A popular alternative to fiberglass batts and rigid foam insulation, blown-in insulation offers a tremendous level of flexibility when it comes to insulating attics, crawl spaces and other tight areas. Not only is it relatively affordable, but the installation process is straightforward and the end result offers excellent comfort and energy efficiency.
Blown-in insulation usually comes in cellulose and fiberglass forms, each offering its own benefits and caveats. The following examines the pros and cons of both types of insulation. With this information, you'll be able to decide for yourself which type of blown-in insulation works best for your home.
Fiberglass Blown-In Insulation
Fiberglass batts are widely used in a variety of home renovation projects that call for new insulation. But there's a good chance you didn't know that fiberglass insulation is also available in a loose, blown-in form. There are plenty of advantages that fiberglass blown-in insulation offers over its cellulose counterpart:
- Lower flammability – Fiberglass lacks the flammability factor of cellulose blown-in insulation. Instead of catching fire, the glass fibers are more likely to melt away rather than burn.
- Resistant to decay – Since glass is an inorganic material, it's not prone to decay or degrade as time goes on. As a result, fiberglass blown-in insulation is capable of lasting longer than its cellulose counterpart.
- Doesn't absorb moisture – Unlike cellulose, fiberglass is incapable of absorbing moisture. This trait helps your insulation last longer and prevent widespread water damage and potential mold and mildew growth due to wet insulation.
Unfortunately, fiberglass blown-in insulation isn't as effective in slowing down air flow as cellulose despite having roughly comparable R-values. Even when densely packed, those thin fiberglass strands are more likely to allow air to escape into and out of insulated spaces.
Cellulose Blown-In Insulation
Cellulose blown-in insulation is a popular choice among homeowners looking to renovate their homes using the greenest materials and remodeling techniques available. As with fiberglass, there are plenty of benefits to consider when choosing cellulose:
- Made from recyclable material – Cellulose insulation typically contains up to 80 percent in recycled newsprint and other paper material. In many cases, experienced professionals can recover and reuse old cellulose insulation material for future projects.
- Can be used wet or dry – Cellulose insulation can be blown in as loose dry fill or as wet fill, making it highly versatile for a broad range of applications. Dry fill applications are commonly used for insulation retrofitting projects and high-density filling for improved insulation while wet fill applications offer better adhesion for attics and other areas with tight cavities and crevices.
- Better air flow resistance – Cellulose blown-in insulation also offers better resistance to air flow, making it a better choice for homeowners looking to prevent air leakage. It also holds heat better under extreme low temperatures than comparable fiberglass insulation.
- Better sound insulation – Cellulose also excels at sound insulation, providing your home with a quieter indoor environment than with comparable fiberglass insulation.
Although the vast majority of cellulose blown-in insulation products are treated with flame retardant chemicals, there still remains a greater flammability risk than with similar fiberglass blown-in insulation. Cellulose blown-in insulation is also capable of being saturated by excess moisture. As a result, installers must also put up vapor barriers that help block excess moisture from reaching the cellulose material.
Lastly, cellulose blown-in insulation's organic composition makes it more vulnerable to mold, mildew and overall decay than its fiberglass counterpart.
Choosing the Best Insulation Material
Fiberglass and cellulose blown-in insulation offer relatively similar performance under most circumstances. Cellulose insulation blocks air flow slightly better than fiberglass, giving it a slim advantage over its counterpart. However, fiberglass tends to be the more durable product due to its ability to resist decay.
By keeping the above advantages and disadvantages offered by both materials in mind, you'll be able to choose the best type of blown-in insulation that meets your home's unique needs. For more information, contact a company like Mincin Insulation Service Inc.