Insulation is more than a simple piece of material. There are different types of insulation, divided into different degrees of insulation. Two of the most common varieties you will see are R-40 and R-50 insulation. What is the difference between these types?

If you’re interested in learning more about R-40 and R-50 insulation, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn more about each insulation, which you should choose, and which is better for your home. The more prepared you are, the better your experience with insulation. 

What’s an R-40 Insulation?

The R-value is the number that determines how capable a material is of keeping things intact and insulated inside the home. The higher the number, the better insulation. R-40 insulation is a lesser form of insulation. It isn’t ideal for places where it gets cold, such as certain parts of Alaska, Canada, and the world.

R-40 works:

  • On the outside of a home
  • In the basement
  • Under the roof

There are plenty of spots for R-40 insulation.

It’s also critical to consider the insulation depth and rating before installing it on your home. The R-40 insulation depth is usually about eleven inches, while the R-40 insulation rating is about 40. It’s not ideal for freezing temperatures, but it won’t work well in hot climates. R-40 is a mix for chilly climates where homes need a little warmth assistance.

What’s R50 Insulation?

The higher the R-value, the more insulation material provides. R-50 ranks higher on the insulation scale than R-40. It works well for colder environments but won’t allow for extreme insulation if you live somewhere where the temperatures drop below zero. There are many places where R-50 can fit due to its lightweight structure.

R-50 often goes:

  • Underneath the floor
  • On the outside of a home or an industrial building
  • In spots where there is a significant flow of air

There are many ideal locations for R-50 insulation.

Look at insulation depth and rating before it goes into your home. The R-50 insulation depth is usually about thirteen inches, and the R-50 rating is about 50. It’s thicker than R-40, but it’s still not as thick as R-60 and up. R-50 is the minimum insulation for places where it gets cold in the winter, such as cold states and Canada.

Which One Should You Choose, R40 or R50?

It’s critical to determine the right choice before spending money on a lot of material for your home.

There are many factors to consider before settling on the ideal insulation for your life. Let’s go over some of the most critical factors to determine which insulation choice is ideal for your situation. Some may be the right fit for R-40, while others will have a better experience with R-50. 

Insulation Type

Consider the types of insulation available to you. A spray foam insulation will be different than a stiff foam board. Determine what the space requires and whether R-40 or R-50 is available in that format.


The weight of the insulation can make a difference. If it’s too heavy, you may have a tricky time with the installation process. It can also damage your home if placed in a weak location. R-50 tends to be heavier than R-40 due to its thickness.


If you want to save money on the product, you are more likely to do so with R-40 insulation. However, R-50 will save more money when it comes time to pay bills if you live in a cold environment.

Minimum Recommendations

Every area has a minimum recommendation for insulation. This recommendation keeps your bills low and ensures everyone inside the home stays warm.

Roof Shingle Color

If you put insulation in your attic, consider the roof shingles. If they are dark, they will attract more heat than light ones. Dark panels require less insulation than the lighter version.


How much sunshine does the area that needs insulation get? If you are working on the roof and it gets a good amount of light, you may not need thick insulation to do the trick. In this case, R-40 would fit the bill. If you add too much, it will get too hot for anyone to enjoy. 

Is R-50 Insulation Better Than R-40?

There are many factors associated with R-50 and R-40 insulation. However, we haven’t covered which one is better in the material world.

If we are going straight off the insulation, R-50 insulation is better. It provides better protection for the home and keeps heat trapped inside when the weather gets tough to handle. It has a higher rating while remaining flexible for an easy installation process.

However, some may benefit more from the lower rating of R-40. If you live in a hot climate, you don’t want heat trapped inside. R-40 may also work best if you live in a home designed to insulate heat. You don’t need all the additional insulation, or it may become too hot.

R-50 has better insulation, but R-40 works for those who don’t need as much help keeping heat inside. The winner depends on where you live and what your house looks like in design.

When Should You Upgrade From R-40 to R-50?

If you learn you are using a crazy amount of money on heating bills every year, you likely need an updated insulation system. This issue might appear if you live somewhere that is prone to more cold days than hot ones, or if you and your family members get chilly easily. R-50 may benefit you more than R-40 at this point.

You should upgrade from R-40 to R-50 if you:

  • Want to save money
  • Need to keep your home warmer
  • Live in a cool climate

It’s a more practical investment for many individuals.

If you are happy with the temperature of your home and the energy bills that arrive in the mail, you don’t need to upgrade your R-40 to R-50. The less insulated variety will serve you fine as you live your life.


Justin's been in construction for over 20 years in both new build and renovation. With experience in both commercial and residential construction, he specializes in healthier and more energy-efficient homes.

Write A Comment