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What Is Insulation R-Value?

If you’ve talked to an insulation contractor, chances are you’ve heard the term “R-value.” And one of the most frequently asked questions about insulation is “what is insulation R-value?”

The R-value of insulation is a measurement of its resistance to heat transfer. It is expressed as the thickness of the insulation material divided by the thermal conductivity, which is the material’s ability to conduct heat. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness.

The R-value depends on the type of insulation as well as its thickness and density. Installing more insulation in your home increases the R-value and the resistance to heat flow.  This is why many people re-insulate their homes, especially if they live in homes that were built in the 1970s or earlier (older homes tend to have insufficient amounts of insulation).

How to Determine the R-Value Needed

To determine how much insulation you need for your climate, you need some information first. The amount of insulation or R-value you’ll need mainly depends on:

  • Where you live
  • The type of heating and cooling system you have
  • The part of the house that needs insulation

The best way to go about this is to contact a local insulation company. They’ll be able to tell you how much insulation you need, where you need to insulate, and the best type(s) of insulation to use! The U.S. Department of Energy also suggests using the insulation calculator. It’s a good idea to use the calculator to get a rough idea and then talk to insulation professionals.

Need More Insulation for Your Home in Southeastern Virginia?

If you live in Norfolk, Newport News or a surrounding area in the Tidewater region of Virginia, look no further! Tidewater Insulators can help. We can insulate homes with fiberglass, cellulose, spray foam and radiant barriers.

Contact us to learn more about our insulation services!

services we offer

We install insulation in new and existing homes.

Energy Audits

We provide energy audits to help homeowners save money and live more comfortably.


We provide comprehensive gutter services for new and existing homes.

Shower Doors

We install shower doors in new and existing homes.

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