Almost all of us are probably aware that insulation is one of the most important things we can do to keep our homes comfortable for the entire year. In spite of the fact that we may never touch the pink, fluffy, cotton candy-looking stuff in our attic, we know that it somehow or another keeps our homes at a comfortable temperature throughout the year.
In addition to protecting you and your family from the cold in winter as well as the excessive heat during the summer, a well-insulated home can also help reduce the amount of noise pollution that is generated by your home. If the house is well-insulated and has a sealed building envelope, it may only need minimal additional heating and cooling in the best cases (such as passive houses).
At least nine out of ten homes are under-insulated, resulting in higher energy bills and enormous greenhouse gas emissions that are directly related to this. In order to increase your family’s energy efficiency, reduce your household’s carbon footprint, and save money on your energy bills, one of the best ways to increase insulation in your home is to improve the insulation in your house.
Though there are a myriad of options available for high-efficiency insulation (be sure to take a look at this Rise guide that provides an overview of all things insulation), fiberglass continues to be the most popular option.
The report suggests that 52 percent of new single-family homes are equipped with fiberglass batt insulation, while 19 percent use blown fiberglass as their primary insulation material. There are almost two-thirds of homes a year that use fiberglass as their primary insulation material, and between the two there are almost three-quarters of homes that use fiberglass.
As a material, fiberglass is known to be very effective at insulating against heat, noise, cold, and cold, but what are the pros and cons of fiberglass insulation? Below, we offer an in-depth guide to the different types of fiberglass insulation, where and how it is made, and what it has to offer as an insulation material.
What is the covering made of?
The name of this insulation refers to a material made of extremely fine glass fibers, as is indicated by its name. Besides being available in batts, rolls, and loose fill, this insulation is also available in the form of blown-in fiberglass, which can also be a viable alternative for certain areas, as we will see below. Insulating our homes with different materials relies on creating small, porous spaces where air pockets are able to create an adequate level of heat flow resistance in our homes.
Fiberglass insulation achieves this because the tiny, fine glass fibers that make up fiberglass create thousands of pockets of air that act as conductors and convectors of heat.
Where Can Fiberglass Insulation Be Installed?
It is very common for unfinished walls, floors, and ceilings to be covered with fiberglass insulation. Typically, it is placed between studs, beams, and joists when it is being built. Due to its nature, fiberglass insulation is not waterproof (even if it can offer a certain degree of moisture resistance), but it can also be used as duct insulation and to insulate tank-style water heaters. It can also be used as duct insulation and for insulating tank-style water heaters.
So, you cannot put it on foundations or other areas where excessive exposure to moisture might pose a threat to its operation.
What types of fiberglass insulation can you choose from?
Fiberglass insulation is available in the form of batts or rolls, can be blown into walls or ceilings, and can also be manufactured into boards.
In terms of fiberglass insulation, batts are the most commonly seen. Fiberglass batts can come in a variety of thicknesses, usually between three and six inches in thickness. As a result, fiberglass batts are a popular choice among homeowners because they are a straightforward project to do on your own. There are also fiberglass insulation rolls that you can purchase as well. The main difference between fiberglass insulation batts and rolls is the way in which they are installed.
Batts are installed in varying pieces, while fiberglass rolls of a larger size are installed between the framing of the walls and the ceiling.
It is also important to know that fiberglass insulation is also a standard product that is used to protect homes. Generally, blown-in fiberglass insulation is used in areas where you need to fill in uneven or hard-to-reach areas, because it is made from small plastic filaments that are strengthened with glass fibers that are spun into fibers. When it comes to pipes, wires, and other objects inside a wall cavity, it is used in order to keep them safe.
As even a small insulation void can negatively affect your home’s energy efficiency, blown-in insulation is one of the best ways to eliminate these potentially costly air gaps in the insulation system.
The fiberglass boards insulation, which are manufactured from inorganic fiberglass, is a less common type of insulation, though they are still available. The fiberglass is bonded together with a thermosetting resin, which allows it to be formed into flexible, semi-rigid, or rigid boards that are of varying densities. In walls and ceilings, fiberglass boards can be used.
In addition to being easy to install directly over drywall, concrete block, wood, and many other solid surfaces, they are also a good DIY project for homeowners who want to increase their insulation levels.
How Is Fiberglass Insulation Made?
In accordance with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), fiberglass insulation is made by spinning fiberglass fibers into batts, which are then compressed into sheets. As a result of heat, the vitreous melt streams are spun into fibers either on rapidly rotating flywheels or through tiny holes in rapidly rotating spinners. In this way, the melt is shaped into fibers.
In contrast, fiberglass boards or panels rely on plastic resins to give specific stability to the boards. In contrast, blown-in fiberglass insulation incorporates plastic filaments and the small filaments of glass.
Which Type Of Fiberglass Insulation Best?
Based on the thickness of the fiberglass batts and rolls, it is estimated that 5-inch thick fiberglass batts have an R-value of R-15 and cost between $0.34 and $0.40 per square foot, according to the US Department of Energy. On the other hand, a thick 8-inch batt will have an R-value of R-25 and cost between $0.37 and $0.45 per square foot in comparison.
A blown-in fiberglass insulation system is an excellent way to insulate hard-to-reach areas and to seal air gaps as we have already discussed. However, you should be aware that blown-in insulation may cause tiny particulates to be released into your home. In most cases, you will need to hire a professional to do your insulation job.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Fiberglass Insulation?
Fiberglass insulation has a number of disadvantages, including the following:
• It can cause health concerns during installation, such as irritation to the eyes, nose, or throat, as well as mold growth if it gets wet.
• When wet, the product loses its efficiency.
• There is a high level of energy consumption during the manufacturing process.
Getting fiberglass insulation on your skin can be a painful and a long-lasting rash, but if you get fiberglass in your skin, then it can lead to long-term rashes, so most homeowners prefer fiberglass insulation due to the fact that it is a relatively easy DIY project. It is very important that you wear a mask and protective goggles when installing the batts, especially if you are cutting or sawing them, since the small fibers can cause damage to your eyes and lungs when installed.
Additionally, fiberglass insulation has the potential to lose all of its insulation capacity if it gets wet, and this can result in a significant reduction in its insulation capacity until the fiberglass is dried out. Mold growth can also occur in fiberglass insulation, which can compromise the indoor air quality of your home if the moisture problem is left unattended.
A disadvantage of fiberglass insulation is that it is extremely energy-intensive to manufacture, which is another drawback. According to the Insulation Institute, insulating four million houses (4% of all North American housing stocks) would reduce carbon emissions by as much as 667 million acres, or the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.
How Do You Remove Fiberglass Insulation From Skin?
If you get slivers of fiberglass in your skin during insulation, you can gently wash the affected area under running water and pat dry. Using a piece of tape on any visible glass fibers protruding from your skin is another way to remove fibers.
What Is The R-Value Of Fiberglass Insulation?
• Loose-fill fiberglass insulation insulates to R-values between 2.2 to 2.9 per inch.
• Fiberglass batts and rolls have an R-value of 2.9 to 3.8 per inch.
• Blown-in fiberglass insulation ranges between R-values of 2.2 and 2.7 per inch.
How Thick Does Fiberglass Insulation Need To Be?
There is a helpful map on the US Energy Star website which can be used to determine your recommended insulation level based on your local climate. The thickness of fiberglass insulation will largely be determined by your local climate. For example, if you have walls that are recommended as R-15, you would need approximately five inches of fiberglass batts to cover those walls.
How Much Does Fiberglass Insulation Cost?
Fiberglass insulation batts and rolls generally cost between $0.64 and $1.19, including installation. Blown-in insulation runs from $1 to $1.50 per square foot, with installation included. Compared to other types of insulation, fiberglass is generally one of the cheaper alternatives on the market. Because fiberglass batts can improve energy efficiency by 25 to 30 percent, the payback period for enhancing your home’s insulation can be relatively short.
This payback is especially quick for drastically under-insulated houses with lots of air gaps and leaks.
How To Install Fiberglass Insulation
During installation, you will need to remove the drywall on your wall or ceiling to allow the fiberglass batt to fit tightly into the stud bay, making sure that the batt is tight to the top plate. If you want to install fiberglass batt and roll insulation on your own, you will need to remove the drywall. Once the batt has been installed, use a small utility knife to trim the lower end of the bat adjacent to the bottom plate.
There are several steps that need to be followed in order to ensure a tight friction fit between studs. You want to ensure a tight friction fit between studs. You will need to cut the batt when you come to electrical boxes, wiring, or other obstacles inside the wall or ceiling. It is a good idea to extend the 3-mil polyethylene vapour barrier over the fiberglass batt once the installation is complete.
How To Cut Fiberglass Insulation
When cutting fiberglass insulation, make a simple, straight cut with a sharp utility knife. Avoid sawing the batt or roll as this could cause the small glass fibers to become volatile and affect your indoor air quality.
How To Dispose Of Fiberglass Insulation
You can easily expect fiberglass insulation to last for a lifetime; however, if you do decide to replace it, you can recycle it as well. As with cellulose insulation, fiberglass insulation is often made up of recycled materials, so it’s a good idea to find your nearest recycling center before you throw it in the landfill.
Fiberglass insulation is one of the most popular insulation alternatives for homeowners in North America for many reasons. It is relatively inexpensive, durable, and easy to install on your own. As with all types of insulation, it can also radically improve your home’s energy efficiency and thermal performance.
However, it has health and environmental drawbacks too, and since every person is different, you will have to decide whether it is right for you and your family to pursue it or not.