R Values

Written by Courtney Salinas
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There are a lot of different kinds of insulation and a lot of them perform differently in real life situations. Trying to compare two kinds of insulation may be like comparing apples to oranges, and to a novice, it can be very confusing and frustrating. That's why the insulation industry has established a standard insulation rating called the R-value.

An insulation type's R-value is a rating of its resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value an insulation type has, the better the effectiveness of the insulation. An R-value of R-17 is going to insulate your home better than an R-value of R-12. R-values are usually assigned by inches.

Some substances just naturally have higher R-values than others. Concrete has a very low R-value, R-1.04 for eight inches, while fiberglass has an R-value of R-19 for four inches. With enough inches, you could pretty much get any material up to the R-value that you need, but in a situation where you're trying to insulate your walls, you are limited to the space you already have.

R-values in Different Kinds of Insulation

Fiberglass typically has the highest R-value of insulation. However, fiberglass has been known to cause health problems in people who have breathed in the tiny glass particles it's comprised of. With a few more inches than you would need for fiberglass, you could use cellulose insulation and achieve the same R-value but without the harmful side effects.

R-value Based on Region

There are many websites available that will do an R-value calculation for you using the type of house you're living in and the region of the country you live in. Most of the websites ask for your zip code and whether your house is new or not. You will receive information on what R-value will be most suitable for your home and the area you live in.


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