Let’s be honest about something – we get some really terrible weather in Massachusetts. It’s part of what makes living here so amazing and fun – we get to really see the different seasons and how they feel. Still, the cold, wind, rain, and snow can really put a damper (literally and figuratively) on our days. One of the best ways to combat that is to spend time indoors.

When looking at options for insulating your home, you want to look at something called the “R-Value.” The R-value is determined by the type, thickness, and density of the materials used in the insulation. The higher the R-value, the better for a Massachusetts home.

The options mentioned below are batts, or precut sections of insulation. These are the easiest to install because they are designed to fit between framing.

Fiberglass Batts

R-value: 3.0-4.0 per inch

Sometimes used for walls, flooring, and ceiling insulation, Fiberglass Batts have been a time-tested option for many homes in Massachusetts that need insulation. This is considered the “old” method that technology has quickly outpaced and replaced, but some people still enjoying using it for insulation.

Advantages

Probably the most cost effective type of insulation, fiberglass batts are available in many different sizes and thicknesses, meaning you can get the insulation quickly to fit wherever you need it to – between studs, in the rafters, or with joists.

Another pro is that installation is extremely quick because it is one of the easier installation processes.

Disadvantages

Probably the biggest issue with fiberglass batts is that it loses its ability to keep your home insulated very quickly. It compresses easily, which causes it to work less and less over time. This can be expedited by different weather types and moisture levels, which doesn’t make it the preferred insulation type for a Massachusetts home.

Finally, there have been some environmental concerns with fiberglass batts. It can be dangerous for any animal that may get ahold of it.

Let’s be honest about something – we get some really terrible weather in Massachusetts. It’s part of what makes living here so amazing and fun – we get to really see the different seasons and how they feel. Still, the cold, wind, rain, and snow can really put a damper (literally and figuratively) on our days. One of the best ways to combat that is to spend time indoors.

When looking at options for insulating your home, you want to look at something called the “R-Value.” The R-value is determined by the type, thickness, and density of the materials used in the insulation. The higher the R-value, the better for a Massachusetts home.

The options mentioned below are batts, or precut sections of insulation. These are the easiest to install because they are designed to fit between framing.

Fiberglass Batts

R-value: 3.0-4.0 per inch

Sometimes used for walls, flooring, and ceiling insulation, Fiberglass Batts have been a time-tested option for many homes in Massachusetts that need insulation. This is considered the “old” method that technology has quickly outpaced and replaced, but some people still enjoying using it for insulation.

Advantages

Probably the most cost effective type of insulation, fiberglass batts are available in many different sizes and thicknesses, meaning you can get the insulation quickly to fit wherever you need it to – between studs, in the rafters, or with joists.

Another pro is that installation is extremely quick because it is one of the easier installation processes.

Disadvantages

Probably the biggest issue with fiberglass batts is that it loses its ability to keep your home insulated very quickly. It compresses easily, which causes it to work less and less over time. This can be expedited by different weather types and moisture levels, which doesn’t make it the preferred insulation type for a Massachusetts home.

Finally, there have been some environmental concerns with fiberglass batts. It can be dangerous for any animal that may get ahold of it.

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Mineral Wool Batts

R-value: 3.7 – 4.2 per inch

Mineral wool looks and feels like fiberglass, but is made up of natural materials. When looking at mineral wool batts, there are two options: rock wool or slag wool. Rock wool is made of natural stone, like diabase. Slag wool is made of iron-ore waste. Like fiberglass, this was once the most widely used type of insulation in many US homes.

Advantages

For areas where moisture is a problem, mineral wool is repellant to the moisture, so it will perform better on damp, rainy, or snowy days. This can help to keep your home feeling more comfortable. This type of insulation blocks sound too, helping to give the inside of your building a quieter sound – perfect for people who live near busy streets. It is also a great option for apartment buildings because it can stop the leakage of noise from one room to another.

Mineral wool has benefits in all seasons – it will keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. On the same token, using mineral wool will lower your heating and cooling bills year round.

Mineral wool can also help save your home in the case of a fire – it will not burn under 1,800°F, which means it can help to slow down a house fire.

Disadvantages

For those installing the mineral wool, it can be a harder procedure that requires protective gear. This will also cost a little more than fiberglass installation will, though it will last much longer. Mineral wool typically isn’t recommended for use in floor insulation.

Cellulose

R-value: 3.2–3.8 per inch.

Advantages

Cellulose is particularly effective at working with ceilings and new walls in homes. It also is the “go to” for homes that aren’t able to get the other varieties. One of the best parts about cellulose insulation is that it works better as the air gets colder and the dampness kicks into play – which is what we need in Massachusetts.

Disadvantages

Cellulose is often too heavy for attic installations, which can be problematic if you want the same type of insulation throughout your home. Since the weight is higher than a traditional type of insulation, it can also be challenging in thin ceilings or ceiling that don’t have framing.

The Problem

All of the insulation methods mentioned here are air-permeable, which means that they really should not be used on interior walls. If they come into contact with concrete, some of the moisture in the air can lead to rot and mold, two things you absolutely do not want in your home. That’s why most people don’t recommend fiberglass batts, mineral wool, or cellulose – even if there are advantages to all of them. When you live somewhere like Massachusetts, where there is a lot of moisture, you have to be careful about molding, rotting, and water.

The most important thing that you need to remember about insulation is that in almost every situation, it is better and safer to have it installed by a professional team. There have been many improvements in the safety of insulation, but it isn’t worth taking any risks.

In addition to fiberglass insulation batts, Roxul insulation and Cellulose blown in and dense pack insulation, we also do consider closed cell and open cell spray foam insulation along with rigid board insulation when designing home insulation systems for our clients. It is also becoming more and more common for us to utilize denim insulation when insulating a home.