Maine Insulation Contractor Quantum Performance Building Products is Maine’s premier Spray Foam Insulation installer. Take a look below to expand your knowledge base around insulation and for answers to some of your questions. There is a lot of information out there on the internet these days. The team here at Quantum will provide you with the correct information regarding your insulation choice. Together we have decades of experience in the insulation and construction world. We use that experience to help our clients like yourself navigate the often-confusing world of insulation.  Quantum is The Maine Insulation Contractor!

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Does it really make sense to spend more for better insulation?

This is a complex question.  However, there are a few basic things to keep in mind.  Generally speaking, the days of fiberglass batt insulation are over.  If you are building a new home or renovating an old home choosing better insulation always makes sense.  Even if you’re on a budget it always makes since to invest up front for a better insulation package.  The reason behind this is that insulation is the one thing you can do to your home that will pay you back year after year after year!

What is the primary way heat is lost in a house?

There has been a major push on the internet to make this topic as confusing as possible.  Let me break it down very simply.  Condensation and heat loss explained.

  • Air is KING!  Air is how heat is lost.  Just open your window in the winter and feel cold air rushing in.  It’s amazing when a product is tested for how well it stops heat loss air is not part of the consideration!  That’s why we can’t compare an air porous insulation like fiberglass to an air barrier material like spray foam just using R-value.
  • Air is also the primary transport of moisture.  99 percent of all moisture travels in air.
  • Condensation or “moisture” is created when warm air from inside your wall comes in contact with your cold exterior sheathing.  This is a universal truth.
  • When choosing an insulation don’t look so much at R-value to compare them and try to understand that with air barrier materials R-value really doesn’t matter.  Try to think of everything in terms of how well that material stops air from moving.  Air is everything in terms of heat loss for the same reason we wear jackets made of air barrier materials in the winter.  Stopping air movement is always the key.

Hierarchy of insulation materials

Fibeglass Batts

Fiberglass Batts are at the bottom of the list.  Fiberglass batts allow air to freely pass through insulation.  Air is the number 1 source of heat loss.  Any insulation that allows a high amount of air to pass through it will not perform correctly.

Roxul Batts

Roxul Batts have a leg up on fiberglass batts.  This is due to the fact that roxul is denser than a standard fiberglass batt.  Since it is more dense it allows less air to move through it.  Therefore, less heat is lost.  It also has the added benefit of being a better sound dampening material than fiberglass batts.  It is important to remember that although Roxul Batts are better than Fibeglass Batts it is still air porus.  Therefore, air will still transport heat through the material.  Its not a bad choice for a home owner on a budget who wants to do the job themselves.

Dense pack Cellulose and Fiberglass

Densepack Cellulose and Fiberglass both perform similar.  These products are also air porus.  However, when installed to the correct density densepack systems will restrict more airflow than roxul thus perform better.  I would caution anyone using this system to only use the most reputable companies.   This is because there are a lot of companies that don’t check their density after applying.  If the density is not correct the product will not perform well.  This is especially true of roof decks that are dense packed.  It may look good from the outside but the inside its not.  With a batt product or a foam product what you see is what you get.  The density is pretty much always the same.

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray Foam Insulation really is the best insulation on the market in terms of performance regardless of Open Cell or Closed Cell.  Generally speaking you can get the same performance out of an R-20 of spray foam that takes over R80 of cellulose, fiberglass, or roxul.   This is because spray foam stops all air movement within the stud bay our roofdeck.   Stopping air flow also stops heat loss and condensation.  Remember condensation on exterior sheathing is a sign of heat loss due to warm air from inside your wall system or roofdeck hitting the cold exterior sheathing.  Its that simple!