How to Install Blown-In Cellulose Insulation

What You'll Need
Blown-in cellulose insulation
Water hose
Insulation blower
Netting (bought at your insulation dealer)
Industrial stapler with staples
Tape measure
A few rulers to ensure equal layering
Pencil and paper
Cardboard covering for the attic access
Aluminum for chutes
Scraper with handle or a thin but strong board

Having your house sufficiently insulated makes a remarkable difference to its energy efficiency and blown-in cellulose insulation is easy to install and consists of recycled wood fiber, mainly newspapers. Treated with the non-toxic Borax and Boric Acid, both fire retardants, it also a bug repellent. Blown-in cellulose insulation is an improvement in that it fills all cavities, thus providing sufficient insulation against high noise levels and excessive cold. It can therefore also assist in preventing the formation of roof-collapsing ice dams on the roofs in extremely cold areas. Below are steps you can follow to insulate your home.

Step 1 - Measurements

Measure the length and width of your attic area with a tape measure. Calculate the surface of square footage by multiplying the length and width. Determine how much insulation you will need or take the measurements to your dealer and work it out with them. The insulation blower is available at your dealer or local rental store.

Step 2 - Clean the Areas

Using a shop vac, clean the area, including the stud or rafter bays, from any items and debris. Pay special attention to the bottom of each bay.

Step 3 - Cover Areas that Need Protection

Cover the attic access area with cardboard. Keep the blown-in cellulose insulation away from recessed lighting fixtures, using 10 inch flashing to block them off. Keep at least 3 inches of air space between the fixtures and the flashing. Heating fixtures, chimney flues and other heat-generating fixtures must be surrounded by metal flashing. Install soffit-vent chutes over the soffit vents, using a stapler, to maintain good air circulation in the attic.

Step 4 - Prepare the Machine

Remove one plastic covering from a bale of blown-in cellulose insulation and dump the material into the spray machine. Ensure that the machine is filled to spray with consistent pressure. Connect the water hose to the machine and turn on the water supply.

Step 5 - Install the Insulation

Start at the furthest end and work your way to the access area, so that you needn’t walk on the damp insulation. Spray the stud bays starting from the bottom, working your way up until the bay is filled to the edge. Rafter bays need to be sprayed from the sides towards the center. Continue, keeping the flow steady. Spray around the chutes and covered areas towards the access area. Scrape away all excess insulation while still damp, using the scraper or the board to level and smooth down the bay surfaces.

Step 6 - After Care

Use netting to cover the bays, inserting staples just to keep it in place. This will prevent pieces of the blown-in cellulose insulation from falling out during the drying process. Allow the insulation to dry for 24 to 36 hours before covering with drywall.