How to Use Newspaper As An Eco-Friendly Insulation Material

How to Use Newspaper As An Eco-Friendly Insulation Material

How to Use Newspaper As An Eco-Friendly Insulation Material

Newspaper is an inexpensive and eco-friendly material that can be used for insulation in many DIY and craft projects. With some basic supplies and techniques, newspaper makes an excellent natural insulator that is also better for the environment.

Gathering the Newspaper

The first step is gathering enough newspapers to meet your insulation needs. Here are some tips:

  • Collect newspapers from your own recycling bin or ask neighbors to save theirs for you.

  • Check with local businesses like print shops or newspaper offices which may have leftover newspapers they discard.

  • Yard sales, thrift stores, and recycling centers often have bundles of old newspapers for sale inexpensively.

  • Aim for at least 5-10 lbs of newspaper per square foot you need to insulate. The more tightly packed the newspapers are, the better the insulation power.

Prepping the Newspaper

Before using newspaper for insulation, it helps to prep the material:

  • Unfold and separate the newspaper pages. You want single sheets not whole papers.

  • Discard glossy ad inserts or magazines. The plain newspaper pages work best.

  • Shred or tear the pages into smaller pieces. Strips, squares, or crumpled balls all work. Shredded strips are ideal as they pack tightly.

  • Soak the newspaper shreds in a tub of water mixed with borax, salt, and/or vinegar. This helps repel bugs and mildew.

  • Let soaked newspaper fully dry before using for insulation. Spread in a thin layer to dry quicker.

Installing Newspaper Insulation

With prepped newspaper, you’re ready to insulate. Here’s how to do it properly:

Wall Insulation

  • Fill the cavity between wall studs with packed newspaper pieces.

  • Use a rod to tamp down the paper and eliminate air pockets.

  • Optionally, staple chicken wire over the cavity opening to hold insulation in place.

  • Cover with drywall or wood paneling secured to the studs.

Attic/Ceiling Insulation

  • Spread a layer of newspaper shreds across the attic floor or over ceiling joists.

  • Ensure an even thickness, tamping down with a board as you go.

  • Add multiple layers until the desired insulation depth is reached.

  • Cover with plywood sheeting, capping layers between joists.

Draft Blocking

  • Stuff newspaper pieces into cracks around windows, under doors, or at baseboard seams.

  • Compress the paper tightly into the cracks using a putty knife or screwdriver.

  • For larger gaps, cover the newspaper with mesh before caulking or sealing closed.

Newspaper insulation works similar to fiberglass but is entirely natural and recycled. With some simple preparation, newspaper shredded and packed tightly provides an eco-friendly insulation option for DIY projects. Just be sure to keep it dry and pest-free for best performance.

Benefits of Newspaper Insulation

Using newspaper for insulation offers many helpful benefits:

  • Sustainable – Repurposes used paper that would otherwise be trash.

  • Cheap – Newspaper is very inexpensive, especially when sourced for free.

  • Effective – Well-packed newspaper provides decent R-value insulation.

  • Safe – No chemical irritants like fiberglass; safe for DIY install.

  • Flexible – Easily stuffs odd-shaped gaps; conforms around obstructions.

  • Pest resistant – Borax treatment helps repel insects and rodents.

  • Sound absorption – Layers of newspaper insulate against sound transmission.

Going the newspaper insulation route is an easy, affordable way to make your home more eco-friendly and energy efficient.

Tips for Working With Newspaper Insulation

If using newspaper insulation for your project, keep these tips in mind:

  • Wear gloves and long sleeves when prepping and installing for comfort. The newsprint can be messy and irritating to skin.

  • Use eye protection like safety goggles when shredding or tearing up newspaper to avoid specks in eyes.

  • Work in a well-ventilated area since newspaper dust and fibers released during prep can be irritating if inhaled.

  • Check newspaper insulation 1-2 times per year for any settling or compression. Re-fluff and add more as needed to maintain insulation levels.

  • Monitor for any water leaks or excessive moisture that could soak the newspaper, compromising its insulating value.

  • Take fire safety precautions as newspaper is flammable. Only use in approved areas away from heat sources.

With proper preparation and installation, newspaper makes an excellent eco-friendly insulation material for your home improvement projects. Just follow standard safety and maintenance practices. Enjoy the savings from recycling paper into an effective green insulation solution!