Which is better for me? Cellulose, or Spray Foam Insulation?

Here at Bird Family Insulation, Savannah (my daughter who manages our office) gets these questions from homeowners, all the time.

Our answer is always … “It depends. You need to answer a few questions …

  • Are we discussing the attic, basement, crawlspace, floor, bonus room floor, garage ceiling, etc …?
  • What is your overall goal for this project?
  • Where is the house most uncomfortable, and at what season of the year?
  • Where is your HVAC equipment and air duct system(s) located?
  • How long do you intend to stay in the house?

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If we are discussing floor insulation, spray foam is absolutely the best option available. It doesn’t matter if it’s an outdoor deck being converted into living space, or basement ceiling, or the subfloor over a damp crawlspace. Use Sprayfoam! Make sure that it is two pound, (closed cell) spray foam.

Closed cell spray foam performs as a:

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  1. Thermal barrier.
  2. Air-infiltration barrier.
  3. Moisture barrier.
  4. Structural Improvement

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For Existing Walls, that are sheathed with sheetrock or paneling, etc; you have two choices:

  • Low-expansion foam. This is a different product than spray polyurethane foam. It’s actually a liquid with the properties of shaving cream, that is pumped into the wall cavities, and spreads throughout the cavity, filling the voids.
  • Drill-and-Fill Dense-pack cellulose (or a specific fiberglass product, but because we don’t install fiberglass, I am not familiar with it). Like low-expansion foam, Cellulose is pumped into the walls through a small hole, filling all the voids. Cellulose is also a sound deadening product. And because we use Applegate Bora-Spray Cellulose, it is excellent as an exterminator’s product! Cellulose is such an excellent drill-and-fill, sound-deadening product, we were hired by the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta to insulate the President’s office walls with our Drill-and-Fill technique.
  • For garage ceilings, that are sheathed with sheetrock, we use the Drill-and-Fill Densepack technique to fill the empty voids found in the floor system between a bonus room and the garage.

For Walls without sheathing, where the studs are exposed, you also have two choices:

  • Spray Foam Insulation
  • Cellulose Insulation

If we’re talking about attic insulation, you very definitely need to answer a few questions.

  1. If the HVAC equipment and air ducts are in your attic, I prefer to install Spray Foam Insulation. Protect your HVAC equipment and air duct system(s) by sealing and insulating your attic with Open Cell Spray Foam.
  2. If your attic is bare of any HVAC equipment or air ducts, you should do just fine with Cellulose Insulation.

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Choose your contractor carefully!

Choosing a Home Performance Contractor who is SOLUTION DRIVEN rewards you in so many ways. You benefit by knowing that your home - as a system - is performing at it’s peak efficiency for your budget.

There are exceptions to the above general guidelines.

Choosing a contractor with only one product, is like hiring a mechanic to repair your complex automobile, who has only ONE TOOL. He may be cheaper, but you may lose in the long term.

Have Questions? Call Savannah in our office, (404-538-9168) or email Bob from the contact form on this site. We’re here to help keep you comfortable!

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