Insulation Through the Decades mud-straw-viking-house-insulation-2.

Insulation Through the Decades

The History Of Insulation.

Insulation Through the Decades stone-house-straw-roof-insulation
Insulation Through the Decades egyptian-house-insulation-through-the-ages

Insulation Through the Decades

Insulation has been around for decades, making its mainstream appearance as we know it with the construction of modern homes in the middle of the last century. Of course, the idea of insulation was not new even then, having roots that date back to the BC era with the Ancient Egyptians and Vikings.
Let’s take a look at how insulation has evolved through the decades.


Ancient civilizations like the Ancient Egyptians and Vikings used the cooling properties of mud to their advantage. The Egyptians built their entire homes out of bricks of mud, while the Vikings placed mud and straw between the logs of their houses. The Greeks used asbestos (meaning inextinguishable) for its resistance to flame.
The Greeks also insulated through the use of cavity walls, which were essentially double wall systems in buildings that created a void between the interior and exterior to keep the temperature consistent.

Middle Ages

Homes were constructed out of stone, topped with thatched roofs. To keep drafts out, tapestries were hung on the walls and between door and entry ways.

Industrial Revolution

Asbestos gained in popularity during this time, mainly to insulate steam pipes because they could reach dangerous temperatures. It would be years before the dangers of asbestos would come to light.

1930s – 1940s

Fiberglass insulation was the next big thing to emerge in the 1940s. It came in sheets and was placed into attics or basements in between wall studs.

1950s – 1970s

Cellulose started to rise in popularity during this time, comprised of newspaper, cardboard, straw, cotton or sawdust. However, the early versions of it were quite flammable, so a fire retardant was added in the 1950s to make it safer for use. Once the 70s hit, insulation batting became very popular. Blown in insulation also made an appearance as these decades progressed.


Polyurethane spray foam insulation came next. Originally created by the military back in the 40s, it wasn’t till the early 1980s that spray foam insulation was used extensively in construction of houses. It was desirable because it could easily expand and fill in the smallest of spaces.


We have many more options today, although some of the insulation options developed a couple decades back have been improved upon and are still used now. Spray foam remains at the forefront of the insulation industry, available in closed cell and open cell foam.
The techniques have also gotten quite sophisticated, such as with drill and fill insulation as well as soundproofing insulation.

Contact Addict Insulation

We hope you enjoyed this brief history lesson, courtesy of Addict Insulation in St. Louis MO! Let us make history with your house when you call us for free quote on insulation. We have two locations for your convenience, one in St. Charles and one in St. Louis.

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