Home Insulation Types: Fiberglass vs. Cellulose
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Home Insulation Types: Fiberglass vs. Cellulose


Most homes are built with the minimum insulation required by building codes. If you’re looking to add insulation to your Portland home to prevent heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer, knowing what kind of insulation is best to use will save you money in the long run and make your home as energy efficient as possible.

Two types of insulation
The two most common home insulation types are fiberglass and cellulose. Fiberglass insulation is made from inorganic materials which are heated to the melting point and spun to form glass fibers. Cellulose insulation is made from recycled newspaper.

Comparing fiberglass and cellulose

  • Settling: Insulation that settles over time loses its R-value, which measures the resistance to heat flow. Fiberglass insulation doesn’t settle and will maintain its R-value for the life of the building when it’s properly installed. Cellulose insulation settles over time and must be replenished in order to maintain its R-value.
  • Fire safety: Fiberglass insulation is naturally fire-retardant and is, in fact, considered to be a fire stop in walls with wood frames. Cellulose insulation is highly combustible. To prevent fire hazards, it’s treated with chemicals that account for 20 percent of its makeup. These chemicals can corrode wiring over time and will eventually leach out of the insulation altogether, rendering it unsafe.
  • Absorption: Fiberglass insulation is non-absorbent, but may need to be replaced if it becomes saturated. Cellulose insulation is highly absorbent and must be replaced if it becomes wet.
  • Mold growth: Fiberglass insulation is inorganic and mold will not grow on it. Cellulose insulation is a food source for mold.
  • Recycled materials: Fiberglass insulation is made up of at least 30 percent recycled materials. Cellulose is 80 percent recycled, but requires three times more material by weight to do the same job as fiberglass.

For more expert advice about home insulation types and what type is best for your home, please feel free to contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve served the Portland area with a high level of expertise and customer service since 1976.

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