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Cotton vs. blown-in cellulose


sequoia_s's Avatar
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11-01-02, 11:35 AM   #1  
sequoia_s
Cotton vs. blown-in cellulose

We live in sunny southern california in a 1947 single story home on a raised foundation, wood siding (12" wide horizontal T&G/"pattern" type cedar), plaster walls & ceilings (rock lath) and a 5/12 pitch roof reroofed 2-1/2 yrs ago w/ 25-yr. comp. shingles on plywood over the skip sheathing. I have just had a contractor remove the dirt and debris from the attic that was left over from the re-roof.

The attic has NO insulation, but lots of vents (several gable-end vents, many eve vents, and 3 - 12" turbines). The walls have old "rock-wool" (from what I can tell where we have had to break into the walls ... it may or may not be in all walls). In any event, I do not want to distrub the siding OR plaster to blown-in insulation into the walls, and the idea of laying 6-mil plastic in my crawl-space (more like slither-space in most places) is hardly appealing, though I may in fact use minimally expanding foam to seal the gaps around pipe and conduit down there after the house is rewired and repiped later this month.

That leaves insulating the attic and caulking and weatherstripping the multitudinous windows (as well as getting better window coverings).

For the attic -- one, I've seen ribsys's lecture on radiant barriers many times, so I don't need that one. two, I installed fiberglass bats for a guest-house addition we did about 1-1/2 years ago and I NEVER want to do that again, plus I don't want fiberglass in the main house, period. That leaves blown-in cellulose and a relatively new alternative, recycled cotton (from denim waste).

The reservation I have regarding cellulose is that I have to have it blown-in way over the joists, making access to the attic for service or storage difficult at best. On the other hand, cotton is much more costly AND ... there are no contractors out here installing it. When I contacted the mfg., the rep suggested I have them ship it and install myself. 'though I'm sure I'm capable of doing so (especially if I install folding attic "stairs"/ladder before hand so I don't have to go up and down a rickety A-frame), I'm not sure I want to install insulation in a 2000+ sq.ft. attic. I don't have a reliable helper available, and I have a host of other projects vying for my time.

But the cotton is appealing 'cuz it wouldn't be "free floating" in my attic, and 'cuz I could lay plywood down in a few places that have better head clearance and gain storage up there.

Sorry for the long-winded message, but any opinions on cellulose vs. cotton for attics?

thanks!!

 
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Ed Imeduc's Avatar
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11-03-02, 09:09 AM   #2  
insulation

I go for the cellulose insulation there in the attic for sure. For one thing it cant burn. Now they make cardboard things that will fit in the rafters so the insulation doesnt get out over the wents in the over hang. You have good went up there keep them all and make sure they are open all the time. I would somehow get a 4 or 6 mil poly down on the crawl way, it would sure help on your AC when you have it on. Also you could put some 2x6 or 2x8 next to the rafters where you want to put a floor up there and lay ply wood on them ED

 
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