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R-Value is an important factor when it comes to insulating your home. But what is R-Value? Dan Gattuso of Dry Guys Basement Systems explains what R-Value means and its significance to you when you choose your basement insulation. Learn how to insulate your basement the RIGHT way!
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Interview with Dan:
What is R-Value?
"R-Value is a bit of a mystery to a lot of homeowners, and we can make it as simple as possible."
"Most people know the higher the R-Value, the more insulation there is. R-Value is the resistance to heat loss. R1 stops 50% of the heat loss. Picture a single pane of glass in a window like these behind me. If it was a single pane, 50% of the heat in the house would be lost to the outside. R2 would stop 50% of the 50% that R1 lost- now you're down to a 25% heat loss. R3: 12.5%, R4: 6.25%... on and on it goes. And that's when it's in a closed cell."
"Now if it's in an open area like a crawl space or an attic for instance, you have to have a lot more R-Value because all you're doing there is slowing the heat loss down, getting it tangled up in the fiberglass, along with the cold air coming down on top of it from the outside source. So, this is where you have to have a maximum amount of fiberglass just to get a minimal amount of resistance."
The Problem With Insulation
"A crawl space usually has 5 inch or 5 1/2 inch insulation which is an R15- can be R12 but roughly, R15. The problem is, insulation in a damp space like a crawl space doesn't work. The insulation works just as good as damp clothes to keep you warm. And again insulation in a crawl space, when it's on the underside of the floor, has the tendency to sag down and to fall a little bit, and when there's an air gap between the insulation and the actual floor of your home, then there's basically no insulation. The cold air gets in there, and that's why you have cold feet when you have a crawl space oftentimes."
"Insulation is an interesting product. If you notice, if you see some insulation sometimes, especially in a crawl space, you'll notice that it's gray, it's dark. That's actually oftentimes mold eating the insulation. Now let me specify here. The insulation itself- the fiberglass- the spun glass- is not a food source for mold. But when you buy insulation, you take it and you roll it out, and it opens the 3 1/2 or 5 1/2 or whatever you purchased. That's done with a binder called Urea Foam. Urea Foam is made from cow urine, so that's exactly what the mold is eating. So the mold is using the fiberglass as a dining room table to eat the Urea Foam. This is why it's not the best situation in a damp crawl space environment."
How to Properly Insulate
"So the issue with crawl space insulation is you have it up under your floor, and you're trying to keep the heat loss from going into the crawl space. The problem is, the outside walls and your rim joists are the areas where the heat is being lost. Understand, cold draws heat to itself. So what's happening is that the cold air outside and in your crawl space is literally sucking the heat right through into your crawl space. That little bit of insulation there has absolutely no chance in the world of really helping."
"So when we insulate the walls, what we're doing is we're stopping that transition to the cold outside. We always recommend insulating the walls themselves and especially the joist bays- that's where the floor joists land on top of your foundation. Those little pockets are really 60% of the heat loss in your crawl space. We use a foam insulation that's designed to go right onto the wall. It's called SilverGlo. The cool thing about SilverGlo is that it's infused with graphite, which drives the R-Value up. It also has a silver lining on it. Now this reflective lining actually reflects 97% of the heating and cooling that would be lost back into the home. It's called an E-Value or emmistivity. This E-Value is really where the moneymaker is, if you will. So if I'm reflecting 97% of the heat back into your home, then that 3% that's lost, can now deal with the R12 of the SilverGlo insulation itself."
"We can also insulate the dirt floor with a product we use called TerraBlock, and this keeps the heat from being lost into the soil too. So it really does save a lot of heat and the heat loss is absolutely minimal with these products installed correctly."