Blown Cellulose Insulation PDF Print

Problems with Fiberglass Insulation

Insulating your home from the outside elements plays a large part in determining your energy bills each month.  As much as 90% of the homes in the US are insulated with fiberglass batt insulation.  For many years, fiberglass has been the standard product of choice with builders and remodelers.  The problem is that fiberglass insulation has several downfalls.  These include:

1.       Fiberglass fibers are produced in gas fired furnaces that utilize a large amount of energy.
2.       Fiberglass is difficult to conform to all of the odd shapes and spaces inside wall cavities.
3.       Quality fiberglass installations still leave many areas and voids for air flow and leakage. (R-Value)
4.       Fiberglass insulation resists burning, however the Kraft and Foil facing can catch fire and spread. (Ask the Builder)

Solutions provided with Blown Cellulose Insulation

Blown Cellulose insulation is fast becoming a popular alternative to Fiberglass insulation.  Blown Cellulose has been in use for many years but in limited amounts.  The advantages to blown cellulose are significant.  These advantages include:

1.       High Recycled Content
2.       Excellent resistance to air flow
3.       Excellent conformity to wall shapes and spaces
4.       Fire and mold resistant
5.       Reduced energy to produce (About Saving Heat)
6.       Produces slightly better R-Value per inch of thickness (UMass Amherst)

Discussion of Benefits

Cellulose is made of 80% post-consumer recycled newsprint.  A 1500 square foot home insulated with cellulose will recycle the amount of newspaper that an individual would generate in 40 years.  If all new homes were insulated with cellulose, they would use up over 3 million tons of newsprint each year.  Yet fewer than 10% of the homes built are using cellulose insulation.

Cellulose is excellent in preventing the flow of air through a wall system because of its ability to fill voids when installed.  The moistened cellulose packs tightly around all electrical boxes, wiring, plumbing pipe and any other obstacles in the wall cavity.  This tightly packed product will reduce air infiltration through the wall by 36% to 38%.  This reduction in air flow can be as high as 70% in conjunction with a good caulk and seal package.

Cellulose is treated with chemicals to increase resistance to fire.  These products along with the densely packed cavity make it almost impossible to start a fire in the wall cavity.  Without air movement in the wall, any flame that tried to ignite would have difficulty acquiring oxygen.

Cellulose insulation requires 8 times less energy to produce when representing cost per installed R-value unit.  Some experts claim that it requires 200 times less petro energy to produce than fiberglass insulation.

Densely packed cellulose produces and R-value of 4.0 per inch of thickness compared to Fiberglass batts which only produce and R-value of 3.2 per inch of thickness.  In a 2x6 wall that has a cavity depth of 5 ½” the cellulose will produce an R-value of 22 compared to the fiberglass at 17.6.  Over the exterior of your house, this makes a huge difference in heat transfer through the walls (UMass Amherst).

 

Moisture Concerns

The one question that many people have about blown cellulose is the issue of the moisture that is required to make it “stick” in the stud cavity of a new home.  It is necessary to allow the walls to dry for several days after installation.  Installers can return to check moisture levels prior to covering the walls.

Initial installations of blown cellulose need to reach moisture content lower than 25% before they are covered with drywall or interior finishes.  Chemicals on the cellulose will keep mold from cultivating while the product is drying.  They also protect from future mold, as air moisture passes through the cellulose during the normal course of heating and cooling.

The question of an interior vapor barrier is a popular topic of discussion.  According to the majority of literature on the subject, a vapor barrier is not required on the interior of the wall.  By not installing an interior vapor barrier, the moisture that naturally accumulates in the wall cavity during the life of the house can pass out into the home and be eliminated.  The cellulose is treated to resist mold and is very suited to the minor humidity accumulation that occurs in this process.  A vapor barrier could restrict this flow of moisture passing out of the wall and contain it in the wall cavity, possibly causing moisture problems.

Installation of an exterior barrier such as a Tyvek® house wrap is very important to the integrity of the system because it will protect the wall cavity from infiltration by casual water.  As with any insulation, excess moisture, such as infiltrating rain water entering the wall cavity, can cause it to degrade and sag.  This sagging will create gaps in the insulation and decrease the insulations effectiveness.

Conclusion

Blown cellulose insulation is a good weapon in the fight for energy conservation.  It provides excellent resistance to heat transfer and enables us to reuse one of our most popular recycled products in a positive way.  The added cost to use blown cellulose is usually recovered in 3 to 4 years, which makes it a very affordable way to “green up” your home.  Consider using cellulose in the “wet” form for your next new home project or using it in the “dry” form to improve your existing home.

 

 

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Our Customers

 

"I so appreciate how quickly you have responded to my numerous questions and issues. Now I know the value of a custom home builder. You truly stand by your word and your work."

Vicki H., Wildwood, MO


 

"Building with Mastercraft Design and Build especially with Steve and Mike was a smooth, rewarding experience from beginning to end. Working with them, the building process was very smooth throughout: from design, to build, to followup. The process as a whole can be overwhelming but they were with us every step of the way. Steve was pleasant, kind, patient and very accommodating. If he was frustrated with us, he never showed it. The quality of workmanship and materials is excellent as we feel that we received a well-built home. We are very happy with our new home."

Dan and Colleen P., Des Pres, MO


 

"After our home flooded due to a broken water line that ran a full night while we were not home, we hired MasterCraft Design & Build to manage the restoration.  This was a major effort as we completely lost our kitchen and most of our finished basement.  It was a significant amount of work that could have easily carried with it cost overruns and a lot of stress.  The process could not have gone better with MasterCraft.  Steve Horn and Mike Skidmore made the project truly painless, worked with us to keep their services within the budget provided by the insurance company, and kept us informed every step of the way.  I was so pleased my daughter and I then hired MasterCraft to manage the renovation of her home, with the same great results and experience."

George & Mary C., Oakville, MO


 

"Steve Horn of Mastercraft Design & Build is truly a professional in the field of custom home building. He uses reputable and highly qualified subcontractors who stand by their work. I wouldn’t say building a house is easy; but Steve made the process rewarding by keeping us involved in every step of the process from design to completion. Steve was easy to work with on all the upgrades and kept detailed records of the progress to stay on schedule. We have a beautiful home we can enjoy for years to come."

Len & Midge M., Mehlville, MO


 

"We have found Steve Horn to be not only an expert in building custom homes but also in building a custom "Green" home. We had ideas about building green that he not only put into action but helped in making sure we were doing it correctly. He has background in green design and building and used that expertise in doing our home. He is skilled in building custom homes and is a person that you can depend on. His personality is one that makes sure you are pleased with the way your home is being built and his integrity gives you the assurance that the cost of your home is what you would expect. No overcharging, no increases in building supplies, just honesty that you can depend on."

Stephen & Dawn K. - Crestwood, MO


 

“I have been in construction and maintenance for the past 30 years.  Over that time, I have worked with some good contractors as well as some who did not meet my expectations.  MasterCraft Design & Build is at the top of my list of outstanding contractors.  Steve helped us to create a custom design/build home and made the process very easy and enjoyable.  We love our new home and recommend MasterCraft Design & Build to anyone wanting to build their dream home.”

Joe and Jane S. - Mehlville, MO


 

"MasterCraft made sure that everything was done beyond our expectations!  The work was excellent, and the subcontractors were professional and polite as well.”
Rebecca P. -  Manchester


 

"My major remodeling project was completed on time and under budget.  Steve was always ready to answer questions and the end product was exactly what we envisioned."
Mark G. - Des Peres, MO


 

"Last May our luck turned very bad when a 15 ton oak fell on and crushed our carport/storage room (and cars inside).  However, we had the good luck of knowing Steve Horn, the owner of Mastercraft Design & Build. Steve directed the re-build project from debris removal through the construction of the replacement structures with outstanding personal attention to details.  The quality of the work and subcontractors, as well as the attention to costs, were excellent.  We highly recommend Steve and Mastercraft."

Warren & Susan L., Ladue, MO


 

"We were very happy with the work that MasterCraft Design & Build did for our foyer.  Steve and his team were professional, considerate, and detail-oriented, and they always showed up on time.  When it's time to renovate our kitchen, we know who we'll be calling."

Zach H. - University City, MO


Click to Read More!