No one can get a good night’s sleep when the noise from your teen playing video games penetrates every room in the home. If you’re hearing every bump, every rustle, and every whisper through the walls, your home may need better insulation.
What is the best insulation for walls? Look for insulation with an appropriate ‘r’ value to keep noises confined and maintain an ideal temperature for every room.
What is a Good ‘R’ Value for Exterior Walls?
Maybe your home’s problem isn’t the walls within the home but the walls on the exterior of the home. Exterior walls that are poorly insulated could mean that rooms aren’t well protected against the outdoor temperature. This may mean that a room (or rooms) stays hot during the summer and cold during the winter.
Noise also could be an issue. Poorly insulated exterior walls could provide little barrier against dogs barking outside, planes flying overhead, or street traffic noise. If the insulation to your bedroom is insufficient, you may even have trouble falling asleep because of all that noise.
The ‘r’ value of insulation indicates how well it resists heat, and according to Home Depot, “the higher the ‘r’ value, the greater the insulation performance.” What is the ideal ‘r’ value for exterior walls? Home Depot provides a map of the U.S. that indicates which value is best for each region. Once you find your home state on the map, you also can reference a chart that indicates the best insulation for floors, crawlspaces, the attic and more.
How is ‘R Value’ Calculated?
The ‘r’ value of insulation may differ by the insulation material. You can choose insulation in different material types, including blown fiberglass, fiberglass batts, blown cellulose, loose rock wool, and sprayed foam. Each of these materials offers a different ‘r’ value per inch, and according to Today’s Homeowner, here’s how the ‘r’ values stack up by material:
- Blown Fiberglass: 2.2 to 2.9
- Fiberglass Batts: 2.9 to 3.8
- Blown Cellulose: 3.1 to 3.8
- Loose Rock Wool: 2.2 to 3.3
- Sprayed Foam: 3.6 to 8.2
Of all the materials, sprayed foam offers the highest ‘r’ value per inch. However, homeowners may have a different preference based on budget. If you need an ‘r’ value of 21 to insulate your walls, you would need about six or seven inches of fiberglass batts. Again, though, your insulation needs may differ depending on where you live.
Is R13 Insulation Good for Exterior Walls?
An R13 insulation may be on the low end of your budget, and that cheaper price tag may seem really appealing. Is R13 insulation good for exterior walls, though? Again, the ‘r’ value you need depends on where you live. Home Depot lists R13 as the low end of the recommended ‘r’ value for walls. While this could be perfectly acceptable, if you need or want more protection against noise or the weather, you may opt for a slightly higher ‘r’ value.
What is the Best ‘R’ Rating for Insulation?
Again, when choosing insulation, the ‘r’ value that you need depends on where you live and what part of your home you need to insulate. Attics need insulation with a much higher ‘r’ value than walls. Floors and crawl spaces need a lower ‘r’ value than attics but they still require a higher value than walls.
Always look at the insulation chart to find the best value for your home’s insulation needs.
What is the Best Insulation Material?
If you review Today’s Homeowners summary of ‘r’ value by material type, sprayed foam clearly comes out near the top of the choices for insulation material. You need less foam to provide a higher level of insulation. However, every material has a different price point, and foam can be an expensive choice.
Before choosing your insulation, consult your budget first to see what is in your price range. Once you understand the costs of each material, you can choose the best option for your budget and insulation needs.
Not sure if you need additional insulation? Call a professional and have them assess your home’s insulation. A professional also can advise you on the best type of insulation for your needs. You also could discover that a cold draft or those loud noises are the result of older windows that need to be replaced. There is often a homeowner dilemma when it comes to replacing windows or adding more insulation to deal with drafts or noise issues. Again, when in doubt, call a pro or advice!