Yes, the newspaper can be used as an insulator, because its composition is mainly made of cellulose pulp, which is a material with very good thermal and acoustic insulating properties.
The newspaper used as insulation goes through a recycling process in which it is transformed into a shredded material easy to apply, and with the help of other components, it becomes a fireproof material.
The use of newspaper as an insulator goes back many years, maybe you can think of an outdated practice, but currently, with the search for new ecological alternatives used in bio construction, the use of cellulose pulp as thermal insulation for housing is something that has been promoted.
The clearest (and saddest) example that paper can be used as insulation is the use that some homeless people give to it, these people use newspaper directly, sometimes mixed with cardboard to cover themselves from the cold when they have to sleep outdoors.
In order to use newspaper safely as insulation in houses, a process of preparation of the material is required, which makes it suitable for these purposes, as it is known that one of the characteristics of newsprint is an easily flammable material.
To counteract this weakness of the newspaper and make it viable as an insulating material for houses, boron salts are added to it, which is mixed with the previously shredded newsprint from which the cellulose fiber is separated through machinery.
The boron salts allow the cellulose to have flame-retardant characteristics: it neither ignites nor spreads fire, in addition to being antifungal and insecticide, which results in an insulating material resistant to time.
Comparison of newspaper with other insulating materials
Compared to other popular insulation materials currently used on the market, cellulose extracted from recycled newsprint can be placed in the middle range of effectiveness, having a minimum R-value of 4.2, the R-value of an insulation material indicates the thermal insulation capacity of a layer of material.
While spray foam is the insulating material with the highest R-value, compared to cellulose insulation it is significantly more expensive.
There is also the difference that spray foam is a mixture of chemical components, while cellulose is totally organic, although the boron salts used in the preparation of cellulose insulation are slightly toxic.
The three main differences between cellulose-based insulation in relation to other materials are; more economical, fire-resistant, and renewable organic material, for many people thinking of insulating their home it is a concern that spray foam can be flammable.
Although spray foam is not considered a highly flammable material, there is a risk that it can catch fire and caution should be taken in the areas of application of this insulation.
The difference in price is also something very noticeable, the insulation based on cellulose, being a recycled material, is much more economical.
Is newspaper a good insulator?
The newspaper is a good insulating material, both from heat and noise, the reason why the newspaper is a good insulator is that it is composed of cellulose.
The main component responsible for the insulating capacity of the newspaper is cellulose, this element that makes up much of the paper is a natural organic fiber extracted from plants and natural fibers.
Currently, cellulose is among the most effective and economical insulating materials that can be used in a house, for various reasons it is widely used as insulation, among the most notable properties of cellulose insulation is to maintain the temperature longer without the need to turn on the heating or air conditioning.
It is a totally ecological and renewable material, it is the only insulation that combines both thermal and acoustic protection, fire protection, and condensation control in a single application and with a single material.
It is a breathable material that regulates humidity, improving the feeling of comfort inside the home.
Cellulose is currently the most efficient insulator on the market for several reasons: it manages to maintain the temperature longer without the need to turn the heating or air conditioning back on; it is totally ecological both in its manufacturing process and in its installation.
It is the only insulation that combines thermal and acoustic protection, condensation control and fire protection in a single application and with a single material; it is a breathable material that regulates humidity, improving the feeling of comfort inside the house.
How is the newspaper used as an insulator?
I would like to tell you that it is as simple as taking large quantities of newsprint and piling them up inside the walls, but that would be unsafe, Using newsprint as an effective insulator requires a production process as we mentioned previously, to make it fireproof and also to make its application simple.
Although in reality, in homes of previous decades, the unprocessed newspaper was used to insulate homes and could last for many years without deteriorating.
However, there are much safer and more effective modern methods to use newsprint as a recycled material to insulate a home.
Cellulose insulation has a good insulating effect, the energy required for production is low and the prices of cellulose insulation are also quite low compared to other natural insulation materials.
For loose cellulose insulation is an old newspaper shredder. In addition to the paper, the cellulose insulation has boric salts embedded in it. These provide insulation material with fire-retardant properties.
To make cellulose insulation in sheets, the cellulose flakes are pressed into sheets by steam. Again, boron salts or aluminum sulfates are integrated to provide fire protection. Cellulose insulation is one of the organic insulation materials.
Generally, to insulate a house with newsprint, a preliminary inspection is carried out to determine the most suitable insulation system: blown-in, dry sprayed or wet spraying.
The most common method of insulation with newsprint in walls is blown-in: small holes are made in the wall and the insulation is blown in until the surface is filled, or in houses made with studs.
The material is blown in with one of the sides of the walls removed between the studs, the excess material is removed; then the holes or the sides of the studs are covered again. Dry spraying is used for under-decks.
In which places is it possible to insulate with newspaper?
Cellulose insulation can be applied as exterior roof insulation under the roof deck, as long as the insulation is well-weatherproofed.
Additional choices for roof insulation are between or under rafters insulation. Cellulose insulation alternatively can also be used to insulate ceilings and walls.
Here are the possible areas of application:
- wall insulation in timber frame and wood panel construction
- insulation of interiors
- insulation of room dividing walls
Cellulose insulation as a loose insulating material can be blown into interior wall cavities or ceiling cavities. Cellulose insulation materials are generally not suitable for perimeter insulation or core insulation.
Cellulose insulation in sheet form is somewhat more expensive than cellulose insulation in bulk. Cellulose insulation is also recommended for sound or heat protection in summer. In addition, cellulose insulation can store and release moisture.