As people struggle to reduce the effect of increasing fuel prices in their lives, homeowners are constantly seeking for ways to get the best return for their investments. Top on their to-do-list as they attempt to cut down their energy consumption is crawl space insulation. A vented and dirty-floored crawl space is a big energy waster. According to Advanced Energy, the energy loss in a home with poorly insulated crawl space is so significant that its pointless to try to save energy and money unless you solve your crawl space problem first. To effectively insulate your crawl space, its important that you know how to choose the right material for the job. Continue reading to learn the various insulation materials available to help you decide which the right one for your home.
Fiberglass is the most widely used insulation material for crawl spaces, mainly because its inexpensive. However, its also the worst choice when it comes to insulating crawl spaces since it absorbs moisture. When it absorbs enough water, it dampens and sags. The sagging not only favors mold growth, but also opens holes within the insulation blanket permitting air leakage into the living area. All of these, makes fiberglass completely useless as an insulation material for crawl spaces.
Rigid Foam Board
Experts recommend the use of rigid foam board for crawl space insulation. Less expensive that spray foam, rigid form board is water proof and doesnt support mold growth or absorb water. This makes it the preferred choice for moist areas like crawl spaces and basements.
There are three basic types of rigid foam boards with R-Value between 3.8 and 8.7 per inch. They include Polyurethane, Expanded Polystyrene and Extruded Polystyrene. Its also worth noting that these foam boards are available in different thicknesses.
Its recommended that you attach insulation boards directly against the wall using proper adhesives and mechanical fasteners. A vapor barrier should be placed in such a way that it overlaps the rigid foam board at the base, and should be secured onto it using a mastic tape. Consider choosing a foam board with a lower rating, for increased energy savings.
Cell Spray Foam
When applied properly, cell spray foam can be an excellent insulation material for crawl spaces. After application, it expands and fits snugly around fixtures, ducts and pipes, and air seals gaps. However, it can cause problems when it isnt applied correctly.
For instance, you should ensure that the insulation blanket ends some inches away from the wall top to allow for inspection of termites. In addition, when applying it on wood, ensure that its mold-free and dry. If not, youll end up sealing the mold and rot, but not the decay going on below the insulation layer.
Spray foam insulation doesnt come cheaply however. It costs 2-3 times more than other insulation materials available in the market, so bear that in mind.
Modern cellulose is treated chemically to handle moisture and resist mold better than fiberglass. However, since cellulose is made from organic materials, there isnt enough data to show that it can endure chronic moisture conditions.
With knowledge of the different crawl space insulation materials available in the market, you shouldnt find any problems choosing the right one for you.