What material is the best thermal insulator?
There may not be one “best” insulator as it may vary depending on the area and contractor. However there are a number of commonly used insulation methods that will proved great insulation to a crawl space. These insulations are fiberglass, mineral wool, cellulose, polyurethane foam, and polystyrene. Fiberglass is very popular because it is cheap. It will provide great insulation from the heat and is non-flammable adding another great feature. However, the process of handling it can be quite tricky. Fiberglass is made with thin strands of glass and therefore can cause cuts. The dust that comes of fiber glass can also be very harmful as it can enter the lungs and eyes. Fiberglass should be installed by experienced personnel who have the tools to safely install it.
Mineral wool may provide a great solution for insulation. It is sometimes composed of different materials. However, there are no additives in mineral wool to make it fireproof, so it may be bad in areas of extreme heat. Cellulose is a very eco-friendly insulation option. It is made from recycled cardboard and paper, and actually may be great in preventing fires. This is because it is built to be compact. So compact in fact, that there is no oxygen to fuel any flames. Therefore minimizing the impact of a fire. However, cellulose may not be good for those with heavy allergies. And it is difficult to install. So finding skilled contractors who know how to use it may be difficult. Polyurethane foam is one of the more expensive types of insulation, but it is light and can be sprayed on to any area to insulate it. Like other insulations, it is fireproof. This foam will need to be installed by professionals who are licensed and have experience as it is a spray and may contain toxins that can cause those without proper training to become light headed. Polystyrene is a water proof thermoplastic foam that is exceptional for sound and temperature insulation. There are different variants of this foam that may provide more insulation at a higher cost to you. This foam is generally bought in blocks and may be great for insulating walls. Although it is very useful, it is flammable and will need to be covered with a fireproof coating to ensure that it does not contribute to a fire if one should occur. Furthermore, the safety may be an issue as it is known to have caused certain health problems and environmental issues.
One substance that you will want to make sure that you avoid is asbestos insulation. Asbestos is known for being toxic and can cause many health issues including death. This material was highly used a number of years ago in the construction of many older structures. So if your home was built before 1989, then you may want to make sure that your insulation is not asbestos. Asbestos will need to be removed by a professional crew of trained workers. They will have the right equipment and tools necessary to keep them safe and remove all the asbestos from your home.
All of these insulations are the most commonly used and may work great in your home. It will most likely be one of those options that a contractor recommends to be in your home. However, the best thermal insulator as of today is a substance called aerogel. This material is the best insulator, but also the most expensive. Some distributors have it listed as more expensive than gold. So you most likely will not be using aerogel for your home. It is more commonly used for big commercial buildings that require good insulation.
Which insulation is best?
There really isn't one “best” insulator unless you choose the outrageously expensive aerogel, but that is unlikely. The insulation that can be installed vary in forms and functions. Homes in arid climates will be better with one type of insulation, while other homes utilize insulation that is better for colder climates. So it will boil down to the types of features that you would like such as water proof or fire resistant. Home improvement stores will usually be able to help you in picking out the best insulator. Many times specific climates will call for a certain type of insulation. These specific insulation options will most likely be in stock in local home improvement stores. Most often fiberglass insulations are a favorite because they are cheap and effective, you will just want to have someone install it for you. Calling crawl space professionals can also help you to pick out the best type of insulation for your home as they will be aware of the conditions underneath you home.
What is the safest insulation for homes?
The safest insulation for your home will most likely be the one that works. Having inadequate insulation will not help to prevent any issues that may arise in your crawl space. If you are in an area that is prone to heat and fires, then insulation that are fire resistant and can handle the heat well may be the best option. Fiberglass is a great insulator, but it is made of glass and can cut very easily. Having a professional install it may be the safest way of having fiberglass insulation. You may also want to make sure that it is properly covered so that kids or anyone accidentally brushes up against it after it is installed.
The cost to install insulation?
The cost to insulate a crawl space will vary depending on a few factors. First the crawl space must be cleared of leaks and any previous damage. This may include adding vents, removing water damage, repairing bowed walls, etc. After the area has been repaired, it can then be insulated. The amount of insulation will cost a certain amount per yard. The more area that needs to be covered, the more that will need to be purchased. Some insulations will cost more than others just because of the additives and materials that its made of. The best and most efficient way to find out how much it may cost is to get an estimate by a crawl space repair contractor. They will better know which type of insulation you should get and how much you will need.