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Batt or Blanket

These large sheets of insulation are easy to install in accessible spaces since they can be cut to fit and conform to slight surface irregularities. Most common batt or blanket insulation are made out of fibreglass and mineral fibre.

Loose-Fill

This type of insulation is made out of a variety of materials that range from a granular to fluffy texture. It is great for filling in irregular or inaccessible spaces. Loose-fill insulation can be poured or blown in, but in general you’ll need more material if you’re pouring it in. The most common types of loose-fill insulation are: cellulose fibre (chemically treated shredded newspaper), mineral wool (slag and rock wool), and vermiculite (mica material). Vermiculite was commonly used in older homes, and may contain asbestos if manufactured before 1990. For more information on vermiculite, please see ‘Who do I contact to safely remove vermiculite, and how does this effect my rebate eligibility?’

Rigid Board

They’re lightweight, easy to cut and handle, and generally have a high insulating value per unit thickness. Rigid and semi-rigid board insulation is made out of glass fibre or foam plastic materials such as expanded polystyrene, phenolic foam, polyurethane and polyisocyanurate.

Spray-Foam

This liquid foam is mixed on-site and poured into enclosed cavities using a spray gun or sprayed directly on the surface of a building. The foam will expand once exposed to the air and sets in seconds. You can find closed cell polyurethane foam with refrigerant gases or a semi-flexible open-celled isocyanurate plastic foam.

Radiant Foils

Reflective bubble foil and radiant barriers fall into the category of radiant foil insulation. This type of insulation is made with a reflective foil layer that’s said to reflect unwanted solar radiation in hot climates when applied properly. However, since Canada is considered a cold climate zone, radiant foils do not perform as well as they’re advertised. There are currently no specific standards for radiant insulation products.

For more information about insulation types, visit Natural Resources Canada’s Keeping the Heat In.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.