When most people hear the word “insulation,” they think of materials like fiberglass or spray foam. But did you know other materials can also help keep your building energy-efficient and comfortable?
Here’s how drywall works with insulation to maximize a building’s thermal performance.
Is Drywall Considered Insulation?
The short answer is no. Drywall is a material used to construct a building’s interior walls. It can boost insulation’s effects, but its primary function is not to insulate.
Also called gypsum or plasterboard, drywall’s primary function is to provide a smooth and durable surface for painting. Yet, while its primary purpose may be structural and aesthetic, drywall still offers an unexpected bonus in terms of insulation capabilities.
Does Drywall Stop Heat Transfer?
Drywall includes a layer of gypsum sandwiched between sheets of paper. Properly installed, it acts to some extent as a natural insulator that reduces heat transfer, creating a more comfortable indoor environment.
In truth, all building materials offer a degree of R-value or heat flow resistance. How effective they are depends on their relative value. For instance, drywall has an R-value of about 0.5 (for its half-inch thickness). Insulation that fills a 4-inch thick wall cavity, on the other hand, increases the R-value to about 15.
While drywall can help minimally stop heat transfer, it doesn’t eliminate the need for the same amount of insulation you would need without it. However, drywall combined with insulation can be very effective.
Benefits of Insulating the Drywall in Your Building
Even though drywall doesn’t qualify as insulation, it does provide multiple benefits that help manage and control heat transfer. Insulating the walls between rooms can help:
- Reduce air infiltration and drafts between interior and exterior environments.
- Offer some degree of thermal resistance due to its gypsum and paper composition.
- Improve energy efficiency, particularly in exterior walls. The higher the R-value of a building’s outer envelope, the more you can keep heated and cooled air inside, reducing energy bills.
- Dampen sound transfer, muffling traffic and construction noise from outside, or reducing interior noise like a child practicing a musical instrument or playing loud video games.
- Slow a fire’s spread due to new fire-rated options. Fire-resistant insulation is a must in some situations, including between “party walls” or walls that separate apartment units and duplexes.
What Type of Insulation Should Be Installed Behind Drywall?
Which insulation to install behind drywall depends on multiple factors, including climate, budget and unique insulation requirements. Top choices include:
- Fiberglass batts: These are available in standard widths designed to fit snugly between wall studs, floor joists or ceiling rafters.
- Expandable spray foam: This provides superior R-value ratings per inch of thickness.
- Loose-fill cellulose: This is a versatile choice for insulating attics, walls and other hard-to-reach places.
A professional insulation contractor can assess your specific needs and provide expert guidance in choosing the right option for your building.
Choose Alpine Insulation for Drywall Installation & Insulation in Wisconsin
When you need an expert drywall installation and insulation contractor you can count on, look no further than Alpine Insulation. As a member of the Installed Building Products (IBP) Family of Companies, we’re the most trusted experts in insulation for southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois property owners.
Call (866) 261-1090 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our reliable insulation and drywall installations.