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A Layman's Guide to Rigid Fiberglass Insulation

Kundan Pandey Apr 17, 2019
Insulation reduces or prevents the flow of heat, sound, and electricity. It is used in may places to avoid loss of energy, and also provides protection to buildings, homes, and commercial complexes.
Insulation from fire, heat, and weather related extremities is done to protect our houses from damage. It helps in fire safety, and regulates high or low temperatures inside the house. However, it can also be very helpful in energy conservation. There are various types of insulation like thermal, sound, and electrical insulation.
The primary objective involved in insulating a building or a small terrace is saving energy. How is energy preserved by insulation? According to a research, it has been found that nearly 60-70% of the energy generated in American homes result from heating and cooling. However, if the walls are not insulated, then the air can leak through it.
Also, it can disturb the temperature inside the house. On the other hand, if the house is properly insulated, precious energy is saved. Also, poor insulation leads to more reliability on electric heaters, fans, and air conditioners. Though, we can't eliminate the possibility of total energy loss, we can still control effective energy losses.


Fiberglass is a widely used insulator in the United States since the 1930s. It is a combination of glass and synthetic fibers. Glass is made up of silica (quartz), and is heated to a very high temperature that converts it into a molten form.
This form of silica and polymers are treated together, and drawn into wires or continuous sheets, providing a flexible shape to the rigid fiberglass. Owens Corning is the iconic company that is a major player in the production of fiberglass insulation.


  • R-value: It is a factor that measures the ability of the insulator to save energy. Higher this value, better is the insulator's performance. Fiberglass insulators have an R-value between 3 to 4.5. Generally, overall R-value is more significant than the R-value per inch.
  • Moisture Absorption: Fiberglass don't absorb any moisture at all. On absorption of moisture, insulators tend to lose their R-value, which degrades their performance. Since fiberglass has no problems with moisture, it is beneficial for use in moisture laden atmosphere.
  • Loss of Energy: Fiberglass insulation prevents air infiltration to a larger extent. This refers to the ability of an insulator to prevent the leakage of air, heat, or energy through the walls. When compared to cellulose insulation, fiberglass has less air infiltration power.
  • Corrosion Resistant: It is non-corrosive, and it does not contain any chemicals that can cause problem to wires or pipes.
  • Weight Issues: Fiberglass insulation is lightweight. It is easy for home owners to install it.
  • Fire Resistant: Fiberglass is non-combustible. It does not need any extra fire-deterrent chemicals to be added to it.
  • Sound Absorption: Sound recording studios use fiberglass insulation to avoid unwanted noise.


It is used in tanks, poles, buildings, recording studios, pipe insulation, automobiles, roofing panels, and in electrical insulation.

Health Problems

There are a few health hazards associated with fiberglass. Contact with it may cause skin itches and rashes. This is why, it is generally packed in plastic cases during delivery to the construction sites or working areas. People with allergic skins are more prone to skin irritation from fiberglass.
Fiberglass insulation is cost-effective, and it is a durable insulator. Owing to its usefulness, it is widely used. The few health problems caused due to contact with fiberglass can be avoided with proper care. Only expert workers must be called for installing fiberglass, as they can streamline the process of cutting and installing it.