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What Insulation is Generally Used in New Construction: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to new construction projects, insulation plays a vital role in ensuring energy efficiency, comfort, and sustainability. In this guide, we will explore the various insulation options commonly used in new construction, highlighting their benefits and ideal conditions for use.

I. Common Insulation Types:

  1. Fiberglass Insulation:

    • Excellent thermal insulation properties
    • Cost-effective and widely available
    • Easy to install
    • Suitable for walls, attics, and floors
  2. Cellulose Insulation:

    • Made from recycled paper or plant fibers
    • Offers superior soundproofing and thermal insulation
    • Environmentally friendly
    • Ideal for walls, attics, and floors
  3. Spray Foam Insulation:

    • Provides exceptional air sealing and insulation
    • Expands to fill gaps and cavities
    • Offers superior energy efficiency
    • Suitable for walls, attics, and crawl spaces
  4. Rigid Foam Insulation:

    • Offers high insulation value with minimal thickness
    • Resistant to moisture, mold, and pests
    • Ideal for exterior insulation and foundation walls
    • Suitable for use in basements

For new construction, a homeowner has many choices in the type of insulation. For sheathing, rigid foam insulation is a good choice. For the interior side of those exterior walls, batt insulation is good. With walls, a better choice than fiberglass batts is wet sprayed cellulose or blown-in fiberglass.

What type of insulation is the most common in current construction?


Blanket insulation -- the most common and widely available type of insulation -- comes in the form of batts or rolls. It consists of flexible fibers, most commonly fiberglass.

What is the most common building insulation?


Fiberglass. Fiberglass consists of extremely fine glass fibers and is one of the most ubiquitous insulation materials. It's commonly used in many different forms of insulation: blanket (batts and rolls), loose-fill, and is also available as rigid boards and duct insulation.

What is the best material for construction insulation?

The Five Most Efficient Insulation Materials
  • Fibreglass. Fibreglass is the most widely used insulating material these days.
  • Cellulose. Cellulose is made from recycled paper products and isn't just an efficient insulator, it's very environmentally friendly.
  • Mineral wool.
  • Polystyrene.

What is R19 insulation used for?

A Common Place to Use R19 Insulation

The most common application of R19 Insulation is in a vertical wall framed by 2×6 studs. As mentioned above this is a common code requirement in some parts of the United States. R19 Insulation can also be used in other areas around the home, including floors and crawl spaces.

What is the recommended R-value for attic?

Attic insulation should be R49-R60, while floor insulation should be R25-R30 for those in the north of the United States.

Is insulation required by code in Texas?

Residential Insulation Code Requirements in Texas

It currently requires R30 to R38 in attics and ceilings, R-10 to R-15 in basement walls, and R-13 up to R-25 for floors and walls, depending on your zone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I use r38 or R30 in my attic?

If your attic has little or no existing insulation, you'll want to install an R-38 rated material. If your attic has 2-3″ of existing insulation, you'll want to install an R-30 to achieve a total of R-38. If your attic has 5-6″ of existing insulation, you'll want to install an R-19 to achieve a total of R-38.

Does spray foam go before or after plumbing?

Ideally complete wiring and plumbing, have inspected, then foam prior to drywall. If necessary to make changes afterward, easiest to open a small section of drywall, use a sharp knife to cut foam (clean cut) insert plumbing or conduit and close again.

When should you use spray foam insulation?

In the summer, a poorly insulated attic will cause the upper levels of your home to be stuffy and hot. Spray foam insulation works particularly well in the attic because it expands to fill the gaps, cracks, and crevasses that make up an irregular attic space.

When should you insulate a ceiling?

In addition to walls and attics, insulation should be installed in ceilings with unheated spaces, basement walls, floors above vented crawl spaces, cathedral ceilings, floors over unheated garages or porches, knee walls, and in between interior walls—especially bathrooms—as well as ceilings and floors.

How do you insulate a new construction ceiling?

If local regulations call for stapling of faced insulation. Simply open the flange of the facing. And staple it to the inside of the joist. Or the face of the stud every eight to twelve inches. There.

What is the normal insulation for ceilings?

Typical recommendations for exterior walls are R-13 to R-23, while R-30, R-38 and R-49 are common for ceilings and attic spaces. See the Department of Energy's (DOE) ranges for recommended levels of insulation below.

Does insulation happen before drywall?

The interior insulation is used to cover, line or separate parts of the home to prevent or reduce the passage, transfer, or leakage of heat, electricity or sound. After the home's insulated, then the drywall's added.


What is the standard R-value for exterior walls?

R-Value and Exterior Walls

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, R-values for exterior walls in colder climates should be at least R-13 to R-23. In milder climates, a lower R-value may be sufficient. For example, in a moderate climate, an R-value of R-13 to R-15 is typically recommended.

What is the highest R-value for a 2x4 wall?

Fiberglass and rock wool batts—2x4 walls can hold R-13 or R-15 batts; 2x6 walls can have R-19 or R-21 products. Generally, batt insulation is the least expensive wall insulation material but requires careful installation for effective performance (see page 4).

What is the R-value of building materials?

In the context of construction, the R-value is a measure of how well a two-dimensional barrier, such as a layer of insulation, a window or a complete wall or ceiling, resists the conductive flow of heat.

What is a good R-value for siding?

Good quality insulated vinyl siding typically has an R-value of 2.0 – 4.0, depending on the brand, type, and size of siding you choose. Regular vinyl siding R-value is usually about 0.61. Whether it's insulated or not, quality vinyl siding has a higher R-value than many other building materials.

Do foundations need to be insulated?

Foundation Insulation

In addition to reducing heating costs, a properly insulated foundation will keep below-grade rooms more comfortable and prevent moisture problems, insect infestation, and radon infiltration.

Is it worth insulating foundation walls?
You can begin to see real savings when you insulate your exposed foundation walls. Insulating foundation walls will help keep the cold air out during harsh winter months.

What insulation is generally used in new construction

Do slab on grade foundations have insulation? Insulating a slab-on-grade can be expensive. Materials suitable for below grade insulation are limited to rigid foam, high-density spray foam and rockwool boards. While standard building codes typically require insulating value ranging from R-10 to R-15 detailing around the perimeter is generally weak.

Do you need to insulate foundation walls? A properly insulated basement provides comfort and is a good way to save on your energy bill. Basements, however, have specific features that must be kept in mind when it comes to insulating the foundation from the inside—starting with the fact that a variable portion of the walls is below ground.

How do you insulate a new foundation?

You should cover them externally down to four feet below the grade level, using insulation at least two to four inches thick. Below the four-foot level, you can reduce the insulation by half. In cold climates, you will want thicker insulation.

When should I install insulation?

Thinking ahead will help you beat the summer heat. If you live in areas like New England or the Midwest, the best time to insulate is in the spring or fall. It is best to install before you turn on your air conditioning for the summer or your furnace for the winter.

What comes first insulation or drywall?

The interior insulation is used to cover, line or separate parts of the home to prevent or reduce the passage, transfer, or leakage of heat, electricity or sound. After the home's insulated, then the drywall's added.

What has to be completed before insulation can be installed?

Before Installing Insulation

Seal gaps that allow unconditioned air into the space you're insulating. Pay attention to areas where plumbing, ductwork or wiring enter the space. See Do-It-Yourself Spray Foam Insulation and How to Caulk. In crawlspaces and basements, make sure there are no cracks in the foundation.

  • Do you install insulation before electrical?
    • Both insulation and electrical systems need to be installed inside the wall cavities of your home and everything should go in the correct order. It is important that wiring needs to be done before insulation. Holes need to be drilled into the frame and wires run throughout the walls.

  • Which construction is best for house?
    • What's the Best Building Material?
      • Wood. Humans have been using wood for thousands of years to build shelters and structures.
      • Steel. Steel is a popular material for building because it is strong without being extremely heavy.
      • Concrete. Concrete is the combination of cement, aggregates like sand or stone, and water.
      • Masonry.
  • What is the most popular method of residential construction?
    • Far and away the most common way to build a home in Canada and the US is using “platform” or “stick” framing, also known as “stick-built”. Platform framing uses individual pieces of dimensional lumber (further customized on site to the exact required size) which are assembled piece by piece to form the frame of a home.

  • What things should you consider when building a home?
    • 12 Important Details to Consider When Building a New Home
      • Location, Location, Location.
      • Lot Size & Layout.
      • Basement Plans.
      • Room Height.
      • Materials Used.
      • Wiring and Outlet Placements.
      • Daylight and Lighting.
      • Garage Size.
  • What is the best kind of house to build?
    • Ranch-style homes are not only popular but also one of the most cost-efficient home styles to build. These homes typically come in a rectangular shape, though many resemble “T” or “S” shapes. The ranch style's simple layout reduces complications in construction.

  • What is the most widely used home construction material?
    • Concrete is one of the most common construction materials. It is a composite material from fine and coarse aggregate mixed with a binder like cement and water.

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