When you’re building a new home, there are exciting decisions to make at every stage – from your layout and design to your fixtures and fittings. There are even many factors to consider when you’re selecting roof insulation for your new home.
The first decision you need to make is usually whether you would like insulation in your ceiling, under your roof or – for best results – a combination of both. Bulk products, such as batts, go into your ceiling to keep heat out of your home, while reflective insulation is installed directly under your roof to reflect radiated heat away from your home.
Roof insulation, is designed to reflect heat flow. Products available include:
- Reflective Foil Laminate (RFL) sarking – foil laminated onto paper with glasswool reinforcement
- Bubble insulation – polyethylene air cellular structures sandwiched by two layers of highly reflective aluminium foil
- Cross-linked foam insulation – a flexible cross-linked foamed core sandwiched by two layers of highly reflective aluminium foil
- Roof blankets – often concertina style folded foil with a paper laminate
- Sarking – a reflective layer which forms a vapour barrier to prevent heat, moisture and dust entering your home
As a general guide, ceiling insulation can work better in cold climates while roof insulation can work better in hot climates. In Australia, however, we have a combination of climatic conditions to take into account so a combination of the two types may work best.
Every insulation material is given an R-value (the higher the R-value the better the thermal performance) and there are a wide range of products to compare and a number of factors to consider to help you make the best choice. You should investigate the recommended minimum R-value for your location and climate. Also consider the total system R-values (RT) for the product installed, when you’re considering reflective insulation.
Other factors to consider when choosing your insulation type include:
- Your ceiling space – Whether it is flat or pitched, existing ceiling joists and whether you need to access the space will impact your decision.
- Environmental impact – Is the material made from recycled or sustainable material and how is it manufactured?
- Health considerations – If someone in your household suffers from allergies or asthma this may impact your choice.
- Price – Do the material and installation costs fit your budget?
Investing just a bit of time and effort into choosing the right roof insulation can pay dividends in the long term. Find out more about R-values or ask the experts for help to choose the right combination of products for your home.