Insulation Questions

Q.  Do you offer contractor discounts?

A.  The bulk of our customers are contractor's so our pricing is already deeply discounted.  However, we do have volume discounts for contractors.  Visit the Contractor Discount page to learn more.

Q.  Do you keep a stock of insulation?  I need the insulation pretty quick.


A.  We do not stock insulation or SolarGuard material.  Even though the fiberglass plants run 24/7, they are filling orders that have been placed.

Q.  I like the price of your insulation rolls, but how much is the freight?  I've got about 15,000 square feet to cover and that will be a bunch of rolls.

A.  We charge a flat rate per order for our fiberglass insulation.  Visit this Freight Notices page to learn more.
 
Q.  I only need a couple of small rolls of insulation for my home project.  The freight charge is almost as much as the cost of my insulation.  May I pick up the insulation?


A.  Yes, if you are near one of the cities that follows, you may be able to pick up your insulation.  Keep in mind that we do not stock material.  Your insulation will normally be ready for pick up within 9 business days of placing your order.  If you plan to pick up your material, select 'Customer Pick Up' from the Shipping Method drop-down menu and click Apply.  This will change your freight to $0.00.  We currently have warehouse/distribution locations (these are not sales offices) in or near Scotia, NY; Richmond, VA; Lawrenceville, GA; Lakeland, FL; Solon, OH; Marshfield, WI; Wentzville, MO; Memphis, TN; Bay Minette, AL; Sioux Falls, SD; Rapid City, SD; Oklahoma City, OK; Dallas, TX; Houston, TX; San Angelo, TX; Denver, CO; Kingman, AZ; Seattle WA; Portland, OR and Stockton, CA.  Note:  This does not apply to SolarGuard material.  This list is subject to change without notice.
   
Q.  I see R-10, R-13 and R-19 insulation on your website.  Do you have other 'R' values that are not shown?


A.  Yes.  We can quote faced insulation in other R-Values.  For example, 8" thick material in R-25 or R-28.  You may also combine different insulation thicknesses to obtain R-values up to R-40.  See the R-Value link to see typical R-value for various thicknesses of fiberglass insulation. 

Q.  Do you quote insulation in Canada?

A.  We will be more than happy to give you an insulation quote in Canada. Just send an email inquiry to sales@cabotcomponents.com.

Q.  What is insulation?

A.  To insulate means to prevent the passage of heat, electricity or sound.  We are interested in insulate as it applies to the transfer of heat.  Any product that prevents the flow of heat is insulation.

Q.  How does fiberglass insulation reduce the flow of heat?

A.  Fiberglass has millions of air pockets that capture heat.  It also helps to muffle sound.

Q.  How is heat transferred?

A.  That is a good question.  There are three basic types of transfer: A).  RADIATION - The sun shining down on a roof and the roof gets hot.  Hint:  SolarGuard's primary function is to reflect this radiant energy back.  B).  CONDUCTION - The hot roof material warms the wood decking below and C). CONVECTION - The air in the attic becomes heated.  This process continues as the ceiling is heated and eventually the interior temperature of your house or shop increase.  Of course this assumes an absence of radiant barrier or insulation materials.

Q.  How is fiberglass insulation rated?

A.  Insulation may be rated in several ways.  THERMAL CONTROL:  R-Value is the rating that we use and it is a measure of 'thermal resistance'; in other words, how well the material decreases the flow of heat.  Higher R-Values mean less heat flows from one point to another.  Another measure is C-Value, essentially the reciprocal of R-Value.  Simply put, C-Value measures how much heat is conducted from one point to another so the lower the C-Value, the better.  U-Value - measures the thermal resistance of a total wall or ceiling construction as a unit.  K-Value - The thermal rating of 1" thickness of a given material; for example, a 1" thickness of fiberglass insulation may have an R-Value of 7 while a 1" thickness of space shuttle tile may have an R-Value of 700.  SOUND CONTROL:  Sound transmission co-efficient or STC Rating.  These ratings determine how much sound passes through a floor, wall or ceiling assembly.  NOTE:  The higher the S.T.C., the better the sound deadening.  OTHER MEASUREMENTS:  Noise Reduction Co-efficient which determines how sound is absorbed by the product.  FIRE RATING:  Flame spread, Smoke Development, Fuel Contributed.  View the technical sheets for these ratings, where available.  

Q.  What are the different types of insulation?

A.  As you will see, there are several insulating products.  We sell traditional fiberglass insulation with several available facings.  We also sell a radiant barrier (reflective foil) product that has a layer of insulation sandwiched between to facings.  This radiant barrier, SolarGuard, is one of our most popular products for retrofitting homes.  The types of insulation are:  A).  Fiberglass; B).  Rockwool; C). Cellulose (paper); D). Isocyanurate (urethane); E). Extruded Polystyrene (styrofoam) and F). Expanded Polystyrene (beadboard).

Q.  In an average home, how much of the heat may be lost or gained (depending on the season) due to insufficient or inefficient insulation?

A.  Through the ceiling - 30%; through the walls - 25%; through windows and/or doors - 20%; through floors - 5% and through voids or leaks in the structure - 20%.

Q.  When is the best time to insulate?

A.  When the home or commercial structure is being built.  It is more expensive to add insulation to walls after they are covered.

Q.  What happens to insulation when it is compressed?  

A.  Think of insulation like multiple layers of clothing in the winter.  When you have severals layers on, you are warm and comfortable.  Compressing the thickness of the insulation is like taking off layers of clothing.  You are going to change the insulating properties, decrease effectiveness of the material and end up colder.

Q.  How does fiberglass density effect a products R-Value?

A.  With fiberglass, the R-Values are determined by the thickness (measured in inches) and pounds of fiberglass (measured in density).  Fiberglass building insulation generally is .6 pound per cubic foot dense.  But in order to get an R-13 or and R-15 in a 2 x 4 wall cavity the an R-11 fills nicely, the manufacturer cannot increase the thickness so they must increase the density of the material.  More density means more pounds of fiberglass per cubic foot and therefore more cost.

Q.  When do you use standard foil insulation?

A.  When you want a superior vapor barrier.  The foil will not breakdown over time like the kraft paper facing and it has a higher perm rating than kraft.

Q.  What is condensation?

A.  Condensation is the process where water vapor in the form of air turns into a liquid state.

Q.  Why does using insulation have the potential to cause condensation problems?

A.  Faced insulation is designed with a vapor barrier on one side and open on the other.  This allows at least one direction of movement for moisture.  If a contractor uses two vapor barriers, for example, faced insulation and a poly-bubble radiant barrier, there is a possibility of water vapor being trapped between the two barriers.  Keep in mind that insulation is designed to stop the flow of heat.  Therefore, during the winter months, the inside of an insulated home or commercial structure is much warmer than the outside and of course, the reverse is true in the summer.  Due a differential in air pressure, warmer air will move toward and displace colder air until an equilibrium is reached (when the temperature of the air reaches the dew point).  When and where this equilibrium is reached, water vapor is created.  When water vapor is created in the cavity of the wall you may have a problem.  For this reason, you do not want to use two vapor barriers.  Residential SolarGuard is acceptable as a radiant barrier when coupled with faced insulation since the Residential SolarGuard is perforated to allow movement of air and vapor.

Q.  How can a builder prevent condensation?

A.  By using proper ventilation techniques through soffits, eaves and ridge of the roof, installing recommended levels of insulation and installing the appropriate vapor barriers with the insulation.

Q.  What is the recommended amount of insulation for my area.

A.  This map provided by the Department of Energy is an excellent starting point for determining the appropriate amount of insulation for your home or business.
 
Q.  What is a vapor barrier?

A.  Any product that stops the flow of water vapor.  A simple piece of plastic sheeting is an excellent vapor barrier, as is glass (think about the water droplets that form on the outside of your cold glass of refreshment on a warm summer day).  

Q.  How are vapor barriers rated?

A.  Perm ratings are used to determine a products ability to stop the flow of vapor.  Anything less than 1.0 perms (the lower the better), is considered a vapor barrier.  Examples:  Kraft paper backing - .5 to 1.0 perms; 4 to 6 mil poly - .05 perms.  Materials with a perm rating of .5 or higher are more accurately described as a vapor retarder rather than vapor barrier.

Q.  Where should vapor barriers be installed?

A.  To comply with building codes in most areas, the vapor barrier must be installed in substantial contact with the interior finish of the 'warm in winter' side of the wall.

Q.  Is House Wrap a vapor barrier?  

A.  No.  It is the opposite of a vapor barrier.  It has a perm rating up to 15+ and its primary function is to stop wind from entering the house while allowing the house to breath.  It also serves to protect the CDX or plywood sheathing from rain.

Q.  What is a Batt?

A.  A pre-cut piece of insulation designed to fit into a specific wall cavity.

Q.  What widths are available for your insulation.

A.  Faced Fiberglass and un-faced fiberglass products are available in standard widths of 3', 4', 5' or 6'.  SolarGuard reflective insulation radian barrier is available in 4' and 6' widths for commercial material and 1'4", 2' and 4' widths for residential material.

Q.  What product is best for a knee wall application?

A.  SolarGuard residential material is ideal for a knee wall application when installed to attic side of the knee wall.

Q.  Does SolarGuard help with the attic 'oven effect'?

A.  Quite simply, yes.

Q.  Does SolarGuard have a fire rating?

A.  Yes.  SolarGuard is UL Class A rated and may be left exposed and meet local fire codes.

Q.  What is an attic tent?

A.  Attic tent is used to create an air barrier for a pull down attic stairwell in a conditioned space.