Here’s a primer on some of the common materials and types of attic insulation found in South Carolina homes.
Bats or rolls: The name reflects how insulation material is packaged—either in long rolls or in pre-cut strips called batts. The width is sized to fit snugly between joists or wall studs.
Loose fill: Also called blown insulation, this is the most common attic insulation in newer construction. The material consists of smaller bits of insulating material that are poured or blown into attics using special equipment. Loose fill is ideal for insulating in oddly shaped areas or around HVAC systems or other obstructions.
Foam: This can be rigid sheathing or foam-in-place that is sprayed into smaller spaces to seal leaks. The rigid form can be more expensive but is well suited to special tasks, such as sealing attic hatches, which often have no insulation.
Fiberglass: Probably the most common insulation, this familiar pink or yellow or white material, made of fine, flexible glass fibers woven together, looks like cotton candy. It’s inexpensive, easily installed and available as batts, rolls or loose fill. It’s also moisture resistant and non-flammable. Contact with it can make your skin itch.
Cellulose: Most often seen as a gray, loose-fill material, cellulose is made from recycled paper products, usually newsprint. Not as common as fiberglass, cellulose is a heavier product, chemically treated to resist moisture, pests and fire.
Rock (or mineral) wool: Less commonly used, this manmade product is made from natural minerals and post-industrial recycled content. Often greenish-brown in color and sometimes said to resemble dryer lint, it can come as loose fill, in batts or in rolls. It can also make you itch.