R-13 vs R-19 Insulation – Key Differences

Quality insulation can help protect your home from numerous issues. People fit different insulation materials to help keep indoor temperatures at a standard level, especially during the summer and winter months when external temperatures experience fluctuations.

R-13 and R-19 insulation is a favorite for people who want to provide thermal insulation for their walls, ceilings, or flooring. R-13 insulation is great in warm climates, while R-19 provides more thermal insulation in both warm and cool climates.

What is R13 insulation?

R-13 insulation is a type of fiberglass wool that is ideal for protection against sharp temperature changes within homes and other indoor spaces. The insulation is perfect for floors, walls, and spaces that require moderate thermal protection for better energy efficiency and improved climate control.

You are more likely to find R-13 insulation in southern areas where thermal fluctuations are more prevalent and winters are mild than in northern states where winter temperatures get icy cold. The material has soundproofing properties. Homeowners use R-13 insulators to regulate sound penetration between different rooms and spaces within a house. 

The R-13 material fits inside 2 by 4 wall spacing and is ideal for application in a DIY home improvement project. The Department of Energy (DOE) has several recommendations on proper R-13 insulation application measures in climates within the US. The data is accessible to the public through their online platform. 

Undertake proper research when identifying the best places to install new insulation material for a cozier living space.

What is R-19 insulation?

R-19 insulation is a moderately thick caliber of insulation products that consists of fiberglass, mineral wool, plastics, or natural fibers, each with distinct R-values. R19 insulation material is about 6.25 inches thick and is ideal for walls and other indoor spaces that require higher thermal insulation.

Homeowners use R-19 insulation on exterior door frames, window frames, attic entrances, and other spaces that require higher thermal protection.

R-19 Insulation 6.5 inches

You can also use R-19 insulation to protect against excessive humidity and moisture within your space. Although the material does not absorb water, it can hold water for extended durations and help improve the humidity levels within your space.

I recommend its use on 2 by 6 walls in most climates within the US. Its application is easy and ideal for a DIY setup. You can use it on your floors, vertical walls, crawl walls, and other spaces that need moderate insulation. 

Common application methods include blow-in and batts.

An average R-19 insulator made from fiberglass weighs about 24.9 lbs, although weight differs depending on the material. R-19 insulation is also ideal for controlling air flow and regulating air pockets within your space.

R13 vs. R19 insulation – The Differences

Although R-13 and R-19 insulators share a similar application, R-13 and R-19 have distinct differences that separate the scope of their use.

Here’s a summary of the key differences between R-13 and R-19 insulation:

R-13 InsulationR-19 Insulation
Has an average thickness of 3⅝ inches.Has an average thickness of  6¼ inches.
Ideal for 2 by 4 walls.Ideal for 2 by 6 walls.
Limited application ideal for walls and floorsDiverse application scope, including attic entrances and window edges
Good thermal and humidity protection.Superior thermal and humidity protection
Moderate cost depending on the content materialHigher cost per square foot depending on the content material
Ideal for protection in warmer climates such as the Southern USBetter suited to cooler climates such as Northern US and Midwest.

The main differences are in the thickness and scope of application. R-13 and R-19 offer different levels of thermal protection. One also has a more diverse range of applications within a home setup. You can also consider the density differences in each type as higher density materials have improved resistance to changes from air flows than the lighter products. 

Here are some of the key differences between R-13 and R-19 insulators.

The thickness of R-13 vs R-19

Insulator materials have different densities. Common materials for building insulation include rock wool, wood, fiberglass, cellulose, and plastic fibers. 

R-19 insulation material is thicker than R-13 value insulation. For example, R-19 fiberglass batt insulation is typically 6.25 inches, while R-13 fiberglass batt is 3.5 inches. R-19 spray foam open cell insulation is about 5.2 inches and 3.1 inches for closed-cell insulation. 

R 13 vs R19 Insulation - Differences

You can substitute R-13 insulation for R-19 insulation when the material beneath it is denser. It’s possible, for example, to replace R-13 perlite with R-19 fiberglass or vice versa.

Denser materials have better thermal retention qualities and can reduce the amount of material you use per square foot of insulation.

Thermal protection

Insulation materials have different thermal protection capabilities. 

R-19 insulation offers better thermal protection than R-13 because of the differences in thickness. Materials such as fiberglass and mineral wool also provide better protection against indoor temperature fluctuations than grass, wool, and cork.

Southern US states need better thermal protection during summer, while the Northern regions require additional insulation during winter.

Scope of application

R-13 and R-19 insulation have many similarities that can make it difficult for one to distinguish one from the other.

R-13 and R-19 insulators differ in their application scope. Some insulation materials are better suited to floors and walls, while others are better for attics and ceilings that require more insulation. It is also better to install R-19 in walls instead of R-13 insulators where environmental conditions are much colder.

Humidity prevention

Insulation also protects against humidity within your space. Your home can suffer from excessive humidity resulting in floor damage and flare-ups of respiratory conditions.

R-19 insulators are a better choice for homeowners looking to protect their spaces from excess humidity. Using insulators to safeguard your space against humidity depends on the material and its thickness. 

Some materials have better humidity protection measures than others. Wood, for instance, may not be a good fit for highly humid environments. Fiberglass or wall foam are better options against high humidity in your home.

Cost/Value over Time

Cost is a crucial consideration for any individual looking to insulate their space. Factors such as the insulation material and its thickness affect the total cost of insulation.

R-19 insulation has a higher cost than R-13 insulation. However, the total cost also depends on the material used during your product’s manufacture. When comparing the different R-values, it is crucial also to ensure they share similar materials. 

R-19 insulation has a better time value compared to R-13 insulation. R-13 insulation depreciates faster over time and may require reapplication after a few years. You can try out different insulation materials and densities to figure out the best fit for your home’s needs.

Pros and cons of R-13

R-13 level insulation materials have several benefits and downsides.  For instance, it is easy to install, although technicians consider the R-value to have a moderate insulation effect, and its application is limited to certain areas of the house.

Additional pros of R-13 level insulation include the following:

  • Easy to fit between spaces.
  • Provides quality thermal protection in temperate climates during summer and winter.
  • Moderate cost depending on the underlying insulation material.

Cons

  • R-13 insulation has a limited application scope. Its use is confined to walls, floors, and small spaces

Pros and cons of R-19

R-19 value insulation offer moderate thermal and humidity protection from excessive heat or cool temperatures. It has a slightly higher thickness than smaller R-values within the same category. R-19 value insulation has several benefits and limitations that include:

Pros

  • R-19 insulation is easy to install, depending on the insulation method and material.
  • R-19 insulation has a versatile application scope in different climate zones across the US
  • R-19 insulation is highly durable and provides excellent thermal resistance

Cons

  • R-19 insulation may cost more than similar R-level thickness categories such as the R-13.

While both R-13 and R-19 can provide insulation, they have differences that could influence your comfort. The limitations of R-13 insulation can be compensated if you use R-19 insulation.

References

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