Cellulose is made from recycled paper products and is often the preferred insulation type because of its lower costs and higher R-value per inch compared to fiberglass. Although not a complete air barrier, cellulose retards air flow much better than fiberglass, and fills around crevices and under wiring at a higher density than fiberglass insulation. Cellulose is treated with borate, a fire retardant, that repels rodents and critters that actually prefer fiberglass to make their homes. Cellulose insulation looks gray and fluffy and causes no itching or skin reactions when handled. Our insulation is quoted for achieving an R-value, not in inches like most contractors. We do this because insulation settles and the R-value of cellulose is not the same as it was when installed, so we always add an extra layer to account for settling.
Cellulose insulation is a product made from recycled paper. A chemical, generally boric acid or ammonium sulfate, is injected into the cellulose as it is being manufactured. These are fire retardant chemicals that will help protect the house in case of a fire. Cellulose insulation is one of the safest products in a home due to the fire retardants that do not give off toxicity.
Cellulose insulation undergone some changes in the last few years. Years ago, almost all cellulose was made from recycled news print. Today, cellulose products often contain cardboard (corrugates) as the main source of paper. Some cellulose manufactures use a certain percentage of newspaper ads in the manufacturing of cellulose. Ads (or glossy ‘slicks’) paper contains about 20% clay. In the newspaper industry, clay is used to produce a smooth hardened surface enhancing the bright colors of ink. With regard to insulation, clay reduces the insulation value. When used in wall spray, it will make cellulose wall spray difficult to stick to the wall. It is not recommended to use a cellulose insulation product with a high percentage of colored (glossy paper) print. We proudly use our cellulose insulation from local Phoenix manufacturer's making it the most environmentally friendly insulation type as well.
What Is R-value?
R-value is how we measure the insulation's effectiveness against the heat and cold. A higher R-value slows the transfer heat from the outside into your home better than insulation with a low R-value.
Here are the R-values of common materials.
Cellulose insulation R-3.2 per inch
Loose fill fiberglass insulation R-2.8 per inch
Open cell spray foam R-3.6 per inch
Block masonry walls R-1.0 per inch
Which Insulation Type Is Best? Cellulose or Fiberglass?
Both loose fill types of insulation are commonly used but have their upsides and downsides. Cellulose insulation has a higher R-value and is a denser material than loose fill fiberglass. Cellulose insulation is also less expensive than loose fill fiberglass. Cellulose is perfect to keep away rodents and pests as the borate fire retardant chemical also keeps the pests away. The downsides of cellulose insulation is that it will settle a few inches every 10 years and it is dusty when installed.
Loose fill fiberglass insulation does not settle but is easily blown aside by a gust of wind, creating valleys in attic insulation. Loose fill fiberglass is also itchy and an irritant. Loose fill fiberglass cost is slightly higher than cellulose and more depth needs to be added to achieve the same R-value. We do recommend loose fill fiberglass when an attic already has loose fill fiberglass existing.