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More Than the R-Value: What You Need to Know About Las Vegas Home Insulation & Air Movement

Posted by First Quality Roofing & Insulation on Jun 10, 2016 8:30:00 AM


In choosing the right Las Vegas home insulation you've likely encountered a lot of materials referring to R-Values. R-Values play a significant role in determining how effective an insulation material is at blocking the transfer of heat. However, this number should not be your sole deciding factor when picking Las Vegas home insulation. That's because no matter what brand or R-Value hype your buy into, it won't perform well in a home with air leaks.

Most insulation materials work by trapping air, but they can't do this well if a home has leaky roofs, walls, and floors. This is the primary reason why contractors and developers are near-fanatical about air sealing. It's essential for homeowners to either commit first to air-sealing before installing insulation with an air-barrier, or to focus on purchasing a type of insulation proven effective at stopping air movement. 

Choosing a Special Air-Barrier Product

The average 2,500 square foot home has over half a mile of cracks and crevices along its exterior walls. Whenever the wind blows, the air is forced through these cracks and through most types of insulation. Some studies have shown as much as a 63% loss in the insulation's R-Value as a result of this forced air movement. That's because while an R-value signifies how effective a type of insulation is at preventing the simple transfer of heat from the static hot side of a wall to the static cold side of the wall, it doesn't account for air movement. The porosity of a typical insulation material simply isn't effective at blocking heat transfer in gusts and other air movement scenarios.

Fiberglass batt insulation is particularly notorious for being ill-equipped to restrict air flow. Fiberglass batts are by design very porous and absorbent. So that in addition to enabling air movement, it also retains moisture for much longer periods than other insulation products. That said, these problems can be alleviated by choosing a quality air barrier and having both materials professionally installed according to the guidelines established by the Residential Energy Services Network.  

We highly recommend using a weather barrier product like Tyvek during your Las Vegas home insulation installation. When properly installed by an experienced hand, these special weather barriers greatly reduce unwanted air flow to maintain your insulation's R-Value and keep your interior more comfortable. In addition, superior quality products like Tyvek also offer resistance against water intrusion. This reduces the amount of risk to insulation materials, in addition to protecting against wood rot, mold, and mildew.

As a whole, rigid foam insulation and spray polyurethane foam both are exceptional at stopping air movement and maintaining their R-Values, both in laboratory and real-world tests. However, they are still susceptible to air leaks at their seams where differing components meet and join together. In professional installations these seams are covered either with weather barriers or sealing compounds.

To learn more about picking the right insulation materials and to schedule your Las Vegas home insulation installation, contact us today at 702-262-7847. 

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Topics: Insulation, education

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