QUESTIONS ABOUT INSULATION

What Does R-Value Mean?

R-Value measures the material’s resistance to heat transfer – a higher insulation R-Value means a greater resistance to heat transfer and this is an indication of how effective it will be at keeping homes at the desired temperature. Read more.

What R-Value Do I Need?

When customers ask us which R-value to install, we generally recommend a minimum of R2.0 wall insulation and R4.0 ceiling insulation. If you live in Melbourne, Sydney or Adelaide we recommend upgrading to R2.5 wall insulation and R5.0 or R6.0 ceiling insulation. If your home has suspended floors then we also suggest that you install R2.0 underfloor insulation.

Why Higher R-Values are Better

For the best results we recommend installing the highest R-value that you can afford. The rising cost of energy in Australia means that many home owners are opting for higher R-values such as R2.5 HD wall insulation for the external walls and R6.0 roof insulation. The higher the R-value, the better the thermal and acoustic performance of your home.

If you are looking to increase privacy within the home, then consider installing wall insulation in the internal walls. Installing R2.0 HD acoustic insulation(or higher) can help to create a quieter and more relaxing home. If you cannot afford insulation for all the internal walls, then simply choose the areas that you want to prioritise. For example, the walls around the toilets and main bedrooms.

To achieve the R-value written on the insulation pack it is important the batts or rolls are installed correctly. Even small 1cm gaps can reduce the effectiveness of your insulation. For more information check out our DIY install tips.

One Time Investment Leads to Savings Every Year

Installing a sufficient level of wall and ceiling insulation in any home and including wall wrapping in the insulation budget is one of the best investments home owners can make. It’s not uncommon for consumers to earn back the cost of the insulation through energy savings already in the first few years.

Value for Money – What is the Optimal R-Value?

When ordering bulk insulation, you will need to decide which R-value to go for. Generally, the higher the R-value, the thicker the material and the more effective it will be at resisting heat transfer. However, the higher the R-value, the higher the price. So, what most home owners naturally want to know is what is the lowest R-value I can invest in that will still prevent heat gains in summer and heat losses in winter?  The answer to this will vary depending on the climate zone of the residence.

Insulation for New Homes

The Building Code of Australia requires new homes to have an adequate level of insulation, where “adequate” actually depends on where you live along with a number of other factors. For someone living in a temperate climate, for example, a thin layer of insulation would keep the house comfortably warm in winter and comfortably cool in summer. But for someone living in a very cold climate, the same thin insulation would not be adequate. Find out what the required R-value is for your climate zone and consider upgrading to a higher rating for added comfort. R-value is the most important consideration when planning an insulation project and will guide subsequent decisions.

Higher Performance R-Value with Wall Wrap

Every home owner should include foil wrapping around the frame of the house before the brickwork is started. This gives protection against the elements and will increase the performance R-value when used in combination with bulk insulation. Wrapping the frame of the house prevents the bulk insulation from coming into contact with the bricks and ensures that the necessary airgap between the timber and the bricks is maintained all the way around the house. The exact increase in performance may be somewhat difficult to measure, but it would be fairly safe to suggest that if a house was wrapped and fitted with R2.0 bulk insulation in the walls, the rating achieved would be closer to an R3.0.

Does My Home Need Insulation?

Yes, practically all homes need, or at least benefit from thermal insulation. The benefits of thermal insulation come on many levels, but basically boil down to one thing; helping to maintain a comfortable temperature in your house throughout the year. Thermal insulation acts like a barrier to heat transfer. During hot weather, it restricts the amount of heat that enters your home, helping to keep your house cool. In the colder months, insulation helps to prevent heat generated within the house from escaping through the wallsceiling and underfloor.

Thermal Insulation Can Also Significantly Reduce Your Power Bills

Technically it is possible to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature without installing insulation, but this comes at a significant cost. During the winter months, a lot of heat generated inside many older homes literally goes through the roof due to a lack of adequate ceiling insulation. This means that their heating systems have to keep on generating more heat to maintain the desired temperature, which continues to pass through the roof. Ceiling insulation acts as a barrier for heat transfer, basically trapping much of the heat inside. In the past, when energy prices were cheaper, roof insulation was often seen as an optional extra if the home owner could afford it. These days it seems that the situation is different. Now it appears that the average working family can’t afford not to install ceiling insulation. In fact, many people report having earned back the initial investment within the first few years through substantially lower energy bills.

Heating and Cooling Systems Work Too Hard in Homes Without Insulation

Air-conditioners often start to experience problems when they have been worked too hard for too long. There are a number of factors that can contribute to air conditioning overload, one of which is inadequate thermal insulation. During hot weather, the idea is that the cooling system brings down the temperature to the desired level and then switches itself off. Without an adequate level of ceiling insulation, however, heat from the sun will literally be poured continually into the home. This makes it unlikely that the air inside the home will ever reach the desired temperature on very hot days and the cooling system will run constantly. Most systems are not designed for such high use and start to experience issues in the long run. As such, householders who are trying to save money by skimping on ceiling insulation may well be paying up eventually, potentially in the form of a replacement air-conditioning unit sooner rather than later.

Insulation as a Once Off Investment

While it does take a bit of effort and organising, the beauty of installing ceiling insulation is that when the job is done it’s done. The manhole is closed and the insulation can be expected to last for the life of the home. Many brands come with either a life time guarantee or at least 50 to 70 years, which effectively is the life of the home. This means that a once off investment will result in ongoing thermal comfort and yield savings on energy bills year after year.

Should I Insulate Between Floors?

If you’re building or renovating a double or multi-storey house, then there may be good reason to considering insulating the mid-floor, i.e. between the ceiling of the ground floor and the floor of the second storey. The main reason to insulate between floors is to reduce the noise transfer between floors. Read More.

What Should I Do with a Limited Budget?

Which areas of the house should I prioritise first?

If you are insulating an existing house, then your options will probably be limited to ceiling insulation. Underfloor insulation may be a possibility if the floor is raised off the ground. Fortunately, insulating the ceiling will by far have the biggest thermal and economic benefit overall anyway, so this should always be first priority in any home insulation project. Most householders enjoy the benefits of their roof insulation investment straight away, both in terms of comfort and savings on energy bills. It is quite possible to save up to 45 percent of the energy consumption that is used by heating and cooling systems, and many home owners report having earned back the initial investment already within the first few years.

Think Long Term and Install Wall Insulation During a Renovation

Wall insulation is best installed at the time of construction, but can also be done during a renovation. With a limited budget it may not be feasible to install insulation in all the internal walls, but there are some rooms that should be first on the priority list. Media/TV rooms, studios, bedrooms, bathrooms and laundries all benefit from sound insulation for obvious reasons.

Insulation Requirements for New Builds from the Building Code of Australia

The Building Code of Australia (BAC) sets out specific requirements for insulation in new homes. It is important to check these and ensure that you comply with their standards. It is important to note, however, that these requirements specify the bare minimum, and Pricewise Insulation generally recommends increasing the level of insulation by at least one R-rating, for added comfort and energy savings. The BAC doesn’t take noisy neighbours, for example, into consideration! If you suspect that excessive exposure to unwanted outside noise will be a problem for your household, consider installing high density thermal insulation in the external walls of the house. This type of insulation comes with a thermal R-value and restricts the transfer of sound.

Insulation Priorities in New Homes

Every new home requires some level of ceiling insulation, depending on the climate zone the house is located in. If you are building a new house, consider insulating the walls also. Together with the ceiling insulation, this will provide an effective ‘blanket’ around the whole house. Underfloor insulation will also reduce heat and cooling loss, and will contribute to the overall saving on power consumption. Next consider internal wall insulation. This reduces sound transmission between rooms, and is commonly installed in the walls of bedrooms, bathrooms, laundries, children’s playrooms etc.

You Can Upgrade Your Ceiling Insulation Later On

If your budget is limited, don’t put all your money into ceiling insulation, as you can always save up for it and add a layer later on. Think about areas that will be more difficult to access later on, for example walls. It’s far easier and cheaper to install wall insulation during the building construction, before the walls are lined.

Is Acoustic Insulation Better Than Thermal?

Thermal insulation restricts heat transfer, whereas acoustic insulation restricts sound transfer or sound reverberation. The combined product is thermal acoustic insulation, which is effective in both reducing heat and noise transfer. Read More.

Is Polyester Insulation Better Than Glasswool?

Pricewise Insulation often receives enquiries about whether polyester insulation is better than glasswool. Both polyester and glasswool (also called fibreglass) insulation are highly recommended products and very effective in reducing heat transfer. They are both safe products to install and handle. Customers enquiring about the different types may have noticed a difference in price and wondered if it’s beneficial to go with the more expensive Autex Greenstuf. The truth is, both kinds of insulation have their merits and it really comes down to the individual needs of the customer.

Comfort of Handling

Polyester is typically more expensive but has two attributes which arguably could cause it to be considered a ‘premium’ insulation product. Polyester insulation has practically speaking no breathable fibres, and as such may be favoured by people suffering from asthma or severe dust intolerance. It is also completely ‘itch free’ to handle and install, whereas most people experience at least a minor temporary itch e.g. on their wrists after handling glasswool insulation for a few hours.

Glasswool Much Improved in Recent Times

It is important to note, however, that the glasswool insulation of today is very different to the stuff that was sold on the market a few decades ago. The installers of those days would recall extreme discomfort, whereas the glasswool insulation today, particularly Knauf’s Earthwool, is much more pleasant to handle.

Higher Compression Properties with Glasswool

Most glasswool insulation has a much higher compression factor than polyester insulation. This may give it an advantage from a delivery and storage point of view. Customers may be able to fit the required amount of glasswool insulation in the back of their car or ute but be unable to fit the equivalent number of bags of polyester insulation. Opting for the glasswool insulation may save them an extra trip back to the warehouse or the cost of having it delivered. If onsite storage is an issue, it may be better to purchase glasswool insulation.

Consistent R-Value Regardless of the Material

Neither polyester or glasswool insulation will outdo the other in performance. Glasswool insulation is the cheaper option, but it performs just as well as its polyester equivalent. R-value is a measure of how effective the insulation is at resisting heat transfer, regardless of what it is made out of.

Should I Wear Safety Gear to Install Insulation?

While glasswool and polyester insulation are considered to be safe products, it is always recommended that you wear appropriate PPE, in particular when working in dusty ceiling or underfloor environments, or when installing glasswool insulation above your head. Wearing the appropriate PPE during insulation is simply common sense, and you’ll soon realise if you’ve forgotten to put it on.

Wear Safety Glasses When Installing Ceiling Insulation

Take installing ceiling insulation from below, for example. You take the first insulation batt, balance it on the end of your sticks, bring it up over your head and attempt to push it into place between the ceiling joists. As you do so, a build-up of dust and saw dust is dislodged and literally rains down on you. You have to look up so you can see where to push the ceiling batt and you can’t cover your eyes with your hands because you need them both to poke the batt into place. Chances are very high that some dirt or dust will fall into your eyes, causing severe discomfort if nothing else. So, before you continue, put on a pair of safety glasses, because this scenario is going to repeat itself for every insulation batt you install…

Safety Measures When Installing Underfloor Insulation

The same goes for installing underfloor insulation, where you may find yourself inching your way around whilst lying on your back. Wear safety glasses to prevent small particles dropping down into your wide-open eyes. Installing underfloor insulation comes with a host of other safety considerations. The area may be littered with debris from the time of construction. It’s not at all uncommon to find nails, glass and pieces of broken pipe underneath a house. Wearing gloves can help to protect you from cuts and abrasions. In fact, many people choose to wear gloves whenever they work with insulation, simply because they don’t like the feel of the insulation batts. Take your time, move slowly and light up the area you are working in. Using a head torch can be a practical solution.

Wearing a Dust Mask is Recommended Practice

Working with insulation is not any more dangerous than working in other dusty environments. However, after a while you might find yourself coughing or clearing your throat more than usual. You’ve probably inhaled something you shouldn’t and your body is simply trying to get it out. This is uncomfortable, more than anything else, and it is recommended that you wear a dust mask for your protection. Change it several times throughout the day, as it can become clogged with dust. Try not to handle the replacement mask excessively if you’ve already been insulating for some time. The reason being that your hands are probably covered with tiny invisible insulation fibres. If these are transferred to the dust mask, they can end up rubbing against your face, causing irritation for your skin.

QUESTIONS ABOUT ORDERING

Why Shop at Pricewise Insulation?

Reputation

Pricewise Insulation is Australia’s Number. 1 online reseller of insulation. From small DIY installers to large building contractors, our competitive no-nonsense approach has earned us significant popularity in both in the domestic and commercial market.

Products

Our extensive range of products covers ceiling insulation, wall insulation, underfloor insulation, in addition to a range of commercial products.

Brands

We sell all the best brands of locally manufactured and imported insulation brands for practically all applications. Brands include Knauf Earthwool, Autex GreenStuf, Kingspan, Foilboard, Pink Batts, Bradford Gold, Pirmax and more.

Delivery

In addition to our own warehouses in Melbourne and Sydney, we have established accounts with a vast network of reputable insulation manufacturers and resellers in every State and major city in Australia. This means that we’re able to ship insulation suitable for practically any application, almost anywhere in Australia, for a reasonable price.

Service

Friendly and helpful customer service lies at the heart of our business operations, and our reputation is founded on the thousands of businesses and individuals whom our trained staff have done their utmost to help get the right product at the right price. We don’t take our customers for granted, and the overwhelmingly positive reviews testify to the hard work and positive attitude of our frontline staff.

Information

Our website is a virtual encyclopaedia containing extensive explanatory articles and videos to help to simplify what can sometimes be considered a confusing topic. Check out our latest videos with tips on how to safely install wall and ceiling insulation just like a pro.

Expertise

Terms such as R-values, climate zones , thermal bridging and “allowance for framing” are understandably foreign to most people who are not directly involved in the building industry. As such, it’s hardly surprising that many homeowners are initially uncertain as to what they need. Our customer service teams are adept at simplifying these essential concepts, helping customers make an informed decision on their investment in thermal or acoustic insulation. Customers who have highly technical questions are often referred directly to the manufacturers technical support hotline.

Installation

In Melbourne and Sydney, we work with professional and experienced installers, and as such, we can quote you both for the supply and installation of insulation for your project. We guarantee all works done by our own employees and contractors.

Efficiency

Next day dispatch is standard for all standard stocked products in all major cities, providing the order is confirmed before 1pm. In practice this means that in the major capital cities and many of the larger regional centres, an order place before 1pm will typically be delivered before 5pm on the following business day.

Aussie Owned

Pricewise Insulation is proudly 100% Australian owned and operated.

How Much Insulation Do I Need to Buy?

There are several reasons why it is ideal to order the right amount of insulation the first time round:

  •  You only pay one delivery fee.
  •  The job is completed in one go and the plasterers can commence their work.
  • You don’t waste money by purchasing more than you need.
  • You don’t have to deal with disposal of excess batts.

Calculating Insulation Required for Ceilings and Underfloors

For ceilings and underfloors, you will need to estimate the total area, by multiplying the width by the length. Then multiply this by 0.9, to allow for the fact the timber framing also uses up some of the space in the ceiling or underfloor. The square metre coverage is all you need to know when ordering online with Pricewise Insulation. Simply find the product you need, select the width and required R-value, and as you adjust the number of bags to order, the square metre coverage will update automatically. Make sure you order slightly more than you need rather than slightly less, so you don’t run out of insulation before the job is complete.

Calculating Insulation Required for Walls

A similar principle applies for calculating how much wall insulation you need, but with one extra step in the calculation.

  •  Multiply the width of the walls by their length to find the total area.
  • Subtract the area of the doors and windows from the total are.
  • Multiply what is left by 0.9 to allow for timber framing.

Measure the Timber Spacings Before Ordering Insulation

Most bulk insulation comes in two standard widths: 430mm and 580mm. The reason for this is to minimise the amount of cutting required by the installer by supplying batts that fit snugly between the most standard timber framing. When ordering insulation make sure you have measured the width between the timber joists so that you can purchase the optimal size. Otherwise you may find yourself having to cut every single insulation batt to make it fit and spending an excessive amount of time and energy completing the job.

Have Everything You Need Before You Start the Job

There’s nothing worse than setting aside some time to complete a DIY project and realising that you’ve forgotten about some minor, but essential equipment. When installing insulation there are a few handy things to have with you that will make the task easier. The most essential tools no installer will work without are a sharp knife and the installer’s stick. While the latter is nothing more than a broom handle (or similar) with a nail protruding from the end, working without one is tedious and totally unnecessary. The stick allows the installer to insert insulation batts easily into hard to reach areas. A step ladder may be necessary when installing ceiling insulation from below and to reach the highest wall cavities more easily.

Does Pricewise Install Insulation?

Installing insulation is not a particularly technical task and there are many people who are prepared to install their own insulation. Often, it’s just a matter of simply fitting the batts snugly between the timber joists and ensuring that no gaps are left for optimal performance R-value. However, there are many reasons that customers look into having their insulation professionally installed…

  • They might find the insulation material unpleasant to touch.
  • They may suffer from asthma or other allergies.
  • Some customers are not able to meet the physical demands of the job.
  • There might be time restraints.
  • The job may have difficult to access areas, such as cramped roof cavities.

Professional Installation Services in Sydney and Melbourne

Installing insulation is not difficult to learn and most professional installers will agree that it doesn’t take a lot of experience before you become highly skilled and complete the job with ease. In Melbourne and Sydney, we have professional installers who can install your insulation for you. Our installers typically finish a job in less than a day and take all their rubbish with them.

Can I Book an Insulation Installation on the Weekend?

Most of our customers prefer to be home when the installer arrives to do the job, but we also realise that they may have inflexible working hours during the week. To cater for this, we also schedule in jobs for the weekends. Contact us to book in a professional installer.

What Time Can I Expect the Installer to Arrive?

Most installers start very early in the day. This allows them to get more work done in the day, but this is not the main reason. It fundamentally boils down to safety. During the warmer months of the year especially, the roof cavity can become dangerously hot to work in by the time the sun has been beating down for a little while. The more work that gets out of the way early in the day the better.

Do You Install Insulation Outside Melbourne and Sydney?

If your house or site is outside Sydney or Melbourne, we recommend that you get in touch with a local insulation installer. We work with multiple suppliers and transport companies all over Australia, so we are able to deliver insulation to you no matter where you live. Our installers, however, are limited to Melbourne and Sydney.

Does Pricewise Deliver Australia Wide?

Pricewise Insulation can deliver insulation in all States and Territories. Some brands have limited availability certain parts of Australia. In recommending a product to you, we will take into account your location and the cost of delivering the insulation to you.

Established Partnerships with Major Insulation Manufacturers

Let’s say you live in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, and you are thinking to order Earthwool batts for your DIY renovation project. These would have to be shipped all the way from our Sydney warehouse and it’s going to cost you quite a bit in delivery fees alone. Pricewise Insulation, however, works together with a couple of partner suppliers in Coffs Harbour, namely Fletchers (who manufacture Pink Batts) and CSR Bradford. For this reason, we may suggest that you consider ordering the equivalent products from one of them so that you end up with a better price overall and can potentially get the material delivered earlier.

Collaborating with Multiple Transport Companies

Pricewise Insulation works together with numerous transport companies throughout the country. This means we can deliver insulation to practically any part of the country. If your regional area is not listed as a delivery option, contact us to discuss your order and we will give you a customised quote. We may suggest that you adapt your order to give you the best outcome overall.

Can I Pick Up My Order?

Pick up from Pricewise Insulation is available during business hours from our Melbourne and Sydney warehouses, by prior appointment. We can also arrange pick up directly from one of our partner suppliers, located in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and a number of regional centres. Click here for more information.

Bring Tie Down Straps When Picking Up Your Insulation

If you are picking up your insulation order yourself and transporting them in an open vehicle, such as a ute, make sure you bring sufficient straps, ropes or similar. Tie the bags or bales down securely before you drive off. If you are picking up bags of insulation, you may notice that one end of the bag is open. This end should be facing away from the cab. If the bags of insulation are facing the wrong way, they are practically inviting the wind to come and catch them, making it unsafe for the driver.

Picking Up Insulation in Wet Weather

Check the weather forecast and make sure you bring a tarpaulin or some sort of cover if there is a chance of rain. Insulation bags are open at one end and the material is susceptible to becoming wet in wet weather. You don’t want the insulation you just paid for getting wet in transit.

Can I Install Wet Insulation?

No! Never install wet insulation. It is effectively useless anyway, because the air gaps which give it its insulating properties are no longer there. Good quality bulk insulation is filled with millions of tiny air pockets and without them it just doesn’t work. Some people may take wet insulation batts outside to dry them, but this is not recommended. It is virtually impossible to remove every last trace of water that has seeped into the insulation batts. Water particles can become lodged in the inner parts of the insulation and may cause widespread mould issues in the long term. Even if you could be certain that all the moisture had been removed, the insulation batts will have suffered compression during the time it was wet and may not expand to their original size, meaning fewer air pockets and reduced effectiveness.

Can I Order Two Types of Insulation?

Can I Place an Order for More Than One Type of Insulation?

At Pricewise Insulation you are able to order any combination of insulation products. In fact, the best insulation designs often use a combination of insulation types. However, if you order mixed brands in a single order, we may contact you to discuss your order, and we may also recommend some changes in order to give you the best outcome for the lowest cost. Rest assured that R-value measures how effective the insulation batts are at restricting the transfer of heat and there should be no noticeable difference in performance between any of the insulation brands we sell.

Ordering Thermal and Acoustic Insulation

You can also purchase a combination of thermal and acoustic insulation in one order. In fact, it is highly recommended that you consider acoustic wall insulation at the time of construction from a sound management point of view as well. Unlike ceilings, where you can upgrade your insulation at virtually any time by climbing up through the manhole, walls generally have to be opened up, insulated and replastered, making it quite a costly project. Avoid the cost and hassle of replastering by thinking ahead and insulating the walls that will give you the greatest returns from a sound blocking point of view. Home theatres, studios, bedrooms, bathrooms and laundries should be first on the priority list.

Do I Need To Be Home for Delivery?

Pricewise Insulation recommends that you are onsite to receive your insulation order. Depending on how many bags you have ordered, these may arrive in bales. That is, several bags wrapped together in plastic. These can be rather difficult to move around the site, considering their sheer size and weight. In fact, one bale of insulation can weigh more than 70 kilograms. Purely from that side of things, it may be beneficial for you to be onsite to ensure that the driver leaves the insulation exactly where you want it. Being on site also gives you a chance to review exactly what has been delivered and reassure yourself that you have everything you need for the insulation installation.

Specific Instructions for the Courier if You Won’t Be On Site

If you are not able to be home or on site to receive the insulation delivery, then we’ll need specific instructions for the courier to know where to leave the insulation. It’s important that you notify us at the time of ordering if there is restricted vehicle access to the delivery address. If you have arranged for a third party to be onsite to receive the delivery, we recommend that you confirm the arrangement with them the day before. A quick message or phone call on the day can also ensure that the delivery goes as planned.

Keep Your Mobile Phone Handy

We always recommend that you are contactable in the time leading up to the insulation delivery to avoid unnecessary delays. Delays can occur for any number of reasons, for example the delivery driver arriving to a locked gate. If we are unable to contact you at the time, the driver may have no option but to return to the warehouse with your order and schedule a new delivery time. This may result in short to long delays, depending on how busy we are at the time. We can ask the driver to call you in advance of delivery, so having your correct mobile number will help to avoid any delays on that front.

Best Way to Move Insulation Bales Around the Site

If you are reasonably fit and you use the right technique, you should be able to move large insulation bales around quite easily. Lift the bale up together with another person so that it is standing upright. Then stand behind the bale and push it forward using your body weight. As the bale starts to “roll”, walk after it, pushing as you go to keep up the momentum. This usually works very well, unless of course the ground is very uneven. You might find then that it’s best to split open the bale and drag the bags inside individually. Be careful when splitting open the bale and don’t cut through the insulation bags themselves. You might find yourself carrying in a whole lot of loose insulation batts that have burst out of the compression packaged bags.