Thank you to Leah for the question below that not only taught me something new – but allowed me to find out why recycled denim insulation may be a great option if you are considering a more eco-friendly and sustainable insulation alternative.
We need to insulate a small attic space above our office and we’re curious about recycled denim insulation. Do you know where we can find it locally and what the cost is in relation to the pink stuff that is normally used for insulation? Any info you guys have got is appreciated. Thanks!Leah
As a backstory – my husband and I insulated our home two summers ago and actually used cellulose, which is basically shredded newspaper. I had not heard of the denim option or I would have definitely considered it!
We’ve been thrilled with how snug our house is now – and our energy bills have definitely seen an improvement. I know others have used it with mixed results, and we knew there were some cons to using it, but it worked well for us.
But what about this recycled denim insulation stuff?
Unfortunately, our readers really had no feedback on this so I had to do some digging to find out what I could to help you decide if this is a good alternative for you and your family!
What Is Recycled Denim Insulation?
Like it sounds – it is an insulation that is made from the extra denim pieces from denim clothing manufacturers and cotton. The fabric will then be shredded and is treated with boric acid to keep it mildew and pest resistant as well as flame retardant. The last step is to cut it into batts that you can then install into the area that needs to be insulated.
The magnitude of textile waste just in the US is overwhelming, so using recycled denim this way is just another great way to help reduce the waste!
The insulation comes in several R-values – which is basically how great the insulation performance is.
Recycled Denim Insulation Benefits
There are a few reasons denim insulation is a great option for both commercial or residential use and I will talk about those below.
Eco-Friendly. Of course to me this is the most important item on the list! Because it utilizes post-industrial material it is literally reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfills. By using scraps of denim they are limiting waste and the resources needed to create new materials.
Sustainable. This would be the second reason I love this option! Not only is the product eco-friendly, but when the life span of the item is done it can still be recycled!
Air Quality. The use of denim means there is no extra chemicals like formaldehyde – which is found in some older homes that use foam insulation – that can pollute the air in your home.
Acoustics. Because denim is porous it makes for very good sound absorbency. It can cut the transmission of sound through walls. ceiling and floors and has a STC (sound transmission class) rating of 52 and NRC (noise reduction coefficient) value of 1.15.
The Downside Of Using Recycled Denim As Your Insulation
The only real downside is the cost – it is more pricey than traditional fiberglass insulation. But the benefits to your home and family far outweighs the cost in my opinion. Estimates have it costing almost twice that of fiberglass.
Some professionals have noted that sometimes the batting will need to be cut since they sometimes are not standard size – even though manufacturers say they are and having space by trying to cram it in may leave open spaces for air to get through.
If you are trying to install the insulation yourself make sure you have something to cut it with!
If you are looking to find a brand to do it yourself – UltraTouch from Bonded Logic is the one I kept seeing mentioned over and over when researching this article. The company has over 35 years of experience in the insulation industry and and creates a product that eco-friendly moms will love. It can be found in most Home Depot or Lowe’s stores.
If you are hiring a company to do it for you then make sure you are specific about wanting the denim alternative! I mentioned it to the company I used and they were not familiar with it – so not all companies may not use it yet.
Make sure you check with your local building codes! I am not sure if denim insulation is an option for everyone and there may be local codes that may prevent it from being used.
Outside of cost there are really no reasons to not use this option if you are a true EnviroMom!
Would love to know if you have tried it and what your experience is with denim insulation!