What it is:
Fiberglass batt insulation is the fluffy, often pink but not always, insulation that usually comes in strips of different widths to fit between Advanced Framing, Standard Framing, or Metal Framing. The purpose of insulation is to keep hot and cool areas separate. It is equally important in hot climates as it is in cold climates. It is also a sound barrier keeping your home quiet and private. Most insulations do this by trapping air, batt insulation accomplishes this by having a thin fiber like materials trap air in pockets. Like other types of insulation it does not work as well when compressed.
Batt insulation is installed between studs, usually after sheathing is up, some have plastic backing that acts as an air/moisture barrier, some have a paper backing, some have a wax paper backing that also acts as a air/moisture barrier, some just sit between studs without any backing. There is generally an additional flap of the backing material on either side of the strip that allows you to staple or tack the insulation to the studs on either side. When installing fiberglass batt insulation you should wear gloves, safety glasses and a breathing mask as the fiberglass pieces can find their way into your skin and lungs and are uncomfortable/hazardous.
Batt insulation is very affordable compared to other insulation types, it is very easy to DIY. It is light weight and widely available at basically any home improvement store in various sizes and R-Values.
You can get a fairly limited R-Value for thickness (space required) compared to other insulation types, a 3.5″ wall (standard 2×4) will get about an R-13. It can be very irritating and hazardous to your skin, eyes and lungs if proper protection is not worn on install. Sometimes formaldehyde (toxin) is used in the manufacturing process. If the batt used doesn’t have a way to tack in place (and sometimes even when it does) it will settle over time and leave gaps in your wall where no insulation is present. Water damage will completely undermine any insulation value of fiberglass batt insulation. It is not suggested to use batt insulation in floor systems for this reason, if there were to be a flood/leak you would need to redo the entire floor insulation.
Tiny House Specific and Regional Considerations:
Often times when dealing with tiny houses space is a premium and most want more interior space, in order to get energy codes suggested R-Value in batt insulation alone you would need to increase your walls to 2×6 construction. You are of course not required to follow energy codes for tiny homes but ‘code’ is typically the minimum level suggested for energy savings and comfort. This all varies quite a bit by location but if you experience either high temperatures or very low temperatures you will notice a big impact from quality insulation and R-values. Highly suggested that fiberglass batt insulation NOT be used in floor systems when they may receive moisture in the case of a flood or road damage.
For information on other types of insulation please click here.
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