Faced Vs Unfaced Insulation: Which Works Best For Your Home?

Not all attic insulation is the same. One of the big choices you might encounter is to get "Faced" or "Unfaced" insulation. Here are the pros and cons of each.

Every home requires proper insulation. If you want your home to stay warm during the winter or cool during the hot summer, it is important to install the right kind of insulation in your house.

Attic insulation not only regulates and maintains the ideal temperature inside your home but also protects your pipes system, helps you consume less energy, protects your HVAC system, and prevents excess noise from entering your home. Also, proper home insulation blocks off moisture from outside and protects your home from mold and mildew.

But here's the tricky part: while all American homeowners know the importance of home insulation, a number of them are often confused about which type of insulation is best suited for their homes, and for a good reason.

An average homeowner may get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of details and jargon they often encounter when searching for the best insulation to use. To start off, there are two common types of insulation: faced and unfaced insulation.

You might have heard these terms and wondered: but wait…what is faced and unfaced insulation? What's the difference between faced and unfaced insulation? Simply put, faced insulation has a "facing" that acts as a moisture barrier. Unfaced insulation has none. 

These two insulation types have major differences in features and usage and are ideal for different settings. Before spending a considerable amount of money on buying and installing insulation at home, ensure you know the type that your home needs.

What Is Faced Insulation?

Faced insulation, also known as "kraft-faced insulation," is fiberglass insulation with a vapor barrier or vapor retarder. This prevents moisture build-up on the walls and ceilings of your home, especially during humid temperatures. 

Faced insulation uses materials like vinyl, aluminum foil, paper, or plastic as vapor barriers. Some states prohibit the use of particular materials other than paper in home insulation, so check your local building codes and regulations before buying and installing.

That said, experts say that paper-faced insulation also provides a moisture barrier, which keeps moisture and water from permeating the walls.

When to use faced insulation? Faced insulation is ideal for spaces that have no existing insulation, such as exterior walls, attic ceilings, crawl spaces, and exterior basement walls. Please note that the proper way to install it is to have it installed facing outward or towards the person installing it.

Attic specialists look to install it facing downward on your ceiling. Meanwhile, when you're installing it in your crawl spaces, install the insulation facing upward.

Pros Of Faced Insulation

For homeowners looking at installing home insulation themselves, choosing faced installation is the best way to go.

Faced insulation is so much easier to install at home than unfaced insulation. The vapor barrier holds the insulator together, making it easy for installers to tack in, roll, or move the insulator around without allowing it to fall apart.

Also, the vapor barrier helps prevent moisture build-up and protects the home from mold and mildew growth. This makes it ideal for attics and external walls exposed to the elements.

Cons Of Faced Insulation

While faced insulation may have certain advantages, using it may also have several disadvantages.

For one, the paper backing in the insulation makes it more combustible than unfaced insulation. 

Additionally, layers of faced insulation cost slightly more than unfaced insulation because of the vapor barrier. On average, faced insulation costs about $0.10 to $0.25 more per square foot than unfaced insulation. This amount may be negligible when you're doing minor upgrades or insulation. But if you're planning to insulate the entire home, the significant price difference merits serious consideration.

Another potential disadvantage in using faced insulation is that installing it can get tricky. You might end up installing it inappropriately. Specifically, faced insulation must be installed differently in colder weather climates than in hot weather climates.

Remember: When installing during cold climates, the vapor barrier should face the home's interior. Conversely, the vapor barrier should face the house's exterior during hot weather climates. 

What Is Unfaced Insulation?

What is unfaced insulation? Unfaced insulation works the same way as faced insulation in terms of insulating the home. But unlike its faced counterpart, unfaced insulation doesn't have a vapor barrier, making it susceptible to external elements such as rain, moisture, or the sun's extreme heat.

Therefore, install unfaced insulation in walls that are not exposed to the elements. Typically, you use unfaced insulation when you plan to add more insulation to your attic or between the walls and floors of your living spaces at home.

Pros Of Unfaced Insulation

Unlike faced insulation, unfaced insulation is non-combustible since it does not contain any combustible materials such as paper or plastic.

Also, as mentioned above, unfaced insulation is much cheaper than its faced counterpart.

Additionally, unfaced insulation is a great way to soundproof your interior walls.

Cons Of Unfaced Insulation

The lack of a paper vapor barrier in unfaced insulation creates several disadvantages.

First, unfaced insulation is not DIY-friendly and is much harder to install. Since it doesn't have a paper vapor barrier that holds the whole thing together, unfaced insulation isn't as cohesively strong and is more prone to tearing.

Secondly, it is not a good idea to install unfaced installation into exterior walls and attic spaces exposed to outdoor elements.

Lastly, because it has no protective barrier against moisture, it cannot protect your home from mold and mildew that grow because of moisture and humid air entering it.

Conclusion

Proper insulation is one of the most critical components if you want your home to be comfortable, safe, and protected. Not only does it provide comfort, but it also promotes energy efficiency and makes sure that the living spaces in your home are safe.

But choosing the suitable material to insulate your home is also necessary. In a city like Dallas that often experiences extreme weather conditions, it is highly recommended that you go with faced insulation if you plan to insulate your attic space. 

As a general rule, it is always best to seek the advice of professionals whether faced or unfaced insulation or perhaps roll or batt insulation is suitable for your home.

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