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Faced or Unfaced Insulation: What are the Differences?

Perhaps you’ve seen the terms “faced” and “unfaced” and are wondering what they mean. We’ll break down the differences here, as well as when to used faced or unfaced insulation.

What Is the Difference Between Faced and Unfaced Insulation?

There are many types of insulation that are unfaced—such as spray foam and loose-fill fiberglass. Faced insulation has a vapor barrier, or a vapor retarder (the facing) that helps prevent moisture from moving from one space to another. The facing also helps protect the surface, hold the insulation together and fasten the material to building components. Foil and plastic facings on rigid polyisocyanurate foam panels can even help stabilize the R-value.

Facing can be any variety of material—common ones include:

  • Kraft paper
  • Foil kraft paper
  • Aluminum foil
  • Vinyl

When to Use Faced Insulation

  • In cathedral ceilings (foil-faced batts are often used in these types of ceilings for the permeability rating frequently required for use in ceilings without attics)
  • In spaces that require insulation with a fire rating (some facings provide flame resistance)
  • When downward heat flow needs to be prevented (radiant barriers, which have facing, are effective at doing this)

When to Use Unfaced Insulation

  • When adding new insulation over existing insulation
  • Depending on material, anytime a facing isn’t required (for instance, spray foam may be ideal for the walls and facing isn’t necessary)

Learn more on the U.S. Department of Energy online »

Insulation Installation in Portland, Oregon

The IBP Portland team offers the knowledge, experience and resources that few companies in the northwestern Oregon and southwestern Washington areas can match.

No matter what type of insulation you’re looking for, you can count on IBP Portland for on-time, affordable installation. All work is done by our highly skilled professionals.

Give us a call at 503-894-7661 or contact us online. We look forward to helping you save money and live more comfortably with the right home insulation solutions.


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