Insulation installation is one of the crucial parts of finishing or renovating a residential home or commercial structure. When the right type of insulation is installed in the different areas of a building, it can increase energy efficiency, maintain the desired indoor temperature all year round, and minimize noise pollution. When done poorly, the insulation will not meet its intended purpose, and its installation will likely be a waste of money.
The most widely used insulation type is known as blanket insulation, which comes in the form of batts or rolls. These batts or rolls are available with or without facing, and part of doing insulation right is by knowing exactly when to use faced or unfaced insulation batts.
In this article, you will learn more about faced insulation and how it differs from unfaced insulation products. You will also discover its advantages, its uses, and other essential details about it. Read on if you are interested to know if faced insulation is the right type of insulation for your needs.
Faced vs. Unfaced Insulation Batts
As the term suggests, faced batts are products with “facing” fastened to the insulation materials. This sheet of kraft paper, plastic, or foil serves different purposes. For one, it adds an extra layer of protection to maintain the integrity of the insulation material. It also holds the insulation material together, keeping its shape and enabling easy attaching of the product to building components.
However, the main function of the facing is to serve as a vapor barrier. It primarily prevents moisture intrusion into a house or commercial space and controls the flow of air from indoors to outdoors and vice versa. Other facing types, particularly those with a reflective quality, also serve to reflect radiant heat and resist fires.
On the other hand, unfaced insulation batts are products without a facing covering either side of the material. It does not offer a vapor barrier that deters the movement of moisture from one space to another. As such, the probability of moisture intrusion is high when it is used, which can then lead to the development of molds and mildew within the insulated space.
Types of Insulation Facings
Although kraft-faced insulation is arguably the most commonly used type of insulation facing, other materials are also used for their ability to deter moisture and limit the flow of air, such as white vinyl sheeting and aluminum foil. Note that aluminum foil facing also serves as an effective radiant barrier because of its ability to reflect radiant heat instead of absorbing it.
When choosing the most suitable type of facing for your requirements, be sure to consider where and how you intend to install the insulation product, and also to take into account the climate in your area. For instance, if you are insulating the attic of a home in Michigan where the weather is usually cold, foil-faced batt insulation may be the best choice since it will prevent the escape of interior heat to the roof via radiant heat transfer.
Advantages of Faced Insulation
Faced insulation batts provide various benefits depending on the type of insulation facings attached to the product. For example, insulation with kraft paper facing can be very earth-friendly because it can be recycled more easily. While faced insulation batts differ in some ways due to the facing materials and the materials that comprise the insulation batts themselves, all of them offer the following advantages:
- Creates a vapor barrier. Faced insulation restricts the amount of moisture that collects in your ceilings, walls, and floors.
- Easy to install. Since faced insulation is covered with a facing material, it is relatively simple to work with and to attach in different areas of the home or building.
- Durable. Because of its moisture-resistant property, faced insulation does not readily degrade over time, which means it tends to be maintenance-free for many years.
- Economical. Existing building codes typically require the installation of a material or system that deters the intrusion of water vapor. Since faced insulation batts act as a vapor retarder, you do not have to purchase and install an additional vapor barrier.
Pointers to Remember When Using Faced Insulation
While faced insulation batts are generally much easier to install than their unfaced counterpart, there are things you need to remember during the application process. Here are some tips to ensure the proper installation of faced batts:
- Install a single layer of faced insulation only. If you think installing several layers of faced insulation will strengthen its moisture-deterring property, you are mistaken. Multiple layers of insulation with facing can trap moisture between the batts and, over time, do more harm to your property than good. As such, limit your faced insulation to a single layer.
- Ensure that the facing is on the side that faces the living space. When using faced batts, make sure that the side with the vapor barrier faces the area being insulated. For instance, if you are insulating the attic, the facing material should be installed such that it faces downward, toward the living space.
- Staple the facing to the wall studs and joists. When installing faced batts between wall studs, manufacturers advise stapling the edges of the facing to the sides of the studs. Note that without stapling, moisture can seep into the room.
Given the information above, it is evident that faced insulation is a sensible choice for first-time insulation applications, especially if controlling moisture is high on your priority list. If you have weighed your options and decided to use faced batts, be sure to consider the installation pointers shared above.