While your focus might be on making sure you have enough closet space or that your garage has enough space to include a small workshop for your hobbies, there is more you need to plan for than just what you can see.
What you can't see behind the walls is important as well.
You need to plan for insulation.
According to U.
Department of Energy statistics, homeowners can cut their energy costs as much as 20% when their homes are properly insulated.
Where you reside in the country plays a big part in what type and how much insulation you'll need for your home.
For instance, take a typical home design.
If that home was built in Arizona, it is going to have different insulation needs than the same home built in Delaware because the climate in each place is unique to that particular environment.
With differences in house styles and plans, as well as the varying degrees of climate throughout the country, special attention needs to be paid to your choice of insulation for the house during the planning stages.
There is no single option available to you.
Knowing the differences and choosing the right one can save you money on your heating and cooling costs.
Let's first take a look at the considerations for choosing home insulation.
Depending on where you live in the United States, you'll have to consider the R value for your walls, floors, ceilings, basement and crawl spaces.
The higher the R value, the better the material used as insulation can impede air from flowing through the walls or cavity the insulation is in.
Living in the desert heat of Arizona or a similar climate, you'll need a high R value to keep the heat out of your house and keep cooling costs down in the summer months.
Living in the mountains of Wyoming you'll also want extra insulation with a high R value to keep the heat in your house in the winter.
In milder climates, or where the temperature doesn't fluctuate to the extremes, a lower R value can be used.
Different types of roof designs can also change the amount of insulation needed for a home and will need to be planned for in the early design stages.
For instance, if the home has an attic, thick batt insulation can be used to obtain the correct R value needed to reach building codes to heat or cool the house effectively.
You don't need to consider the thickness of the roofing studs because there is plenty of room for the insulation to sit in the attic space.
However, if you have a room that is full of glass windows or has cathedral ceilings, you'll need to either put in wider roofing studs that will accommodate the thickness of batt insulation you'll need to come up to building code, or you'll need to choose another insulation option that will give you the same R value of the smaller roofing stud.
This is particularly important in homes with cathedral ceilings and CapeCod style homes where there is a sloped ceiling on the second floor.
Each region of the United States has building codes that govern the amount of insulation a home needs.
This can sometimes be frustrating when designing a home that is atypical as any unique elements in your home plan will have to be approved by the building inspector to make sure your house plan is up to the building code for the area.
Luckily, pink batt insulation is no longer the only choice available.
Here are some insulation options.
When it is installed, care must be taken not to compress the insulation as that will diminish the R value.
It is sold in rolls or strips in varying thicknesses and R values.
Batt insulation is easy to install for the do-it-yourselfer and is an economic choice to keep building costs down.
However, because the R value of batt insulation is only 2.
8 per inch of insulation, if you live in a climate that requires an R-19 value for exterior walls, you'll have to plan using 2X6 framing instead of 2X4 framing to accommodate the increased R value.
Synthetic materials are used to make the loose-filled insulation.
One problem blown in insulation has is that over time it can settle, decreasing the R value.
Spray foam insulation expands to as much as 100 times the initial volume sprayed in the cavity and then sets to a rigid form.
This is great for keeping air leaks from forming over time as insulation shifts or settles.
The other advantage is that the R value of spray foam insulation is much higher than some of the other choices, giving you more freedom in your home design while still meeting building codes.
Unlike spray foam insulation, rigid foam insulation is not sprayed at the home site.
It is made into board-like forms that are then nailed to the studs.
It is usually used in basement renovations or as an added layer over other insulation to reach a specific R value.
Materials such as cotton and wool are being made into batt insulation that is up to 85% recyclable and bio-degradable with only 15% man made materials, such as plastics, added to it.
In between this material are polyethylene bubbles.
Reflective insulation is especially useful in warmer climates to help with cooling costs.
However, you do need to take into consideration the building codes in your area and how they will affect your house plan when you choose your insulation options.