Let’s Talk Insulation building a house in nj that will stay comfortable year round

photography by Lisa Russman

When you are planning to design and construct a new home, you will also be building a house budget for your new lifestyle. And while you may think a lot about the various systems and finishes you invest in during your build, you should also be thinking about those materials that are going to keep your house comfortable and protected for many years to come. Most people think only about their HVAC system when it comes to keeping their home and family comfortable both during hot and cold months.

But, home builders in NJ know that the most important investment you can make is in your new home’s insulation. When calculating home building costs, you need to think not only about what materials will cost you now but how much money they may spend throughout the life of your home. Choosing the right insulation materials upfront can help keep your utility bills low and your family comfortable for years to come. 

Home Insulation Basics

Why should I care about my home’s insulation? For starters, insulation is what keeps heat from migrating through the walls and ceilings of your home. When heating and cooling your home uses up to 70% of your total energy consumption, the more of that heat that stays put (inside during the winter or outside during the summer) and keeps you comfortable, the less energy you are using. 

The other benefit of insulation is that it dampens sound, which means you won’t hear everything going on in your house at all times when walls, floors, and ceilings are adequately insulated. Insulation also helps protect your home from moisture damage by preventing condensation where extreme temperatures collide, such as on the roof or around windows and doors. 

Heat naturally moves and seeks out areas where the temperature is lower, and the more you can resist or stop this from happening, the more stable your home’s temperature will be. The effectiveness of your insulation is measured in its thermal resistance rating or R-value. The higher the value, the better your insulation resists heat flowing into or out of your home. 

Well over half the homes in existence today don’t have enough insulation. In fact, more than 800 trillion BTUs could be saved annually in the US alone if houses had proper insulation. And when you invest in the right level of insulation for your new home, you can save money as well as contribute to the reduction of fossil fuel consumption. 

The Best Options for Insulating Your NJ Home

There are many different products available to those building a house in NJ today. Some are synthetic, while others are made from natural materials. Each has its advantages and drawbacks. The most commonly used insulation materials include: 

  • Fiberglass batts and rolls- This is a traditional, synthetic material that is often installed between walls and inside roofs. It is fire resistant and inexpensive.

  • Radiant barriers- Rigid panels that have one side covered in a metallic, reflective coating. These are generally used on roofs to deflect the sun’s heat and trap warm air inside the home.

  • Blown-In Insulation- Whether made from natural or synthetic materials, blow-in insulation is a loose material that can be blown into walls or attic spaces. Typical materials include cellulose, sheep’s wool, recycled fibers, mineral wool, or fiberglass.

  • Spray foam- Made from various synthetic or natural materials, a liquid is sprayed into place, where it expands and hardens into a rigid foam structure. This is an excellent application for irregularly-shaped areas or insulating around obstructions.

  • Rigid foam board- Often used in exterior applications to provide continuous protection to the outside of a house. Rigid foam board offers a great deal of R-value for its weight and thickness. 

Talk with your New Jersey architect about which option or options make the best choice for your design and site.