The single greatest method homeowners have used to improve the energy-efficiency of their homes is through the use of insulation. But while any insulation will improve the R-value of the home, newer forms of insulation are more effective. Cavity insulation was once seen as one of the best forms of insulation that was available.
However, the limitations of cavity insulation have been revealed over the years and experts have developed continuous insulation as a replacement:
How Each Option Works
Cavity insulation takes advantage of the cavity walls that are found on most homes. Most walls consist of two layers that have a space inside that can be filled with insulation. Continuous insulation is made from rigid foam insulating materials that are attached to either the inside or outside of the exterior wall. It is continuous because it does not have breaks for the wall studs.
The continuous insulation has a higher R-value because it has closed-cell foam insulation. It also has the highest r-value per inch. The R-value is the measure of how much insulation the materials will provide and is the best indicator of how energy-efficient your home will be.
A significant problem found with cavity insulation is thermal bridging. With thermal bridging, there is a gap between the materials and the structure. This allows for thermal transfer through the framing studs, which are the parts of the wall that the cavity insulation cannot cover.
Continuous insulation is able to stop thermal bridging, which reduces the heat transfer between the indoor and outdoor temperatures. It reduces the difference between the cavity and the stud temperature, which reduces heat loss.
Mold and Mildew
Another problem with cavity insulation is that it better allows for the formation of mold and mildew. The insulation moves the dew point from the cavity to the external wall. Mold and mildew is one of the most common reasons why insulation needs to be replaced.
Reducing moisture also prolongs the life of the walls by protecting them from decay. The insulation best protects the home from moisture and mildew by having a water barrier and by also having a drainage plane.
Ease of Installation
Continuous insulation is easier to install than cavity insulation because the insulation does not have to be cut to fit the walls. Also, the walls do not have to be as thick when using continuous insulation. This means that the walls do not have to be constructed using as many materials, making homes more cost-effective.Share