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Fiberglass Insulation vs Cellulose Insulation: What’s the Difference?

Insulation can make a world of difference in your home’s heating and cooling costs. It will trap more of the thermal energy inside of your home so that you don’t have to run the AC system or furnace for as long.

Even if your home doesn’t have any air leaks, it still needs insulation to protect against the loss of thermal energy. Thermal energy is heat. During the winter, thermal energy inside of your home can pass through walls or ceilings to your home’s exterior. During the summer, thermal energy outside of your home can enter your home through these same walls or ceilings. When choosing insulation for your home, however, you might be wondering whether to go with fiberglass or cellulose.

What Is Fiberglass Insulation?

The most common type of insulation used in homes, as well as commercial buildings, is fiberglass. As the name suggests, it’s made of fiberglass particles. Fiberglass insulation is essentially made of melted glass. Glass waste is recycled and then melted down, after which it’s used to create small glass fibers. These glass fibers are spun together to create fiberglass insulation.

What Is Cellulose Insulation?

Cellulose insulation, on the other hand, is made of cellulose. Cellulose is an organic compound that occurs naturally in plants. It’s found within the cellular walls of plants, including trees. Cellulose insulation is made of this same organic compound. While there are different types of cellulose insulation, most types are made of about three-quarters recycled paper or cardboard.

Differences Between Fiberglass and Cellulose Insulation

Aside from the material used in their construction, there are other differences between fiberglass and cellulose insulation. Fiberglass insulation, for instance, is available as roll-in batt insulation or blown-in insulation. Cellulose insulation, conversely, is only available as blown-in insulation. Blown-in insulation means that the material must be blown into an attic or indoor space.

Cellulose insulation is typically more effective at minimizing the loss of thermal energy than its fiberglass counterpart. Most types of cellulose insulation have a higher R-value than that of fiberglass insulation. R-value, of course, is a measurement of insulation performance. It reflects how effective a particular type of insulation is at protecting against the loss of thermal energy.

While it usually has a higher R-value, cellulose insulation costs more than fiberglass insulation. It can cost 25% to 50% more fiberglass insulation, fact. If you’re on a tight budget, you want to choose fiberglass insulation for your home, instead.