Inexpensive Home Building

Cut through the jargon and nonsense of home building and house construction by starting from zero dollars and trying to figure best-value bang-for-your-buck when choosing construction methods or construction materials. My research might answer some of your questions and at other times perhaps you have the knowledge or experience to post the answers to my questions and thereby help others too. The goal is an affordable and sustainable home for all.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

How To Identify Old Insulation

From Home Energy magazine:

Identifying Old Insulation

Material Description R-Value
per Inch*

Fiberglass batts Pink, yellow, or white; blanketlike 3.0
Loose-fill fiberglass Pink, yellow, or white loose fibrous material 2.5
Loose-fill rock wool Denser than fiberglass, "wooly," usually gray with black specks (some newer products are white) 2.8
Loose-fill cellulose Shredded newspaper, gray, "dusty" 3.4
Vermiculite Gray or brown granules 2.7
Perlite White or yellow granules 2.7
Miscellaneous wood products Sawdust, redwood bark, balsa wood 1.0
Expanded polystyrene board Rigid plastic foam board (may be labeled) 3.8
Extruded polystyrene board Rigid plastic foam board (may be labeled) 4.8
Polyisocyanurate board Rigid plastic foam board (may be labeled) 5.8
Spray polyurethane foam Plastic foam, uneven surface 5.9
Urea formaldehyde foam+ Whitish gray or yellow, very brittle foam 4.0
Asbestos++ May be mixed with other materials; difficult to identify 1.0

* These R-values are for old insulation only. They take into account settling, as well as average R-values for old materials.
+ Urea formaldehyde foam is no longer sold due to concerns about formaldehyde outgassing.
++ If you suspect that you have asbestos, consult a hazardous material specialist before you disturb the insulation.

Sources: PG&E Stockton Training Center, 1993 ASHRAE Handbook of Fundamentals, DOE Insulation Fact Sheet


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