Insulation Materials

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.

Fiber Insulation

        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.