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5 Types Of Roof Insulation Explained & What’s Best For You

Posted on June 27, 2023

5 Types Of Roof Insulation Explained & What’s Best For You

When it comes to roof insulation, making the right choice is crucial for the comfort and energy efficiency of your home. With numerous options available, it can be overwhelming to determine which type of roof insulation is best suited for your specific needs. However, by exploring the five main types of roof insulation, you can gain valuable insights into their features and benefits, ultimately helping you make an informed decision.

Some aspects like material type, product form, and R-value can help you choose the best type of insulation for your project. Once you have considered these factors, you will be able to choose the best roof insulation product for your home. By doing your research and taking the time to make a decision, you can ensure that your home is properly insulated and protected from the elements.

Does roof insulation make a difference?

Roof insulation has a significant impact on energy efficiency and the comfort of your home. It helps keep your space cooler in summer and warmer in winter, resulting in reduced energy bills. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, roof insulation can help you save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs, though the insulation type, thickness, and climate all affect the amount of energy saved. Additionally, roof insulation improves indoor comfort and air quality by reducing drafts and condensation that can lead to mold growth. Choosing the right insulation for your home and ensuring proper installation is important, and don’t hesitate to consult with a qualified contractor if you’re still unsure.

5 Types of Roof Insulation

#1 Spray Foam Insulation

This type of insulation is applied as a liquid and then expands to fill the space it is sprayed into. It is very effective at preventing heat transfer, and it can also help to seal air leaks. Spray foam insulation is available in two main types: open-cell spray foam and closed-cell spray foam. Open-cell spray foam has a lower R-value than closed-cell spray foam but is more flexible and easier to install. 

  • Material type: Rigid foam
  • Product form: Liquid that expands to fill the space
  • R-value: Open-cell spray foam: R-3.6 to R-3.9 per inch; Closed-cell spray foam: R-5.5 to R-7 per inch
  • Cost: $0.45 to $0.75 per square foot for open-cell spray foam; $1.00 to $1.60 per square foot for closed-cell spray foam
Spray Foam Insulation
Spray Foam Insulation

#2 Loose-Fill Insulation

This type of insulation is made of small, lightweight particles that are blown into a space. Loose-fill insulation is available in a variety of materials, including cellulose, made from recycled paper, fiberglass, made from tiny glass fibers, and rock wool, made from natural minerals. Loose-fill insulation is a relatively inexpensive option, but it is not as effective at preventing heat transfer as spray foam insulation.

  • Material type: Cellulose, fiberglass, or rock wool
  • Product form: Small, lightweight particles that are blown into the space
  • R-value: Cellulose: R-3.5 to R-4 per inch; Fiberglass: R-2.5 to R-3.5 per inch; Rock wool: R-3 to R-3.7 per inch
  • Cost: Cellulose: $0.35 to $0.50 per square foot; Fiberglass: $0.40 to $0.60 per square foot; Rock wool: $1.40 to $2 per square foot
 Loose-Fill Insulation
Loose-Fill Insulation

#3 Foam Board Insulation

Foam board insulation is made of rigid foam panels. It is available in a variety of thicknesses and R-values, and it can be used to insulate walls, attics, and other areas of the home. There are two main types of foam board insulation: expanded polystyrene (EPS) and extruded polystyrene (XPS). Foam board insulation is a good option for areas where moisture is a concern, as it is resistant to water damage.

  • Material type: Rigid foam
  • Product form: Panels
  • R-value: EPS: R-3.2 to R-4.3 per inch; XPS: R-3.8 to R-5.0 per inch
  • Cost: EPS: $0.50 to $1.00 per square foot; XPS: $1.00 to $1.50 per square foot
Foam Board Insulation
Foam Board Insulation

#4 Reflective Insulation

As the name suggests, this type of insulation reflects heat back to its source. It is made up of a reflective material, such as aluminum, sandwiched between two layers of insulation. Reflective insulation is available in many thicknesses and R-values, including a bubble or foam core, both of which are thin and come in rolls for easy installation. It is a good option for homes in areas that receive frequent sunlight.

  • Material type: Reflective material such as aluminum foil or aluminized polyester
  • Product form: Sheets with reflective material placed between two layers of insulation
  • R-value: Bubble core: R-1 to R-2 per inch; Foam core: R-2 to R-4 per inch
  • Cost: Bubble core: $1 to $2 per square foot; Foam core: $2 to $5 per square foot
Reflective Insulation
Image Source: Reflective Insulation

#5 Blanket Insulation

Blanket insulation, including batts and rolls, comes in various forms, and it is typically used to fill the spaces between the studs and beams in a roof. Blanket insulation is available in various materials, including fiberglass, mineral wool, plastic fibers, and natural fibers. Fiberglass is the most popular and cost-effective, while mineral wool is a bit more expensive but offers superior fire resistance.

  • Material type: Fiberglass or Mineral Wool
  • Product form: Batts or Rolls
  • R-value: Fiberglass: R-2.9 to R-3.8 per inch; Mineral Wool: R-3.0 to R-3.3 per inch
  • Cost: Fiberglass: $0.64 to $1.19 per square foot; Mineral Wool: $1 to $1.50 per square foot
Blanket Insulation
Blanket Insulation

Which One Is Best For You?

The best insulation for your roof depends on the climate, roof design, and your budget. In regions like the Southeast where hot and humid conditions are common, it is important to choose an insulation material that can effectively combat heat transference and moisture-related issues. Spray foam insulation is a recommended option for southeastern climates as it provides excellent thermal insulation and acts as a barrier against air leaks.

On the other hand, in regions like the Northwest, where colder temperatures and higher moisture levels may be present, it is crucial to select an insulation material that offers superior thermal performance and moisture control. Fiberglass or cellulose blanket, or blown-in insulation are popular choices for homes located in this region as they provide excellent resistance to heat flow and can absorb and release moisture without losing their insulating properties.

Ultimately, the choice of roof insulation should be based on a thorough assessment of your specific needs, while also keeping in mind previously mentioned factors.

Also Read: Types Of Metal Roof Insulation


Whether your home was recently built or is decades old, insulation is crucial. No matter where you live or what the weather brings, insulation provides an extra layer of protection. At Renova Roofing & Construction, we only use high-quality roofing products in our projects. Whether for your roof, attic, or anywhere else, our insulation expertise and installations are second to none. When you need the best insulation service for your roof, contact Renova Roofing & Construction at (601) 647-3433.