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Blown-In Attic Insulation Pros and Cons

A photo of a model house with a bonnet on it.

Discover the pros and cons of blown-in attic insulation and if blown-in fiberglass or blown-in Cellulose is right for you.

Instead of spending your time and money on something fun and carefree are you are finding yourself having to step up, adult and take care of the house you call home- or rental or flip. And the attic is screaming for attention to its air gaps. While it may be tempting to turn your head and ignore it, the reality is facing it now will save time and money later so you can go be carefree.

And besides, who wouldn’t want to benefit from a nice steady cozy in the winter and cool in the summer home. That sounds pretty nice for yourself and your family, the renter you may be advertising to, or the real estate and appraiser that could raise the profit in your pocket with a higher selling price if you are flipping.

Why Is Insulation Even Needed Anyway?

Is insulation really necessary? Will your house function without it? It’s just the unused attic anyway. Are those thoughts on your mind? Shoo those thoughts away. Insulation is actually more important than you may think and vital to your house’s temperature operation. Insulation creates a much-needed barrier that helps regulate the inside temperature of your home. Since we cannot control the temperature going on outside, we need to have a way to maintain a comfortable temperature inside. Insulation allows the house to maintain heat when it is freezing outside, and a cool reprieve when the day is a scorcher.

When Should  Insulation Be Used/Replaced?

A photo of a calendar on a wooden surface.

This may be another question you find yourself asking. Does it really need to be done RIGHT NOW? Can it wait? Ideally, insulation should be replaced before you hit year 15. So if you take a peek at your calendar and find it has been 15 years already, now is the time.

A visual representation of a man losing his money.

Another way to know if the insulation needs to be done now is if it is still effectively doing what it is supposed to be doing or not. Maybe you have noticed over the last few months your heating bill climbing a bit. While higher PUD rates may be a factor, seeing a higher cost over the past few months, or from this year to previous years may be a sign your insulation is not up to snuff anymore. Replacing the insulation a good way to curb those extra costs. Further, if you notice that the room temperatures are fluctuating up and down without doors or windows being opened and closed or the thermostat being manually changed, chances are the insulation needs a bit of work.

A snake skin found in the attic on blown insulation.

If your heating/cooling bills are still looking good and the room temperature still keeps you snug as a bug or cool as a cucumber at the right times, taking a peek at what the insulation looks like could help you find your answer. Does it show signs of infestation, bug or animal? Is it wet? If so, it is time to get that out of there and replace it with nice and new- and dry.

If you just purchased an older home, chances are the insulation needs to be updated. Today’s insulation has come along way from years back and is much more effective.

So now that you have decided it is indeed time to get new insulation you need to settle on what kind of insulation you want and blown-in insulation is an option you may be considering. But before you jump right in you may want to know what exactly is it and is it right for you and your needs? Is it right for your budget? Is it within your skill level to do yourself or will you need to hire out?

What Exactly is Blown-In Attic Insulation?

Someone spraying mineral rock wool of house attic insulation at the attic.

Blown-In insulation, sometimes referred to as loose-fill insulation is insulation literally blown in with a blowing machine. The material can be either fiberglass or cellulose and consists of fiber, foam or other materials in small particles and can even feel like down. This type of insulation is able to be blown in parallel to joists in order to fill in the empty space. It is also able to be blown indirectly over the top of existing insulation as an added layer.

What Are Some Benefits Of Blown-In Insulation in Your Attic?

Eco-friendly cellulose insulation for walls, ceiling and floors made of recycled materials.

The benefits are the whole reason to dive into this project. So what are the benefits? You will be happy to know it is much more than just a warmer attic.

⦁ More money in your pocket. Since blown-in insulation gets into all the nooks and crannies and even around wall stubs where other material cannot, there is less chance of airflow.

⦁ Since this type of insulation is airtight there is a reduction of fire risk.

⦁ You do have the choice of hiring a professional or skipping that added cost and having yourself and a buddy get the job done in a few days with a rented blower machine.

⦁ Non-toxic options are available.

⦁ The insulation can be layered right over existing insulation (as long as the existing is dry and in good shape).

Environmentally friendly since it is made of recycled waste materials.

⦁ Less expensive than other insulation alternatives.

⦁ With regards to possible small spaces, blown-in insulation is a much easier means of getting insulation up through small hatches/doors rather than rolls up over and over and is also easier to apply since it is blown into space rather than rolled over and over.

⦁ Blown-in insulation can be blown over already existing insulation cutting out the huge step of climbing up there and tearing out all the old.

Some Possible Cons of Blown-In Attic Insulation

Checking the energy efficiency of the house by measuring the thickness of fiberglass insulation in the attic using a ruler.

⦁ It is hard to install the insulation all by yourself. The reality is, it takes a professional team or you need to seek out a willing friend so one of you can man the machine while the other takes care of the insulation.

⦁ Completely air sealing everything is crucial. If it comes into contact with moisture mold or rot could form depending on which material you decided on.

⦁ The insulation can settle and effectively lessens.

So maybe by this point, you are thinking blown-in attic insulation is where it’s at. Picking between fiberglass and cellulose is another layer to consider.

Pros and Cons Between Blown-In Cellulose and Blown-In Fiberglass

A visual representation of cold and heat exchange.

Blown-In Cellulose Pros

⦁ One aspect to consider is air infiltration and in that cellulose is the top choice due to its ability to form a dense mat that allows the air within the insulation to keep moving.

⦁ Cellulose has a higher R-Value and even does not lose the value in the extreme cold were fiberglass may.

⦁ Outside noises are diminished when cellulose is used to do its dense mat; density stifles sound.

Cons of Blown-In Cellulose

⦁ May be flammable.

⦁ A very hard material to work with or clean up if it becomes wet.

⦁ Ceilings can sag due to the weight of the material.

⦁ Over a period of time, it can settle in areas unless overfilled to account for this.

Let’s give Blown-In Fiberglass a Hand for These Pros

⦁ Blown-in fiberglass is flame resistant thanks to the coating of borates.

⦁ Repels mildew and moisture.

Cons of Blown-In Fiberglass

⦁ One of the biggest is loose particles in the air.

The R-Value rating should also be a factor in your decision. What this basically means is the ability the insulation has to resist heat flow; the higher the R-value the higher the performance with heat the insulation has. Cellulose has an R-Value of R-3.2 to 3.8 per inch. Loose-fill fiberglass has an R-value of R-2.2 to 2.7 per inch.

When Should You Use Blown-In Attic Insulation For Your Home?

A man inspecting the ceiling or attic through an opening.

Take into consideration the space of the attic. If there is a small door or hatch you need to crawl up or through, little headspace, nooks and crannies, and odd spaces, blown-in insulation is a great option. Instead of fighting roll after roll, the tube attached to the blowing machine allows one trip into the attic instead of multiple and instead of crawling around on your hands and knees, the hose blows the insulation where it is needed and all you have to do is the aim.

Costs Of Blown-In Attic Insulation

A close-up hot of money being counted.

Decisions usually really fall to, “how much is this going to cost me?” The cost of blown-in insulation is determined by which material you decide on, the R-Value needed and the space of your attic. For an R-Value between 38 and 49, the average person spends about $1.50 each square foot. Don’t forget to factor in whether you will be renting a blow machine or hiring someone to do it for you.

Now that you are armed with all this new information, you should be ready to settle on a decision and get that attic back up to perfection. After gathering all this information, I myself would be choosing the blown-in option in fiberglass. Happy insulating!

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