3 Options for Insulating Existing Walls

A close-up of fiberglass insulation.

If you are planning a project for insulating existing walls, the standard methods of insulation will simply not work for you. Many types of insulation are designed to be installed in large sections called batts. While this works just fine for walls that are framed but not finished, installing batts into completed walls requires tearing the walls apart and starting over.

Naturally, this is not an acceptable option in many situations. There are fortunately alternatives to tearing apart existing walls to insulate them. What follows should give you a good understanding of the various advantages and disadvantages of insulation techniques for existing walls.

1. Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass is a great way to insulate an existing wall. While fiberglass often comes in batts, it does come in loose fill form as well, making it easy to install without tearing open any walls. With a small hole and a pump, you can insulate your existing walls with minimum fuss.

Fiberglass does have one weakness, however. Because of the form its small pieces come in, it is possible for it to fill up a space without creating sufficient density to actually insulate effectively. While it is possible to avoid this problem by carefully measuring the amount of insulation used and comparing it to the required amount, it is a mistake that is easy to make.

If you are planning to install your own loose fiberglass insulation, it is important that you not use guesswork to determine how much material to install, as this is likely to lead to further problems down the road.

2. Cellulose Insulation

Cellulose is another type of insulation that can be blown into existing walls. This particular type of insulation is made from recycled newsprint treated with chemicals and has a great deal to offer anyone interested in better quality insulation.

For one thing, it is quite good at preventing the escape of heat. In addition to this, cellulose is surprisingly resistant to many problems such as fire, mold, and insects due to the chemicals that treat it.

3. Foam Insulation

Another alternative is spray foam insulation. There are many different types of spray foam, but they all function in roughly the same way. First, the foam is sprayed into the wall in a procedure that very closely resembles the process of installing loose fill insulation.

Next, the foam expands in size, causing it to fill any empty space. This can be a serious advantage, as it makes the foam seek out and eliminate any cracks and gaps in your walls that can cause air leaks. Finally, the foam hardens, taking a permanent shape.

Spray foam is comparable to other types of loose insulation in its effectiveness. Additionally, its tendency to fill any holes it touches makes it less prone to problems than many types of insulation, particularly solid pieces that must be measured perfectly in order to maintain effectiveness.