Choosing the Right Insulation: Blown-In Insulation vs. Spray Foam

When it comes to choosing the proper insulation for your home, it can be a difficult decision. Two of the most popular options are spray foam and blown-in insulation. Both types of insulation have their advantages, and it’s essential to understand the differences between them before making a final decision. 

Valley Insulation explores the pros and cons of blown-in insulation and spray foam so you can make an informed decision for your home.


Related Post: Understanding the 4 Types of Blow-In Insulation

What Is Blown-In Insulation?

Blown-in insulation, also known as loose-fill insulation, comprises small pieces of cellulose blown into an attic, walls, or floor spaces using specialized equipment. The insulation settles to form a seamless layer that conforms to the shape of the area, creating a thermal barrier that helps to keep a building warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

Blown-in insulation offers several advantages over other types of insulation. It is highly efficient and can significantly reduce energy bills. Additionally, because the insulation can be blown into difficult-to-reach spaces, it can provide more comprehensive coverage than other types of insulation. Made from non-combustible materials, blown-in insulation can also help slow the spread of flames in the event of a fire, giving occupants more time to evacuate safely.

Blown-in insulation is also an eco-friendly option that is made from recycled materials. It can also be easily removed and recycled at the end of its life, reducing waste in landfills. Nu-Wool, the type of blow-in insulation we use at Valley Insulation, is made from recycled newspapers and is treated with borate, a fire retardant.

What Is Spray Foam Insulation?

Spray foam is an insulation made from polyurethane foam applied using a spray gun. It expands to fill any gaps, cracks, or voids and creates a continuous barrier. There are two types of spray foam insulation: open-cell and closed-cell.

Spray foam insulation has many benefits, including superior insulation, air sealing, moisture barrier, and soundproofing properties. It can help reduce energy costs and increase the overall comfort of your home. Spray foam insulation is also more durable than other forms of insulation and can last for several decades.

Cost Comparison

When choosing the proper insulation for your home, the upfront cost is often the most significant factor. Spray foam insulation and blown-in insulation, specifically cellulose insulation, are two popular options that vary in terms of cost.

Spray foam insulation is generally more expensive upfront compared to blown-in cellulose insulation. The cost of spray foam insulation typically ranges from $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot, depending on the thickness and type of foam used. On the other hand, blown-in cellulose insulation typically costs around $0.75 to $1.50 per square foot.

Related Post: Saving Money With Blown-In Insulation: Is it Worth the Investment?

Installation Process

Spray foam insulation is applied using a special spray gun that combines two chemicals, which react and expand upon contact. The foam is sprayed directly onto the desired surface, creating an airtight seal. The foam then hardens and provides insulation that lasts for many years. However, the installation process can be time-consuming and may require additional safety precautions due to the chemicals involved. It also has a smell that may linger for several hours until the spray foam insulation cures completely to fill any gaps.

On the other hand, blown-in insulation involves the use of a machine that blows loose insulation material into the desired space. This can be done using either fiberglass or cellulose insulation. The process involves drilling small holes into the walls or simply distributing the material throughout the attic and then using the machine to blow the insulation into the cavities or on top of the attic’s floorboards. It is a quick and efficient process, allowing easy coverage of hard-to-reach areas. 

Environmental Impact

Spray foam insulation is made from a combination of chemicals, typically polyurethane foam, which is sprayed into place. While an effective insulator, spray foam insulation can have a higher environmental impact. The chemicals used in its production and installation process can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), contributing to air pollution and potential health risks. Additionally, the production of spray foam insulation involves the use of fossil fuels, which contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

On the other hand, blown-in insulation is typically made from recycled materials, such as cellulose from recycled paper products. These materials are often sourced from post-consumer waste, reducing the demand for new materials and keeping them out of landfills. This makes blown-in insulation a more sustainable option, as it helps to minimize waste and reduces the need for extraction of raw materials or the cutting down of trees.

Blown-in insulation also requires less energy to produce compared to spray foam insulation. This means a lower carbon footprint and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, blown-in insulation can be easily removed and recycled at the end of its lifespan, further reducing waste and environmental impact.

Related Post: Nu-Wool Insulation FAQs

Blown-In Insulation in Greater Cincinnati

Valley Insulation installs blow-in cellulose insulation in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area as well as eastern Indiana and northern Kentucky. We provide insulation removal and replacement services for residential homes and commercial buildings.Contact Valley Insulation or call (513) 353-4100 today to schedule a consultation or to get a quote.

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