How to Use Newspapers as Insulation

How to Use Newspapers as Insulation

Newspapers can actually make a great insulation material for your home. Here’s everything you need to know about using newspapers as insulation:

Why Use Newspaper Insulation?

There are a few key benefits to using newspaper insulation:

  • Cost effective – Old newspapers are incredibly cheap and widely available. This makes newspaper a very budget friendly insulation option compared to traditional insulation like fiberglass.

  • Environmentally friendly – Recycling old newspapers by using them for insulation keeps them out of landfills. It’s a great way to reuse waste.

  • Decent insulator – Stacked thickly and densely enough, newspapers can provide decent insulation for walls, floors, ceilings and attics. Though not as effective as traditional insulation, it still helps improve energy efficiency.

  • Sound absorption – The porous, layered structure of newspaper insulation can help dampen noise and absorb sound well. This helps insulate against outside noise or echoes within a room.

  • Fire resistant – Surprisingly, dense stacks of newspaper are actually quite fire resistant. The lack of oxygen prevents fire from spreading rapidly.

So newspaper insulation presents a frugal, eco-friendly way to add insulation with the additional benefit of sound dampening. Just be aware it isn’t quite as efficient as standard insulation.

How to Install Newspaper Insulation

Installing newspaper insulation takes a bit more time and effort than standard insulation. Here are some tips:

Gather Supplies

First gather these supplies:

  • Newspapers – Try to collect at least 5-10 lbs per square foot you want to insulate. More is better for insulation value.

  • Chicken wire or wire mesh – This will help contain the newspaper stacks.

  • Staple gun and staples

  • Face mask – For safety when handling large amounts of dust paper

  • Insulation tape (optional) – Can help seal edges

Prep the Space

Then prepare the space by:

  • Removing any existing insulation
  • Sealing any cracks or openings with caulk
  • Installing proper vapor barriers like plastic sheeting (for walls)

Make Newspaper “Batts”

Next, make newspaper batts:

  • Separate newspapers into individual sheets
  • Stack sheets tightly together until they are 2-4 inches thick
  • Roll up lengthwise and staple to secure
  • Make batts in appropriate sizes to snugly fit the spaces you are insulating

Install Batts

Now install batts by:

  • Fitting them snugly into each space you want insulated
  • Use chicken wire nailed to studs or joists to hold batts in place
  • Make sure there are no gaps between batts or at edges
  • Use insulation tape to seal any remaining small gaps at edges

Finish Insulating

Keep adding batts until the space is completely filled. Make sure newspapers are compressed tightly – any air gaps can reduce effectiveness.

Add 3-6 inch stacked batts for walls and 8-12 inch batts for attics/ceilings for decent insulation.

Tips for Effective Newspaper Insulation

Here are some additional tips to ensure your newspaper insulation performs well:

  • Use more sheets rather than thicker batts – More layers improves sound dampening
  • Avoid gaps between batts or at edges – Compress batts tightly into place
  • Wear safety gear – Masks protect against dust and gloves against paper cuts
  • Combine with other eco insulation like denim – Creates an insulation blend
  • Vapor barriers are crucial for walls – Prevents moisture issues indoors
  • Add fire blocking at regular intervals – Improves fire resistance

With some labor intensive installation, newspapers can become an eco-friendly insulation material that cuts energy bills! Just make sure to compress it densely into place. Then enjoy the savings on heating and cooling costs.

Pros vs Cons of Newspaper Insulation

Pros:

  • Extremely low cost
  • Recycles waste newspapers
  • Fairly effective insulator if dense
  • Good sound absorption
  • Surprisingly fire resistant

Cons:

  • Not as efficient as traditional insulation
  • Time consuming installation process
  • Can settle over time, creating air gaps
  • Needs additional vapor barriers
  • Can encourage mold growth if damp

So while newspaper insulation has some limitations, its low cost and eco-friendly nature can make it worthwhile for many projects. Proper installation is key to maximizing its insulation effects.

Common Questions About Newspaper Insulation

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Does newspaper insulation work?

Yes, dense stacks of newspaper can provide decent insulation for walls, floors, ceilings and attics. Though not as efficient as materials like fiberglass, cellulose or foam, newspaper still improves energy efficiency when installed correctly.

How long does newspaper insulation last?

Properly installed, newspaper insulation can last for over 5-10 years. Over time newspapers can settle and create air gaps, decreasing insulation ability. Periodically re-compressing batts helps maintain insulation performance.

Is newspaper insulation fireproof?

Stacked densely, newspapers are actually quite fire resistant. With little oxygen flow in tight spaces, fire spreads slowly through newspaper insulation. However, fire blocking should still be added during installation for fire safety.

Can you put newspaper in walls?

Yes, newspaper insulation works well in wall cavities. Make sure to use proper vapor barriers like plastic sheeting and compress newspaper batts tightly to limit air gaps. Proper moisture prevention is key for indoor wall insulation.

Does newspaper keep mice away?

No, newspaper does not repel mice or rodents. In fact, paper products can sometimes encourage mice who may shred it for nest building. Ensure any openings are sealed to prevent pests from entering.

In Conclusion

Installing newspaper as insulation is an affordable, environmentally friendly way to improve your home’s energy efficiency. With some diligent batt making and dense installation, newspapers can become an effective form of insulation for walls, attics, floors and more. While requiring more effort than traditional insulation, newspaper presents a green alternative to help reduce heating and cooling costs.