Both residential and commercial properties benefit from insulation for the same reasons. Insulation helps to regulate temperatures, keeping interiors cool in the summer and warm in the winters. Without insulation, your home’s heating and cooling system would expend a ton of energy trying to balance out temperatures and keep you comfortable while you’re inside. Since insulation does the bulk of the work when it comes to balancing out temperatures, your home ends up saving a lot of energy. An energy efficient home ends up turning into financial savings when it’s time to pay your energy bill. 

Additionally, insulation acts as a sound barrier to reduce noise pollution. When you’re in a building with well-insulated walls, you won’t be able to hear every single noise and sound coming from the rooms next to you. If you live on a busy road, the sound of cars going by and sirens wailing won’t be as disrupting while you’re trying to watch your favorite show on the television. 

Insulation comes in a variety of different materials, and while the end goal is ultimately the same for all, the results will be slightly different. There are a number of factors to consider, including budget, your property’s structure and overall needs, and more. Whether you’re considering cellulose insulation or just exploring all of your options, here is what you need to know to help you make a decision.

What is Cellulose Insulation?

Cellulose insulation is a traditional form of home insulation that has been around for a long time. It is commonly used in enclosed walls, unfinished attic floors, the area around pipes or electrical wiring, and other small cavities where energy could potentially escape. The material conforms to most spaces and won’t disturb the existing structure; it can be used safely both in existing homes as well as entirely new construction. Cellulose insulation is unique in that it is often considered the more “green” solution to residential insulation because of how it is made.

What is it Made From?

Two different liquids make up spray foam insulation; when they are combined, a chemical reaction forms resulting in the spray foam. When the chemicals mix and react, then get spray, the foam will harden rather quickly. When installed by professionals, the application forms into a continuous barrier that resists heat transfer

Today, cellulose insulation is made from about 75-85% recycled paper, cardboard, or even denim. The other 15% is made of a fire retardant such as boric acid or ammonium sulfate. These chemicals are effective flame retardants and also can reduce issues with pests. Because it’s made up of recycled material, it is an environmentally sound choice. It is a fiber insulation that can be applied in different forms, or methods.

Dry, loose-fill form is often used in retrofitting old homes or fill new walls. For the best thermal protection, blown cellulose insulation is recommended to insulate an attic. This method of application forms a seamless layer of natural fibers to provide protection and a high R-value. It helps to repel insects and prevent the growth of mold. When blown into your walls, it conforms to your home and creates a seamless insulation system.

Another method is dense pack cellulose, which is densely packed into walls to add thermal insulation. To an extent, it also acts as a sound barrier. 

When wet spray cellulose is applied, water is added to it during the process. In most cases, this is installed during new construction, before drywall is put up. Because of this, it’s not always the most universal option if you’re needing insulation in an existing structure. 

All of these offer thermal protection, a level of sound proofing, and act as an excellent insulation option.

Is Cellulose Insulation Worth It?

Cellulose insulation brings value because of its shape and size. It’s thick and dense, so it can fit easily into enclosed walls and conform around wires, ducts, and other obstacles. It’s an eco-friendly insulator and has a few unique advantages compared to other options.

 Cellulose Has a High R-Value

 

The R-value of insulation refers to its ability to resist the flow of heat. This is not the only determinant you should consider when choosing insulation, but a higher R-value does reflect a material’s ability to insulate well. Cellulose has an R-value of around 3.5 per inch of thickness. 

 

Cellulose is Budget-Friendly

 

Cellulose insulation can be a great option for many because it’s inexpensive, yet still has a high R-value. If you’re looking for a seamless barrier to insulate your home or property, without breaking the bank, this might be a sound option for you. 

Cellulose can also be a cost-effective solution because of its ability to stand up well to pests, mold, and fire, as it is treated with boric acid. This means there will be less risk of problems caused by these factors down the line. 

Like all insulators, cellulose can have drawbacks depending on what you are looking for. For one, cellulose holds moisture longer than other materials. Over time, the R-value can decrease and mildew may be a problem in enclosed spaces. It’s important to keep cellulose dry, so these problems don’t occur.

If you’d like help determining which insulation option is right for you, contact Reeves today! We can go over insulation options, your property’s structure and needs, then help you make a decision that will suit your needs for the long-term.

 

The long-time running television show This Old House talks about the benefits of insulation. Click here.

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