Fiberglass insulation is plastic matrix infused with glass for reinforcement. It was made for the first time by accident in 1932, and has been used as insulation since the early 1940s. It is lightweight and very strong material.
All insulation is good for the environment since it lessens the amount of electricity it takes to cool down and heat up your home, resulting in less greenhouse gasses being released into the environment. Fiberglass is also made out of recycled materials, but it isn’t the most “green” choice of insulation out there. It takes a lot of energy to produce fiberglass insulation, which makes choices like cellulose insulation a better environmental choice.
Forms of Fiberglass Insulation
Traditionally, fiberglass insulation comes in the form of batts, which look like fluffy blankets, often pink. They come in different lengths, thicknesses, and widths. They are cut and fitted in between the joists of your home by professionals. They can come with a facing or material on one side, usually of kraft paper or foil. These are usually there to make insulation easier since touching the fiberglass is irritating to skin, but some types of facing can also help with the insulation processes itself once installed.
This is very similar to batts, but they are wider and thinner, always with facing on at least one side. These usually have a lower R-value than batts do and are thus a less popular option.
They do have a loose fiberglass insulation that can be blown in. Since it is just blown onto the floor of an area, it is usually used only for unfinished attics.
Fiberglass Insulation Positives:
- Fiberglass batts are easy to install, though it is important that they fit together well and are securely fastened into place so they don’t shift around
- Fiberglass is relatively inexpensive.
Fiberglass Insulation Drawbacks:
- Fiberglass insulation takes a lot of energy to make.
- It has an average R-value at a little over R-3 per inch, which is low compared to other types of insulation
- It shifts around easily, leaving gaps that will lower the R-value.
- Fiberglass isn’t waterproof. This means that it can hold water, which will lower the R-value as well as possibly create mold.
- It is hard to handle without protective gear. The glass in the insulation is harmful to bear skin.