Blown Insulation Vs Rolled: What's Better In Your Attic?

What insulation type gives you the best bang for your buck? We compare two popular options: blown-in vs rolled attic insulation.

The Texan summer is around the corner, and you are readying for H-E-A-T! Experts say that Texas has more than 60 dangerous heat days per year and that heat is a leading weather-related killer. You're looking for the best attic insulation to protect your family and home.  

Among the many types of insulation, you've narrowed down your search to blown-in insulation and rolled insulation. 

Blown insulation vs. rolled: which type of insulation will better shield your family against summertime heat?

Fiberglass Insulation Types

Manufacturers use fine glass fibers to make fiberglass insulation - 40% to 60% of which are recycled glass. The three types of fiberglass insulation are blown insulation, rolled insulation, and batt insulation. 

Wear protective eyewear & clothing, masks, and gloves when handling fiberglass insulation as it can irritate the lungs and skin. 

Apart from fiberglass, other materials used in home insulation are cellulose and mineral wool. Manufacturers utilize recycled newspapers for cellulose insulation and fire retardant slag wool and rock wool for mineral wool insulation.  

Blown Fiberglass Insulation

Perhaps the most eco-friendly fiberglass insulation, blown insulation (or loose-fill insulation), is made of recycled materials. Not only that, but you can also re-use it by collecting and relocating it to another space. 

Blown fiberglass insulation is blown into building cavities and attic floors using a blowing machine. It is best for tight spaces, irregularly shaped or sized attics, crawl spaces, ceilings, and walls. You can also use blown fiberglass insulation in ductwork and pipes. 

You can further break down loose, fluffy blown fiberglass insulation into even smaller granules and shreds to better fit the structures of your home. 

Fiberglass insulation installation requires the expertise of professional attic specialists as it is susceptible to mold if not sealed properly. 

Rolled Fiberglass Insulation

If blown fiberglass insulation looks like fluffy cotton candy, picture rolled insulation as a rolled blanket that you can roll out to cover long spans. Similar to blown insulation, you can cut rolled insulation to the required length.

Expert attic specialists fit rolls between standard-sized beams, joists, and studs free from obstructions. Some of the advantages of rolled fiberglass insulation are:

  • DIY-friendly;
  • Relatively inexpensive;
  • Produces the least dust during installation and requires minimal cleanup;
  • Doesn't require special equipment. A utility knife will suffice to cut as needed;
  • Generally easy to move around.

Batt Fiberglass Insulation

Sometimes, you need things that are ready to go. Rolled insulation and batt insulation are alike, but their difference is that batt insulation is already pre-cut into industry-standard sizes, making it less prone to errors. 

Building professionals commonly use batts in light commercial projects, multi-family structures, and single-family houses. It is excellent for noise and temperature control, is snug-fitting, and is easy to install.

Batt fiberglass insulation provides a cleaner look than blown insulation if you're concerned about appearance. 

The Differences Between Blown-In and Rolled Insulation

The best attic insulation is the one that suits your needs and preferences. All the insulation types protect from heat gain or heat loss. Some types work better in specific locations and applications. What should you consider in selecting new insulation for your home?

The primary considerations are:

  • Budget: the price difference between insulations can run into hundreds of dollars.
  • R-values of the insulation: the higher the R-value of the insulation material, the more effective it is.
  • The area of the home you are insulating: for example, an existing wall will benefit more from blown insulation, while rolled or batt insulation is better for new walls.

Which Insulation Option Is Best?

Batt insulation has a low R-value of up to 3.8 per inch only. You'll need multiple layers to achieve the recommended R-value. More layers mean more expense for you. Also, since batt insulation is pre-cut into industry-standard sizes, adjusting will cause compression and reduce its effectiveness.

Superior Attic's blown insulation has an R38 value. That is closer to the upper end of R-values and translates to 14 inches of insulation. Blown insulation also conforms to any area without disturbing finishes or structures. It can fill every crack, preventing air leaks, insects, and allergens from entering your attic. 

Which Insulation Option Is Faster?

Rolled insulation is long, bulky, and heavy at times and it can get physically demanding and inconvenient to haul and install into attics. You also have to cut it into the correct size and shape to fit your ceilings and walls. 

While blown insulation is not DIY-friendly, it is still faster to install because the certified attic specialist will take care of everything. All you have to do is make the call. 

Certified attic specialists know to avoid fire blocks, electrical wires, and other inner wall obstructions.

Which Insulation Is More Affordable?

In Dallas, the average cost of blown-in insulation is $1,312, while the average reported cost of batt and roll insulation is $1,670. 

You also have to account for miscellaneous supplies like tape, cutters, and fasteners for roll and batt insulation.

However, regardless of the insulation used, properly installed insulation improves the overall energy efficiency of a home and can lower total energy usage costs by up to 11%. 

Can You Mix Insulation Types?

Suppose you have batt insulation installed, and you're considering putting blown-in insulation on top as reinforcement. It is possible to mix insulation types as long as the lighter insulation is on top. However, you have to watch out for any vapor barrier trapped in between the two types. The excess moisture will result in unwanted mildew and mold.

The ideal situation is to remove the old insulation altogether, have thorough attic sanitation, and install fresh insulation to fully maximize a properly installed insulation's heating and cooling benefits.  

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