Substitutes for Fiberglass Insulation

Larry WassonOctober 16, 2007

Trying to avoid using fiberglass insulation in walls and ceilings of our 1888 Victorian with balloon framing in Eureka California. Most of the exterior walls are open while waiting to be drywalled. Studs are full dimension. The exterior wall siding is 7/8" redwood shiplap. Is it possible to substitute the new foil insulators like Reflectrix or Prodex which are foam sandwiched between foil?

What about the cotton insulation by Bonded Logic with an R13 value for 3 1/2' walls and R19 for 5 1/2" walls.

Maybe a combination of both. Any other suggestions?

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jcin_los_angeles

Cellulose works well. Here are some options:
http://www.greenhomeguide.com/index.php/knowhow/entry/977/C236/

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 11:37PM
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Larry Wasson

Thanks for the information. Cellulose seems to be a bit messy for walls and attic. Really like the Bonded Logic Ultra Touch. Ordered four bags today to try.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 11:48AM
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worthy

Ultra Touch has sure got the star power going. But for double the price of comparable products and with a lower R factor per inch, no thanks for now.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 7:12PM
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Larry Wasson

Fiberglass insulation and Ultra Touch both have an R13 rating for the 3 1/2" thickness. One of the newer fiberglass 3 1/2" products does have a rating of R15. The thermal rating per inch for fiberglass is 3, rockwool 3.7, and ultra touch 3.4 The price I am paying for Ultra Touch is 65 cents per foot. Still considering rockwool for ceiling insulation and soundproofing.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2007 at 1:22PM
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littledog

And there's always wool...pricey, but definately green. Stan at Good Shepherd will send a free sample just for the asking; very touchable, no odor and considerably more flame resistant than shredded denim. Definately what we'll be laying in our attic once we finish with the wiring.

Here is a link that might be useful: Good Shepherd Wool Insulation Company

    Bookmark   October 20, 2007 at 3:05PM
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edselpdx

My best friend just used bonded logic recycled cotton (denim) for her walls in a remodel and we installed. It went in really easily and we loved working with it. (No masks, no itching, cut easily where needed.) It is denim blue, as you would expect. She did have cellulose blown into an unusable small attic space while it was open, but that is not being used for any storage or anything. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 12:43PM
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worthy

Natural wool insulation? Anybody figure out a cost per sq. ft. on that? The site above only has a price per pound. Certainly a novelty!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 1:09AM
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donk4kyv

What do you find objectionable about fibreglass insulation? It is relatively inexpensive, fire resistant and easy to work with as long as one wears the proper protective clothing and breathing mask. I have found that blown-in cellulose eventually settles and leaves voids at the top. I once considered injected foam insulation, but I have heard horror stories about it giving off noxious gasses that in some cases have forced people to abandon the house.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 9:59AM
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mackswim

I am curious how the bondedlogic worked out? We are going to insulate the attic above our garage as alot of the old fiberglass insulation has fallen down. The space is about 500sqft and we are trying to lower our heating costs (we are in Michigan). We also want to use a greener and safer product. Anyone have any success with this? Thanks.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 2:41PM
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Larry Wasson

Removed all the old fiberglass insulation and gave it away. Then installed 12 bales of Bonded Logic UltraTouch insulation. No problems other than removing the fiberglass. All the wall cavities in our Victorian were a little smaller that new construction due to full dimension lumber. Each UtraTouch strip had to be trimmed about an inch or more. tried scissors, but they caused blisters. Finally, found the best way to cut was using poultry kitchen shearers. The UltraTouch is a friction fit material and gives a better fit than fiberglass. Seems to have better acoustical retardation also. The material is more expensive, but received rebate from the local gas and electirc company plus an income tax deduction.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 1:50PM
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mightyanvil

The federal tax credits for insulation that were in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 expired at the end of 2007 and the credits allowed by the latest Act don't begin until Jan 1, 2009. You can buy the insulation now but you need evidence that it was installed after the first of the year. It amounts to a 10% credit up to $500. The installation must also meet the requirements for your region of the 2001 or 2004 International Energy Conservation Code.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 9:27PM
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worthy

What do you find objectionable about fibreglass insulation?

Its effective R value drops by half in cold climates due to internal convection. In walls, it typically loses almost one third its R value due to less than perfect installation.

In the mid '90s it was declared a carcinogen by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Somehow it became safe again.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 11:10PM
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patser

We've been using "green" insulation - made from old bits of recycled denim jeans. It comes in the 8' lengths, just like other types of insulation. And it doesn't have carcinogens. Yes, it is more expensive than fiberglass or cellulose, but to us it's worth the money.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 8:34AM
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mightyanvil

The war between cellulose and fiberglass will probably never end. I would disregard most of the arguments from either side as self-serving exaggerations.

Here is a link that might be useful: fiberglass insulation

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 9:13AM
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mackswim

Thanks Eweneek1 and Mightyanvil, I appreciate the info on the Bonded Logic and the tax rebates. Patser, I am wondering what your "green" insulation is if it isn't the BL. Could you let me know?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 9:59AM
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patser

We used this, mackswim.....

Is this Bonded Logic? I don't know.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ultra touch

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 11:21AM
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Larry Wasson

As I write this posting I am sitting in a 13 x 18 room with a 10 foot ceiling. The exterior walls are just studs, 7/8" redwood siding, and Ultratouch insulation. Have not done the drywall yet and the room is 2 degrees warmer than the rest of the house.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 3:39PM
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brickeyee

"In the mid '90s it was declared a carcinogen by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Somehow it became safe again."

Fiberglass slowly dissolves in the fluid in your lungs.

Water can easily damage fiber optic cable for the same reason.
We take a lot of steps to keep it dry and treate it with silicone compounds to repel water.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 2:48PM
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marys1000

eweneek1 - I think its great your trying something no one has and hope you continue to report for everyone's benefit. You seemed pretty sold on it before you asked. The wool suggestion was interesting, you obviously did a lot of research, besides fiberglass what else did you stack up against this stuff before making your decision?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 4:54PM
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kpaquette

We considered all types of insulation for our victorian rehab and finally settled on foam because of the aforementioned wall depth. There are several types of foam, the one we chose is supposedly "green" - SPF. To achieve the same R-value with fiberglass would have meant losing 2" on each exterior wall, which we could not do. Denim would be great but it was just too pricey and given the scope of our renovation, couldn't be worked into the budget.

Some info on SPF...from their literature:

SPF is environmentally friendly, contains no formaldehyde or ozone depleting chemicals, saves energy* and reduces the use of fossil fuels, thereby reducing global warming gases. It also assists in providing good indoor air quality, requires less energy to produce than the leading insulation, and reduces the amount of energy required to transport and install it. SPF is durable, maintains physical properties over time, contributes little to the waste stream, and in a single product (depending on the formula and project) can take the place of three-four other products, including insulation, air barriers, sealants, vapor retarders, and weather barriers.

*SPF reduces energy use in the following ways:

Has high R-value per inch
Eliminates air infiltration
Helps control moisture and condensation
Reduces convective currents in walls and attics
Eliminates wind washing
Effective at low and high temperatures
Provides the correct environment so that the ventilation system performs more efficiently
Other benefits include...

Closed cell SPF adds structural strength and glues a building together, thereby making it more resistant to racking events, such as hurricanes and high winds.
SPF reduces noise from outside by air sealing the building.
Closed-cell SPF can provide an added barrier against water intrusion.
COMFORT:

SPF reduces drafts and increases comfort.
SPF helps maintain a comfortable, constant, temperature throughout the building, from room to room and floor to floor.
HEALTH:

SPF assists in improving indoor air quality.
SPF reduces the infiltration of outside air pollutants and soil gases.
SPF can reduce moisture condensation and mold growth within the building walls and roof.
VALUE:

Excellent insulation efficiency of SPF can reduce heating and cooling usage dramatically.
HVAC equipment can be down-sized, thereby reducing construction costs.
SPF will not sag or settle.
SPF can eliminate the need for separate housewrap and vapor retarders.
ENVIRONMENT:

SPF helps conserve energy, reducing CO2 emissions.
SPF contributes LEED credits for sustainable, green construction.
SPF can help reduce structural damage caused by high winds.
SPF contains no formaldehyde or ozone depleting substances.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 10:30AM
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Larry Wasson

Marys1000 - We did consider rock wool, but could not find the product. We also considered foam, but worried about off gasing from the material and getting the foam on all the redwood framing of our home.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 1:12PM
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alphawsr_yahoo_com

I would say vinyl with foam insulation as a good way to keep energy inside the home, which includes air conditioning during the summer.

Here is a link that might be useful: Alpha Vinyl Siding

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 5:00PM
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