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2024

Insulation Contractor Resources

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2024

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Introduction

    Insulation is a crucial part of the building construction or renovation process, and having the right insulation in a structure can increase comfort, reduce energy costs, and minimize your carbon footprint. Because insulation comes in a variety of materials and forms, it can be difficult to choose what’s right for your project. Understanding the basics of insulation materials, measurement, and installation can help you choose the right product and professional installer for your home or business.

  • What is an insulator?

    An insulator is a substance that doesn’t readily conduct electricity, heat, or sound. In construction, insulators help keep heated and cooled air from passing through walls, ceilings, and floors to control energy costs, so interiors stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Insulators may also be used to soundproof rooms or protect against electrical shocks.

  • What does asbestos insulation look like?

    The most common type of asbestos insulation is vermiculite. This lightweight material is typically silvery-gold or grayish-brown with a pebble-like appearance. However, asbestos insulation also comes in other forms, including sheet-like wraps for use on pipes and HVAC ducting, and lumpy or snow-like loose-fill insulation commonly installed in attics and wall cavities.

  • Is plastic an insulator?

    Yes. Plastics are poor conductors of heat and electrical currents, so they function well as insulators. This man-made material may serve as insulation in vinyl siding, and because it’s moldable, it’s commonly used for wrapping wires.

  • What does insulation do?

    Insulation minimizes the exchange of heat in a structure. It can improve a building’s comfort by keeping it warmer when outside temperatures are cold and cooler when outside temperatures rise. It can also improve the efficiency of HVAC systems to reduce heating and cooling costs.

  • Is insulation flammable?

    Whether insulation is flammable depends on its composition. Most common insulation materials are designed to be fireproof or fire-resistant, but there are some, including spray foam and cellulose, that are flammable. Insulation materials may also include paper or foil backings, which may be flammable and should be treated with a fire retardant.

  • How do you find out how much insulation you need?

    To determine how much insulation you’ll need for a project, measure the height and length of the exterior walls. Multiple those two numbers to determine the square footage for each wall and then add them together. Repeat the measurement process for windows and doors and subtract that from the total.

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