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HOME INSULATION COMPARISONS

Insulation is an extremely important part of your home. However, not all insulation is created equal.

So, how do you know which product is best for you? 

 

When insulating, or re-insulating your home, there are a few different types of materials you have to choose from. The following chart will help you better understand some of these differences.

SPRAY FOAMS

Open or closed cell Spray Foam insulation is generally used in areas where there are no wall cavities, or ceilings, to contain other types of insulation – i.e. metal buildings, exterior or unfinished walls, roof undersides.

 

PROS

 

  • Spray Foam is a superior insulator. When applied correctly, the foam expands to fill empty spaces not normally filled with other types of insulators.

 

  • It can increase structural stability and provides some sound insulation.

  • When properly applied, Spray Foams have the highest insulation rating, or "R-Factor" than any other products.

 

CONS:

 

  • While being an excellent insulator, Spray Foam insulation is by far the most expensive option. Expect to spend two to three times the cost of loose fill or batt (roll) insulators.

 

  • It’s also the absolute worst insulator for the environment. Many spray foams utilize an environmentally harmful blowing agent. Spray Foam requires a hazmat suit and hazardous materials precautions when installing. This type of insulator is to be installed by experienced professionals ONLY.

 

  • A common problem seen with Spray Foam is the foam can shrink while curing if not applied properly, which lowers it's insulation rating. Too thick in one area, or too thin in another, greatly affects the curing process and is almost always unavoidable, even by the most experienced installer.

 

  • Another common issue is over applying Spray Foam. This can tightly seal your house. However, you have a good chance of experiencing “Condensation” issues which can develop a whole host of other issues within the home. Such as rotting, mold/mildew, difficult leak detection, especially in the attic.

 

  • The R-Value (insulation effectiveness) of many spray foam insulation products will also diminish over time.

 

CONCLUSION: Spray foam is popular today because insulation companies can charge you thousands of dollars.  Just because a home is insulated with spray foam, don't automatically assume it's the best insulation because of its high cost. Every product has its pitfalls, and spray foam is no exception.

FIBERGLASS

Fiberglass is an insulation material that consists of extremely fine glass fibers and is found in most U.S. homes. It is commonly used in two forms – blankets, or batts (rolls), and loose fill (blow-in).

 

As an insulator, fiberglass slows the spread of heat, cold, and sound in structures. The material does this by trapping pockets of air, keeping rooms warm in the winter and cooler in the summer. 

 

PROS:

  • Fiberglass is your least expensive option for attic projects, as compared to other materials. Which is why it’s most common.

 

  • Is a good flame retardant and poses no fire hazard.

 

  • Can be a Do-It-Yourself attic project for an experienced handy man.

 

CONS:

  • Can be a nightmare attic project for an experienced handy-man. If you’ve never blown-in insulation before, it’s a lot of work. And you’ll need help. Be prepared!

  • Loses air, shrinks and experiences loss of “R-Factor” or insulation effectiveness.

  • Once the temperature outside falls to well below freezing, around 20º F, or below, fiberglass loses as much as 50% of its R-value. This is due to the extreme difference in temperature between the interior of the house and the exterior, and the way that fiberglass insulates, which is by creating a small air pocket.

  • If you need to disturb fiberglass installed in the attic, you should wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and goggles.

  • Any small glass particles that come into contact with your skin can lodge in pores, causing itchiness, rashes, and irritation.

  • Fiberglass in the attic can trap allergens, dust, and moisture.

  • When disturbed in the attic fiberglass insulation releases small particulates into the air which could be inhaled. If you inhale fiberglass, tiny glass particles can cause coughing, nosebleeds, or other respiratory ailments.

  • Fiberglass is NOT an environmentally friendly product.

 

CONCLUSION: If cost is your primary factor, fiberglass is adequate insulation for the money, but compared to other types of insulation, fiberglass is less effective. Especially in cold conditions, fiberglass can lose its effectiveness.

CELLULOSE

Cellulose insulation is the oldest material used in home insulation. It can be either a loose-fill material or blown-in. Cellulose is primarily made up of recycled newsprint or denim.

 

Cellulose insulation can be used in both existing homes and new construction. It can be blown into attic cavities as loose-fill, dense-packed into walls and floors, or wet sprayed for new construction. It helps increase heat retention and has the potential to dampen noise levels.

 

PROS:

  • Blown-in, cellulose insulation usually gets into some of the smaller corners and hard to reach areas in attics where fiberglass may not reach.

  • Cellulose is cost-effective when it comes to attic projects in comparison to spray foams and generally insulates slightly better than fiberglass.

  • Cellulose doesn’t use any greenhouse gases as propellants.

  • Cellulose has more recycled material than fiberglass or spray foam insulation.

  • Can be a Do-It-Yourself attic insulation project for the experienced handyman.

 

CONS:

  • Cellulose weighs roughly as much as three times per square foot than other loose-fill insulators. Ceiling structures should be inspected for signs of weakness before choosing to insulate with cellulose.

  • Cellulose is very dusty. Homes with furnace duct systems in the attic can expect some of the cellulose dust to recirculate throughout your home.

  • Cellulose must be kept dry in the attic as it absorbs moisture very easily. This not only reduces long-term efficiency but can cause the insulation to mold and rot. Even wet-blown cellulose can suffer from these effects. Both dry and wet-blown cellulose requires a vapor barrier.

  • After cellulose insulation absorbs water, the chemical fire treatment is destroyed.

  • It dries very slowly after absorbing water, which can lead to mold or mildew issues.

 

CONCLUSION: Cellulose is moderately priced and, for the most part, performs better than fiberglass. Especially in colder weather. However, it's quite a bit dustier than fiberglass and will lose its insulation value ("R-Factor") over time. Which costs you money. 

MILEX™

MILEX™ is an all-natural, loose-fill insulation that’s made exclusively from agricultural Sorghum, or commonly referred to as “MILO”. MILEX™ is 100% free of any toxic chemicals, 100% biodegradable and 100% renewable.

 

PROS:

  • MILEX™ is less than half the cost of Spray Foams, competitively priced with cellulose and slightly higher than fiberglass insulators.

  • Patented “Thermal Puff” technology provides sustained insulation, or “R-Factor” over the lifetime of your home. In most cases, you will never have to “refresh” or reinstall MILEX™ every 10 years as recommended by industry standards for fiberglass or cellulose.

  • MILEX™ outperforms insulation levels of both fiberglass and cellulose blow-in attic insulators in nearly every category.

  • MILEX™ naturally repels insects and other pests.

  • MILEX™ is hypoallergenic and virtually dust free.

  • MILEX™ is 100% renewable and grown by Texas Panhandle Farmers. 

  • Comes with our EXCLUSIVE Lifetime-100 Warranty*See warranty for full details.

CONS:

  • Because MILEX™ does not shrink, when being packaged it cannot be compressed, so it has very large volume and requires special delivery. This can be a logistical problem for any Do-It-Yourselfer’s.

 

CONCLUSION: When comparing blow-in attic insulators, MILEX™ has virtually zero downside. It performs better than all other traditional lose-fill products and is extremely cost effective. Couple that with being safe for you and the environment, while at the same time helping out our farmers, makes MILEX™ the perfect choice for you and your home. 

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