Types of Insulation
There are many different types of insulation, and selecting the right type of insulation comes down to establishing where the insulation is to be installed, and understand what result you are hoping to get.
“Air” itself is poor at conducting heat. When held still, it is a good insulator. Most forms of bulk insulation utilise this. They trap air within a ‘mesh’ of material. Typically the thicker and denser these products are the better the insulation qualities they have. Note that different product types will be different thicknesses to achieve the same rating. Be sure to assess products by their R-Value rather than thickness. For example, Glass Wool (otherwise known as fiberglass) can be thinner than polyester to achieve the same thermal performance. The main types of bulk fill are fiberglass, polystyrene, polyester and wool. Fiberglass is the cheapest but least pleasant to work with, polyester sits mid-range on price and like wool is safe and non-irritant to work with.
Loose Fill (Ceiling)
Loose fill ceiling insulation comes in different types of material, including glass wool, mineral wool and macerated paper (the old Insulfluf). Loose fill is similar to Bulk Fill in how it insulates but unfortunately it has several issues. The problem with loose fill is that it can move or be moved by vermin, people and draughts in the attic. It also tends to loose it's loft (thickness) rather quickly. We have seen example of loose fill glass wool significantly slumping within 5 years. Because of this we no longer offer a loose fill option.
Fibre types of insulation work in much the same way as a jersey you wear. Generally the thicker the product the better it works. The most popular form of fibre underfloor insulation is polyester. The key advantage of fibre types of insulation is that they allow the floor to ‘breathe’ while still offering excellent thermal qualities. Pre-cut products are available for fitting between your joists to provide a robust system that is stapled in place. They are not particularly suitable where the subfloor is exposed and in a high wind zone but they do offer very good performance and very long life.
Polystyrene underfloor insulation is a well-known product on the market. It works in your home just like it does as a coffee cup or chilly bin. There are different forms of polystyrene products available on the market, each with small differences. We prefer Chillguard as it is the more simple and effective product to install. Polystyrene is also great for dampening sound reverberation in wooden floorboards. Available in a wide variety of widths (360mm, 410mm, 440mm, 470mm and 560mm) it is always installed between your joists and each piece is cut to size and friction fit up in place.
Reflective forms of insulation (i.e. foils such as Silverzone) work to reflect radiant heat. Some more sophisticated forms of foils utilise an air gap between layers of aluminium sheets to boost performance.
In July 2016 the NZ Government banned the installation or repair of foil insulation in homes with an existing power supply connection.
Foil can still be used in new commercial building and buildings with no live power system
Foil insulation works as a convectional and radiant barrier. It has been difficult to get the best performance out of traditional foils due to building construction methods and strength of products, however, newer more advanced types on the market offer some fantastic performance features. The primary advantage of foil is that it acts as a complete vapour barrier stopping rising dampness coming into the home and they are also great for working in tighter areas. Foils are installed in a blanket format making them quick and easy to install but there is a risk of electrocution in using them so please read and watch the installation instructions carefully.
If you are unsure of the types of insulation you should be considering for your specific requirements, talk to one of our team members to discuss your requirements.
Our knowledge of insulation and the materials available stems from extensive and continued market research and from years of installing the materials that we sell. To get the best result you need the right advice on the correct product for your home and the best way to install it.
We have installed insulation into over 15,000 houses. That’s the experience you need.
We offer the convenience of a full assessment service, including our RentFit Healthy Homes report for rentals, full installation service, phone and online ordering as well as a prompt delivery service, we also have a warehouse where products can be viewed, demonstrated and purchased. We know existing and older houses, we know what works and we are happy to share our knowledge!
As with all our products and services, when it comes to the types of insulation you choose to use for your project, where possible, we aim to sell NZ made products, and ensure our high quality standards are continuously met.
We will work with you to understand your requirements and offer you specialist advice on the types of insulation that are best suited to warm up your home.
Contact us to discuss the different types of insulation we have available for your project.