Building Insulation Materials - Categories

Categories

Insulation may be categorized by its composition (material), by its form (structural or non-structural), or by its functional mode (conductive, radiative, convective). Non-structural forms include batts, blankets, loose-fill, spray foam, and panels. Structural forms include insulating concrete forms, structured panels, and straw bales. Sometimes a thermally reflective surface called a radiant barrier is added to a material to reduce the transfer of heat through radiation as well as conduction. Following is a table of materials, most of which have been used for insulating buildings.

R-values per inch given in SI and Imperial units
Material m2·K/(W·in) ft2·°F·h/(BTU·in) m·K/W
Vacuum insulated panel 7.04 !5.28–8.8 3000 !R-30–R-50
Silica aerogel 1.76 !1.76 1000 !R-10
Polyurethane rigid panel (CFC/HCFC expanded) initial 1.32 !1.23–1.41 0700 !R-7–R-8
Polyurethane rigid panel (CFC/HCFC expanded) aged 5–10 years 1.1 !1.10 0625 !R-6.25
Polyurethane rigid panel (pentane expanded) initial 1.2 !1.20 0680 !R-6.8
Polyurethane rigid panel (pentane expanded) aged 5–10 years 0.97 !0.97 0550 !R-5.5
Foil faced Polyurethane rigid panel (pentane expanded) 45-48
Foil-faced polyisocyanurate rigid panel (pentane expanded ) initial 1.2 !1.20 0680 !R-6.8 55
Foil-faced polyisocyanurate rigid panel (pentane expanded) aged 5–10 years 0.97 !0.97 0550 !R-5.5
Polyisocyanurate spray foam 1.11 !0.76–1.46 0430 !R-4.3–R-8.3
Closed-cell polyurethane spray foam 1.055 !0.97–1.14 0550 !R-5.5–R-6.5
Phenolic spray foam 1.04 !0.85–1.23 0480 !R-4.8–R-7
Thinsulate clothing insulation 1.01 !1.01 0575 !R-5.75
Urea-formaldehyde panels 0.97 !0.88–1.06 0500 !R-5–R-6
Urea foam 0.924 !0.92 0525 !R-5.25
Extruded expanded polystyrene (XPS) high-density 0.915 !0.88–0.95 0500 !R-5–R-5.4 26-40
Polystyrene board 0.88 !0.88 0500 !R-5.00
Phenolic rigid panel 0.79 !0.70–0.88 0400 !R-4–R-5
Urea-formaldehyde foam 0.755 !0.70–0.81 0400 !R-4–R-4.6
High-density fiberglass batts 0.755 !0.63–0.88 0360 !R-3.6–R-5
Extruded expanded polystyrene (XPS) low-density 0.725 !0.63–0.82 0360 !R-3.6–R-4.7
Icynene loose-fill (pour fill) 0.7 !0.70 0400 !R-4
Molded expanded polystyrene (EPS) high-density 0.7 !0.70 0400 !R-4.2 22-32
Air-entrained concrete 0.686 !0.69 0390 !R-3.90
Home Foam 0.686 !0.69 0390 !R-3.9
Fiberglass batts 0.655 !0.55–0.76 0310 !R-3.1–R-4.3
Cotton batts (Blue Jean insulation) 0.65 !0.65 0370 !R-3.7
Molded expanded polystyrene (EPS) low-density 0.65 !0.65 0370 !R-3.85
Icynene spray 0.63 !0.63 0360 !R-3.6
Open-cell polyurethane spray foam 0.63 !0.63 0360 !R-3.6
Cardboard 0.61 !0.52–0.7 0300 !R-3–R-4
Rock and slag wool batts 0.6 !0.52–0.68 0300 !R-3–R-3.85
Cellulose loose-fill 0.595 !0.52–0.67 0300 !R-3–R-3.8
Cellulose wet-spray 0.595 !0.52–0.67 0300 !R-3–R-3.8
Rock and slag wool loose-fill 0.545 !0.44–0.65 0250 !R-2.5–R-3.7
Fiberglass loose-fill 0.545 !0.44–0.65 0250 !R-2.5–R-3.7
Polyethylene foam 0.52 !0.52 0300 !R-3
Cementitious foam 0.52 !0.35–0.69 0200 !R-2–R-3.9
Perlite loose-fill 0.48 !0.48 0270 !R-2.7
Wood panels, such as sheathing 0.44 !0.44 0250 !R-2.5 9
Fiberglass rigid panel 0.44 !0.44 0250 !R-2.5
Vermiculite loose-fill 0.4 !0.38–0.42 0213 !R-2.13–R-2.4
Vermiculite 0.375 !0.38 0213 !R-2.13 16-17
Straw bale 0.26 !0.26 0145 !R-1.45 16-22
Papercrete 0260 !R-2.6-R-3.2
Softwood (most) 0.25 !0.25 0141 !R-1.41 7.7
Wood chips and other loose-fill wood products 0.18 !0.18 0100 !R-1
Snow 0.18 !0.18 0100 !R-1
Hardwood (most) 0.12 !0.12 0071 !R-0.71 5.5
Brick 0.03 !0.030 0020 !R-0.2 1.3-1.8
Glass 0.024 !0.025 0024 !R-0.14
Poured concrete 0.014 !0.014 0008 !R-0.08 0.43-0.87

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