Q&A / 

Fiberglass Blankets and Blown In Insulation

Be sure to read the special Author's Note at the end of this column. It provides updated information on this topic.

There are two or three fiberglass manufacturers that everybody knows. Each of these companies has tried to create an identity for themselves by coloring their fiberglass insulation products. However, did you know that there are a total of seven companies in the business? Some of the names you would readily recognize. Others are minor players. The bottom line, though, is that fiberglass is virtually the same no matter who makes it. The important part of the manufacturing process is how it is spun, cross-laminated and constructed.

Fiberglass insulation works as an insulator when it can trap and hold millions and billions of air bubbles or particles. This is accomplished by the intertwining of the fiberglass fibers. Too much fiberglass per given cubic measurement and you have no air. Too little fiberglass and the air can pass through rapidly. The trick is to get the correct balance. The major manufacturers perfected this process years ago. Recently their research has provided insulation which is less irritating, and batts which come wrapped in plastic. The scientists continue to work hard on new products. I can't wait to see when the space shuttle heat shield technology finally makes it to the residential market. When it does, we will be heating our homes with a candle!

Blown-in fiberglass is the same product as batt insulation. A DIY'r can easily install batt insulation. Blown-in fiberglass is not so easy. The biggest obstacle is finding installation equipment. The blowing machines for fiberglass are large and powerful. They are usually truck mounted, not portable. The engines that power the blowers are usually 10 horsepower or larger. You won't put this type of equipment in the back of your car, trust me! Call the professional. It is usually cheaper.

  • Ark-Seal, Inc. Int'l.
  • CertainTeed Insulation
  • Georgia-Pacific Corp.
  • Guardian Fiberglass
  • Johns Manville
  • Knauf Fiber Glass
  • Owens Corning

Learn the secrets for successfully installing insulation with my Insulation Installation Checklist. I offer a 100% Money Back Guarantee.

Insulation Association

If you need some generic information about fiberglass and other insulators, contact this association:

North American Insulation Manufacturers

North American InThe NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) Research Center has developed an Insulation Contractor Certification program. To find a list of certified installers, go to nahbrc.org and click on Lab/Certification Services.

Author's Note:

Routinely I am blessed to hear from professionals and industry experts who share in-depth and updated information about a topic. You'll absolutely want to read the letter I received from the President of NAIMA (North American Insulation Manufacturers Association). It really helps clarify some of the points I just touched on in the insulation columns.


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