It can be confusing to try to characterize insulation because many materials come in a variety of forms. The insulation industry continues to develop new products to meet the increasing demand for specialized products.
· Fiberglass products come in batt, roll and loose-fill form, as well as a high-density board material. Many manufacturers use recycled glass in the production process. Fiberglass is used for insulating virtually every building component, from foundation walls to attics to ductwork.
· Cellulose insulation, made from recycled newsprint, comes primarily in loose-fill form. Loose-fill cellulose is used for insulating attics and can be used for walls and floors when installed with a binder or netting. Because of its high density, cellulose has the advantage of helping stop air leaks in addition to providing insulation value.
· Rock and mineral wool insulation is mainly available as a loose-fill product. It is fireproof and many manufacturers use recycled materials in the production process.
· Extruded polystyrene (XPS), a foam product, is a homogenous polystyrene produced primarily by three manufactures with characteristic colors of blue, pink, and green.
· Polyisocyanurate and polyurethane are insulating foams with some of the highest available R-values per inch. They are not designed for use below-grade, unlike the polystyrene foam insulation products.
· Open-cell polyurethane foam is used primarily to seal air leaks and provide an insulating layer.
· Polyicynene foam, used primarily to seal air leaks and provide an insulating layer, is made with carbon dioxide rather than more polluting gases, such as pentane or hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFC), used in other foams.