Blown-in insulation is an extremely cost-effective home improvement that many homeowners can benefit from. If the floor of your unfinished attic is poorly sealed and inadequately insulated, you may be paying as much as 40% more than necessary for heating and cooling. Also called “blow-in” or “blown” insulation, blown-in insulation can greatly improve the energy-efficiency of your home, while making it more comfortable.
There are many types of insulating materials available when you need to add or upgrade your insulation. Fiberglass and cellulose are the two primary types currently in use. Fiberglass comes in rolled batting and blown-in form; cellulose is only available in blown form. The team at James Taylor Construction (JTC) can walk you through the options to help you select the best one for your home and budget. A term that you’ll hear often in reference to insulation is “R-value.” The “R” stands for “resistance,” and R-value refers to an insulating material’s degree of resistance to the movement of heat. The higher the number, the more effective the insulator.
Blown-in insulation has many benefits:
- Blown-in is typically more efficient than other types like fiberglass batting (“the pink stuff”). Unlike batts, blown-in insulation doesn’t have any seams and is therefore more airtight. This allows it to perform better than batts with the same R-value.
- Blown-in typically takes much less time to install than other types of insulation. We can usually complete an upgrade to blown-in insulation in one day.
- Blown-in is well-suited for difficult to access areas like attics and crawl spaces.
- Because it’s loose-fill, the blown material can get into all of the tiny crevices of your attic and fill in around beams and pipes.
- Blown-in insulation is moisture resistant.
- Due to a lack of seams, blown-in blocks noise well.
- You don’t need to do anything to maintain blown-in insulation.
- As long as your older insulation is in good condition, blown-in fiberglass or cellulose insulation can typically be installed directly on top of it.
- Blown-in insulation reduces fire risk due to the tight seal that prevents air flow from fueling a spark. We box out your light fixtures as an additional fire safety precaution.
- At James Taylor Construction (JTC), we have extensive experience installing blown-in insulation. A machine with a long, flexible hose that extends into the attic shreds and blows in the material. Our crews are meticulous about the air-sealing prep work required. We locate and block any air leaks in your attic with caulk and expanding spray foam. Leaks most commonly occur around the chimney, pipes, ducts, and windows. Our crews also check for water leaks. Moisture can quickly damage insulation and cause mold and mildew that may be a health hazard. We check thoroughly for any dampness, water stains, or missing shingles.
Factors to consider when choosing the type of insulation for your home include the following:
- The R-value (how well the insulation resists heat flow).
- The durability of the insulation. Blown-in cellulose can settle up to 20%, reducing its R-value over time; with fiberglass blown-in, you’ll have little to no settling.
- How eco-friendly is the material you’re considering? For example, fiberglass insulation comes in rolls, pre-cut strips, or blown-in. It’s made from melted sand and recycled glass (both renewable, abundant resources), so it’s environmentally friendly. Fiberglass insulation in batt form is held together with a binder. You’ll want to check that the brand you choose uses a formaldehyde-free binder. Loose-fill, blown-in fiberglass doesn’t need a binder at all.
- How safe is the material? Fiberglass is one of the most thoroughly tested insulation products on the market. Like fiberglass, cellulose is made from recycled, eco-friendly materials, but it has not undergone the same degree of health and safety testing.
- Cost: Blown-in can be more expensive than lower quality alternatives, but this extra cost can usually be recovered in savings on your utility bills within 2 to 4 years.