Insulation installation for your home can be an extensive process. You’ll likely need to open out the walls by removing the drywall or plaster. Then, you’ll need to roll, cut, position, and secure the drywall in place before re-applying the drywall or plaster. Blown-in insulation is also available, and this entails creating holes in the outside of your home so that the insulation can be positioned with a blower. Either way, you’ll need to break down the walls of your home, install the insulation, then put the walls back together. For most, this is far from ideal. Could insulating paint be a better solution?
In theory, insulating paint sounds like an incredible alternative to traditional home insulation. Instead of breaking down the wall just to put it back together, you simply apply paint to the walls. With a few coats of paint, can you optimize your home’s heating and cooling system, lower your energy bills, and keep your home at a comfortable temperature? That’s a lot to ask of a Denver home painting project.
Let’s explore insulating paint to learn if it could be a good choice for your home in Denver.
What is Insulating Paint?
NASA is the birthplace of the idea for insulating paint. The goal was to produce a paint that would reduce the transfer of heat into space shuttles. When the shuttles re-enter the atmosphere, they’re exposed to an extreme degree of heat that can be damaging. To achieve a paint that would lower the impact of this heat on the shuttles, scientists at NASA created a paint additive. This additive held microspheres, which are microscopic glass spheres, as well as heat-resistant chemicals and epoxy particles. This combination of substances was applied to the shuttle when it was painted, creating a heat-protective layer.
Later on, NASA got together with Tech Traders, a trade organization, and created a powdered paint additive with insulating properties, called Insuladd. This again held microscopic spheres, this time made of ceramic, that could, allegedly, create a barrier against radiant heat when combined with standard home paint. Insuladd is owned and sold by Tech Traders now.
Gradually, different manufacturers have started to make their own versions of insulating paint. All of these versions have a common thread of microspheres made of glass or ceramic. These microspheres may be used as an additive to regular paint or sold as a premixed paint. These products are sold to homeowners as insulating paint for interiors or exteriors.
How Does Insulating Paint Work?
Now we’ve covered how insulating paint came to be. But, how do they work? For one, we should say that all paints, insulating or not, will prevent a degree of heat transfer in your home. However, insulating paint provides far, far protection than the average paint.
Insulating paint prevents heat transfer because the microscopic spheres create a vacuum layer. Given that vacuums inhibit thermal qualities, his layer keeps heat and cold from going in or out. Think of a double-paned window: A vacuum layer is included in between the window panes to stop the heat from leaking in or out of the home. Essentially, this is how insulating paint is supposed to work, with the microscopic beads serving as the vacuum layer.
Is It Effective?
While there undoubtedly is science behind insulating paint, is it effective in residential applications?
Traditional insulation hampers the transfer of heat from either side of the insulation. So, insulation of a higher thickness will slow down the heat transfer more than insulation of a lesser thickness. This leads to less heat lost from your home, allowing your heater to work effectively with less energy.
Thermal conductivity and U-Values are used to measure traditional insulation. The thickness of the insulation is factored into the calculation of the U-Value. Since a layer of insulating is so thin, it’s impossible to use the same measurements to determine its effectiveness. Additionally, since building regulations are based on U-Value, it’s incredibly difficult to use insulating paint as the sole method of insulation and adhere to these regulations.
Factoring in all of this information, insulating paint is unlikely to be the most practical and effective insulating method for Denver homeowners.