Insulation

Why Insulate?

Thermal ImagingHeat moves into, out of and through your home in four ways: by conduction (which R-Value measures), and by convection, radiation and air infiltration (none of which R-Value  measures).

A superior insulation system will have a high R-Value (prevent heat transfer via conduction), will be pneumatically or spray applied, fully filling the building cavity (preventing heat loss via convection), and will be densely packed (preventing heat loss via air infiltration and radiation). Celbar Cellulose insulation meets all four of these critical performance criteria!

By comparison, the most widely used insulation material, conventional fiberglass batts, only helps prevent conduction.

What is R-Value?

R-Value is the measure of resistance to heat flow through a given thickness of material. The higher the R-value is, the greater the resistance.

Air / Vapor Barriers with insulation

Wall Cavity with Celbar Cellulose InsulationAir infiltration has a major impact on the real world R-Value that insulation delivers and, as a result, on the thermal performance of an insulated building. Infiltration of unconditioned ambient air means that heating and cooling systems must work harder to compensate for heat losses (in the winter) and heat gains (in the summer).

Insulation inhibits the movement of air from warm to cold (interior to exterior) in winter and cold to warm (exterior to interior) in summer, by trapping air between its fibers or pores.  The higher the density of the material, the better it is at inhibiting the movement of air.  Celbar cellulose insulation has a much higher density than fiberglass, and does a much better job at inhibiting air movement. Fiberglass insulation is air permeable, allowing outside air to flow into the building through cracks and seams between building materials. Celbar seals houses better, limiting airflow not only through the insulating material, but also around difficult to insulate areas such as gaps around electrical boxes, wiring and plumbing.

But what about moisture?

A common misconception is that all insulations require vapor barriers. However, it is not recommended to use vapor barriers with Celbar, except in circumstances of exceptionally high moisture levels, such as an indoor pool facility. The reason is that cellulose is the only insulation that actually manages moisture.

Moisture moves by two transport mechanisms, air movement and diffusion.  Of these two, air movement is the more significant, accounting for over 98% of the total, and it is the primary cause for moisture related building failures.  As noted above, Celbar impedes the movement of air generated by wind, stack effect, and mechanical imbalances within the building.  By blocking the movement of moisture-laden air, Celbar reduces moisture movement to manageable levels within the building assemblies.  Any remaining moisture is diffused by the cellulose, and will be further blocked by primers or paints used on the interior surfaces.

Key Performance Features of Celbar

Feature
Celbar
Sprayed Fiberglass
Fiberglass Batts
Cotton Batts
Open-cell low-density polyurethane Sprayed Foam (Soy)
Close-cell spray polyurethane Sprayed Foam
Comments
R-Value per inch 3.6-4.0 2.2-40. 3.7 3.7 3.6 5.8 The higher the number the better R-value can be achieved with less thickness.
Meets air barrier requirements without extra materials and work X X Spray Foam is an effective air barrier however house wraps, joint sealed OSB, plywood, and gypsum drywall are also air barriers.  Visit www.airbarrier.org or www.buildingscience.com regarding the importance of walls to breathe.
Easily insulates irregular or hard-to-reach spaces X X X X Difficult for batt materials to achieve.  Easy to achieve with sprayed materials; whether cellulose, fiberglass, or foam.
No HFAs, HCFCs, or HFCs used  X X X X X Close-cell polyurethane contains HFC-245fa blowing agent which can have an impact on global warming.
Contains no formaldehyde X X X X Members of the Fiberglass industry have introduced a Formaldehyde Free product in recent years although not all fiberglass products are.
No harmful emissions after installation or drying X X X X Although no harmful emissions are present after installation or drying. Both foam products are quite toxic during installation and require respirators or supplied air.  Several days are required for airing out the property before occupancy.
Can be injected in closed cavities X X X X Cellulose insulation was the original material used for this application and remains the preferred material by Federal Weatherization programs.  Some foam products require bracing every 3 feet for piping and wiring to resist movement by expanding foam.
Mold resistant X X X X X X Chemical additives in cellulose and other products allows them to pass the ASTM C739 Fungi Resistance test.
Settles over time X Celluose insulation does settle over time and if it is not installed correctly, with the correct depth to account for this then there will be a potential loss in R-value.  Packaging identifies correct depth, after settling, to achieve desired R-value.
“Wick Water” X X X X You shouldn’t get water in the wall but if you do, you want it to spread by wicking to speed drying rather than pooling in one spot.  Cellulose insulation passes ASTM C739 Moisture Vapor Absorption test
Not Damaged by Water X X All insulation materials lose R-value when exposed to water as the water fills trapped air spaces even if it does not directly affect the insulation material.  Water is not preferred for any building material.
Controls Airborne Sound Transfer X X X X X X Foams, cellulose, and fiberglass reduce sound transmission.