Faced or Unfaced Insulation — What Works best?

Insulating your home is essential to create a comfortable place to live in, with a balanced temperature all year long. Insulation will regulate the airflow through the walls of your house, prevent moisture from getting in, and create a noise barrier.

Whether you are building or renovating your home, you should use the chance to install or replace the existing insulation. If you are wondering how to choose the right one, read through this article to learn the differences between the two main types of insulation — faced and unfaced insulation, and what will suit your home best.

What Is the Difference?

There are many different options to consider when choosing the right insulation for your home. They are made of different materials, providing a different R-value, and are installed differently.

Unfaced insulation doesn’t have the plastic or paper facing, which means it’s missing a vapor retarder. It can be a great solution for new constructions and remodels, and used for floor, wall, or ceiling insulation. It can work well in attics and basements, as well as in the living spaces, however, it is probably best to use it only for the interior walls that have no contact with the outdoors, as this type of insulation won’t retain the moisture.

Kraft-faced insulation, on the other hand, has a vapor barrier in the form of a paper or plastic vapor retarder, which is very useful for avoiding moisture, and the growth of mold and mildew. This insulation can be applied to the exterior walls of the house, in the basement, and the attic ceilings to effectively protect your home from humidity.

Both of these types of insulation are good for insulating your home, however, it’s important to know their differences to define which part of the house they are meant for. Having insulation with a moisture barrier is, for example, very important in regions with high humidity or in coastal cities, especially on the roofs and ceilings of houses.

Benefits of Unfaced Insulation

Unfaced insulation is known to be made of non-combustible material, as it doesn’t have the vapor barrier which is usually made of paper. Because of that, it can provide a barrier between the interior and exterior walls, and lower the risk of fire by stopping the flames or preventing them from spreading to the entire house.

Unfaced insulation materials generally have a higher R-value, meaning they provide better insulation and will reduce the energy costs you would otherwise spend on heating and cooling your space.

An insulation with no vapor barrier can be cheaper and good in places where it’s warm and dry, and therefore not absolutely necessary. There is a wide variety of such insulation materials which are convenient and easy to install on all kinds of walls, ceilings, and floors.

The most common unfaced insulation products are fiberglass, spray foam, mineral wool, and cellulose. Cellulose is usually made of recycled materials so it’s considered to be eco-friendly.

Faced Insulation Is Easier to Install

The main benefit of faced insulation is that because of its facing which works as a vapor barrier, it can resist and stop moisture from getting into your home. Another great thing about faced insulation is that it can be installed very easily. Because of the facing, it can be easily applied to the walls, and glued or stapled on without falling apart.

This also means that installing such insulation material will be faster and take you less time and money on labor costs. Especially if you are planning a DIY project and applying the insulation by yourself, you should go for the faced one. The paper-facing will hold the insulation material together, so you won’t have trouble applying it to the walls or ceilings. Besides, the material can easily be rolled and transported to the spot.

Faced insulation is also stronger and less sensitive than unfaced one, as it’s not so prone to tearing and damage during installation. These advantages come with a little extra cost compared to the unfaced insulation, but that will surely pay off.

Besides being essential in areas with a lot of rain, even if you live in a state where the climate is dry, don’t forget that faced insulation may be necessary for bathrooms, kitchens, and rooms in your house that can get damp.

How to Choose the Right One?

When deciding on what insulation to choose for your home, you first need to determine what is the R-value (a measure of how well the insulation can resist the heat flow) needed in the area and climate you live in. Depending on whether you live in a hot, cold, wet, or dry climate, you should look for insulation that will protect your home from the elements and extreme temperatures that can lead to condensation, moisture, and mold.

Another thing everyone is considering when insulating their house is energy cost reduction. The right insulation can help you drastically reduce the amount you spend on heating and cooling, so it’s very important to choose the right insulation material at the very start.

Different parts of the house demand different insulation materials. For example, faced insulation is better used on exterior walls, attic ceilings, basements, and bathrooms, while unfaced one is commonly used on interior walls, crawl spaces, or between floors.

There are also some places in the house where applying unfaced insulation could be difficult, and faced insulation is easier to use. One of the best face insulation is Prodex Total. That is a type of reflective insulation faced on both sides with aluminum foil that works as an excellent vapor barrier. Even though it doesn’t contain the traditional facing or a vapor retarder, but an aluminum foil, it can still be considered a faced insulation, as it retains moisture and has a vapor barrier on both sides.

This also means that installing such insulation material will be faster and take you less time and money on labor costs. Especially if you are planning a DIY project and applying the insulation by yourself, you should go for the faced one. The paper-facing will hold the insulation material together, so you won’t have trouble applying it to the walls or ceilings. Besides, the material can easily be rolled and transported to the spot.

How to Install Faced and Unfaced Insulation?

As mentioned before, unfaced insulation is often used on interior walls, and places where moisture isn’t an issue, like living rooms, studies, and dining rooms. When installing it, make sure it fits well on the surface, but it shouldn’t be compressed. Try to cut the insulation using a utility knife precisely to fit the surface for the best results.

Faced insulation usually finds its place on exterior walls, basements, and ceilings. It is installed by pushing the material into the wall cavities with the paper (or plastic) side outward and towards the person who is installing it. The same goes here, the insulation shouldn’t be compressed but still fit snugly on the surface. To hold faced insulation in its place on walls and ceilings, many people use a staple gun or glue.

When planning an insulation project for your home, make sure to check the local rules and requirements in your building or neighborhood before you choose an insulation product.

Besides, some types of insulation are easy to use and install, while others may require professional help and special equipment. Prodex Total is very easy to install and is a material you can probably put up by yourself. This material is light and flexible and doesn’t require any special installation equipment except staples, screws, and reflective tape.

Prodex Total

Prodex Total is a material that combines the benefits of all other insulation materials. Being made of closed-cell foam that is placed in between the reflective foil covering from both sides, Prodex has a high R-value and doesn’t allow any heat transfer.

As it blocks radiant heat from the outside, it also stops condensation and therefore prevents the appearance of moisture and mold. It installs easily, during the construction, or renovation, and can be combined with other insulation materials. It’s great for houses, garages, pole barns, or metal buildings, and gives absolutely the best results.

Prodex comes in light rolls of material of different sizes and thicknesses designed to fit everyone’s needs. Check out the full product list here.

Final Comparison — Faced vs. Unfaced Insulation

The Looks

When it comes to appearance, we can say these types of insulation materials are tied. Faced insulation usually comes in batts and rolls, and has a thin facing covering one side of the material.

Unfaced insulation doesn’t have that facing material, but often also comes in rolls and batts, although this type of insulation can be found in other forms, too, like loose-fill insulation or spray foam.


On one hand, faced insulation is the best for preventing moisture, but on the other, unfaced insulation often has a bigger R-value and can protect your home from cold much better than faced one. Unfaced insulation can also be placed in layers while the faced one can’t, and that can mean a better sound barrier, too.


Thanks to the protective facing material, the faced insulation is more durable, however, the durability will depend very much on the material the insulation is made of, and if it’s applied properly. Both types of insulation can last for many years, still, it’s good to check them at least once in ten years to make sure you don’t need to fix or replace them.

Water and Fire Resistance

Facing material is very important in preventing water from getting into the insulation and allowing the growth of mold and mildew. Unfaced insulation isn’t water resistant, and won’t protect your home from problems with mold.

On the other hand, unfaced insulation like mineral wool, for example, is fire resistant, and very good in that sense. Faced insulation, if covered by paper vapor retarder, can be very flammable, while aluminum-faced one is also non-combustible.

Installation and Maintenance

Both of these insulation types are relatively easy to install, but the faced one is even easier. The facing material brings stability to the batts and protects them from tearing, too. Unfaced insulation can be easy to handle, but there are some types whose installation requires professional help, like spray foam, for example.

Because the unfaced insulation lacks the layer of protective facing material, you will need to check its quality and make sure there are no cracks or gaps more often than with the faced insulation.


Faced insulation is usually a bit more expensive than the unfaced one, because of the additional material it contains. However, it lasts longer and it’s worth the price because it will protect your home from moisture much better than the unfaced one. Besides, a combination of the two is still possible and may be the best and the most affordable solution.

Need help choosing a product?