CELLULOSE & FOAM INSULATION

The word cellulose comes from the French word cellule, for a living cell, and glucose, which is sugar.

Building insulation is low-thermal-conductivity material used to reduce building heat loss and gain, and reduce noise transmission. Cellulose insulation is plant fiber used in in wall and roof cavities to insulate, draught proof and reduce noise

History of Cellulose Insulation

Cellulose is among the oldest types of building insulation material. Many types of cellulosic materials have been used, including newspaper, cardboard, cotton, straw, sawdust, hemp and corncob. Monticello was insulated with a form of cellulose. Modern cellulose insulation, made with recycled newspaper using grinding and dust removing machines and adding a fire retardant, began in the 1950s and came into general use in the US during the 1970s.

The market for insulation increased following the oil embargo of 1973-74. The embargo caused energy costs for heating to skyrocket across the nation, which led to increased interest in energy conservation measures. Insulation gained significant national attention as a cheap and available technology to increase the energy efficiency of homes. In 1977, following a particularly severe winter, a tax credit was given for homeowners who installed insulation.

While in 1976 there were roughly 100 cellulose insulation firms with 125 plants, by 1978 there were more than 350 firms with more than 500 plants1. Cellulose insulation was produced locally by small manufacturers who purchased ready-to-operate machines and offered a cheap and easy low-tech production process. Other than some constraints created by a shortage of boric acid for use as fire retardant, cellulose captured an increased share of the market due to lower costs and its suitability for retrofits. Meanwhile fiberglass and rockwool producers found it difficult to keep up with the demand for insulation from their customers.

Types of Cellulose Insulation

  • Spray-applied cellulose (wet-spray cellulose)

    Spray-applied cellulose is used for applying cellulose to new wall construction. The differences are the addition of water to the cellulose while spraying as well as adding some kind of moisture retardant such as chlorine to prevent mold cultures.

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  • Dry cellulose (loose fill)

    Dry cellulose is used in retrofitting old homes by blowing the cellulose into holes drilled into the tops of the walls. It can also be blown into a new wall construction by using temporary retainers or netting that is clamped in place then removed once the cellulose has reached the appropriate density. Read More

  • Stabilized Cellulose

    Stabilized cellulose is used most often in attic/roof insulation. It is applied with a very small amount of water to activate an adhesive of some kind.Read More

  • Low-dust cellulose

    The last major type of cellulose insulation on the market is low-dust variety. Nuisance levels of dust are created during application of most types of dry insulation causing the need for simple dust masks to be worn during installation.Read More

Green Fiber Cellulose

Open & Closed Cell Foam

Wikipedia’s Description of Open or Closed Cell Spray foam or Spray foams (insulation):

Spray foam insulation is an alternative to traditional building insulation such as fiberglass. A two-component mixture composed of isocyanate and polyol resin comes together at the tip of a gun, and forms an expanding foam that is sprayed onto roof tiles, concrete slabs, into wall cavities, or through holes drilled in into a cavity of a finished wall.

History of Open & Closed Cell Foam

Polyurethane, the most common type of spray foam insulation, was developed and used by the military in the 1940s and applied to airplanes, then they realised there was a gap in the civil market that required filling. It wasn’t until the 1970s that it started to be used as foam insulation. Read More

Open & Closed Cell Foam

The Difference Between the Two

Spray foam insulation can be categorized into two different types: open cell and closed cell.

  • Open Cell Foam Insulation

    Open cell is a type of foam where the tiny cells are not completely closed. Open cell is less expensive because it uses fewer chemicals. Read More

  • Closed Cell Foam Insulation

    Closed cell foam insulation is much denser than open cell. It has a smaller, more compact cell structure. It is a very good air barrier as well as a water vapor barrier. Read More

The Benefits of Cellulose Spray Foam

Spray foam insulation saves on energy costs and lowers utility bills. Studies by the US Department of Energy show that 40% of a home’s energy is lost as the result of air infiltration through walls, windows and doorways.Buildings treated with spray foam insulation typically insulate as much as 50% better than traditional insulation products. Read More

  • Thermal Resistance

    R-value is the term given to thermal resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value of an insulation product, the more effective the insulation properties. 1.8-2 pound polyurethane foam has the highest R-value of readily available insulation used in homes and buildings Read More

  • Environmental Properties

    Insulation of all types stops a good deal of energy loss. Some types including spray foams also seal air leaks. Read More

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