Thinking about insulating your home, office, or other building? We can help! At Alamance Insulation and Gutters, we’re a leader in the insulation and home performance industries. Serving customers throughout North Carolina, from Greensboro, Burlington, Elon and Mebane to Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh, we can help with all your insulation and gutter needs.

The table below from energy.gov provides an overview of most available insulation materials, how they are installed, where they’re typically installed, and their advantages.

Types of Insulation

TYPE MATERIAL WHERE APPLICABLE INSTALLATION METHODS ADVANTAGES
Blanket: batts and rolls Fiberglass

Mineral (rock or slag) wool

Plastic fibers

Natural fibers

Unfinished walls, including foundation walls

Floors and ceilings

Fitted between studs, joists, and beams. Do-it-yourself.

Suited for standard stud and joist spacing that is relatively free from obstructions. Relatively inexpensive.

Concrete block insulation

and insulating concrete blocks

Foam board, to be placed on outside of wall (usually new construction) or inside of wall (existing homes):

Some manufacturers incorporate foam beads or air into the concrete mix to increase R-values

Unfinished walls, including foundation walls

New construction or major renovations

Walls (insulating concrete blocks)

Require specialized skills

Insulating concrete blocks are sometimes stacked without mortar (dry-stacked) and surface bonded.

Insulating cores increases wall R-value.

Insulating outside of concrete block wall places mass inside conditioned space, which can moderate indoor temperatures.

Autoclaved aerated concrete and autoclaved cellular concrete masonry units have 10 times the insulating value of conventional concrete.

Foam board or rigid foam Polystyrene

Polyisocyanurate

Polyurethane

Phenolic

Unfinished walls, including foundation walls

Floors and ceilings

Unvented low-slope roofs

Interior applications: must be covered with 1/2-inch gypsum board or other building-code approved material for fire safety.

Exterior applications: must be covered with weatherproof facing.

High insulating value for relatively little thickness.

Can block thermal short circuits when installed continuously over frames or joists.

Insulating concrete forms (ICFs) Foam boards or foam blocks Unfinished walls, including foundation walls for new construction Installed as part of the building structure. Cores in the blocks are typically filled with concrete to create the structural component of the wall. Insulation is literally built into the home’s walls, creating high thermal resistance.
Loose-fill and blown-in Cellulose

Fiberglass

Mineral (rock or slag) wool

Enclosed existing wall or open new wall cavities

Unfinished attic floors

Other hard-to-reach places

Blown into place using special equipment and, although not recommended, sometimes poured in. Good for adding insulation to existing finished areas, irregularly shaped areas, and around obstructions.
Reflective system Foil-faced kraft paper, plastic film, polyethylene bubbles, or cardboard Unfinished walls, ceilings, and floors Foils, films, or papers fitted between wood-frame studs, joists, rafters, and beams. Do-it-yourself.

Suitable for framing at standard spacing.

Bubble-form suitable if framing is irregular or if obstructions are present.

Most effective at preventing downward heat flow, effectiveness depends on spacing and number of foils.

Rigid fibrous or fiber insulation Fiberglass

Mineral (rock or slag) wool

Ducts in unconditioned spaces

Other places requiring insulation that can withstand high temperatures

HVAC contractors fabricate the insulation into ducts either at their shops or at the job sites. Can withstand high temperatures.
Sprayed foam and foamed-in-place Cementitious

Phenolic

Polyisocyanurate

Polyurethane

Enclosed existing wall

Open new wall cavities

Unfinished attic floors

Applied using small spray containers or in larger quantities as a pressure sprayed (foamed-in-place) product. Good for adding insulation to existing finished areas, irregularly shaped areas, and around obstructions.
Structural insulated panels (SIPs) Foam board or liquid foam insulation core

Straw core insulation

Unfinished walls, ceilings, floors, and roofs for new construction Construction workers fit SIPs together to form walls and roof of a house. SIP-built houses provide superior and uniform insulation compared to more traditional construction methods; they also take less time to build.