All About R-Value

If you really want to be eco-friendly at home, forget about the “green” labels and start paying more attention to your R-value. This key measurement can help you be more energy efficient in every room of your home! You just need to understand how to read it and what it ultimately means. That’s where we come in!

What is the R-Value?

Basically, the “R” stands for resistance, as in to heat flow. This is how much heat (or energy) the product allows to come and go from an insulating standpoint. Many people associate R-value strictly with insulation, but it really applies to a wide variety of materials used for your home’s exterior. Doors, windows, siding, house wraps, etc. all have to disclose this measurement—with the exception of duct and pipe insulation. But, unless you know what the numbers mean, you’ll have a hard time deciding on more energy efficient options.

And the Numbers Mean…?

Well, think of it as the higher, the better. A larger R-value indicates that the material in question can insulate better and more efficiently. The scale starts at zero and works its way up, with some options having only a fraction-sized R-value and others reaching the 50 to 60 range. Keep in mind, your home’s ultimate R-value will involve a combination of factors (and numbers) that may vary depending on which part of the house we’re talking about.

To give you an example, most siding options come with an R-value less than 1. Wood shingle siding often ranks highest at 0.87, with stone and brick falling in the middle at 0.44, and stone veneer at the bottom with an R-value of 0.11. Depending on which option you choose, you may have to add insulation in that provides an additional R-value of 25 to 38.

Can I Customize It?

Absolutely! Although the Department of Energy and most builders have their own guidelines when it comes to R-value, you can choose how you get there. Pick the siding you like and then add insulation and/or house wraps to bring up this measurement. Don’t forget to factor in where you live. Throughout Maryland, Delaware, and Northern Virginia, you’re in zone 4, which (traditionally) needs less insulation. In Pennsylvania and Eastern West Virginia, though, you’re entering zone 5, which has higher requirements.

Even within your home, your R-value might fluctuate. To maximize your energy efficiency, consider installing insulation with a higher value in your attic and rooms/spaces with higher ceilings. These features are known for their heat loss, so anything you can do to reduce that will save you money on your utility costs. For more help customizing your home exterior’s R-value, ask the experts!

At Schaefer Exteriors, we’re always happy to work with you directly to develop a plan that works for your home. We take the time to ensure you understand all your options—including their R-values—and find something that boosts both the curb appeal, as well as your energy efficiency. Contact our team today to get started!

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