What You Need to Know About Loose Fill Insulation

Loose fill insulation is just one of the many types available that you may choose to use in your home. The main difference in this type and other types is of course, the form that it comes in.

Loose fill insulation is manufactured in two different ways. It can be made of shredded materials or made in solid form and then shredded at the factory. It generally comes in bags and is blown into the openings with a special machine that you usually rent to do the job yourself.

There are three primary types of loose fill available, fiberglass, rock wool and cellulose. They are commonly made of recycled materials and are considered to be environmentally friendly.

Recycled glass is used to manufacture fiberglass insulation. These fine pieces of glass is why fiberglass is so irritating to the skin! Most fiberglass insulations include 20 to 30 percent of recycled glass. The glass is melted in a high temperature furnace and spun into fiberglass.

Rock wool is a substance that forms on the surface of metal that is molten, it’s called furnace slag. It is very similar to fiberglass insulation in the way that it’s manufactured.

Besides furnace slag, it also contains other materials that have a rock like feel. It’s basically made of materials that would otherwise just be thrown away and filling landfills!

Cellulose loose fill insulation is probably the best of the three types available. The small particles found in cellulose are made from recycled paper such as, boxes or newspapers.

Chemicals are added to the shredded paper to make it insect and fire resistant. But, this type is less irritating to the skin and without the need of high temperature furnaces, less energy is used in production.

If you have an area where it’s impossible to install rolled insulation, loose fill is the answer. It will surround pipes or other obstructions and is one of the best choices for insulating existing homes. You can install it without destroying the existing walls or finishes.

Installing blown in insulation is usually done through two holes drilled into each section between the wall studs. One hole should be placed about 16″ from the top of the wall and the other at around 24″ from the floor. Once you’re finished you’ll just need to repair the small holes!

It can be installed from the interior or exterior of the home. It’s even easier if you do it at the same time you do remodeling such as adding new siding or wood to your home, or even replacing or adding drywall.

Like with any material that you would use to fill a space, loose fill must be installed at the proper density. Most manufactures provide clear instructions on how much is needed to properly fill each square foot of space. You will need to follow those guidelines as closely as possible.

If it’s not correctly installed you will end up with empty spaces that have no insulation at all. The most common voids will be at the corner of the ceiling, top of windows, around doors and at the top of the wall.

While commonly used in walls and attics, blown in insulation can also be used in ceilings. If you’re insulating the ceiling there are some safety rules that you’ll need to follow.

Be careful not to cover any attic vents, these vents allow air to flow into the attic to keep moisture down. Any lighting fixtures in the ceiling need at least a 3″ space clear of insulation.

If used around stove or furnace pipes you should only use fiberglass. At high temperatures, cellulose will smolder and your home may end up full of smoke!