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R-Value vs. Air Seal: What is More Important When Buying New Insulation In Colorado?

image of a homeowner feeling comfortable due to r-value and air sealing

Your home should keep you comfortable throughout the year. If that is not happening, check your insulation. It may be old, worn, or your home may be under-insulated. Install new insulation to feel better indoors. You have plenty of options for this type of home efficiency project. Choose carefully because each material has its pros and cons. Most homeowners focus on the insulation’s R-value for good reasons. However, it should not be the only consideration. Think about the air sealing capability of the material as well. In this article, we explore r-value vs air sealing, two vital characteristics, and their contributions to overall comfort.

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R-Value Vs. Air Sealing: What To Consider For Your Fort Collins Home

Keep reading to explore both air sealing and r-value, two factors to consider when improving the thermal envelope of your home.

What is R-value?

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Insulation must resist heat flow from both sides, also known as a thermal envelope. It shields homes from outdoor temperatures and makes the indoor environment easier to manage. With several insulating materials, consumers need a way to compare the heat flow resistance of different products. That is where the R-value comes in. It provides an objective numerical figure to gauge performance. You can get vital information in a snap.

When shopping for new insulation, check the recommended R-value for your region and find a material that matches it. Standards tend to go up as you move further north. For example, those in Florida and Texas may feel fine with R30 insulation for their attic. However, those living near the border with Canada may need up to R60 to survive the winters.

Insulation charts often provide R-values per unit thickness. For example, loose-fill wool offers R-3.1 per inch, while closed-cell polyurethane spray foam gives R-6 per inch. It means you need twice the amount of loose-fill wool to achieve the performance of spray foam. Sure, you could theoretically pile up multiple sheets as much as you want. Yet space constraints can make thick insulation impractical.

If you have a high heat resistance goal within a limited space, you must purchase material with excellent R-value per inch. It is not always easy to find a solution that fits your needs and your budget. Just remember that R-value should not be the only consideration. Consult a professional insulation contractor to avoid common mistakes and make smart decisions for your home.

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What is Air Sealing?

Homeowners pay a fortune to install and operate HVAC systems. Yet much of the costly conditioned air ends up escaping through gaps across the house. The machines must work harder and consume more energy to compensate. If you want to stop the bleeding, create an air seal.

Air sealing also makes homes more comfortable by eliminating cold drafts. You will stop feeling sudden gushes of cold air while indoors. Their old entry points are no longer available. What’s more, you can improve indoor air quality by reducing pollutants and allergens. Some forms of air sealing can do this better than others.

Experts can discover the holes and cracks that let the air out. They use advanced tools and techniques for exhaustive searches. Once marked, they implement logical solutions to each situation. For example, they might use caulking and weatherstripping around doors and windows. Their careful application makes a big difference in the results.

You can also have your old insulation removed to get a fresh start, particularly if it is old and damaged. Just remember that a high R-value is not enough if air can move freely through the material. It is like pouring hot coffee inside an insulated cup with holes along the wall. The cup might shield you from heat, but the leaking coffee will still burn your hands. Ask your contractor to install an insulating material that doubles as an air sealant. It is one of the best moves you can make.

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How Spray Foam Performs Under These Criteria

If you are concerned about thermal resistance and air sealing, you should seriously consider installing spray foam. This insulation material has one of the highest R-values per inch among available options. It will help you stay comfortable even at the peaks of summer and winter. You can shrug off the weather no matter how harsh it gets. Installers will remove the old and damaged insulation to make space for the new material. They will fill the void ideally using their experience and expertise. You will feel the difference almost immediately.

Spray Foam & Sealing

Other types of insulation require the use of fasteners to hold them in place. Spray foam is different because it sticks to the surface and forms an air tight seal. The bond is so strong that nothing can penetrate between them. This adhesion will persist for years. The foam also expands as it cools, allowing it to fill all the gaps. It is a suitable solution for awkward corners and hard-to-reach spaces. The material starts as a hot liquid and ends up as a cool solid mass. It will not let anything through, including air and water.

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Foam Insulation & Durability

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You can be confident about the durability of foam insulation. It is essentially made from advanced plastics for toughness and longevity. It will not suffer from damage or performance issues despite frequent exposure to water. If you live in an area with a lot of rain and snow, this is an excellent choice. Some pests are known to chew on insulation, such as vermiculite, cellulose, and fiberglass. They even make these their nests. Fortunately, they cannot do the same to spray foam. It is a hard material with no nutritional value for these creatures. Your home will be safer from these unwelcome visitors.


R-value and air sealing are equally important factors when choosing insulation. Most people prioritize the former and neglect the latter with suboptimal results. With spray foam, you do not need to make compromises. The material does well on both fronts. It restricts heat flow while preventing air movement. Hire a reputable professional for proper spray foam insulation and maximum comfort.

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R-Value Vs. Air Sealing In Fort Collins, CO

When it concerns insulation or air sealing, consulting with a professional insulation company is the best option. There are a lot of factors to consider when determining what type of insulation works best for your home. Ascend Construction specializes in insulation removal and installation, energy conservation, energy audits, whole house fan installations, and more in Fort Collins, Colorado, and the neighboring areas.

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Contact Ascend Construction for a free consultation today. We can provide you with practical solutions to address the problem areas in your Fort Collins home. All of our services are affordable, and our work is guaranteed. Click here to contact us, or click the button below to give Ascend Construction a call. We offer free, no-obligation, in-home consultations.

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Ascend Construction
301 S Howes St #1241
Fort Collins CO, 80521
(970) 420-5495