The History of Insulation


Prior to 1938 when fiberglass insulation was first introduced, insulation was primarily made of mud, horsehair, wool, and/or straw. When fiberglass was first installed, it was made out of a combination of fine glass and asbestos fibers. However, “by the late 1970s consumers and health organizations established a solid link between asbestos and lung disease. In 1980, asbestos production was banned throughout the U.S. and many other countries” (

As a result, cellulose insulation was introduced as an alternative to fiberglass. Cellulose is made out of recycled plant fibers, making it more environmentally friendly than fiberglass. Cellulose was widespread in the 1970’s to combat the negative effects of asbestos in homes; however, since then, it has been found that cellulose is both flammable and molds homes when moisture is introduced.

Since the 1970’s, fiberglass has changed and no longer contains asbestos. Therefore, if you have a home that was insulated before the 1970’s, you may have asbestos in your home. Or if your home was insulated during the 70’s and 80’s your home may contain a flammable, moldy, cellulose insulation. As a result, if you have an older home that is under-insulated… you will want to get it fixed as soon as possible!

In the 1980’s another type of insulation was introduced. Spray foam insulation was meant to be faster and easier for homeowners to do themselves. However, before introduced to homes, spray foam, or polyurethane, was used in military airplanes. Polyurethane, however, is toxic. If used improperly, it can cause skin, eye, and lung irritation if inhaled. Therefore, spray foam is best handled by a professional.

Since asbestos’ ban across the world, fiberglass is now made out of molten glass that is spun into extremely fine fibers. What makes fiberglass itchy is NOT asbestos or the fiberglass itself, but the chemical that is put onto fiberglass insulation to make it last. Though it is itchy, it is the best bet for your home. As opposed to cellulose insulation, fiberglass is not flammable and does not mold. And… you can skip the itch by having us install it for you! (which is really the better idea anyway)

Owen’s Corning has a product list of many different kinds of insulation. From blanket insulation that you can roll out, to blown-in insulation that expands after a professional blows it in with a machine. The difference with these products is: one is for professionals, the other is for homeowners looking to get the job done themselves. Atticat products are for professionals and are more likely to last longer. PINK products are sold in store for homeowners to get the job done quickly. BUT… we highly recommend you call a professional to check your insulation levels before deciding to do anything.