Filling you in on building insulation
Building insulation is primarily used for thermal applications; it helps buildings retain their warmth during cold weather and shut out hot exterior air during warm weather. However, there are specialized types of insulation that offer additional characteristics, including acoustic control, impact resistance and fire resistance.
Common Types of Building Insulation
Insulation is designed to support heating and air conditioning systems, and is made from a wide variety of materials. Technically speaking, bricks are a form of insulation, as are rocks, wood and loose-fill wood products. By and large, though, the term insulation is interpreted as the material inserted between the frame of a wall and the building's exterior to help control the indoor temperature.
Of these products, fiberglass insulation, vermiculite loose-fill insulation, foam board insulation and polyurethane insulation are the most common. Foil insulation is also widely used, and is available in several varieties including aged and non-aged pentene-expanded PIR rigid panels.
The thermal resistance of building insulation is measured by an industry-standard rating system known as "R-value." The R-value of an insulation product is determined using a complex formula that quantifies the exchange of heat between an insulator and a rate of thermal flux. As a consumer, all you need to know is this: the higher a given product's R-value, the more effective it is.
Insulation Products for Particular Climates
If you live in a cold climate, you'll want an insulation product that is designed to minimize the loss of interior heat through the walls. In such a case, you may want to implement an insulated glazing system, which can multiply your insulation's R-value by a factor of two or even three.
On the other hand, if you live in a hot and sunny climate, you'll want to supplement your home's insulation system by taking additional measures to reduce the heating effect of the sun shining on your walls and roof. To this end, radiant barriers will be your friend, though it is very important that you remember to include an air gap of good size to make your radiant barrier work as you intend. You can also use roofing materials that are light in color and supplement your efforts by using heat-resistant coated glazing.