Is Insulation Flammable?
Is Insulation Flammable?
February 28, 2020
When it comes to picking insulation material, there are several factors to consider such as the R-value of the insulation, the climate you live in and, of course, whether the insulation presents any safety risks. In this case, we are going to specifically discuss flammability. While insulation material is prepared to be resistant to flames, some products will present a higher risk or be less resistant than others. So, if you’re wondering whether your insulation has the risk of catching fire or not, keep reading this guide by the pros at DFW Thermal!
So, Is Insulation Flammable? The Answer: It’s Complicated
Unfortunately, the answer to this question requires a little more than a simple “yes” or “no.” Let us go through the most common types of insulation materials and tell you whether they are flammable or not.
Fiberglass is one of the most commonly used insulation materials—and why wouldn’t it be? It’s a relatively cheaper material, it is versatile in the ways it can be installed (batts or blown in) and has a pretty high thermal resistance. In addition to that, it is non-combustible, meaning it is inherently fireproof and does not need to be treated with a fire retardant. That being said, SOME fiberglass facings, such as kraft paper and foil are combustible. “Faced insulation” is insulation that has a paper vapor retardant, used for moisture control. Facings can be found in batt insulation and must never be left exposed.
Cellulose is another commonly used material and one of its significant qualities is that it is made of recycled paper fiber. So, if you are looking for “green insulation,” cellulose is the one. However, because it is made of paper, it will be combustible, even though it is heavily treated with fire retardant. In fact, it is considered a fire hazard by Consumer Product Safety Commission and the CPSC requires cellulose manufacturers to warn users of that fact. So, if you’re wondering if cellulose insulation is fireproof, the answer is an unfortunate and resounding “no.”
Spray foam is a different material from cellulose and fiberglass. When applied it has the texture of shaving cream but when it cures it becomes an impenetrable barrier. It’s great at sealing up even the smallest cracks and preventing moisture. However, it is flammable according to the International Building Code—in fact all foam plastic materials are flammable.
Radiant barrier insulation is perhaps the most uncommon way you can insulate your home. Rather than using material that has high thermal resistance (like fiberglass), radiant barrier insulation is made of a foil-like material. This material helps radiate heat AWAY from your home, keeping it cool in the Dallas heat. The flammability of radiant barrier insulation depends on the manufacturer. Many manufacturers make it clear that their radiant barrier material has a Class A fire rating—meaning that their radiant barrier insulation meets the fire and smoke safety requirements of building codes. However, it is important to note that just because it has a Class A rating, does not mean that it is impossible for this insulation to burn. It IS made of metalized material (aluminum foil primarily), which can catch on fire.
Want More Information about Insulation Flammability? Contact the Pros at DFW Thermal!
We hope this guide answered your question about whether insulation is flammable or not. If you have more questions, get in touch with DFW Thermal! Call us today at 214-731-3115 or schedule a service online!