Better results can be achieved with less work and money. The video instruction is designed to push inferior fiberglass. Who needs an "air barrier" on a basement floor? "FineHomebuilding caters to advertisers so their advice is biased.
The graphics can be worse! A couple weeks ago the graphics didn't match the text...they were from a different article.
The text does not fit the graphic. (Two different repair procedures.)
The Cellulose Insulation Manufacturer's Association, at: http://www.cellulose.org/CIMA/ is as reliable as they come. I don't know of any others "like them". CIMA provides solid reliable consumer and technical information to homeowners, builders, and anyone interested in having a strong understanding of cellulose, fiberglass, and foam.
If you believe any of their information is less than credible please point out your concern. I always invite, "please prove me wrong", no one ever does with regard to the CIMA data or the Oakridge Laboratory research.
I did spend some time browsing the web sites you provided, each tried to sell me books and videos and get me to join and be on a mailing list. The sites you provided are clearly selling third-party products. (Did not check UMass)
No need to argue. The science is in. Foam is overpriced and uses 64 times as much embodied energy to produce as cellulose insulation. Cellulose has a higher R-value than open cell foam and is half or 1/3rd the price. Cellulose is rodent resistant and fire retardant and is a much better sound deadener than fiberglass, which loses half its R-value in cold weather...since it has a much lower R-value to start with it has none to spare. Cellulose stops air leaks fiberglass doesn't.
It's not really an argument when one product,like fiberglass is so inferior. it' just an embarrassment to the ones claiming it's fit to put a carcinogen in someone's home. Close cell foam is a great insulator but is too expensive to fill a wall cavity or attic. Cellulose does quite nicely and is economical and truly green. There is nothing to argue about.
As for your list of names...well, whether they disagree with each other or not is of no concern of mine. If any of them disagree with the facts about cellulose insulation then I'll gladly discuss their beliefs with them and anyone who wants to read along.
As for your premise that "green is a point of view", I must point out the term "green" is totally meaningless if builders are loose with the term and describe foam and fiberglass as "green...claiming they are "durable" so fits their personal definition of green. How silly is that?
"Organic" meant something different before the term gained a legal meaning. Now far too many growers find ways to define their product as "organic". Green is about recycled content and embodied energy when discussing insulation. It's not about "durability". Besides even on the durability scale, no studies show foam being durable. some suggest foam breaks down over time and loses R-value too. On the durability scale, cast iron bathtubs are "green".
Reading some of these insulation articles being circulated reveals builder/writers are far more harmful about providing deceitful information about insulation than any other sources besides a door to door salesman. Most often the R-value for cellulose is printed in these deceitful articles at some lower figure that the industry wide value of R-3.8 per inch. Loose blown fiberglass is much lower in R-value and shrivels in R-value by one-half in cold weather. Those are facts. If your list of "experts" want to have "opinions" about facts then who am I to stop them?
JFink, a reliable source for cellulose information is:
I provided that information in my first post I believe.
Also, Oakridge National Laboratory does research for the Department of Energy, and others. I don't think they dispute anything I have shared. They are a great resource for factual information about the insulations they have tested. They are doing research to recognize the "whole wall" R-value, which includes the all-important air infiltration parameter not usually shared wih consumers. You can find their work at:
Theri material on a more scientific level so not fast reading for us common folks.
The details I offered with regard to packing slope ceilings (and walls) with cellulose is a common practice amongst experienced cellulose installers and is also documented on one (or more) web sites of cellulose manufacturers. Seal the cavity with cellulose and moisture carrying air won't be a problem. The small amount of moisture that cellulose "breaths" has no negative consequence on the quality of the insulation work or the home. If this were not true we could not retrofit older homes with cellulose (they don't have house wrap). We tighten them up nicely and reduce heating and cooling costs as much as 40%.
I believe the only arguments I've heard against this technique was from the fiberglass roofing manufactures but they haven't showed any research to support their claims. Keep in mind they also manufacture the fiberglass insulation who at one time manufactured asbestos, the other carcinogen. When they lost their cancer lawsuits they filed bankruptcy. I've read that fiberglass insulation is a worse carcinogen problem than asbestos ever was. Do you want to trust a giant international corporation who filed bankruptcy to avoid asbestos claims?
The two Michaels (Chandler and Guertin), keep repeating the same erroneous claims about foam being "green". They even redefine "green" to include "durable". I don't believe Chandler's coined word, "durable" is defined by those who classify building materials. Is Chandler campaigning to change the official definition of the word green as it applies to building materials? Then concrete and steel are green too.
Also, the Michaels loosely use the word "foam" without discerning which they are speaking of, (closed or open cell), two different animals. Consumers should be made aware which the writer is discussing. The cost of close cell foam is even higher than the over-priced open cell foam. The close cell foam is in fact a barrier to water and has a significantly higher R-value than it's poor cousin, open cell foam. When Chandler, and others banter the word "foam" around, the reader can easily be mislead to believe the poorer quality foam possess the characteristics of the premium foam product, which of course, is too expensive to fill an eight-inch space with. It's simply not cost effective to do so. Consumers have a right to know that don't you think?
If Michael Chandler wants to block the truth by having my posts removed then so be it. But please don't break my kneecaps, I work every day.
Mike, I'm sure your buddy appreciates your effort to support his fallacious comments about cellulose insulation. I commend your loyalty. In that both he and you have strayed from the facts about the subject why stray even further getting into some personal tangent about "profiles". This issue is too important to readers to reduce it to anything less than a finding of the facts. That means fiberglass facts, foam facts, and cellulose facts. Agreed?
Michael Chandler cites open cell foam as being "durable". Stretching even more he claims open cell foam "blocks water". The open cell foam I am familiar with is paramount to a sponge with regard to water. Is it possible Michael Chandler is confusing open cell foam with the much more expensive "close cell" foam? That's a common tactic amongst the cheap foam peddlers...associate it with the too-expensive foam and it's better laboratory tested characteristic as compared to the much cheaper open cell foam. Do you see where the homeowner and reader might be confused? If Michael Chandler (or you) intermingle the characteristics of two different foam products, referencing both as "foam" the reader is duped into a false belief about the implied "qualities" of the cheaper foam product, and perhaps, even the very expensive one. Do you feel any sense of responsibility to not contribute to the confusion?
As for "durability", are you aware of any scientific studies that proves Michael Chandler's claim of "durability"? Since foam shrinks after installation (hidden away from customer sight), an since foam loses R-value as it ages, what is it about open cell foam you two are declaring "durable"?
I'm not interested in "discussing your self proclaimed issues". What would serve the reader and anyone interested in gaining knowledge about insulation before taking the plunge is to state the facts correctly and not hide the truth by bantering "issues". The information I have (facts) is directly from the manufacturer of the various foam and fiberglass and cellulose products. You can readily read the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) required by our Federal Government on ALL products and if you absorb the content you too can state facts instead of "issues". If we state the facts about each product I'm betting a new set of issues will surface once the facts surface. For example, credibility, value, return on investment, all the things that an informed buyer of any product wants to know.
I don't intend to appear derisive to you Michael Chandler. I work for a living and am just trying to make sense out of your claims. I don't hire sub-contractors so I don't mark up their work so I don't know the pricing structure you talk about but your foam still appears to not be cost effective for the homeowner, which is my concern. The homeowner pays double for a less insulated home.
I also have a problem understanding the 8" depth claim you make. The photo shows a roof assembly sprayed with foam but the trusses don't appear to be 2x8". I see a couple 2x8" boards but most look smaller. Maybe it's the angle. Is the photographed "attic" the actual one you insulated to an 8" depth? You mentioned "open cell" foam. What R-value do you claim in your "8" foam attic"? Open cell is often used for retrofits and closed cell is used on new construction open spraying, the reverse of your choice. The open cell is less expensive and has a lower R-value. Do the homeowners understand their choices when they pick the lower R-value foam?
Since you are only talking about a small water leak then consider you are paying DOUBLE (or more) than a cellulose insulation job would cost for the privilege of possibly containing a small puddle. Cellulose will do that. It absorbs and gives off moisture daily. True water damage occurs as a direct result of fire hoses, wind/storm damage, lightning strikes, and frozen water pipes that thaw and leak. Foam will not spare the homeowners' contend and structural damage in those scenarios. Again, it's hard to rationalize foam and fiberglass at twice the price for the rare occasion it might save re-insulating a small area of the ceiling (or wall). Truth is, most walls freeze and leak water because the fiberglass does not adequately insulate them from cold air infiltration. I routinely remove both blown and batt fiberglass insulation from wall cavities after the plumber repairs the pipes. I re-insulated with solidly packed cellulose and there are no more frozen water pipes. It's amazing.
I stand by what I said about more folks dying from the fumes of burning foam than do by the fire itself. Check the records and see for yourself! Instead you want to argue how a fire develops in a burning home. I don't think you are qualified to conduct that discussion so please just examine the history and records available to you. My experience is the vinyl siding melts before it chimneys air to the attic. Usually when that happens the fire was from an outside source.
You are wrong, cellulose "assemblies" (whatever that is), don't require "ventilation" so please don't confuse your facts and associate cellulose with fiberglass. Fiberglass requires house wrap to help stop air infiltration. Foam shrinks as much as 3% so you can compare foam to fiberglass when talking about its inability to seal air infiltration. Cellulose prevents the air infiltration fiberglass doesn't. Since it stops the moisture laden air there is no moisture to condense like in drafty fiberglass "assemblies". Slope ceilings, for example, can be packed solid with cellulose (just like walls) with NO problems.
Sorry Michael Chandler but your "blowing batts ("spider" fiberglass), like all fiberglass insulation, is a
"Confirmed animal carcinogen with unknown relevance to humans" and "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen, based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in animals." Did you share that important information with the lucky homeowner before contaminating their walls?
I did read your article. I was talking about the bigger market, which includes the home retrofit segment. The sales routine is to talk up the "benefits" of foam and sign a contract for foam in the walls but then the homeowner is given "free" fiberglass for the ceilings. Most of the insulation they get is fiberglass but they paid double the cost for the "privilege" of having foam retrofitted to their walls. Sounds like bait and switch to me. Are you aware of the industry-wide practice of fluffing the blown attic fiberglass in order to increase profits? By fluffing his insulation, the fiberglass contractor can pump the fiberglass up to the quoted depth and still use much less material. The many bags of blowing fiberglass he discretely does not install represents a fat hidden profit. I'm sure with all your experience you have heard of the problem of fiberglass fluffing? By the way, what R-value are you claiming for "open cell foam" and your cancer causing spider fiberglass? The spider MSDS states an "up to" value, what can cause spider to not achieve the "up to" R-value number?
What is "humorous" about the problem of high pressure salesmen? How else can the salesman of an over-priced and under-performing product induce elderly people to pay double? So that problem is a knee slapper for you?
I'm still waiting for you to tell us what is "green" about foam (or fiberglass). "Green" is a marketing tool these days. The term is about as useless as calling a food product "organic". Now that these terms have legal definitions, they aren’t so "organic" or so "green". Petroleum based foam is green in what world? Fiberglass is fuel intensive to produce so its rough on the environment too. In spite of that reality you are content to call them "green". Now that's a knee slapper Michael Chandler.
Mike Guertin, you did not identify which "points" you believe Mike Chandler did well on. I read his, and then your, blind acceptance that foam has some superior qualities... none that he, or you, stated. What he did say is not supported by scientific proof. It's not a matter of "opinion" when comparing cellulose to foam, the facts are there if you care to truly discuss the facts and not dilute the "discussion" effort to a "difference of opinion" which is about the strongest argument the foam industry can offer to induce consumers to overpay for overpriced, under performing, shrinking, open cell foam.
I don't think "durability" is a major issue with insulation. If so then use fiberglass. it is more durable than open cell foam and much much cheaper. Most reasonable folks recognize that if a roof leaks or plumbing leaks, drywall will be damaged and furniture will be damaged. Replacing insulation isn't the deciding factor when insulating for thermal efficiency. Wallpaper is damaged by water leaks, as is the paint, carpet and most everything in the house with the exception of the bathtub. So what? Is the plan to replace all the water damaged items and components in the house and save one hundred dollars by using foam in the attic instead of cellulose...at twice the price and for less energy savings???
Of course there is a definitive approach to cost effective insulation.. simply choose safe, fire retardant, air sealing cellulose insulation in both ceilings and walls. Let's give credit where credit is due.
From my experience, as a practical matter, you foam boys talk a lot about installing foam in ceilings but the fact of the matter is, it's so very expensive most consumers reject the notion as not practical and certainly not cost effective. Those who do insulate their walls with foam aren't aware it shrinks because that fact was hidden by the salesman. They do eventually recognize they paid twice the money for wall insulation and ended up with fiberglass in their attic. That bait and switch combination is much less efficient than cellulose in both walls and ceiling. If you don't believe me put your money where your mouth is. Lets build two identical houses, do blower door tests and I'll insulate the one that leaks air the most. You do the other house and then let their respective energy usage data reveal to all, that cellulose will recover the investment and foam will continue to cost money and worse yet, if it is combined with a fiberglass insulated attic, like most are, it will have a higher energy usage than the all cellulose home. Let's do it.
When Michael Chandler writes, " I use Icenene since I'm spraying 8" and it adds up. (my last roof @ 2,600 sf, 8" thick cost me $5,700) I use a blown-in-batt fiberglass system, not regular batts, in my walls."...
...several questions come to mind. For example, when Chandler says Icenene coasts him $5,700.00 for 2,600 sq ft, 8" deep, is that the cost of the foam in in the drum? Or is it the cost installed, including labor, fuel, time, etc?
The bigger question is...what does that job cost the customer??? Cellulose is cost effective and has a better R-value than the overpriced Icenene foam Chandler is hyping.
In the United States, Federal Law requires insulation contractors to inform customers, IN WRITING: that Icenene foam shrinks up to 3%. That shrinkage makes Icenene foam about as poor an insulator as foam can be.
When a home with Icenene foam burns, the foam gives off deadly gasses. The victims are more likely to die from the foam fumes than from burning.
What exactly are the "blowing batts" Candler speaks of? I'm guessing it's chopped up fiberglass created to market the worse insulation on the market.
Air infiltrated fiberglass insulation in the walls and shrinking foam in the attic will never insulate as well or as economically as cellulose.
You consumers trying to decide...keep in mind it is your responsibility to feret out the truth about insulation. You'll never learn the truth about cellulose listening to a foam or fiberglas salesman (or contractor). Go to: http://www.cellulose.org/HomeOwners/
You will live with the results of your willingness to get involved. Be an informed consumer and the choice is clear. Good luck.
Michael Chandler begins his story by saying, "Just because it’s recycled doesn’t mean it’s green." He spends the remainder of his words promoting fiberglass and denouncing cellulose without ever making a case for cellulose not being "green". He's just a front man for the fiberglass industry. Fact is, fiberglass uses massive amounts of energy to manufacture. Cellulose does not. This is a straw issue used by the fiberglass industry to distract from the real issue which is...fiberglass is pitifully poor insulation at any price! I wouldn't put it in my home if it were FREE!
The next silly argument, "We took our ceiling out because of water damage and the cellulose was damaged too." No kidding? What else was damaged? The carpet, the furniture,clothing, and anything else that was water soaked? Had the attic been insulated with fiberglass even more water would have soaked the contents of the house instead of being held back by the cellulose. I guarantee the nasty wet fiberglass wasn't recycled and re-installed in the attic. A knowledgeable consumer would have replaced the fiberglass with cellulose, guaranteed to stop water pipes from freezing, unlike fiberglass.
It's proven that when two homes are insulated with the same R-Value in both ceiling and walls, the one with cellulose will be 27% more energy efficient as opposed to the fiberglass home. If the fiberglass were free the higher heating and cooling costs would make living in that house much more expensive than the cellulose house. Contractors who prefer fiberglass do so only because they can make more money using blown fiberglass...they cns hor the customer many many bags...which is their hidden profit. Even if the homeowner measures the depth they cannot detect they were shorted...you see, the fiberglass is fluffed up so it's not as dense and required for the stated R-value. As a result opf the fluffing fiberglass will settle even more than it would had it not been fluffed up to cheat the customer.
The bottom line is that most homeowners made insulation decisions based on the information fed them by high pressure fiberglass and foam salesman. Inferior products take extra-ordinary means to get consumers to buy. Fear tactics about cellulose is the bases for many fiberglass and foam sales. Based on merit, value,and energy conservation, cellulose wins hands down. That's why the cellulose market continues to grow and homeowners discover the remarkable savings over fiberglass and foam.
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