Here at GBA, we received our first inquiry concerning Insultex housewrap on July 31, 2015, when Marcus Sheffer questioned the validity of Insultex’s R-value claims.
Insultex is a plastic housewrap distributed by Innovative Designs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The company offers two versions of its housewrap, at a price that is from two to nine times higher than the price of ordinary housewrap. One version is 1 mm (0.0384 inch) thick; according to Innovative Designs, this product has an R-rating of R-3. That’s R-78 per inch.
The second version is 1.5 mm (0.0576 inch) thick; according to Innovative Designs, this product has an R-rating of R-6. That’s R-104 per inch.
The Insultex document that includes these outrageous claims, titled “Insultex House Wrap R-3 and R-6,” is available for viewing online. (It’s also reproduced as Image #2, below.)
For years, Insultex has been sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s; both of these distributors repeated the outlandish R-value claims.
Responding to Marcus Sheffer’s inquiry on GBA last year, I wrote, “Unless you are talking about aerogels or vacuum insulated panels, the laws of physics limit the maximum R-value of a material to about R-5.6 per inch without encapsulated gas, or about R-7.5 per inch with encapsulated gas. … The R-value claims that Insultex is making for its product are preposterous. It’s a total fraud.”
On that same Q&A thread, a GBA reader named Jeff Cooper commented, “You’re the first anywhere online to give potential buyers of Insultex the understanding they need to avoid wasting their money by assuming that Insultex would have to be be legitimate because they would otherwise be exposed to too many legal perils, especially as their product becomes widely known by being sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s,…