Glossary of Insulation Terms

by Matt Solis
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Learning insulation industry terms and descriptions can help you navigate your insulation project from start to finish. Here are some key terms to know:

adhesive
A substance that’s used to bond insulation materials by exterior attachment

attic insulation
The installation of approved insulation products (rockwool, fiberglass, cellulose) evenly across the unconditioned attic area to achieve desired levels of thermal resistance

Also known as: attic insulation installation, attic door insulation, blown attic insulation, attic stair insulation, cellulose attic insulation, attic stairs insulation, foam attic insulation, reflective attic insulation, attic insulation types

attic insulation removal
Removing visible soot and char from the surface of insulating materials sufficient enough to attain an acceptable appearance. Working in attics and endeavoring to eliminate loose soot and char particles off of the insulation is one of the most difficult jobs.

Also known as: removing attic insulation, remove attic insulation, attic insulation, fiberglass insulation removal, insulation removal, attic insulation types, attic insulation installation, blown attic insulation, types of attic insulation, attic insulation r value, removing blown in insulation, installing attic insulation

basement insulation
Applying insulation to the basement of a home or business for thermal, acoustic, or fire insulation

Also known as: basement wall insulation, attic insulation, how to insulate a basement, basement foam insulation, insulating basement, basement ceiling insulation, home insulation, basement insulation tips, insulation types, insulate basement walls, basement floor insulation, house insulation

basement wall insulation
Applying insulation to the walls of the room that’s either completely or partially below a ground floor

Also known as: basement wall panels, basement insulation, insulate basement walls, insulation for basement walls, basement floor insulation, insulation basement walls, insulating basement walls, basement wall construction

batt
A piece of stretchy to semi-rigid insulation with a specific width and length. It may or may not have vapor retarder facing.

Also known as: batt insulation, batting

blanket insulation
A nearly flat and stretchy insulation in sheet form that’s furnished in units of considerable area

Also known as: fiberglass blanket insulation, space blanket insulation, basement blanket insulation, fiberglass insulation, fire blanket insulation, insulated blankets, weather blanket insulation, thermal blanket insulation, insulating blankets, ceramic blanket insulation

block insulation
Rigid insulation that’s formed into rectangular units

Also known as: concrete block insulation, block wall insulation, cinder block insulation, foam block insulation, insulated concrete block, exterior insulation, insulated concrete blocks, thermal block insulation, under slab insulation

blown insulation
A method of applying insulation by mechanically blowing it into the walls, ceilings, or floors of a business or home for thermal, acoustic, or fire insulation

Also known as: blown foam insulation, blown in insulation, blown cellulose insulation, green fiber blown insulation, blown in insulation attic, insulation r value, home insulation, insulation types, cellulose insulation, blown fiberglass insulation, blown in insulation types

caulk
The process of sealing and making a space watertight or airtight. Caulking is an important part of residential insulation services.

crawl space insulation
Insulating the area of limited height that’s underneath a floor or roof, which is usually where the wiring and plumbing access is located

Also known as: crawl space insulation installation, insulation crawl space, crawl space moisture, insulation for crawl space

energy code
A requirement in a particular area that will outline the minimum level of insulation and/or other energy efficiency methods for construction. These codes are updated on an ongoing basis. Minimum levels of insulation are set by allowing for the cost of energy and the level that provides a reasonable payback.

fiberglass insulation
Fiberglass is a fibrous material made by spinning molten glass. It’s used as an insulator and retardant of heat loss. Fiberglass insulation is a popular choice for homes and businesses.

high-performance insulation
Insulation that’s made of fiberglass with densely packed fibers. It results in higher R-values for a specified thickness. It’s mainly used in confined spaces like walls and cathedral ceilings.

Also known as: high performance insulation, attic insulation, home insulation, spray insulation, high temperature insulation, insulation contractors, fiberglass insulation, insulation types, cellulose insulation, garage door insulation

house insulation
Applying insulation to a building that’s lived in by a household or family for the purpose of thermal, acoustic, or fire insulation

Also known as: house insulation types, house insulation materials, old house insulation, house wrap insulation, house wrap insulation, types of house insulation, home insulation, insulation r value, basement insulation, insulation, spray foam house insulation, wall insulation

installing insulation
Adding insulation to the walls, ceilings, or floors of a commercial building or residential home

Also known as: installing attic insulation, installing insulation in attic, installing fiberglass insulation, installing insulation batts, installing home insulation

insulating cement
A mixture of several insulating fibers along with binders and water that forms a moldable paste insulation that can be applied to fittings or irregular surfaces

Also known as: cement insulation, insulation cement, aerogel insulation, fireproof insulation, vermiculite insulation, high temperature insulation, insulation materials, duct insulation, sound proof insulation, ceramic insulation

insulation
The act or state of being insulated. Insulation also refers to the material used in insulating services.

Also known as: attic insulation, installing insulation, basement insulation spray insulation, blown insulation, blow in insulation, crawl space insulation, house insulation, insulate, insulation r values, spray foam insulation, cellulose insulation, fiberglass insulation, insulation foam, spray in insulation, basement wall insulation, home insulation, attic insulation types, garage door insulation, thermal insulation, insulation types, insulation r value

insulation foam
An expanding foam mixture made of isocyanate and resin that can be sprayed onto roof tiles or wall cavities, among other places

Also known as: insulating foam, spray insulation foam, insulation foam spray, wall insulation foam, attic insulation foam, insulating spray foam, sound insulation foam, rigid foam insulation, insulation foam board, foam insulation, pipe insulation foam, spray foam insulation r value, spray foam

insulation removal
The process of removing insulation because of mildew and mold

Also known as: attic insulation removal, insulation removal equipment, asbestos insulation removal, blown insulation removal vacuum, loose fill insulation, removing attic insulation, insulation removal machine, insulation removal bags

pipe insulation
A form of insulation that’s appropriate to apply to cylinder surfaces

Also known as: pipe insulation wrap, hot water pipe insulation, foam pipe insulation, heating pipe insulation, pipe wrap insulation, pipe insulation material, fiberglass pipe insulation, piping insulation, water pipe insulation

polyethylene
A material used for insulation that’s closed-cell and thermoplastic

radiant barrier foil
A thin aluminum film that works to reflect heat gain. Typically, it’s fastened to the underside of a roof or in an attic space. It prevents the heat that’s absorbed by hot roofs from transferring to the inside of the home.

Also known as: radiant barriers, radiant barrier, radiant heat barrier, radiant barrier foil insulation, attic radiant barrier, radiant barrier spray, radiant barrier attic foil, efficient attic systems, efficient attic systems, reflective radiant barrier

radiant barrier spray
A coating that’s applied to structures for insulation and other purposes. Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is the most popular barrier spray. It provides a sealed thermal barrier for residential and commercial applications. These products are engineered for a wide range of uses, including roofing, fire control and blocking radiant heat from the sun.

Also known as: radiant barrier paint, radiant barrier foil, radiant barrier, spray on radiant barrier, radiant barriers, attic radiant barrier

R-value
The measure of resistance to heat flow. Insulation materials have small pockets of trapped air that resist the transfer of heat through material. The capacity of insulation to slow down the transfer of heat is measured in R-values. The better the insulation material’s ability to resist the flow of heat through it, the higher the R-value.

Also known as: r value, insulation r value, r value insulation, fiberglass r value, r value glass

spray foam insulation
A specialized two-component mix that comes together at the top of a gun to form an expanding foam that can be sprayed into wall cavities, concrete slabs, and other places where insulation is needed

Also known as: spray in foam insulation, spray in foam insulation kits, spray on foam insulation, spray foam insulation equipment, foam insulation, spray foam insulation r value

spray insulation
Applying insulation that’s forced out of a can or other container onto the walls, ceilings, or floors of a home or business for thermal, acoustic, or fire insulation

Also known as: spray insulation, spray in insulation, diy spray insulation, spray foam insulation kits, spray foam insulation equipment, spray foam insulation r value, spray insulation types, spray home insulation, spray foam insulation