A split screen image of demin jeans on the left and denim insulations batts installed in an exposed wall at right

Denim’s one of the best options if you’re considering adding green insulation to your home. While we usually associate denim with jean pants and jackets, you might be surprised to learn that it can also insulate various parts of your home. 

Denim insulation is made of shredded denim from clothes and other sources. This eco-friendly material comes in batts, much like fiberglass insulation. However, it’s not as itchy or irritating.

Denim is also mold-resistant and provides an excellent R-value, meaning you get better insulation. Not only that, but it works very well in places where other insulation types can’t.

Throughout this article, you’ll learn all about the pros and cons of denim insulation, how it’s installed, and whether or not it’s right for you.

So, let’s get into it!

Is Denim Good Insulation?

Denim insulation is good because it provides numerous benefits, such as being eco-friendly, providing a better insulation value than fiberglass, and being easy to install. Additionally, denim insulation doesn’t cause respiratory problems, making it safer than other insulation. It also improves acoustic insulation for recording sound.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of each of these advantages:

  • Denim is one of the most eco-friendly types of insulation – there are many forms of green insulation, but denim is one of the best. Not only does it use recycled materials, but it can also be reused for many other purposes. As a result, denim insulation can significantly reduce your carbon footprint and the impact you have on the surrounding environment.
  • It provides an R-value ranging from 13-19 – this insulating ability makes it an excellent choice for people living in climates with fluctuating temperatures and wide humidity ranges. In addition, it can resist mold, mildew, and rot, making it a top choice if you live in a home with old wood, metal, or paint.
  • Denim insulation is effortless to install – it comes in batts you place between the studs around your home. It’s firm, so it won’t fall apart in your hands or slouch out of place. You also don’t have to worry about using copious amounts of screws, nails, and adhesives.
A half batt of denim insulation on the floor in front of the wall it is installed in
  • You won’t have respiratory problems as you would with fiberglass insulation – denim doesn’t release small pieces into the air. So any oddments that drop off denim insulation are safe to handle without special gear, gloves, etc. It also won’t break apart and cause breathing issues down the road like other forms of insulation can.
  • Denim provides up to 30% better acoustic insulation – as a result, you won’t hear your neighbors, wind, rain, snow, and other loud external noises as much as you would with most other forms of insulation. It’s also ideal for people with soundproofed rooms for recording, entertainment, and more.

Disadvantages of Denim Insulation

The downsides of denim insulation include its higher price point and the fact that it’s not as readily available as most other forms of insulation. In addition, denim can be pretty expensive because it’s dense.

These are the cons you should consider before adding denim insulation:

  • Denim is undeniably more expensive than fiberglass – high-quality denim insulation costs up to twice as much as fiberglass. So it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth all of the previously mentioned benefits; the longer lifespan is also worth considering.
  • It presents a handful of installation challenges – while most people prefer the stiffness of denim insulation once it’s installed, it can be challenging to install it in the first place. It’s much harder to cut than most types of insulation, not to mention that it’s not as flexible. This robustness means you might have trouble fitting it in tight spaces.
  • Denim insulation isn’t as widely available as foam, fiberglass, and cellulose insulation – this issue might not apply if you live in a big city. However, those living far away from distribution centers might find it challenging to get enough high-quality denim insulation to insulate their entire home. You might be able to have the insulation delivered to you, depending on where you live.

Denim insulation is difficult to cut but easy to handle. It doesn’t break apart into chunks or fluffy bits. It can also withstand rain, wind, and earthquakes. Thus, the pros far outweigh the cons for those who prefer long-lasting, eco-friendly insulation.

Closeup on the hand of a homeowner who's installing denim insulation batts in a wall cavity.

However, everyone’s needs are different, so consider all the benefits and drawbacks before ordering your denim insulation.

How Is Denim Insulation Installed?

If you’re interested in denim insulation, you’ll have to choose whether to install it yourself or hire a professional. 

Denim insulation is installed using this process:

  1. Clean the surface and remove old insulation never install denim insulation over chipped existing insulation. It won’t hold, nor will it provide the necessary insulation gap to ensure optimal warmth, moisture resistance, and sound reduction. Let the surface dry completely before applying the insulation.
  2. Choose between 15-inch and 16-inch insulation (38-cm and 41-cm or cut it down to size) – denim insulation rarely comes in other sizes, so you might need to trim it. Some companies offer perforated denim to customize for your home. The insulation batts should touch the edges on both sides, the top and the bottom.
  3. Trim the excess bits of denim if necessary Acoustical Surfaces recommends using the trimmed pieces around windows and other gaps that don’t need as much square footage. Also, the insulation shouldn’t fold or wrinkle; these are often signs that there’s too much material in the section.
  4. Place a thin layer of drywall or wood over the insulation most building codes require an additional fire-resistant layer over any form of insulation. While denim is much more fire-resistant and heat-resistant than other forms of insulation, it still needs a layer of drywall to match local codes. Check your city’s requirements to find out if this applies.

Should You Install Denim Insulation?

You should get denim insulation if you prefer high-quality insulation that’s good for the planet. While it might be a little more expensive than the average insulation, you’ll enjoy the ease of installation, high-quality temperature control, and many other benefits this top-shelf material provides.

Here are some instances in which you should install denim insulation:

  • Denim insulation is one of the best choices for container homesinsulating a container home is much easier when you have dense, pre-cut batts. Denim comes in a couple of sizes, which can be shaved, cut, or trimmed to fit container homes, tiny homes, and many other small structures.
A wooden container tiny home up against a wall that uses a mini-split system for HVAC
  • DIYers should place denim near the top of their insulation list – it’s perhaps the easiest way to do it yourself, aside from spraying cellulose. Denim is a DIYer’s dream come true because it comes ready to go out of the package. It’s also easy and safe to work with without wearing masks and gloves.
  • If you’re looking for eco-friendly insulation, denim is a great choice – whether you’re trying to reduce your environmental impact or you want to use recycled materials, denim should always be considered. There are plenty of types of denim insulation that are entirely made of recycled materials.

Other reasons you should get denim insulation include that it doesn’t leave foul odors in your home, and it fits snugly to provide an excellent barrier against thermal bridges. It also won’t wizen or grow bacteria if it gets wet from leaks, condensation, etc.

Final Thoughts

Denim insulation isn’t as popular as fiberglass insulation, but it’s better in almost every category. So if you’re looking for safe, environmentally-friendly home insulation, denim is an excellent option.


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