This series will suggest some of the basic steps to follow, and things to be aware of, as you begin down the path toward home ownership.
The utilities are roughed in, and now it’s time for the insulators to do their work. The insulation is installed between the interior and exterior walls of the home, as well as in the attic, just above your ceiling. These layers are meant to act like a blanket around the living area of the home, and to stabilize the inside air temperature, by preventing the outside heat or cold from getting inside. If your home is built on an unheated crawlspace, you’ll also need to insulate the underside of your floor to prevent the cold air under your home from making your floor cold.
The amount and type of insulation needed depends on the climate in which you live. Warm and mild climates require only moderate amounts, often for keeping the home cooler, by preventing warmer outside air from entering the home. Cold climates require more insulation to keep the home warm in winter. The insulating properties, and how heat is transferred through the insulation is measured by its “R-Value”.
Typically the higher the R-Value, the better the material is at keeping heat and cold from transferring in and out of the house. Insufficient R-Values, or improper installation will result in high heating and cooling costs, as well as potential moisture issues within the home and attic.
Fiberglass insulation comes in rolls or “batts", which are inserted between the studs or joists. Shredded cellulose insulation can be blown in place. Liquid foam insulation can be injected in place, where it quickly hardens to a Styrofoam texture. Depending on the style of your home, one method may be preferable over another. Costs will vary as well. Ask your builder which method makes sense for your home.
While interior walls don’t necessarily need insulation for temperature stabilization, it does act as sound proofing between rooms. To ensure more privacy in bedrooms and bathrooms, you may want to consider insulation or a sound-damping material in some interior walls.
"The Main Point" - Great care needs to be taken when insulating a home. When done properly, heating and cooling is efficient and cost effective and your home is comfortable in all weather conditions. When done improperly, it can lead to an uncomfortable home, high energy costs, and potential mold and mildew problems. As with many other facets of the building process, it's much easier to do it right the first time, than to try to fix it after the interior walls and floors have been installed.