Insulation is a critical part of many homes. It typically sits between the inner wall and an additional layer, trapping heat inside and preventing energy from seeping through the walls. If you add insulation to your walls, you might wonder – should you cover it? How do you shield your insulation?

If you’re interested in learning about covering insulation, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn more about when you need to cover insulation, if exposed insulation is dangerous, and the types that need covering. The more you know, the safer your household can be.

When Do You Need to Cover Your Insulation?

Some insulation is okay left uncovered. It may not look pretty, but it saves a lot of money if you want to add insulation to an unfinished basement or something that doesn’t need to look perfect. However, there are a few reasons why you may need to put an additional covering over your insulation.

If your insulation is a:

  • Fire hazard
  • Skin risk
  • Moisture trap

You need to place an additional layer on top.

Let’s talk more about each of these risks and the insulation that applies to them. It’s critical to keep your family as safe as possible, especially around something that seems as harmless as insulation.

Fire Hazard 

Some types of insulation can be a fire hazard. If you press them too close to an open flame, they can catch on fire and burn down the house without much warning. Putting a covering over them prevents the insulation from encountering heat.

Products made with the same materials as newspapers don’t take much to combust. Always cover cellulose insulation if possible because it has the lowest ignition temperature. Spray foam can also catch on fire, but it needs to be exposed to at least 700 degrees.

Fiberglass is naturally fire-resistant, but when it comes with a kraft-paper vapor barrier also becomes more exposed to fire hazards.

Skin Risk

There are many chemicals in insulation that can cause harm to the skin exposed or touch the insulation for a long time. Some insulations you must cover to prevent damage to the skin of kids and adults in your home.

One of the most dangerous chemicals that can appear in insulation is formaldehyde. There are also flame retardants that can harm the skin with long enough exposure.

Moisture Trap

Lastly, you may need to cover your insulation if it’s a material that can take in moisture. Moisture can cause trouble in the walls – it fosters mold, mildew, and the destruction of your walls. If the material can take in liquid, you should cover it.

Is Exposed Insulation Dangerous? 

Some types of insulation are safe when left uncovered. However, many of them are not. It’s more of an issue if you have exposed insulation in areas where you spend a lot of time. Insulation in the basement or attic will be less of an issue for your health.

When in doubt, it’s best to cover exposed insulation. This precaution should be of the utmost importance if the exposed insulation is in your living room or bedroom.

What Types of Insulation Need to Be Covered?

It can be beneficial to cover all types of insulation. However, three types of insulation should have a covering no matter what.

Here are three types of insulation that need covering:

  • Fiberglass
  • Spray foam
  • Foam board

These can cause harm to an individual.

Let’s discuss each type of insulation to help clarify why they need covering. Each has its trouble that can be problematic for a home.


Fiberglass insulation does not cause issues unless it is disturbed. If someone moves it, the fiberglass sends little fragments into the air. These can go in the eyes, nose, and other parts. They can then cause harm to those who live in the home.

It’s possible to leave fiberglass uncovered in storage space. However, in an area where people walk constantly, keep it covered with plenty of ventilation.

Spray Foam

Spray foam is another option that should be covered. It won’t cause harm to the air or the body – however, it does have the potential to catch on fire. It’s critical to place a thermal barrier on top of spray foam to prevent the home from burning.

Foam Board

If foam board is in the interior of a home, it needs to be covered. The cover must meet minimum fire ratings to prevent immediate combustion if the insulation is exposed to flames.

How to Cover Insulation

If you have insulation, it’s critical to understand how to cover it. There are a couple of ways to ensure the insulation has a layer of protection.

Let’s dive into the coverage options for fiberglass, spray foam, and foam board insulation. These will allow your home to remain insulated and safe at the same time.

How to Cover Fiberglass Insulation

There are a couple of ways to cover fiberglass insulation. Let’s cover a few of the best to ensure you can keep your home as safe as possible.

One of the ideal ways to cover fiberglass is to use mesh to hold the insulation in place. This material will ensure the insulation isn’t disturbed, keeping the particles in place as the material does its job. Another method is to place a poly membrane sheet over the fiberglass insulation. You can then place paneling over the fiberglass situation. 

How to Cover Spray Foam Insulation

The best way to cover spray foam is by taking advantage of plasterboard or drywall for your needs. You can also use a spray-on or paint-on product to ensure the spray foam is as fireproof as possible. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

How to Cover Foam Board Insulation

Finally, cover foam board insulation with a thin layer of cement or vinyl siding. There are plenty of choices for foam board insulation coverage, with the most common being fireguard or standard drywall. The more protected rigid foam is, the less likely the material is to combust right away.


Justin's been in construction for over 20 years in both new build and renovation. With experience in both commercial and residential construction, he specializes in healthier and more energy-efficient homes.

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