The answer to the question of how long does insulation last varies greatly depending on its material and method. Cellulose, Spray foam, and house wrap insulation, for example, can last for many decades, while mineral wool insulation usually requires replacement fifteen to twenty years after installation. Here are the pros and cons of different types of insulation. Find out which is best for your home! Here’s how to choose the right kind for your home and save money!
Cellulose Insulation Is an Eco-friendly Option
The eco-friendliness of cellulose insulation is another benefit. Because it is made from recycled newspapers, it is both inexpensive and fire retardant. The fibers of recycled paper are treated with chemicals to make them fire retardant. This makes them an excellent choice for homes and buildings that require insulation to reduce energy costs and protect against fire. A great benefit of cellulose insulation is that it does not lose its fire resistance over time, which is particularly important when dealing with an emergency.
Cellulose insulation is also made from recycled paper and has a higher content of recycled material than other types. Some cellulose insulation contains as much as 85% recycled newspaper. It is made from small pieces of paper that have been fiberized, compressed, and treated with non-hazardous chemicals. Some of these chemicals, such as mineral rate, are also effective flame retardants and resist pests.
Benefit of Cellulose Insulation
Another benefit of cellulose insulation is its longevity. It can last from 20 to 30 years, depending on the type of insulation used. However, cellulose insulation is not perfect, and it will need to be replaced more often. The life expectancy of this material depends on the climate and other factors, such as the age of the home. For homes in dry climates, cellulose will last for at least 20 years.
Another benefit of cellulose insulation is that it is renewable. Because it is made from recycled materials, it is a great option for homes that want to be green and environmentally-friendly. Cellulose insulation is more dense than fiberglass and has a better ability to block air. With a higher density, cellulose insulation will decrease your heating and cooling costs by up to 20%. It will also reduce the amount of electricity you use for heating and air conditioning in the winter.
R-value of Cellulose Insulation
R-value refers to the resistance of materials to heat transfer and heat loss. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation will perform. Cellulose is better in this area than fiberglass and is more efficient than both. Moreover, it forms a dense mat that reduces outside noise. So cellulose is a good choice for homes that want to go green and save money on energy bills.
Spray Foam Insulation Lasts a Lifetime
The best thing about spray foam insulation is that it will last for decades, not just a few years. Its inert polymer makeup means that it will not rot, break down, or go bad. Like rubber balls, plastic pens, or toy Legos, spray foam will not degrade or change over time. That means that it will not only last for decades, but for the entire life of the home.
Process of Spray Foam Insulation
The process of spray foam insulation involves a chemical reaction between two compounds: a flame retardant and isocyanate. These are then heated and sprayed into the space between the walls. Proper application and proper temperature control are critical to the success of this process. A professional will use electronic equipment to monitor the temperature and ratio of each compound. If a mistake occurs, the result can be disastrous. The finished product will not only protect the building but also provide additional strength and stability to the foundation.
Benefit of Spray Foam Insulation
Proper insulation also improves sound control. It can block outside noise, while preventing sound from the inside from moving to another room. It will also create a consistent climate within the home. Finally, spray foam reduces air leakage, which helps to keep your home warm or cool in any climate. When properly installed, spray foam will last for a lifetime. Its insulating and air sealing qualities make it a perfect choice for your home.
Despite the fact that it lasts for years, home insulation can become worn and deteriorated due to unforeseen circumstances, such as floods, leaks, and pest infestation. These factors can affect the lifespan of your spray foam insulation and may require replacement. Some of the signs of when to replace it are listed below. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to get it checked. So, what should you do next?
Types of Spray Foam Insulation
There are two kinds of spray foam insulation: closed cell and open cell. Close-cell spray foam has an R-value of 6.5 to seven per inch and is more dense than open-cell foam. The closed-cell spray foam is rigid and has a high R-value, and it is ideal for hard-to-reach areas, such as corners and attics. Both have the ability to keep the heat inside your home.
Fiberglass Insulation Degrades over Time
Although fiberglass insulation may last up to 80 years without replacing, it is susceptible to degradation over time. This is because fiberglass can become dirty and prone to mold growth. Water damage also degrades the insulation’s performance. The first signs of degraded fiberglass are falling chunks on the floor, and loose parts and insulation that have fallen from the frame. However, if you want to extend the life of your fiberglass insulation, you can opt for eco-friendly, plant-based cellulose insulation.
R-value of Fiberglass Insulation
Compared to other materials, fiberglass degrades over time due to convection. A recent study showed that after three to four years, loose-fill fiberglass had lost up to 50% of its R-value. While cellulose and fiberglass batts didn’t show this issue, manufacturers eventually changed to an unbonded material. That’s the reason why the R-value of a house will go down as the temperature decreases.
In addition to degrading over time, fiberglass has many health risks. Its particles are so tiny that they can get lodged in the lungs and aggravate asthma symptoms. Older insulation materials can also cause eye irritation and upper respiratory tract irritation. Hence, it’s best to install fiberglass insulation at the proper thickness. It can degrade its R-value if it’s not installed at full thickness.
Lifecycle Duration of Fiberglass
Water damage is another cause of fiberglass degrading over time. The presence of water can lead to the dew point, a condensation point formed when the external cold air meets the warm air inside. Consequently, liquid vapor can form pools. Water corrodes the insulation, reducing its R-value. The presence of water also makes fiberglass vulnerable to mold growth. Its durability and lifespan depend on its location. If you live in an area that experiences moisture regularly, consider using cellulose insulation.
The material can also cause skin irritation. Even minor exposure to fiberglass insulation can lead to serious rashes. Some people even develop needle-like spindles and develop rashes. They may also experience coughing and itchy skin rash. To protect yourself from these symptoms, wear protective clothes and masks. And, if you do decide to install fiberglass insulation in your attic, be sure to replace it every 15 years.
Mineral Wool Insulation Needs to Be Replaced 15-20 Years into Its Life
While mineral wool insulation can last for decades, it is prone to wear and tear. In addition to its fire-resistance, it can cost as much as 50% more than fiberglass. There are other cheaper alternatives. Aerogel, a silica-mineral-based product, contains more than 90% air. This material acts like a sponge, absorbing water, and comes in sheets that are easily installed over wall studs.
As a supplementary insulation, mineral wool can be installed over existing foam insulation. However, it is necessary to replace it with fresh material after a few years. It will lose its efficiency as the insulation degrades over time. If you plan to air-condition your home, you should choose a product with variable permeability. Mineral wool panels are made of dense fiber and can support cladding materials. They are vapor permeable, which means they can be used as exterior wall insulation.
Advantage of Mineral Wool
Another advantage of mineral wool is its excellent moisture-repellent abilities. Unlike many other types of insulation, mineral wool is designed to handle moisture introduced to the wall assembly. As a result, some mineral wool insulation products meet ASTM C 1104 compliance requirements. Unlike many other types of insulation, mineral wool is extremely resistant to water and rarely migrates past its face. Mineral wool is a great choice for buildings with open-joint facades, as the material wicks water.
R-value of Mineral Wool Insulation
Mineral wool insulation is another alternative to fiberglass batts. In terms of cost, mineral wool is far less expensive than fiberglass. Its R-value is 23 compared to blown-in cellulose, and fiberglass batts have an R-value of 14. However, the latter is more expensive. In addition, mineral wool is easier to install than fiberglass, which are soft blankets that must be stapled into place.