Most of us understand the importance of a well insulated home. Not only will insulation help create a pleasant indoor environment, it will also help reduce energy consumption. However, navigating the many insulation options out there isn’t so simple.
If you are considering installing new ceiling insulation or replacing old insulation, this guide will help you weigh up your choices and make a more informed decision.
Your insulation requirements depend on where you live
The climate of where you live will affect your choice of insulation. Climate is much more than the temperature highs and lows. Factors such as humidity, temperature variations and rainfall can all affect your decision-making when it comes to insulation.
- Cold Regions – If you live in a colder region such as the Snowy Mountains in NSW or Hobart and surrounds, you need insulation that will help maintain heat inside your home. It’s also important to seal any gaps and holes throughout your home to prevent heat escaping.
- Wet Regions – For wet regions such as far north Queensland and the west coast of Tasmania, it’s important that insulation materials are protected from excessive moisture as this can reduce their effectiveness. Vapour barriers can help prevent condensation and moisture issues.
- Hot Regions – If you live in a warmer climate such as the Gascoyne region in Western Australia or Darwin and surrounds, preventing heat gain should be a top priority. Reflective foil insulation installed in the roof can help reflect radiant heat from the sun away from your home.
Around Australia there are different regulations that homes are required to meet as set out in the Building Code of Australia. If you are building a new home, it’s important to know the relevant requirements for your area. Also note, that spending a little extra on a higher value is almost always a good investment. Many homeowners choose to go higher than required to ensure their house is energy efficient, and comfortable!
What is R-Value & Why does it matter?
One of the most important considerations when choosing home insulation is the R-Value of the product.
What does R-Value mean? All insulation products come with an R-Value which indicates how effective they are at resisting the transfer of heat. The higher the R-Value, the greater the insulation power of the product.
What does this mean for your home? Products with higher R-Values are more effective at preventing heat loss in cold weather and slowing down heat gain in warmer climates. Investing in a higher R-Value can help you regulate indoor temperatures more effectively and save you money on your heating and cooling costs.
For ceiling insulation, experts recommend choosing an R-Value of:
- 0 or higher for locations such as Perth, Brisbane and Northern NSW
- 0 or higher for locations such as Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne
- 0 or higher for alpine locations
Of course, if it’s within your budget you can upgrade to a higher R-Value for better results and bigger energy savings.
Types of ceiling insulation and how they work
There are two main types of ceiling insulation: bulk insulation and reflective foil insulation.
- Bulk insulation – Insulation batts or rolls work by trapping billions of tiny air pockets in their structure. This breaks up the path of heat waves and slows down the transfer of heat from warmer areas to cooler areas. Bulk insulation should not be compressed as this will affect the air pockets and reduce its effectiveness.
- Reflective foil insulation – This type of insulation, also known as roof sarking, is manufactured with a shiny, reflective foil layer on one side. When installed under the roof, the foil layer reflects radiant heat from the sun away from your home. During cold days the foil will reflect heat from inside the home to prevent it from escaping. One of the best products on the market is Kingspan Air-Cell, a wildly popular and highly recommended foil insulation.
Best insulation brands in Australia
In Australia, you can buy insulation online, in store or through an insulation contractor. Some of the most reputable brands include:
- Knauf Earthwool Insulation – Well known for its sustainable manufacturing processes and materials, Knauf Earthwool Insulation is a glasswool product made from recycled materials. Thanks to advanced ECOSE technology, these batts are softer to touch than traditional glasswool insulation.
- CSR Bradford Gold & Polymax Insulation – Made in Australia, CSR Bradford Gold Batts are made from up to 80% recycled glass, and the Polymax from polyester. CSR Bradford insulation is durable and can be expected to last as long as your home. Gold batts are low allergen, 100% bio-soluble and non-combustible.
- Fletcher Pink Batts – These resilient glasswool batts are manufactured in Australia and come with a 70 year product warranty. Made from up to 80% recycled glass materials, they are easy to handle and can be installed by professionals or as a DIY project.
- Autex Greenstuf Insulation – The ideal choice for families with members who have asthma or allergies. Greenstuf Insulation is made from polyester and is non-allergenic, non-irritant and non-toxic. It is easy and safe to install for professional and DIY installers.
Over to you
Whether you plan on installing your ceiling insulation yourself or hiring a professional, it’s important to know what products are right for your home.
In addition to installing or upgrading your ceiling insulation, consider doing the same for other areas of your home such as the walls and between floors for double-storey homes. The best results come from a holistic approach to insulation.