Insulation is one of those big home projects you would need to put some thought on before hitting up a contractor. There are different types that serve different purposes for different kinds of structures. Reading up on them prior to consulting a professional can help you make a good decision as to what could best benefit your home needs.
The most common type of insulation is Foam insulation. Homeowners generally choose this type because it's user-friendly. It comes in the form of Rigid Foam and Spray foam. You may choose to hire a professional to have these installed or you can do it by yourself.
Rigid foam is also known as beadboard and it comes in large pre-cut sheet boards with varying thickness. These can be bought in home improvement stores and you can easily cut them into any desired size. This type is the most inexpensive of all insulation materials but the most effective because it has the highest tolerance for moisture. However, it is prone to crumbling and is not recommended for wall sheathing.
Spray foam requires a little bit more skill with equipment use since it needs a certain type of spray gun to install. There are application techniques you might need to learn about before doing this on your own. But, it is always fun to learn something new and the spray foam kits let provide you with easy to follow instructions. But, some homeowners still would rather hire a professional to have this type of insulation. Spray foam basically is expanding foam sprayed into wall cavities to ensure all leaks, gaps and cracks are sealed off to block airflow from escaping. It is best used to re-enforce rigid foam insulation since it works best in tight spaces where rigid foam sheets can not reach. It costs a bit more because of its performance quality but it is always well worth the money you spend on it.
Fiberglass is another type of insulation that also comes in rolls of batts. It is made up of synthetic fiber with fine strands of glass held together in a sheet or mat by a minimal amount of resin coating. It is lightweight and does not wear out its efficiency through the years. It is excellent at trapping heat and at the same time, it is most effective at reducing sound. Although it is quite versatile, it is found to be not as safe to use. If you plan on installing this by yourself, make sure to wear gloves, a safe mask / glasses and a long sleeved shirt. The shards of glass linger on your skin even after you've washed off and the fine particles of glass powder can irritate your lungs and can damage your eyes real bad.
Another type of insulation is mineral wool. Its component are mainly made up of steel slag along with other chemical spun together to make a fibrous batting material as well as loose fills that can be sprayed into walls and ceilings.
If you want something greener and safer, Cellulose insulation is the best way to go. The best material is composed of recycled moistened newsprint paper pulp and then applied through the use of spray equipment. There are different types of cellulose insulation and they come in the form of, low-dust cellulose, stabilized cellulose, wet-spray and dry cellulose (loose fill). It has gained much popularity these day due to the fact that is contains the highest content of recycled materials.
Evaluate the insulation needs of your home and compare which among these types of insulation works best for you. Make note of their R-values, which tells you the heat retaining value of the materials used. The higher the R-value, the more cost efficient it is and more savings for your pocket.