Having been in the home improvement industry for four decades, we’ve witnessed the evolution of building materials. At one point, fiberglass insulation was the gold standard. However, as technology has evolved, there are options, such as cellulose and spray foam, that create a more energy efficient home than fiberglass. While these options may cost more than fiberglass, they are well worth the investment. Still not convinced? Here are the top four disadvantages of fiberglass insulation.
Fiberglass Coverage Concerns
Rarely are home attics perfect squares. This presents an issue when trying to install fiberglass insulation, which is precut into lengths between 16 and 24 inches. Attics also contain electrical outlets that should not be covered up by insulation and failure to properly insulate these areas creates heat loss. If your insulation contractor doesn’t take the time to custom cut the insulation for these obstructions, your home energy bills can take a serious hit.
A disadvantage of fiberglass insulation over spray foam is its vulnerability to moisture. This means that if your roof leaks into your attic or frost causes condensation which then melts, the material loses its insulative properties. Another fiberglass insulation problem related to moisture is that when it’s wet, the insulation loses all R-value until it dries out.
It’s only a matter of time before mold growth commences on wet fiberglass insulation. This scenario has a lesser chance of occurring on cellulose insulation because it doesn’t permit the unimpeded circulation of air that carries mold spores and moisture. Floating mold spores that position themselves on the insulation quickly reproduce when exposed to water vapor or condensation. This fiberglass insulation problem compromises a home’s indoor air quality.
Low Density Creates Problems With Air Exchange
Many home furnace filters are comprised of fiberglass because of the material’s ability to allow air to freely flow through it. The same can be said for fiberglass insulation. Both cellulose and spray foam insulation have a higher density, making them better choices for preventing air leaks. This is why if fiberglass is used on a project, it’s imperative that the contractor thoroughly examine the attic for any areas that need air sealing to avoid fiberglass insulation problems.
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