There has been a lengthy discussion about which insulation is better: Cellulose vs Fiberglass Insulation. If you’re reading this, then you’re probably confused and curious about this matter. But just to make things a little clearer for you, both cellulose and fiberglass are good insulators. But what’s best for one home may not be the best for another.
So allow us to shed some light on that inquisitive mind of yours.
For you to better understand both insulation materials, here are the similarities and differences between the two:
Cellulose vs Fiberglass Insulation: Similarities and Differences
Apart from being good insulators, cellulose and fiberglass have a lot of similarities and differences. These should be the things you know so you can choose which material best for your needs.
There are a lot of insulating material types. Mineral wool, foam board, polyurethane, foil-faced kraft paper, et cetera. But if you put them all side-by-side, cellulose and fiberglass are the least expensive, in general. Although, prices will vary from one contractor to another.
Some contractors will give special deals or discounts. But don’t be easily fooled. Make sure you choose the best home insulation contractors. A cheap insulation installation does sound great. But you don’t want to spend more because they did a bad job in properly insulating your home.
Fiberglass insulation is made up of strands of fiberglass formed into thick sheets. It makes it easier to install because all you have to do is divide and spread it to the area. It’s like putting up wallpapers or spreading carpets to your desired place.
Cellulose, on the other hand, is also easy to install. If you’re not aware of it yet, cellulose is a spray-in type of insulation. Meaning, you should have an insulation blower to distribute the material properly.
But even if both of these are easy to install, don’t risk doing it yourself just because you want to “save” money on labor costs. Insulation installation needs proper handling. Otherwise, a poor insulation job is like having no insulation at all. Find the right local insulation company if you want maximum efficiency from your cellulose or fiberglass insulation.
If you’re not aware of it yet, R-value is the capacity of a material to resist heat. Higher R-value means greater insulation capacity. And the R-value of cellulose and fiberglass are almost the same. It ranges from 3.5 to 3.7 per inch of thickness.
Cellulose and fiberglass are not air barriers. Since these are fibers or shredded materials, air passes through both of them quickly. Suffice to say, both cellulose and fiberglass should be paired with air barriers to prevent air leaks.
Both cellulose and fiberglass will dry fast because they are highly pervious to air. But since they are made up of fibers, they can easily trap or absorb moisture. Wet insulation will not perform well and will deteriorate your roofing system. Plus, the trapped moisture will become a breeding ground for mold and harmful bacteria.
If your insulation gets wet, you will have to replace it immediately. So contact expert insulation installers to replace your insulation. Expert installers will ensure correct installation for your new insulation.
Now that we’ve settled the similarities, here are the differences between two of the best insulators in the market.
Just like what you’ve read from their similarities, neither of these two are air barriers. But although cellulose insulation can’t stop air, it can slow down air flow. Fiberglass does not.
You can watch a video to prove that cellulose does indeed prevent air flow better than fiberglass insulation.
Fiberglass is made of, well, glass. So if exposed to extreme heat or fire, it will not burn. Instead, it melts. So it will not contribute to feeding the flames with combustible materials.
Cellulose insulation is made of recycled paper and plant fibers. So naturally, you would think that it is highly flammable. When it first came out, cellulose had a bad reputation because it was rumored to cause insulation fires. But modern-day cellulose has brought down this bad rep.
The boric acid treatment made cellulose insulation flame retardant. Don’t worry though. This chemical treatment is not bad for your health. But it does help keep away pests.
Anyone can insulate his own house. Except for kids, of course. But not everyone can do it right. Fiberglass insulation requires cutting into the right shape and size to make sure you cover everything. Unfortunately, this can be time-consuming if you want to have a properly insulated home. Otherwise, rushing your fiberglass insulation will lead to sloppy performance.
Cellulose insulation is easier to install. Yes, you need special equipment for it, but it does the work fast and efficient. You’re less likely to have spaces left uninsulated because it’s made of shredded materials.
To make fiberglass, you will have to use more energy than cellulose insulation. Fiberglass goes through a melting process before spinning into fibers. The process itself produces carbon emissions harmful to the environment. Although, there are fiberglass brands that use recycled materials. However, it doesn’t match cellulose.
Cellulose is 75% recycled material. It is made up of plant fibers and newspaper shreds mixed with boric acid for fire resistance. Boric acid is safe for the environment since it’s a natural pesticide found in soil, water, and plants.
Cellulose and fiberglass have different reactions when it comes to severe weather. During very cool temperatures like winter, the heat quickly escapes fiberglass insulation. Its R-value is also negatively affected as it drops during extreme cold.
However, cellulose does not suffer as much from this problem as fiberglass does.
So what will you choose? If you still haven’t decided yet, here are some of the pros and cons of both insulations.
Pros and Cons of Using Cellulose Insulation
- Environmentally Friendly – being made up of 75% recycled materials
- Better performance than fiberglass – Air tightness can increase by 30%
- Fire Retardant – Boric acid treatment makes it fire, mold, and pest resistant
- Little resources – Boric acid is made from Boron, which is a scarce supply.
- Messy – It takes a skilled insulation installer to put cellulose with minimal mess
- Possible moisture issues – Unlike fiberglass, cellulose absorbs moisture
Pros and Cons of Using Fiberglass Insulation
- Easy installation – Does not need specialized equipment to install
- Moisture resistant – Moisture can be a problem if you live in humid areas. Fiberglass resists moisture better than cellulose
- Noncombustible – Fiberglass melts in fire
- Sloppy insulation job will lead to reduced efficiency – A sloppy work means having gaps in the layers of insulation. Gaps allow heat to pass through, thus, poor efficiency.
- Poor performance during cold weather – Heat quickly escapes fiberglass insulation which is not ideal during cold weather
- Energy costs – Manufacturers have to use more energy to melt and produce fiberglass which is harmful to the environment
Hopefully, after this, you’ve already made up your mind. But if you need an expert opinion about which insulation is better for your home, call a local insulation contractor. Eco Cellulose Insulation (ECI) will give you top quality insulation for your home. They are open 24 hours for your insulation needs and will provide you with a quote on insulation installation or other services you may require at once.