The Pros & Cons of Loose-Fill Insulation

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If you’re struggling with high energy bills, poor thermal efficiency, and a high carbon footprint, insulation can be the silver bullet you need to enjoy a more energy-efficient property.

But if you’re insulating your property for the first time, there are a few factors to consider.

  • Which part(s) of my home should I insulate
  • Which type of insulation should I use?
  • How do I install this insulation, and how much does it cost?


Loose-fill is a popular choice of insulation thanks to its effectiveness in making a home more thermally efficient. But what exactly is loose-fill insulation, where is it used in the home, and what are the pros and cons of this choice of home insulation?

What is Loose-Fill Insulation?

Loose-fill insulation – also known as blown-in insulation because of the method of installation – is an insulating material that’s compacted or loosely poured. It’s available in multiple materials and colours. This type of insulation is usually professionally blown into tight spaces by a professional and can be used in retrofit as well as new construction projects.

Sometimes, loose-fill comprises recycled materials, making it the preferred choice of homeowners looking for an eco-friendly option. Here are the three main types of loose-fill insulation you can get your hands on:

  • Fibreglass loose-fill: created from glass that’s been spun into fibres.
  • Cellulose loose-fill: created from a blend of chemicals and various recycled materials such as wood and paper.
  • Rock wool insulation: created by spinning molten rock.


Where is Loose-Fill Insulation Used?

Loose-fill insulation can be used in residential and commercial buildings alike. This type of insulation tends to be used between cavity walls as wall insulation, under floor joists as floor insulation, and in lofts as a type of loft insulation

Pros and Cons of Loose-Fill Insulation

Pros of loose-fill insulation

Loose-fill insulation is one of the most planet-friendly insulation options, and not just because it makes your home more thermally efficient.

Many types of loose-fill insulation, such as cellulose loose-fill, are made up of recycled materials, so if you’re passionate about keeping waste to a minimum and reusing materials where possible, loose-fill insulation should be your go-to.

If you’re trying to insulate under the floorboards or a particularly hard-to-access attic floor, loose-fill insulation is one of the best insulation materials. It is more versatile compared to other options such as insulation batts and foam boards.

Unlike other types of insulation, loose-fill insulation is blown-in, making it easier for it to reach all areas within wall cavities and nooks and crannies that some other materials simply couldn’t reach.

Like any type of insulation, loose-fill insulation makes your home more energy efficient. This, in turn, means you have to turn the heating on less often, which can save you hundreds of pounds a year off your heating bills.

Roof and loft insulation, for example, can save you up to £445 per year on your energy bills, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

Not only does this reduce your bills in the long term to help with your money-saving effects, but it also means the insulation will pay for itself within a matter of a few years. 

Certain types of loose-fill insulation are treated to make them mould, fire, and pest resistant. If you’re concerned about your property’s safety, opting for loose-fill combined with a mineral fire retardant can be a good way to add an extra safety element to your insulation.

When prospective buyers look around your home, their priority tends to be spending as little money as possible on renovations and redecoration. By having insulation already installed, you can knock one task off their to-do list. In turn, you’ll not only increase the likelihood of selling your home, but possibly be able to raise the price, too.

One of the main advantages of any type of insulation is that it makes your home more eco-friendly. If reducing your carbon footprint is one of your key priorities, insulating various parts of your property is one of the easiest ways to do it.

Insulation makes your home more thermally efficient, which in turn means your home keeps itself warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. By keeping your property at the optimum temperature year-round, you won’t have to switch the heating or the air conditioning on as frequently.

Since many of us use fossil fuels to control the temperatures in our homes, we’ll reduce our carbon footprint by adjusting the temperature less frequently.

Cons of loose-fill insulation

While loose-fill insulation isn’t as expensive as options such as spray foam insulation or blown-fibre, it’s still not the cheapest form of insulation on the market. If cost is a key concern for you, try an alternative such as blanket insulation instead.
While not a dealbreaker, it’s true that loose-fill insulation creates a lot of mess and dust during the installation process. To avoid having to conduct a deep clean of your home after installation, lay a dust-catching mat down in the area where the insulation is being installed. After the loose-fill insulation has been fitted, some dusting and vacuum cleaning should be enough to clean up the mess.

If you were hoping to save money by insulating your home as a DIY project, the bad news is that loose-fill insulation must be installed by a professional.

Because of the complex method of installation, loose-fill is not suitable for self-insulation. Luckily, loose-fill insulation doesn’t take long to install, so the labour costs for this type of project shouldn’t be too high.

Loose-fill, especially when it’s not properly treated with anti-mould solutions, can absorb water, which causes problems in the long term with damp and mould. This is especially true in cavity walls, when loose-fill which has absorbed water can cause damp problems in your wall cavities.

Insulation’s R-value measures the resistance to heat flow through a given thickness of material. A higher R-value means the greater its thermal resistance.

When it comes to installing the most effective insulation, look for a type of insulation with a high R-values. While loose-fill insulation has a high R-value when it’s first installed, it can decrease over time. This is because loose-fill insulation is prone to settling and compression, which reduces its effectiveness.

How Much Does Loose-Fill Insulation Cost?

The cost of loose-fill insulation will depend on a number of factors including which parts of your property you plan on insulating as well as which part of the country you live in. The latter can determine how high your labour costs will be.

In general, for the insulation materials alone you’re looking at spending approximately £7.50-£12 per square metre. This is more expensive than blanket insulation, but much cheaper than some other options.

Is Loose-Fill Insulation Right for You?

Loose-fill insulation isn’t the cheapest type of insulation material, but if you’re insulating an area, such as a small loft, that’s particularly hard to reach, the loose-fill installation method means it can reach all corners, nooks, and crannies and reduce air leakage and heat loss.

Loose-fill cellulose insulation is a particularly eco-friendly form of insulation,too, since it’s often made using recycled materials. If you’re looking for a type of insulation that successfully makes your home more cost-efficient and thermally efficient, while also boasting planet-friendly benefits, look no further than this type of loose-fill.

Remember, this type of thermal insulation must be installed by a professional, so look to experienced insulation installers that cover your area. They’ll be able to help you consider all the insulation alternatives and whether an option like cellulose insulation is more preferable than an alternative insulation material, such as spray foam insulation or mineral wool, for your particular situation.

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