Choose a State:

Basic Facts About Insulation

Insulation is one of the home construction materials that is consistently developed by manufacturers over time. Millions of dollars are spent periodically for research and development of simple insulation materials like fiberglass and cellulose, giving way to significant innovations.

Insulation Must-Knows

The most basic forms of insulation are cellulose and fiberglass.

Insulation is a big industry, with annual sales of $4-6 billion in fiberglass and $115-125 million in cellulose.

Cellulose is less popular as compared to fiberglass because it experienced a decline in quality during the energy crisis in 1970.

Fiberglass Insulations:

  • As its name implies, fiberglass is made from glass fibers that are spun into a solid material. Glass has to be melted first before it is spun in a centrifuge filled with holes.
  • Fiberglass is fire-proof. Under extreme heat, the glass just melts and does not burn a bit. The covers of fiberglass batts are combustible, though, as they are made of either kraft paper or foil. Several household fires are actually caused by burned fiberglass batt covers.
  • Batt type fiberglass does not lose its quality over time. Its insulating power, otherwise known as R-value, is maintained throughout the duration of its life.
  • Extreme temperature differences may affect the R-value of blown-in fiberglass insulations. When there is considerable difference in the temperature of the heated surface and the unheated attic, the R-value of fiberglass may decline by as much as 50 percent. To prevent problems that may arise, it would be wise to install additional fiberglass.

Cellulose Insulations:

  • Production of cellulose is very inexpensive. From its raw materials which are recycled newspapers to the equipment used to blow cellulose in, not so much cost is required.
  • Cellulose can be installed in two ways -- wet or dry. In wet installation, water and adhesive are necessary.
  • Cellulose has the tendency to settle when it is blown dry. It has an R-value of 3 per inch after settling.
  • Although it is not completely incombustible, cellulose can resist fire. In most cases, cellulose loses its fire resistant property when it reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit temperature.
  • When cellulose is installed dry, it can produce vast amount of dust.