Blown Fiber Insulation
For most contractors in the industry, cellulose and fiberglass represent the two most prevalent kinds of blown insulation. Each product offers its own unique features, and opinions are varied amongst the professional installers, based on those features. Needless to say, the brand manufacturers support their own particular product. Since we are dealing with insulation products, it’s important to compare the insulation values of each, prior to anything else. Generally, the experts in the field are in agreement that both cellulose and fiberglass have similar insulating values, and both do an excellent job. However, there are some industry statistics that show that cellulose offers a slightly higher R-value. Cellulose installations have a tendency for the insulation to settle over long periods of time, while fiberglass insulation does not - suffice to say that both applications have different insulation dynamics during the various seasons.
Lets also remember that regardless of which product is chosen together with the customer, product performance is going to depend directly on the quality of the installation. A proper installation, and one that accommodates high industry standards and building codes, will deliver more mileage than a quick, superficial job. Like any installation or application, proper equipment and tools are required – especially when it comes to the safety and security of installers and occupants. Cellulose and fiberglass both blow easily into all cavities, and both do a good job of covering wiring and piping, as well as cracks and crevices.
For the professional contractor, doing a good job also means doing a complete job. And a complete job may require additional prep work, above and beyond the blown insulation: there may be a need to do some air sealing and/or draft proofing; it may be necessary to apply a vapor barrier prior to blowing the insulation; or there may be are requirement to create new air vents or exhausts. No matter what, a complete job serves to support the integrity of whichever product is used. In terms of fire resistance, comparisons are also worthwhile when evaluating each product. The cellulose insulation is chemically treated to be fire resistant during its production process, and in the event of fire, spreading is retarded. The fiberglass product, because of its nature, is difficult to ignite, and therefore extremely fire resistant.
In today’s consumer-focused business environment, customers are much more informed and educated, and are more likely ask for eco-friendly products. The brand manufacturers are sensitive to this, and market their products accordingly – the cellulose insulation, which contains very high levels of recycled newsprint, could satisfy a customer’s eco-needs very well, at the same time, the fiberglass product is manufactured using significant amounts of recycled glass material, which also accounts for its eco-friendly nature.
In the end, a contractor should be working closely with the customer in order to make the decisions that best satisfy the customer’s needs and desires: it includes choosing the product that best suits the job; it considers budget constraints and installation schedules; and it gives credence to the customer’s concerns about the environment.