The types of insulation commonly found in attics are cellulose, fiberglass, and spray foam.
Unless your home was built for energy efficiency, you can probably reduce your monthly energy bills by adding or updating the insulation in your home. Many older homes have inadequate, damaged, or improper insulation than homes built today, but adding insulation to a newer home can pay for itself in just a few years, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. This includes the attic where many homes lose heat during the winter months.
RetroFoam of Michigan has more than 15 years of experience insulating thousands of homes across the lower peninsula. While our experience is with spray and injection foam insulation, we also know quite a bit about traditional insulations like fiberglass and cellulose.
As part of our ongoing mission to educate our customers, we are here to discuss the kinds of insulation used in attics and the pros and cons that go along with each one.
Cellulose Attic Insulation: Pros vs Cons
Cellulose insulation is the oldest material used in home insulation. It can be either a loose-fill material or blown-in.
Cellulose is primarily made up of recycled newsprint or denim.
Boric acid, borax or aluminum sulfate used in cellulose insulation provide resistance to mold, pests, and fire that can occur in the attic.
When blown-in, cellulose gets into some of the tight corners and hard to reach areas in the attic cavities.
Even though cellulose can fill the attic cavities, it is not an air seal. That means cold and hot air can move through the space without any barriers, raising monthly energy bills.
Homes with furnace duct systems in the attic can expect some of the cellulose dust to recirculate through the home.
Cellulose must be kept dry in the attic as it absorbs up to 130 percent water by weight.
After cellulose insulation absorbs water, the chemical fire treatment is destroyed.
It dries very slowly after absorbing water, which causes it to deteriorate and settle in the attic cavities.
Modern cellulose settles up to 20 percent, which is problematic in relation to closed cavities in attics causing the home to be uncomfortable and energy bills to rise. This also means more cellulose may need to be added over time due to this settling.
Fiberglass Attic Insulation: Pros vs Cons
Fiberglass is an insulation material that consists of extremely fine glass fibers and is found in most homes. It is commonly used in two forms – blankets, which is batts and rolls, and loose fill.
Fiberglass insulation is made of plastic reinforced by tiny glass fibers. This composition gives the plastic additional strength while improving its insulation capacity.
Can be a Do-It-Yourself attic project for an experienced handy man.
Small particles that come into contact with skin can lodge in pores, causing itchiness, rashes, and irritation.
Spray Foam Attic Insulation: Pros vs Cons
Spray foam insulation is an air barrier material that creates a seal against air movement. Open cell spray foam insulation can expand up to 100 times its original size to fill every nook and cranny in the cavity.
Spray foam insulation’s main ingredients are water-blown and organic chemical compounds derived from petroleum extracts.
If you are considering spray foam for your attic and live in Michigan’s lower peninsula, give us a call at 866-900-3626 for a free estimate, or fill out the form on our website.
About Amanda Ringler
Amanda previously has worked as a breaking news and crime reporter, TV news producer, and editor in Flint and Detroit. Throughout her career as a journalist, she has won several awards from the The Society of Professional Journalists - Detroit Chapter and the Michigan Press Association.
As part of the RetroFoam of Michigan family, Amanda uses her experience as a journalist to write content that will help educate homeowners on the benefits of foam insulation.
When Amanda isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and rescued huskies. She also loves knitting, making art, cooking, and hosting dinner and a movie night for friends and family.