When it comes to insulation, you have a few choices that can make your home or business more comfortable and save you money on energy costs during extreme weather. Among these are batts or blankets, installed between studs or posts in a structure and then covered with a hard wall surface like drywall or paneling. Mineral wool and fiberglass are the most common materials used to make these batts.
Blown-in cellulose insulation is a popular third option. A blower that uses air pressure to force the material through a hose and into a wall opening is necessary to properly place this type of insulation. But which of these options is best for your specific situation? Here’s a quick rundown of the advantages and disadvantages of each type of insulation.
Mineral Wool Insulation
Mineral wool is a superior insulation material in many ways. It has a higher R-value per inch than fiberglass by about 22-37%. It is 70% recycled, making it a greener product than fiberglass, which contains 20-30% recycled material. Mineral wool has superior sound-deadening properties due to its density being three times that of fiberglass. The stiffer batts do not flop over as easily as fiberglass, making installation easier, and they do not require staples or wire to keep them in place. It does not absorb water, so that it won’t grow mold or mildew. Mineral wool is also very fire-resistant, so that it can be used as a fire stop.
Mineral wool, like many building materials, has drawbacks. It is typically 25-50% more expensive than fiberglass. Because it is more unusual, it doesn’t come in as many sizes as fiberglass, and it’s almost never available in a paper-faced format. Because it is denser and heavier, making it more difficult to handle during ceiling installations. Its dense nature necessitates using a serrated bread knife or wood saw to cut batts to size, and it’s difficult to find in a loose-fill format.
Here’s a brief overview of the R-values you can expect from various depths of mineral wool batting:
- For 2×4” R13 to R15
- For 2×6” R21 to R23
- For 2×8” R30 to R32
- For 2×10” R38
Fiberglass is significantly more common due in part to its low cost. It has a good R-value, even though it is not the best. It is available in various sizes, with or without a paper facing, because of its popularity. This material is somewhat eco-friendly, as it contains 20-30% recycled content. It is light and very easy to install in a variety of circumstances, typically with a tack nailer. You can easily find loose-fill materials to fill odd spaces in your walls or add insulation to your attic.
Fiberglass is significantly more common due in part to its low cost. It has a good R-value, but it is not the best. It is available in various sizes, with or without a paper facing, because of its popularity. This material is somewhat eco-friendly, containing 20-30% recycled content. It is light and very easy to install in various circumstances, typically with a tack nailer. You can easily find loose-fill materials to fill odd spaces in your walls or add insulation to your attic.
Here are the R-values of various thicknesses of fiberglass batting at a glance:
- For 2×4” R11 to R15
- For 2×6” R19 to R23
- For 2×8” R25 to R31
- For 2×10” R26 to R37
Because of its low initial cost, cellulose insulation is commonly used in homes, but its lower R-value may not make up for the difference in added energy costs over time. However, in retrofit situations where you don’t want to disassemble an entire wall cavity to add batting, it’s a great way to improve insulation value without doing much finishing work. It used to be made of plant fibers, but now it contains many recycled materials like shredded paper and cardboard that have been mixed with mold- and fire-retardant agents to make indoor air healthier and prevent fires from spreading.
However, it allows drafts to enter, particularly in wall cavities where the material can settle over time due to gravity, leaving open spaces with little or no insulation. This can be fixed by having the material topped off after settling has occurred, but it is an inconvenience to be aware of. It also necessitates specialized equipment, specifically a blower and hose, to get the material where it needs to be, compared to batts that can be fitted into place or stapled with a staple gun for less than $20. Since blower rentals are common and easy to find, you won’t have to buy this equipment, saving you money.
Here’s how to figure out the R-Value of newly blown-in cellulose insulation based on its thickness:
- For 2×4” R11
- For 2×6” R17
- For 2×8” R23
- For 2×10” R30
What Effect Does Fiberglass Insulation Have on Energy Costs?
Traditional insulation materials, such as fiberglass, are resistant to heat transfer via conduction.
Traditional does not always imply efficiency. Fiberglass and other traditional insulation materials provide poor airflow protection, contributing to home discomfort and energy loss.
I Have An Existing Home in Cypress. Is it possible to add cellulose insulation?
Yes, cellulose insulation is an excellent choice for increasing energy efficiency. It can be installed directly on top of existing insulation in attics or added to walls without needing costly interior wall finish renovations. It is blown into wall cavities through small holes that can be easily plugged or patched.
What exactly is air infiltration?
Air movement into your home through voids, seams, cracks, and other structural irregularities is known as air infiltration. R-Value does not measure the effects of air infiltration. The movement of air through insulation has a significant impact on its performance. Air infiltration is significantly reduced by high-density cellulose insulation.
What exactly is R-Value?
R-Value is a measure of heat flow resistance through a given thickness of the material. The greater the R-Value, the greater the resistance. The primary goal of insulating is to resist heat flow, which reduces energy costs.
Choosing the suitable material for your home’s attic insulation can have long-lasting effects on your comfort and heating and cooling costs. Before choosing an attic insulation material, it is essential to understand its properties.
However, understanding the key differences between mineral wool, fiberglass, and cellulose insulation will help you determine which is ideal for your situation. If you are unsure or need assistance deciding, the professionals at our Cypress, TX, insulation company will gladly assist you in making an informed decision. Please contact us with any questions or additional information or to place an order for our high-quality building materials.