How To Tell The Difference Between Cellulose And Asbestos Insulation

Homebuyers should inspect the insulation before making any decisions about whether or not to make changes.

Insulation can be either cellulose, spray foam, or fibreglass in modern dwellings. But if you’re looking at a home that’s more than a few decades old, it could include asbestos insulation.

Asbestos and cellulose insulation, unfortunately, can seem very similar to one another, making identification difficult.

Insulation Materials: Asbestos vs. Cellulose

It is helpful to understand the properties of asbestos and cellulose before comparing them.

Asbestos Insulation

Asbestos is a mineral, although few understand that. In spite of its malleability and softness, asbestos has remarkable resistance to both heat and corrosion.

Asbestos was widely used for insulation and fireproofing in the building industry from the 1950s until the 1990s.

Asbestos is still present in the drywall tiles and the attic of many older buildings and residences.

Cellulose Insulation

Hemp, cardboard, straw newspaper, straw, and other materials are used to make cellulose insulation, which is used as a substitute for asbestos.

To make a cellulose/paper composite fireproof, workers apply a boric acid treatment before use in construction.

Which Type of Insulation is Better for Your Home?

Choosing the right insulation for your home is crucial. Cellulose insulation and asbestos insulation are two of the most common kinds of insulation used today.

Newspaper and other paper products can be recycled to create cellulose insulation. It can help lower energy costs and increase your home’s energy efficiency, and it’s typically put in the attic.

It may deteriorate over time and be damaged by moisture. The fibrous materials used in asbestos insulation, on the other hand, are extracted from rocks and minerals.

Fewer than a few decades ago, it was commonly used in residential construction due to its high resistance to heat flow.

However, its dangers to human health have just recently come to light, leading to its prohibition in several nations.


In nature, asbestos forms as a silicate mineral. Asbestos minerals, of which there are six types, consist of long, thin fibrous crystals.

Because of their minute size, these fibres cannot be seen by the human eye. This is one of the challenges in identifying whether or not your home has asbestos insulation.

However, cellulose is derived from a wide variety of recycled materials, including newspapers, cardboard, and even straw.

The fire and insect resistance of this paper-based insulation is achieved through the addition of boric acid and other chemicals.