Recycled Denim Insulation versus Fiberglass

Recycled denim insulation is quickly becoming a "green" alternative to traditional fiberglass insulation. Created from post-industrial denim-the scraps left over from manufacturing jeans-denim insulation compares well to fiberglass and relives some of the landfill burden.

Recycled Denim Insulation Comparisons

To create denim insulation, manufacturers shred denim and cotton fabric down into its component fibers. The fibers are the treated with boric acid to make them flame, mildew and insect resistant. Finally, the fibers are bound together into rolls (called batts). After manufacture, denim insulation retains its characteristic blue coloring and can be used in the same manner as fiberglass. Any comparison of denim and fiberglass insulation should include the following considerations:

  • Keeping warm. Denim insulation is available in R-13, R-19 and R-30 batts, making its R-value comparable to fiberglass insulation. The density of the denim material also allows it to perform consistently in extreme temperature change environments.
  • No harmful chemicals. Although fiberglass insulation is available in formaldehyde-free products, many fiberglass insulation products still contain some formaldehyde. Denim insulation contains no formaldehyde and contains no volatile organic compounds (VOC). VOCs are known to release harmful vapors into the atmosphere.
  • Did you hear that? For home theater and specialty installations, denim insulation provides superior sound insulation over fiberglass material. The three dimensional structure of denim material allows it to trap acoustical vibrations.
  • Workability. Denim insulation installs in a manner identical to fiberglass insulation, but the cotton fibers of denim insulation do not irritate skin in the same manner as fiberglass. Denim insulation, however, has been known to dull cutting tools faster than fiberglass.
  • Price. Denim insulation is priced at about a 15% to 20% premium over traditional fiberglass insulation. Environmentally conscious consumers may consider this a small price to pay to reduce landfill waste and keep harmful chemicals out of their home.
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