Real Estate

What Are R-Values? An Overview of Insulation and Siding Options

When it comes to insulation, it’s imperative that you choose material that provides enough heat resistance to suit your needs. R-values are indicators of the resistance of the thickness of a material to heat flow—i.e. how much heat something lets out. This has led to people considering R-values as a basis for comparing insulation, automatically assuming that the higher the value, the better the insulation material. But, as you’ll see in this article, there is a little more to it than that.

How to decide what R-value is best for your home

Part of your R-value decision depends on where you live. Climates differ from region to region, and if you live in a colder climate (think snow belt), you’ll need insulation with a higher R-value. In Florida, your R-value does not need to be as high.  The age of your home also matters. If you are in an older home, you will need more insulation because of the home’s natural wear and tear. Your home’s construction also factors in on the R-value that is appropriate for your home. If your home is multilevel with high ceilings, you’ll need a different insulation level than a home that is single level and built on a slab with low ceilings.

Home insulation thermography

Variations throughout the home

Your R-value won’t be the same throughout all the regions of your home, but you still need to plan out your insulation in a cost-effective manner. This means you may not want to use materials with the highest R-values for every application. Places like the attic and high ceilings are places where you’ll need more insulation than, say, a basement. Consider giving your home an energy audit to see which rooms are the least efficient — these will be places where you will want to invest more heavily into high R-value materials.

Making sure you know your R-value 

After several cases involving homeowners who felt that they were misinformed, the Federal Trade Commission decided that it was going to put a stop to any consumer fraud. They established the R-value rule, which states that manufacturers have to label their insulation with the R-value so that you know what you’re getting and aren’t being misled. Deceptions on the part of companies are punished by a pretty hefty fine, making compliance with this legislation to everyone’s benefit.

Different residential siding options 

There are many different options available in today’s siding materials. Vinyl siding is very common amongst newer homes, and it is hardy, strong, and can come in many different colors to match your home’s design. Because vinyl is light-weight, it can be installed quickly. Steel and aluminum are also commonly used in siding, though their popularity has waned as vinyl has become more and more frequently used.

Two more options: fiber cement and wood 

Fiber cement is made from sand, clay, wood fibers, and Portland cement. It’s become increasingly popular due to its durability and can be molded to fit any exterior. Fiber cement is a siding to watch, as it is gaining market shares among consumers looking for heavy-duty material. Wood is another common, if expensive, choice. It is easy to install but requires maintenance to keep it from deteriorating. With the proper attention and care, however, wood can last for up to a century.

Know what is right for your home, taking into account the climate and design, and call the experts if you’re in doubt about your siding installation. Aerotech in St. Louis, MI and other experienced siding contractors can help.


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