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Insulation R-Values: Is a Higher Value Better?

Insulation R-Values: Is a Higher Value Better?

Insulation can be a confusing topic. From the different types of insulation to duct encapsulation to where you should apply insulation, understanding this versatile material can make or break a home.

One integral element of understanding insulation is to understand R-values. What does insulation R-value mean? Is a higher value better?

We’ll detail all of that and more in the post below. Keep reading for more information! 

What Is an Insulation R-Value? 

An insulation R-value is how manufacturers determine the heat capture ability of a piece of insulation. The higher the R-value, the more heat the insulation will retain. 

Generally speaking, blow-in insulation and insulation blankets have a lower R-value, whereas spray foam insulation and foam board insulation have higher R-values. Still, the exact R-value of each type of insulation depends greatly on the manufacturer. 

Additionally, many homes utilize different types of insulation to customize an R-value that works best for their location’s climate.

Benefits of High R-Value Spray Foam Insulation

The benefits of a high R-value are fairly self-explanatory. 

For the most part, a higher R-value means that your home will be better able to trap heat and moderate temperatures. As a result, your home will be much more energy-efficient, and your HVAC system will be much less strained. 

Benefits of a Low R-Value

You should count out low R-values altogether. There are benefits to a lower R-value that homeowners can take advantage of. Perhaps the biggest benefit is its price tag: a low R-value insulation will undoubtedly cost much less than an insulation with a higher R-value. 

Why is this? Fewer materials go into making low R-value insulation. Since lower R-value insulation is thinner, manufacturers don’t have to spend as much bulking it up, which means that you get it at a much lower cost.

A low R-value can even moderate temperatures better depending on where you live. 

Is a Higher Value Better? 

A higher R-value isn’t necessarily better. It all depends on where your home is located and how much insulation you require. 

For example, many homes located in southern states have lower R-value insulation because they don’t need to trap as much heat. In fact, the chances are that if you had high R-value insulation in, say, southern Texas, this would almost be detrimental as your HVAC system would have to work that much harder to keep your home cool. 

Still, in many areas of the country (especially in northern states), residents will want to choose as high of an R-value as possible. 

Your desired R-value will also change depending on the area of the home where you are applying insulation. Attics, for example, almost always require a higher R-value insulation than the insulation you want to use in between your walls. 

Know What You Need  

Regardless, it’s important to check with a professional before committing to any insulation. From ceiling insulation to spray foam insulation, make sure to find the right R-value for your home. Contact a professional for more information. 


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