand, are used on walls, ceilings, and lofts with a low slope. The boards can be made of polystyrene, polyisocyanurate or polyurethane and must be covered with gypsum for fire safety. They offer high insulating value for little thickness.
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The installation of loose fills requires specialized blowing equipment. It is typically used in walls and lofts as it works well for hard-to-reach and irregularly shaped spaces. The loose fill may consist of cellulose, fiberglass or mineral wool. To insulate air ducts, professionals also use fibreglass or mineral wool in the form of rigid fibreboard insulation.
Sprayed foam is a liquid that cures once it is exposed to air. Made of cementitious, phenolic, polyisocyanurate or polyurethane materials, this type of insulation has the highest thermal resistance (R-value) of all types of insulation. It must be professionally installed and can be used in walls, floors, and ceilings.
Structural insulated panels differ from all other insulation types. These panels are manufactured in factories and shipped to construction sites, where they are assembled and used to construct a house. The panels might be costly, but they offer superior insulation and can significantly decrease the construction time.
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Some insulation types can be installed by homeowners themselves and do not require specialized equipment. Blanket insulations are the most common type that comes in the form of batts or rolls. Made of fibreglass, mineral wool or natural fibres, they can be easily rolled out and attached to walls, floors, and ceilings with staples.
If you have unfinished walls, ceilings and floors, consider installing reflective insulation systems such as highly reflective aluminium foil or plastic films. These DIY solutions reflect radiant heat away from the living area and work best in hot climates. They are usually installed in lofts and can reduce cooling costs up to 10%.