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Drywall Insulation: Which Type Is Right for Me?

Although most people do not think about the insulation behind their walls, this material is essential to creating a comfortable space where heat and cold are efficiently regulated. When choosing insulation for your project, you have several options that are designed to go behind drywall and have high ratings for effectiveness. Here is a look at some of these options, and tips on how to choose the right product for your needs. 

What is drywall insulation?

Drywall insulation is another word for insulation – Material that is designed to resist the flow of heat in order to regulate a room’s temperature.

Drywall with insulation attached is essential in any building project, because the drywall itself does not effectively prevent the loss of heat (or cool air) from a room. Consider the R-value of drywall (A measure that indicates its insulating effectiveness). For ½ inch drywall, this number is only 0.45, compared to an R-value of 11 for fiberglass batts. 

While insulation is most important for exterior walls, insulation should also be used behind drywall in interior walls, in attics, and under certain floors and ceilings. 

How does drywall insulation work?

Heat naturally flows from warmer areas to cooler areas. That means that in your home, unless prevented, heat will move from areas such as your living room or bedroom to unheated areas of your home, such as the attic or the garage. Similarly, in the summer, heat may move from the warmer outside, garage, or attic, into your air-conditioned interior. 

Insulation, at its most basic, prevents this flow of heat energy in order to keep your heated spaces heated in the winter and your air-conditioned spaces cool in the summer. A high R-value indicates a resistance to heat flow. R-values can go as high as 60, particularly for materials intended to be used on exterior walls in cold climates. 

You probably do not need insulation with a drywall insulation R-value that high for the warmer climate of South Texas, particularly if you are insulating interior walls. Any drywall insulation material you use for interior walls here should have an R-value of at least 19. 

Which are the most common drywall insulation types?

There are many types of insulation from which to choose when looking to put something behind your drywall. Here is a look at three of the most common types: Fiberglass batting and blankets, spray foam, and blown-in insulation. While often the best insulation for drywall, these materials do have differences you should consider before choosing one for your own project. 

Fiberglass Batting and Blankets

This type of insulation for drywall involves sheets of insulation crafted out of fiberglass. Available in pre-cut pieces that fit standard construction spaces, this material fits easily into many drywall spaces and may be tucked around pipes or other obstacles without significantly affecting its performance. Here are some of the biggest pros and cons of this type of drywall insulation:

  • This is one inexpensive type of insulation.
  • It is easy to install, even for DIYers.
  • It can tolerate a certain amount of compression.
  • Fiberglass dust can irritate the lungs, eyes, and skin. Repeated exposure can lead to long-term health issues. 
  • Rips or tears in the insulation can compromise performance, making proper installation important. 

This type of insulation works best when you are putting up a new construction or replacing existing drywall. 

Spray Foam Insulation

As its name implies, spray foam insulation involves spraying a bubbly foam into the desired spaces. With high R-values and a reputation for efficient heat resistance, this type of insulation is ideal for exterior walls and outperforms fiberglass batting in insulating ability.

  • High R-values make spray foam insulation very effective even on exterior walls. 
  • Spray foam insulation can be applied to any surface, including behind drywall. 
  • Deadens sound.
  • Drywall insulation foam is one of the most expensive insulation solutions.
  • Spray foam insulation must usually be installed by a professional. 
  • This solution can be messy and leak through unsealed openings. 

Blown Insulation

Blown insulation can consist of fiberglass or cellulose pieces that are blown into the desired space. This solution is very convenient, particularly when trying to insulate a space where the drywall has already been hung.

  • Blown insulation is the least expensive type. 
  • It can be installed behind existing drywall. 
  • The insulation can be collected by vacuum and relocated later if desired. 
  • Fiberglass blown insulation has the same irritating properties as fiberglass batting.
  • Cellulose blown insulation can be too heavy for ceiling insulation projects. 
  • The insulation may settle over time. 
  • Blown insulation may retain moisture, creating issues with mold. 

Tips for Choosing the Right Drywall Insulation

Which type of insulation is right for your project? There are a few factors you should consider when making your decision. 

Insulated Space

The space you wish to insulate will often determine the type of insulation you choose. For example, exterior walls and attics may require materials with a higher R-value than interior walls. 

In addition, the construction of your space may also determine your insulation choices. For example, glass walls, studs that are close together, or other factors that offer less resistance to the flow of heat may require more expensive, and more efficient, insulation solutions to prevent heat flow and regulate temperature satisfactorily. 


The climate of the area where you are building may also affect your choice of insulation. For example, cold northern climes require insulation with a much higher R-value than does South Texas, with its mild winters. Consider exactly which temperatures your space will be exposed to and find a material with an appropriate R-value. For South Texas, interior walls should be insulated with material that has a value of at least 19


Not all drywall insulation types cost the same. For example, spray foam will almost always be much more expensive than batting or blown in insulation. As a result, your budget will play a role in the type of insulation you choose. Regardless of your budget, however, make sure to select high-quality materials that are appropriate for the space you wish to insulate, in order to avoid poor performance or other issues in the future. 

Ease of Installation

Some types of insulation will be more difficult to install than others. If you are trying to DIY a project, you may want to choose something like fiberglass batting to go behind your drywall. However, if you are willing to pay for specialized installation, you may be willing to choose spray foam insulation, and the specialized installation required to complete the project. 

Similarly, if you are trying to install insulation behind existing drywall, you may want to consider a blown insulation instead of a type that requires you to remove the drywall before installation. Insulating efficiently can save you time, money, and frustration. 

Can I use drywall insulation in my garage?

While insulation isn’t necessary when using your garage as a place to store your car or certain items, there are times when insulating it may be beneficial. For example, if you are turning your garage into another room in your home (e.g. bedroom, gym, etc.), you will want to add materials to regulate the temperature inside. In addition, storing certain items that can be affected by the heat and cold may also make it beneficial to insulate your garage.

You can use the same types of drywall insulation in your garage as in the rest of your home, but you may need to take additional steps to seal gaps in your garage and install an appropriately insulated door for the space.

Where can I buy drywall insulation in McAllen?

If you are looking for drywall or insulation solutions in McAllen, Elephant Building Materials has you covered! We stock a wide variety of trusted brands in our in-and-out store. And, with a pay, load, and go approach, we make it easy to get a quote in minutes and get on your way quickly so your project stays on track and on time, no matter how tight your deadline is!


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