Author Topic: Installer preference for fiberglass batts vs. cellulose  (Read 746 times)

Gibbelstein

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Installer preference for fiberglass batts vs. cellulose
« on: February 19, 2019, 03:56:06 PM »
TLDR: Are attic insulation companies pushing me toward fiberglass batts because it is in any way better, or just because has better profit margins? And what about vacuuming/disinfecting?

Long form:
We're going to get our attic insulated soon. I am in the process of getting quotes, and based on the reading I have been doing, I would prefer cellulose for the cost and increased R-per-inch of material. However the first 2 quotes have all 'strongly recommended' fiberglass batts and a vacuuming/disinfecting (we recently had the old shingle roof replaced with asphalt, and there's debris up there from that). Both of their quotes were in the $2500 range. The third one is coming out this week, but recommended cellulose and gave me a preliminary estimate of $1080.

Their justification for the batts was that "if you have work done in the attic, they will disturb the blown in stuff, but the batts are replaceable." But, we've already replaced the roof and cloth wiring, and I could get the whole thing done twice with cellulose for less than their price. Their description of the cleaning/disinfecting was some vague "best to start with a clean foundation" kind of stuff and that the disinfectant smells "nice". I assume larger pieces of debris effects how the batts lay as well. There's no indication of rodents/pests up there.

So, in your opinions, is there anything superior about fiberglass batts that I am missing? I think it would have to be significantly better to justify double the cost. I don't begrudge anyone making money where they can, but this seems excessive.

MrSal

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Re: Installer preference for fiberglass batts vs. cellulose
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2019, 04:04:34 PM »
cellulose is a much superior product than fiberglass. I wouldn't put fiberglass anywhere in my house. Better fire resistance, better R value... better air sealing properties, and from the looks of it on your quote, cheaper

J Boogie

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Re: Installer preference for fiberglass batts vs. cellulose
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2019, 04:14:56 PM »
Are you putting insulation on the floor (and staying out of the attic) or insulating the roof (because you're planning on using the attic)?

If insulating the roof, I'd it sprayed with closed cell foam. If you're going to hire it out, get your money's worth. Paying someone to vacuum and carry a few batts up the stairs and roll them out makes no sense unless you're disabled or elderly.

I wouldn't put cellulose on my attic floor because it's messy and in the event the attic will be converted to living space, it's far better to roll the batts back up and reuse them elsewhere vs wrangling a bunch of cellulose into garbage bags.


« Last Edit: February 20, 2019, 02:34:22 PM by J Boogie »

Gibbelstein

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Re: Installer preference for fiberglass batts vs. cellulose
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2019, 04:33:05 PM »
J Boogie, we are just doing the attic floor, because the attic is like 4ft tall at its highest and has a decent pitch, so no living space or even much storage potential. I looked at spray foam as well, but I don't think our situation would benefit as much as some others.

I should also note for context that the reason we're specifically looking to hire it out is because we can get a substantial rebate from the DWP, but requires professional installation.

Thanks to you both for the input so far!

Jon Bon

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Re: Installer preference for fiberglass batts vs. cellulose
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2019, 12:02:57 PM »
Blown in Cellulose for the win.

Probably the best bang for your buck energy efficiency project you can do. Most big box stores will rent you the machine (for free). Its a bit messy to do DIY, but total cost would be like $250 bucks!

I think the DIY savings would blow whatever rebate you get out of the water, but whatever works for ya.

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: Installer preference for fiberglass batts vs. cellulose
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2019, 08:11:31 AM »
If you don't anticipate doing much work in the attic, I would definitely go with the blown-in cellulose. Pros: cheaper and  more effective; Con: harder to work in.

I looked into spray foam insulation, but it's staggeringly expensive and there is simply no point in our climate. We use 100% wood heat in the winter., so heating costs are nil. In summer, we spend an extra $40/month on our power bill to run air-conditioning in a 3200 sq.ft. house.

Gibbelstein

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Re: Installer preference for fiberglass batts vs. cellulose
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2019, 05:12:26 PM »
Thanks, all, for the tips!

I ended up getting cellulose blown in there yesterday. They came out for a quote, but the crew mistakenly thought they were there to do the work. They were the last quote I was waiting for, and when they came in under the estimate I got over the phone, I figured we might as well go through with it, rather than wait for another appointment. They already had the time blocked off*, so it was done in less than 1hr. And, I should get a rebate for 80% of it from the DWP.

I shouldn't be this happy about having tossed some paper pulp in the attic.

*It did occur to me that the "oh, we thought we were here to do the work" was a sales tactic, but if their 'scam' is having the lowest estimate, and immediate availability, I'm OK with it. =)

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Installer preference for fiberglass batts vs. cellulose
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2019, 08:49:35 AM »
I know I'm late to the party, but I'm in favor of cellulose as well.  Our attic has batts between the trusses, and blown-in fiberglass on top of that.  When I've had to do any work up there (e.g. installing recessed lights), the batts have been more hassle than they're worth.  Also, batts need to be placed carefully in order to avoid gaps, while blown-in insulation doesn't have that issue.

Did your attic have no insulation before the job?

Gibbelstein

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Re: Installer preference for fiberglass batts vs. cellulose
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2019, 10:59:31 AM »
Nope. The place was built in the 30s and never insulated, so we went from nothing to R38. We don't have AC, so I'm really hoping it helps the upstairs temperatures this summer.

I'm glad to hear I wasn't crazy in thinking the batts weren't actually better (at least not twice-the-cost better), and I don't regret skipping the scented disinfecting spray either...

MrSal

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Re: Installer preference for fiberglass batts vs. cellulose
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2019, 02:30:02 PM »
You had notthing before? Oh boy then you are in for a treat!!

Even if you did just R2 would have cut costs by half! R38 you will feel a difference, I might have gone all the way into the 50s though... worth the cost for a couple extra bags.

Make sure to check your electric supplier (both gas and electric just in case) for any rebates. We got a rebate and could have been all the way up to 75% of cost if i had electric heat.