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The Best Insulation for Your Texas Home Foundation Type

In Texas, there are many styles and types of homes. Long, flat L-shaped ranch houses; Modular or prefab homes (see more on BMarko); Traditional southern with wrap-around porches; Barndominiums. The list goes on. No matter your fancy, you can find the home of your dreams in Texas.

While there may be many choices for style of home, when it comes to your home’s foundation, there are essentially two choices: poured concrete slab foundations and pier and beam foundations. There are lots of differences between the two types of foundations – for example, the way you do a pier and beam foundation repair is much different from that way you carry out slab repairs. But, today, we will be focussing on the differences when it comes to insulation.

Depending on which type of foundation your home was built on, the type of insulation you need will differ. In this post, Garland Insulating, your College Station home insulation company, breaks down the differences between foundation and insulation types.

Poured Concrete Slab Foundations

This foundation type is one of the quickest options, and is both simple and cost-effective. Top soil is removed, typically a layer of gravel is added, and then a system of steel reinforcing bars and wire mesh is put in place before the concrete is poured.

With this type of foundation, your home is built directly onto the surface of the earth. This is also true for other structures, such as those a shed foundation contractor can assist with. In northern climates rigid board insulation is typically installed around the slab perimeter for monolithic slabs or above the slab for post-tensioned monolithic slabs.

In Texas, our climate actually allows us to benefit from an un-insulated slab with a consistent cool ground temperature as we are a “cooling” climate. By that we mean we have more cooling days than heating days and the cool temperature of the ground actually reduces heat load requirements of the air conditioning unit. The only insulation you will need to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter will be installed in the walls, ceiling, and attic of your home.

Recommended Insulation for Poured Concrete Slab Foundations

Garland Insulating recommends blown fiberglass cavity walls and spray foam insulation for your roof rafters and mid-floor ends or joist-ends. In doing this, we utilize the advantages of both products and optimize the cost effectiveness of the system. We reduce the heat load at the source (the roof which typically gets the most sun exposure) and allow the ductwork and handler to operate in a semi-conditioned space with spray foam insulation.

At the walls, unlike ceilings, homes are typically sealed well by the building wrap and exterior sheathing meaning that air infiltration is a lesser factor. Here we want more R-value and density for to reduce noise. Therefore, we recommend high density BIBs or blown in blanket fiberglass insulation or cellulose in the walls. These have higher R-values and better sound dampening than foam and also cost less! Overall, we feel this is the best system on the market for Texas homebuyers.

Pier and Beam Foundations

Pier and beam foundations are usually found in houses built before the 1960s before the monolithic slab was perfected; however, many are still lived in today. These homes are lifted around 18 inches or more off the ground, resting on several concrete blocks or “piers”. These piers are then connected via a series of pressure-treated wooden beams and joists, thereby creating the subfloor of the home. These types of foundations (mainly due to the age of most) are more susceptible to damage and may often require companies such as Foundation Repair Austin & Waco – CenTex Foundation Repair or others to repair any damaged components of the foundation that the home rests on.

Thanks to the airspace underneath these homes, heat can easily escape through the floors in the winter and creep back in during the summer. Insulating the floors can reduce utility costs and keep your heating and cooling system from working too hard. Traditionally, these crawlspaces have been open air vented and insulated with fiberglass batts attached to the deck of the floor. However, new technology has helped to improve the vented crawlspace and even re-design it to create an enclosed, conditioned crawl space.

Recommended Insulation for Pier and Beam Foundations

Closed cell spray foam insulation is a great solution for your crawl space. Not only does it expand to fill in the cracks and gaps as it cures, but it is a vapor barrier and will protect your floors from humidity that evaporates from soil under the house and is often trapped.

Do you have questions about what type of insulation you should have installed in your home? Contact Garland Insulating, your College Station home insulation company, for expert, professional insights into a more comfortable, less expensive home.