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Fiberglass or Cellulose attic insulation?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by Bisi, Sep 27, 2010.

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  1. Bisi

    Bisi TS Member

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    I’m going to blow some more insulation in my attic. The house was built with fiberglass bats in the ceiling. “Home Depot” will let you use their blower if you buy over 20 bags. They have both the fiberglass and cellulose insulation that you can blow in, any one better than the other? The cellulose is cheaper, and would probably be easier to work with - no itch, easier on the lungs. My only worry with cellulose is fire worry, they say the stuff is treated with a fire retardant agent though.

    Any thoughts, one any better than the other?

    Thanks in advance for your input.
     
  2. porky

    porky TS Member

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    The cellulose is treated with borax. An insect (especially ant) repellant as well as a flame retardant. When I say flame retardant, I held a blow torch on a coffee can full of the stuff and it did glow while I held the torch on it, but as soon as the torch was removed, The paper just smoked and then the embers died out. Cellulose does settle so it pays to pack it tight. I can't speak for fiberglass. However, if the fiberglass can get down into the living area, it will raise hell with the occupants. If you can be sure that the living area is sealed off from the rest of the house, go with fiberglass, but if there is access to the attic for storage and such, you will be forever tracking it into the living area.
     
  3. flabigpapa

    flabigpapa Well-Known Member

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    Just a True story about the Cellulose...worked in attic above bathroom remodel..had plumber making up relocation of water feed...all of you say flame retardent...it was a site..that neither of us will ever forget. The strike of that tourch...lite a BLUE FLAME that Raced across the entire lenght of the attic and back in a split second and then just stopped..Blackened all exposed cellulose surfaces and our eyebrows...with that said...stick with the Blown
    FIBERGLASS..TRUE STORY
     
  4. miketmx

    miketmx Well-Known Member

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    Our cottage was built in 1984. How could I find out if it has Zonolite insulation in the attic without disturbing it ??
     
  5. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    Cellulose (recycled paper) will absorb some moisture and pack with time. The insulation efficiency depends on the air spaces between the particles and these are reduced when it packs. I would use fiberglass. Also, if you are losing 5% of your heat through the ceiling an 65% through windows and doors, insulating the ceiling may not be the best thing to do.

    Pat Ireland
     
  6. Ahab

    Ahab Well-Known Member

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    Hate to disagree, Pat ... but it seems your numbers are a bit off!


    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.mulhernbuildingsolutions.com/images/house_heatloss.gif&imgrefurl=http://www.mulhernbuildingsolutions.com/grants.html&h=331&w=342&sz=17&tbnid=YYeoDljMHJ2M2M:&tbnh=116&tbnw=120&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dhouse%2Bheat%2Bloss&zoom=1&q=house+heat+loss&usg=__5g2TBFav6eqd7XKFMlS-YW105Is=&sa=X&ei=5_agTMLMI4b6swOmtYjWAQ&ved=0CCEQ9QEwAg
     
  7. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    Ahab- My numbers were not intended to be quantitative, my point was to first address the most serious problems. Windows and doors lose a lot of heat. In many older homes the curtains move when the wind is blowing. How about the hot water heater? These can easily be addressed with very little money.

    Pat Ireland
     
  8. Bisi

    Bisi TS Member

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    Thanks for your input. I built this house myself 30 years ago, just seems like the utility bills are the same as they were years ago when there were more than 1 person living in house. In the last few years added a "Carrier" high eff. furnance, and new water heater - bills seemed to be the same. Burned a lot of wood in the fireplace insert last winter and bill still wasn't much lower. Windows are orginial "Andersen" double hung, double pane, recently recaulked, in good shape. So that leaves insulation.

    The thing about the cellulose is it might be fire retardent now, but how about 10 years from now? Will that fire retardant chemical wear off by then?

    Just got back from "Lowes" though and their sign said 3" or cellulose has the R value of 9" of fiberglass.

    Probably should just go build a new house, but I don't want to move 30 years of crap out of the house and barn, besides the garden spot is just getting right.

    Thanks again for your input.
     
  9. Leo

    Leo Well-Known Member

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    I would also be concerned about weight. When you are adding several inches of the stuff, that may be a lot of weight pressing down the drywall.

    Another tip: make any electrical additions you even THINK you might want BEFORE the additional insulation. WHen an electrician has to shovel around a truckload of fiberglass, do the installation work, and shovel the stuff back in, that's going to cost you a lot more than if you pre-plan the jobs. Good Luck
     
  10. oldgahchamp

    oldgahchamp Active Member

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    Bisi, If it was me, I would use the cellulose. In the future, fiberglass will be thought of in the same way as asbestos. As for electrical boxes/fixtures, do not cover them with any type of insulation. I also have Anderson double pane windows but a lot of cold still radiates from them. Maybe you need some lined drapes to cover your windows. Larry Evans
     
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