Insulation Life Expectancy: Insulation is useful in making your home more comfortable year-round. It also helps lower your heating and cooling costs. While newer homes enjoy the benefits of modern insulation, older homes usually require additional insulation for their heating and cooling to be more efficient.
What is Your Insulation Life Expectancy?
There are different insulation materials available in the market, with fiberglass, cellulose, and polyurethane foam as the most commonly used. How do these three differ from each other?
Fiberglass is available in rolls, batts, blankets, and loose fill that is sprayed. It is comparatively inexpensive. Unfortunately, it is also subject to moisture damage. The loose fill is cheaper, but it has low R-Value (the unit with which the effectivity of insulation is measured) per inch (2.2 – 4.0), and while it’s easy to install, it also requires special equipment for doing so. The batts, rolls, and blankets are slightly more expensive, but they have good R-Value per inch (3.7). The main issue with it is that it’s only suitable for installation in open-framed walls.
…good for more than a hundred years, provided they are kept dry and intact.
Cellulose, on the other hand, is sprayed loose fill made with recycled paper and treated with borates to become fire retardant. It has good R-Value per inch (3.6 – 4.0) and it’s affordable as well as easy to install, albeit requiring special equipment for doing so. It does have some disadvantages. For instance, it is susceptible to moisture and it settles over time.
Meanwhile, polyurethane foam is either sprayed or injected into spaces that need insulation. Its high density variant has excellent R-Value per inch (5.8) and is impervious to water damage. Unfortunately, it is quite expensive and its installation process causes toxic fumes.
If you are in the market for insulation, one of the factors that should influence your choice is the durability of the material. Insulation life expectancy understandably affects its cost-effectivity. All three materials discussed above are good for more than a hundred years, provided they are kept dry and intact. There are less robust materials such as black felt paper, which usually does not last past 30 years, and liquid applied membrane, which lasts about 50 years — half the lifespan of the more popular insulation materials.
If you have insulation issues, whether you want to insulate a new extension of your home or remove blown insulation, you are facing some tough labor that requires technical knowledge, skill, and tools, so it is best to just hire the pros to take care of it.