There are two techniques that can be used to install cellulose insulation: loose-fill for open attics and dense pack for enclosed framed cavities. Loose-fill is the least complicated option for homeowners interested in a do-it-yourself (DIY) cellulose installation. Dense packing cellulose in enclosed framed cavities requires additional flexible wall hoses and a machine capable of producing a minimum of 2.9 psi pressure from the hose outlet of the machine.
Dry blown-in is the most common type of cellulose installation. It involves feeding loose-fill cellulose insulation fiber into a blowing machine which, blows the fiber through a long hose to the desired area of application. The process requires at least two people, some basic technical skills and a good understanding of the space to be insulated.
A flexible hose is used to dry blow cellulose insulation fiber into open attics.
Blow the amount of insulation, specified by the chart on the bag, evenly throughout the attic to achieve the correct R-value. Before installing, be sure to prepare the attic space to properly receive the dry blown-in insulation.
TIP: If there is existing insulation that is deteriorated, wet or moldy, it should be removed. If there is already blown-in insulation in place, cellulose can be blown over the top to increase the R-value and overall performance. In attics with fiberglass batts, the batts should either be removed, or the cellulose blown under the batts to make contact with the ceiling below. For best performance, the cellulose should cover any existing insulation and framing.
Safety & Comfort: Installing cellulose can be dusty, so wear a dust mask and goggles.
Dense packing of enclosed walls is a more complicated installation process. This type of installation requires specialized tools and knowledge, and frequently involves work performed from ladders or staging around significant and potentially life-threatening hazards such as plumbing and the home’s electrical service and hidden wiring.
In addition, the equipment available to the do-it-yourselfer (DIY) is generally not adequate for most applications where enclosed walls or cathedral ceilings must be filled using the dense pack method. This information pertains to retrofitting cellulose into existing buildings.
For these reasons, CIMA does not recommend that the typical homeowner attempt a job of this scope. Please seek the services of an experienced insulation installer. CIMAC Producer Members can provide recommendations for qualified contractors and installers. You can also check with your local utility company, the Yellow Pages or other online sources for insulation contractors.