Anyone have experience with this type of insulation? It's the stuff
that looks like piles of cotten balls. I want to put this stuff in
my attic via a blower rented at one of those building supply places.
Does this stuff carry the same risks and precautions as the
Don't do it! This stuff is terrible! It's very dusty, gets everywhere
has a much lower R value per inch than fibreglass. It settles after being
blown in about 20% thus reducing it's initial R value even further. Also,
if it gets wet, either through a roof leak, condensation build-up or
whatever it will be completely ruined.
If you're convinced you're going to do it still, make sure you put your
vapour barrier down first, and that it's sealed well, otherwise the
cellulose will find ways into the house. I'd also keep it away from your
attic access and use fibreglass batts there instead, otherwise you'll have a
ton of this stuff fall out every time you open the hatch.
This is a voice of experience talking here.. :) The previous owners of
the house we own installed cellulose, and we're working very hard to get rid
of it-- it's just that bad.
It's essentially shredded newspaper treated with a flame-retardant. The
newspaper won't hurt you, but that flame-retardant might.
Insulating an attic can be more challenging than you think. You have to
make sure you don't block off air flow from the soffits to the roof vents up
top. If you do you'll have ice-damming occur (this of course assumes you
get snow where you live. :)
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Some blown cellulose types have a slightly higher R value than blown
fiberglass. Short of getting soaked by leaks or condensation, cellulose
is usually no worse than blown fiberglass for "settling" (especially the
"gun-stick-on application" types). Tho, you will need to pay a bit more
to the brand and method of application.
I personally would use fiberglass over blown cellulose simply because
of risks from it getting damp. If you ever have a major water leak,
you may not find out until the ceiling (including joists) collapses under
the weight of hundreds of pounds worth of wet cellulose.
From the installation risk perspective, cellulose is somewhat safer than
fiberglass. It's at LEAST as dusty. The fireretardants in cellulose aren't
good for your health, nor the particulates. Neither is fiberglass fibers
(silicosis) or the binders.
I personally much prefer blown rock wool. R value a little higher than
fiberglass or cellulose. MUCH lower dust production (the fibers are
large and heavy comparatively, so they don't fly nearly as much). Nothing
fancy in the chemistry - reasonably non-toxic.
[We had rock wool blown into an attic. NO sign of it escaping anywhere else.]
Much less (but still not zero) installation health risk. Impervious to
moisture, and settles less. Better than fiberglass or cellulose in a fire.
Better sound deadening.
Whatever he uses, he'll need good eye and breathing protection.
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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