Global warming is an existential threat to the planet. The world is experiencing record-setting heatwaves in summers and unusual cold spells in winters. As weather conditions are becoming more extreme, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to protect and preserve our surroundings, especially our houses. It’s a wildly underrated aspect of climate change. Let’s take Pakistan as an example. The climate of this South Asian country is generally hot and dry. If you have not used any form of insulation on the roof of your house, the sun rays will heat up the roof, which will absorb all the heat and emit it later in the day when the sun sets in. In this blog we will discuss different types of insulation for homes and their benefits.
Types of insulation for homes
Isolating the home’s environment from external weather conditions will make your house energy efficient and in return there will be less energy consumption and reduced electricity bills. Thermal insulation— which includes wall insulation, ceiling insulation and roof insulation—is an effective way to reduce heat trapped in the house. Following are some types of insulation for homes commonly used in Pakistan:
- Polyurethane insulation
- Polystyrene insulation
- Insulation via Rockwool
- Fiberglass insulation
Let us discuss each of them in detail.
One of the most widely used insulation materials in Pakistan is polyurethane. It is created by mixing an isocyanate, like Methylene Diphenyl Isocyanate (MDI) along with a polyol. When these components are mixed together it forms a foam.
The resulting material is a lightweight polymer having superior insulating properties. Compared to other building materials, polyurethane insulation has a high thermal resistance and a low thermal conductivity – one of the major factors when looking for ways to reduce electricity bills. This is the most used insulation material in Pakistan. It is also used to insulate deep freezers and refrigerators, so it’s quite good at keeping temperatures hot or cold.
Spray polyurethane insulation foam is a kind of foam sprayed on walls and on the roof to protect the house from heat and cold. Once it dries up it turns into solid insulation material. It keeps the roof cool and protects the building from penetration of moisture, cold air and sound. Its impressive R-value does not let the heat transfer.
It can cut down energy bills to 30 or even 50 percent. People usually spray polyurethane foam on the roof, walls and also in crawl spaces to create an air barrier. It is also used in attic insulation. Some of the benefits are mentioned below:
- Promises high thermal resistance and reduced heat transfer, lowering utility costs
- Prevents prevent moisture in the walls and removes condensation and mold
- Does not allow unwanted pollen, dust and allergens, etc. from entering the house thus ensuring improved air quality
- Reduces air-conditioning needs by 50 percent
Polystyrene insulation, more commonly known as ‘thermopore’ in Pakistan, is another popular type of insulation for homes. It is used to keep the roof cool in summers and warm in winters. The extruded polystyrene – with no pores is a good option for insulating homes.
Polystyrene is a synthetic hydrocarbon polymer made from styrene. It is either used in the form of a foam or in solid form as well. Polystyrene is hard and brittle. It is a poor barrier to oxygen and water vapour and has a low melting point. This makes it an excellent insulation for homes.
Polystyrene is a waterproof foam. It comes in two forms, expanded form (EPS) and extruded form (XEPS). Both are widely used in the country when it comes to different types of insulation for homes. The extruded form has a close-cell structure and has a higher thermal resistance making it ideal for insulating homes. Usually, polystyrene foam is cut into blocks. The foam is of flammable material and must be coated in a chemical i.e. Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), which will make it fireproof. This chemical has some environmental risks.
It is usually recommended to insulate the house at the time of construction, where the sheets are placed inside the walls and covered with cement or concrete. But in case you haven’t used polystyrene insulation at the time of construction, you can still use the foam on the walls. Once it dries, then apply cement or concrete on it. It is going to be a costly process though. The benefits of polystyrene insulation is mentioned below:
- Insulation that guarantees complete sound-proof environment
- Excellent waterproofing capabilities
- The low thermal conductivity keeps the house cool in summers and warm in winters
- It is a blown-in foam that can seal any cracks in the house foundation or in roof.
- When it is dry, you can easily cut out holes for electric wiring.
It’s impossible to discuss types of insulation for homes without mentioning fiberglass.
Although the usage of fiberglass in wall panels is a new home decor trend, the material has long been used in building insulation.
Fiberglass consists of extremely fine glass fibers. It is a kind of plastic reinforced with fine shards of glass. Having high thermal resistance, fiberglass is dense with some air pockets in it.
Hire a professional company to install fiberglass insulation in your walls. The procedure needs protective gear: proper gloves, face masks and clothing to install fiberglass. If you come in direct contact with fiberglass you will get itchiness, respiratory problems and skin rashes.
Before installing fiberglass you need to be sure there are no leaks and cracks. Seal any draft you may find before installing fiberglass batts. Some of the advantages of installing fiberglass insulation are as follows:
- Resistant to moisture damage
- Simple installation
- Higher thermal resistance
- Most cost-effective insulating option as compared to others
It’s quite a popular choice when it comes to types of insulation in Pakistan, mostly owing to the ease it provides during installation.
Rockwool, also known as mineral wool, usually comes in easy-to-install batts, just like fiberglass. But rockwool isn’t composed of shards of glass. It is, instead, made up of – you guessed it right – rocks. How is that even possible? Let us find out.
The hardy rock is heated in a furnace where it takes about 3,000 degrees to melt it into liquid. This hot liquid is spun at super-high speed until it forms long fiber strands. It forms the similar strategy that a cotton candy machine follows. These strands are then compressed into dense matts. These are then cut into convenient-sized batts for insulation of homes.
In house construction, rockwool is used in walls, ceiling, and attic, even in crawl spaces. Since it is highly fire-resistant, the material can also be used as a firestop between floors. Some of the benefits are mentioned below:
- Made from natural material
- Comprises 75 percent of recycled content
- Stops the transfer of heat and cold effectively
- Extremely fire-resistant
- Repels water and makes the environment sound proof
- Rockwool requires low maintenance
- Can be fit in tight spaces too
Choose the best option from the aforementioned types of insulation to keep your house cool in the scorching summer heat and reduce AC bills. For more updates, stay tuned to the best lifestyle blog in Pakistan. If you have any questions please reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you.