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1. What is Blown-in Insulation?
Blown-in insulation is the process of applying certain wood materials in key areas where the insulation of the home needs to be reinforced. Cellulose insulation is the typical choice for many homeowners opting for blown-in insulation. The product is essentially blown into various areas of the home’s structure to properly insulate it. Attics are usually treated with blown-in insulation because it’s the most practical and cost-effective solution.
2. Types of Blown-in Insulation
While cellulose is one of the most popular types of blown-in insulation, other products are also used. Loose-fill fiberglass and rock wool are commonly applied to improve insulation. Depending on your geographic area and desired insulation value, you might consider a particular type of blown-in insulation over another. Each comes with its own advantages and drawbacks to keep in mind.
Cellulose has many great advantages so it’s not surprising that it’s the most commonly used material for blown-in insulation. The first aspect worth noting is its eco-friendliness. Cellulose is based on recycled cardboard or newspaper so there’s a minimal environmental impact. The material is treated to withstand fire and mold damage.
Cellulose offers a consistently solid R-value when it comes to thermal insulation performance. It’s able to cover the more challenging shapes of the space without problems. While cellulose is quite practical to use as blown-in insulation, it’s not without its disadvantages. It’s vulnerable to leaking from the roof or pipes. Contact with water reduces its thermal insulation capabilities as the material becomes soggy and no longer covers obstructions as effectively.
A very lightweight type of blown-in insulation, loose-fill fiberglass boasts a decent R-value in terms of insulation performance. The material is based on thin fibers of heated glass and is primarily recommended for attics or walls. Although it’s fairly practical to apply, loose-fill fiberglass is typically more expensive than cellulose. You will also need a larger quantity of these fibers to achieve a similar insulating effect.
Crafted from heated furnace slag mixed with other minerals, rock wool provides excellent thermal insulation, but it’s very expensive compared to other types of blown-in insulation. The manufacturing process of rock wool results in a product whose texture can easily remind you of a sheep’s wool. Despite its prohibitive cost, rock wool is worth considering by many homeowners who want a premium blown-in insulation material with impressive fire resistance.
3. Quick Installation
Installing insulation in your home can take quite a lot of time. This is one area where blown-in insulation stands out because its installation can be completed very quickly. A team of two people will finish a blown-in insulation project in just a few hours compared to other types of insulation that take much longer.
4. Minimally Disruptive
Homeowners who would rather avoid tearing up various surfaces to install insulation should strongly consider the blown-in insulation process. It’s minimally disruptive as it doesn’t require large structural openings for bringing in the insulating materials. The blown-in insulation process mainly requires drilling a few holes large enough to pass the pumping hose.
5. Reasonably Affordable
If you’re opting for a blown-in insulation that uses cellulose and loose-fill fiberglass, it’s safe to say that you won’t be spending a lot of money. The insulating materials are accessible in most home improvement stores. Aside from rock wool, they’re quite affordable. The only aspect that can incur additional costs is the need for specialized blowing equipment in case you wish to tackle blown-in insulation as a DIY project.
6. Not Very DIY-Friendly
Although it’s possible to install blown-in insulation if you’re an experienced DIY-er, the process can be too complicated and dangerous for most homeowners. In most cases, professional installation is a requirement. There are many intricacies to the task so leaving the job to the pros represents the best solution. Even with additional labor costs, you will avoid many hassles involved with the installation such as properly discharging the insulating material. If you really want to tackle blown-in insulation by yourself, stick to installing it in the attic where it should be easier than other areas.
7. Settling Problems
Cellulose insulation has the practical ability to settle around the structural shapes of the area where you install it. While this is typically an advantage, it can also lead to problems in the long run. Settling might create pockets when the material gets compressed, resulting in thermal bridges that decrease the insulation effectiveness. Attic installations of blown-in insulation will usually take into account settling and overfill the space, but other areas can be more vulnerable to the creation of these thermal bridges.