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While fiberglass is the most common type of insulation, cellulose is second in popularity. Many people choose cellulose because it is among the most environmentally friendly forms of insulation. Even though it has been in wide use since the 1970s, though, there are still many people who labor under false assumptions about its properties and capabilities.

Cellulose Insulation: Facts vs. Fiction

(Freeimages / Pierre Benker)

If you’re considering cellulose insulation for your home or business, don’t be swayed by misinformation. Take note of the following myths:

  • Myth: Cellulose is vulnerable to humidity and mold because it is made of paper. This is a myth that has no scientific basis. Cellulose is indeed made of paper, but it has been prepared so that it can handle moisture and mold just like other insulation materials, if not better.
  • Myth: Cellulose is flammable. This is another untruth. Cellulose insulation is treated with fire retardants that meet federal, state, and local fire safety requirements. Cellulose insulation has a Class 1 fire rating.
  • Myth: Cellulose insulation will settle over time and lose its original R-value. In truth, all loose-fill insulation will settle with age, but when properly installed, cellulose insulation will not settle below the target R-value. Note that all loose-fill insulation materials lose their R-value when they are improperly installed.
  • Myth: Cellulose does not insulate and air seal at the same time the way other insulation materials do. Foam insulation is well known for its air sealing capabilities, but cellulose, too, reduces air leaks. Sometimes, the structure of the home is the problem—not the insulation. And though foam may be regarded as the champion of air sealing, cellulose presents a number of other advantages over foam.
  • Myth: Cellulose is expensive. Cellulose insulation is more expensive than fiberglass batts, mostly because it costs more to install. However, the savings in energy cost can offset the higher installation cost of cellulose.
  • Myth: Cellulose causes deforestation because it is sourced from trees. This misinformation does not hold up because cellulose is not derived from freshly cut trees. Rather, it is made from 80 percent recycled materials.

Deciding how to insulate your home or business is a big decision. As you weigh the alternatives, know the facts and don’t let falsehoods about cellulose or other types of insulation steer you wrong.