The Pros and Cons of Various Forms of Insulation for a Home

12 September 2016
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

If your home needs new insulation, you have many options from which to choose, and your contractor can probably recommend a few options for your home. However, it's not unusual for homeowners to install their own insulation without the help of a contractor, which means you also won't have his or her help in deciding on the right type of insulation. Note a few pros and cons of each type so you can determine if you should stick with standard fiberglass or if something else is a better option for you.


Fiberglass insulation is very popular; one reason for this is that it comes in rolls or blankets you can easily cut to fit any space, even working it around studs and other such obstructions. This makes for a quick installation for any homeowner. It's also somewhat inexpensive, so if you have a large area that needs insulating, it can be a good option.

Rigid or foam board

Foam boards have a type of rigid, dense core that is covered with gypsum or drywall for interior use or a waterproof material for exterior use. Foam board is very dense and can mean greater insulating factors than fiberglass, so it offers more protection in very cold or very hot climates. It also has a very thin frame so it's good for areas where thick fiberglass won't fit, such as behind or under floorboards or along sloped roofs with shorter beams and joists. Note that you may need to choose a foam board with a higher fire resistance outer layer for areas like kitchens and garages, and this might increase the price.

Blown in or loose fill insulation

Blown foam insulation can fill in lots of nooks and crannies, more so than fiberglass. This makes it a good choice for older homes where there may be chips and cracks in the wood frame that allow in drafts and where fiberglass insulation is not sufficient. Loose fill insulation can be made from recycled paper; this is mixed with an adhesive to create a type of covering that is blown into place. Loose fill cellulose is a very eco-friendly choice, but note that any blown or loose fill insulation may need be installed by a contractor who is experienced in using the blowing tools and in filling all those nooks and crannies. They also need to ensure it's not applied over wiring, plumbing pipes, and the like. This can increase the price of installation overall.