Asbestos Insulation And Cellulose Insulation Differences

Differentiating between cellulose insulation and asbestos insulation is not as easy as it seems. At first sight, there will be minimal obvious differences. The thing with different types of insulation is they have the same capability with the exception of the rating value. It is crucial to identify the insulation before implementing a home restoration, improvement, upgrade, or renovation project. Most people are aware of the dangers associated with asbestos-based building materials. Before 1980, home builders utilized various materials with an asbestos base. One particular building material that comes to mind is insulation. According to the Environmental Protection Agency “EPA,” asbestos poses minimal health risks when left undisturbed. In other words, as long as the asbestos remains undisturbed, you and your family are in minimal danger. Once the asbestos is disrupted, the tiny fibers become suspended in the air. It could take up to three days before the asbestos fibers settle. In the meantime, anyone who comes into contact with airborne asbestos fibers is at grave risk. The asbestos fibers enter the respiratory tract and are trapped in mucus, traveling to the lungs and abdomen.

Asbestos Insulation VS Cellulose Insulation

There are two mineral groups with six asbestos fibers. The serpentine mineral group is less dangerous because it may be easier to dislodge from the lining of the lungs and abdomen. While considered the less dangerous of the two mineral groups, chrysotile is linked to more health problems. Chrysotile (white and green asbestos) is more vast than amphibole. Amphibole  is the most dangerous because it has a high probability of crumbling. Its structures are like needles, allowing them to get lodged in the lining of the lungs and abdomen. Asbestos minerals are comprised of thin, long fibrous crystals. Unfortunately for anyone who comes into contact with asbestos minerals, they are not visible to the naked eye. They could easily be inhaled without you being aware of it until the onset of mesothelioma symptoms occur. Cellulose Insulation Cellulose insulation is constructed from materials that are recyclable. Cardboard and newspapers are commonly utilized for insulation applications. Both recycled materials offer superior heatproof and soundproof capabilities. Long-time exposure to cellulose insulation is not nearly as dangerous as asbestos insulation.

Different Types Of Insulation

Modern insulation is available in various types, including:
  • Blanket (rolls and batts) – fiberglass, mineral wool, plastic fibers, and natural fibers
  • Foam board (rigid foam board) – polystyrene, phenolic, and polyurethane
  • Concrete block insulation (insulating concrete block)
  • Loose-fill (blown-in) – fiberglass, mineral rock (slag or rock), and cellulose
  • Insulating Concrete Form “ICF” (foam blocks and boards)
  • Sprayed foam (foamed-in-place) – polyurethane, phenolic, and cementitious
  • Structural Insulated Panel “SIP” – straw, liquid, or foam core

Differentiating Between Asbestos Insulation And Cellulose Insulation

It is crucial to note, both asbestos insulation and cellulose insulation comes in both sprayed and loose forms. This is where some homeowners go wrong, assuming asbestos insulation is only blanket rolls. Asbestos insulation is generally grayish/brown or goldish/silver. Cellulose insulation is generally gray and takes on the appearance of shredded paper.

Asbestos Testing

If you are unsure which type of insulation is in your home, you may want to consider having it tested. Our asbestos experts can collect a sample and send it to a certified laboratory. Lab testing is the most efficient and accurate way to identify asbestos in insulation. Call today to learn more about our asbestos removal and testing services.

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