Facts About Cellulose Insulation Settling

Insulation Standards Account For Settling

Fiber-Lite Cellulose Insulation Coverage ChartFor decades, misinformation has swirled around how much cellulose insulation settles. The “myth” of exaggerating the settling of cellulose insulation was probably initiated in the 1970s by industry competitors and has continued to propagate in online posts and offline articles through the present day. The fact is, some minor settling naturally occurs in all loose fill and even batt insulation products. However, manufacturers for years have been required to provide clear information for their insulation products to account for this minor occurrence.

Back in the early 1970s, the entire insulation industry, including fiberglass, was loosely regulated. This changed in the late 1970s and early 1980s when standards were adopted to regulate insulation manufacturers and their products. One measure that was taken required all cellulose insulation manufacturers to include coverage charts on their product bags for “installed” thickness and “settled” thickness. This simple change addressed the concerns with settling providing a factual calculation contractors and consumers could expect to achieve desired R-Value or thickness.

FIBER_LITE PLUS Cellulose Insulation BagThe reason for this modification is that once insulation is blown into an attic, the material will naturally take two to three days to reach its final density. A slight difference in the thickness will occur as the cellulose attic insulation settles into place. As can be seen from the examples provided here, the change in depth is minimal. For example in an attic insulated to R49 (R-Value) the cellulose insulation material will settle about an inch and half. Industry, as well as internal Fiberlite research, suggests this occurs within the first 48-72 hours after the material is installed into an attic.

Since FTI started manufacturing cellulose insulation in1985, this standard has always been in place and coverage charts printed prominently on all product bags sold. When installed properly to the indicated depth on the bags, consumers can rest assured the final R-Value will be achieved providing high energy efficiency and savings for the life of the dwelling.

Avoiding Roof Ice Dams With Proper Attic Insulation

House roof with uneven snow melt and possible ice damming from Fiberlite

Uneven snow melt can signal Ice Damming

With severe storms and record snowfall amounts across much of the northern U.S. already this winter some homes may be in greater jeopardy where improper insulation leads to ice dams.

Ice dams occur when heavy snow buildup melts during the day and then refreezes when temperatures drop overnight. If this melt-freeze cycle continues for several days the condition can lead to water intrusion into the attic and home or even roof collapse in more extreme cases. One way to tell if ice damming is a potential problem: check your roof after a snow accumulation. If there are patches where some of the snow is melting faster, this is an indication of heat escaping from the roof and likely due to poor insulation.

Ice Dam on house with improper attic insulation

Severe Ice Damming

Prevention and awareness are the key to protecting a roof from ice damming. Many homeowners may not even be aware of the threat. These steps can help to minimize the risk:

  1. Always do a visual check of the roof after every snow storm to check for potential uneven snow melt as noted above, and gutter downspouts to verify that water is flowing as snow melts (not forming icicles as in the photo here.)
  2. Compare to neighboring homes with same geographic orientation to determine if similar snow accumulation on the roofs. House with properly sealed and insulated attics will have more and more even snow accumulation vs. dry patches indicating risk of ice damming.
  3. Regularly clean all gutters and downspouts thoroughly – at least every few months to ensure properly flow.
  4. Remove snow from the roof whenever possible. Home improvement stores typically stock snow rakes with longer handles designed for this purpose. It’s work but worth it to help avoid dams and roof failure from the weight that can build up with heavy wet snow.
  5. Check attic insulation to make sure it meets the R-Value for the geographic region and add or upgrade as needed. Cellulose insulation is one of the best products available for adding insulation to the attic. A properly insulated and vented attic minimizes the risk of ice dams, and provides a more comfortable living environment within the home while also lowering monthly energy bills year-round.

Contact us for more information on ice damming and referrals for qualified cellulose insulation contractors.

Attics Best Used For Insulation Rather Than Storage

Attics Better Stuffed With Insulation Than Stuff

Attic Used as Storage Spage Example from Christmas Vacation MovieMany homeowners make the mistake of adding plywood decking over the joists in home attics to create a convenient storage floor for all the stuff they can’t fit in their garages. This is a bad idea since the most cost effective way to insulate an attic is to cover the floor with insulation. If the floor is covered in plywood at the typical joist tops it’s just not possible, in most cases, to stuff enough insulation underneath to obtain the required depth and R-Value.

Sure, it looks like found space with all that open area above the ceilings just calling out to be used as a storage area for holiday decorations, old photographs and more (think of the Chevy Chase freezing cold in the attic scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Movie.) Homeowners that do use their attic in this way would likely save money by blowing in cellulose insulation to the proper depth over the attic floor and renting a storage unit for their extra stuff in the attic.

One alternative, where attic overhead clearance allows, is to raise the height of the ceiling floor. Extensions can be fashioned on top of the existing ceiling joist where storage is desired to raise the attic decking to a height of 13 inches. Insulation can then be blow in under the decking to achieve the depth required for recommended R-Value. Adding the raised deck can be done as a DIY project (for homeowners with the proper skills) and their are also products available from home improvement stores, Amazon and other retailers. A qualified contractor can be hired as well. This offers the best of both worlds with improved attic insulation and additional storage space to save on both utility bills and long term storage costs.

Even in warmer climates, the savings from a properly insulated attic are substantial enough to override the convenience of having an attic double as a storage area. In fact, there is almost no quicker return on investment for a home energy efficiency improvement than adding or upgrading attic insulation. The savings realized are immediate and continue month in and month out regardless of the seasons.

Learn more about insulating a home attic with cellulose insulation.

Ants Number One Nuisance Pest By Quadrillions

Photo of ant infestation in a homeAnt infestations are one of the most common pest problems in homes and businesses creating an irritating nuisance and a source of disgust, concern and frustration for occupants. Ants are considered one of the most difficult pests to control, along with bed bugs. There are a staggering number of ants on the planet with a recently published study conservatively estimating over 20 quadrillion or 2.5 million ants for every human. So it is no surprise that ants represent one of the biggest potential pest problems.

Ant infestations are especially common in the following structures:

  • Office Buildings (88%)
  • Restaurants (83%)
  • Apartments and condominiums (82%)
  • Single-family homes (80%)
  • Nursing homes (70%)
  • Hospitals (58%)
  • Schools (58%)
  • College dormitories (34%)

Within these structures, the following areas were found to be particularly vulnerable:

  • Kitchens (96%)
  • Bathrooms (89%)
  • Inside walls (73%)
  • Bedrooms (61%)
  • Living rooms (60%)
  • Basements (54%)
  • Air conditioning and heating units (37%)

When ants are found, pest professionals control them with a variety of exterior and interior treatments, as well as sanitation efforts like eliminating the sources of their food and water.

Fiberlite (FTI) cellulose insulation can help resist infestations by ants and other pests when installed in the walls, attics and crawlspaces of buildings. FTI products contain EPA approved insect resistant substances. Insulating your home or office with cellulose adds an extra layer of insect resistance for a highly effective barrier when used in combination with other pest control products and professional pest services.

Learn more about this amazing added value of cellulose insulation.




PEX Pipe Latest Cellulose Insulation Myth

Fiber Lite cellulose insulation spray installed in exterior wallMyths have been perpetuated about cellulose insulation for years. While most of this misinformation has centered around fire, moisture and settling topics, a new category has emerged recently: PEX.

PEX (polyethylene pipe) is commonly used in commercial and residential plumbing projects because it is flexible, durable, and resistant to chemicals. It has become a standard go-to material for water pipe systems and is affordable and relatively easy to install.

Somewhere along the way misinformation emerged siting issues when PEX comes into contact with cellulose insulation in walls and attics. Evidently the concerns raised are linked to the fire retardant included in all cellulose insulation. Nothing could be further from the truth. PEX is in fact resistant to chemicals and the fire retardant chemical used in cellulose insulation also does not cause chemical damage to pipes made from polyethylene, PVC or copper.

Like all water pipes, PEX should to be insulated in colder climates where the water can freeze and cause ruptures and leaks. Cellulose insulation is in fact a perfect match with PEX piping and can be blown over PEX in attics (very common in older homes where original slab pipe fails and must be re-plumbed in the attic) and around pipes in the walls (see photo above of wall and pipes sealed with FTI cellulose insulation) to provide excellent insulation for the plumbing system as well as the overall home.

Want more information about PEX or any other common misconceptions for cellulose insulation, contact FTI for the facts.

Cockroaches are Evolving to Evade Sugar Traps

American CockroachesSurprisingly, cockroaches are steering away from sugary-coated traps designed to kill them. The phenomenon has been subject to much scientific interest with many experts asking why they avoid traps if they are coated in glucose-a tempting treat for cockroaches.

A study published in Science.Time reveals why.

Cockroaches determine whether or not food is safe by using their sensory systems. However, these sensory systems are able to quickly adapt to environmental changes.

How they are able to detect the presence of poison in food that was once considered to be “safe” according to their sensory systems is still a mystery.

Researchers at North Carolina State University looked at a species of cockroaches that have adapted and avoided traps coated in sugar; they were able to determine the mechanism of this change. Cockroaches have tiny little hair-like sensors on their mouths which they use to “taste” food, activating sensor gustatory receptor neurons, or GRNs. Certain GRNs activate in the presence of food that is sugar, which makes them feed as opposed to GRNs that activate in the presence of food that is bitter, making them avoid the food.

The research, which started in the mid-1980’s, found that German cockroaches given baits incorporating a stimulant (glucose) and a deterrent (insecticide) evolved a behavior change called “glucose aversion”. Cockroaches with “glucose aversion” avoided all man-made traps even though they were coated with glucose.

Using electrophysiological tests the scientist was able to analyze the responses of gustatory receptor neurons among normal and glucose averse cockroaches. They were surprised to find that when the German glucose averse cockroaches were exposed to sugar it actually stimulated their bitter GRN’s and suppressed the sugar GRN response, which prevented them from feeding.

This means that among glucose-averse German cockroaches glucose is processed as a deterrent which makes them avoid it completely. It is possible that the environmental adaption could have started millions of years ago, before humans were around, when they avoided some plants that are capable of producing toxic, sweet compounds.

All this means it is especially important to find efficient ways of controlling cockroach infestations in homes. Cockroach allergens can cause allergies and asthma attacks. The saliva and droppings contain allergen proteins known to trigger allergies and increase the severity of asthma symptoms, especially in children.

Find out how cellulose insulation in the attic and walls of homes can help deter insects.


Cellulose Insulation Products, Installations, Moisture and More Answered

Shan Maitra Fiberlite President HeadshotBy Shan Maitra, Fiberlite Technologies President

We often receive interesting questions here on the blog and via our website Contact form. A recent inquiry from an architect, who brings up a few interesting topics, is worth sharing for other industry professionals and consumers.

Jack R Asked:
I am an architect in Kansas City. I would like to see a sample specification for the installation of your product. I would also like to know what is the transport gas used for installation. Is compressed air used for the insulation when blown through nozzles transferred or applied by compressed air. If that is the answer it is the right answer, from my point of view. The characteristics that makes your product good in my application are the gap sealing properties. What can you tell me specifically about gap sealing. I am also concerned about the moisture trapping characteristics of the cellulose. Please advise.

ANSWER: The first question is easy: our website has a section exclusively for Industry Professionals where they can register to access a variety of technical data and specifications.Link to register for Building Industry Pro info on FIberlite Tech WebsiteThe gas questions is an interesting one. As far as I am aware, insulation contractors do not use compressed air during installation. I have asked insulators this exact question and if they report differently, I will share more on the subject here on our Blog.

As far as gap sealing, our spray applied insulation fills the entire cavity. It doesn’t leave any room for gaps or cavities for air pockets to exist within the cavity. We recommend that the building is first air sealed with caulk to fill the joints, cracks and corners for maximum effectiveness.The perception about moisture trapping may not be accurate. Cellulose insulation by its very nature does not trap moisture but it allows for moisture to migrate throughout insulation. This is not a plastic or water resistant product, so the moisture is not stuck or trapped in one location. Instead, it will migrate as the cellulose insulation wicks the moisture away from its source. If you have standard OSB on the exterior side and sheetrock on the interior, the moisture will eventually evaporate out of the cavity.

Great questions. Have something on your mind about FTI Products or cellulose insulation, post a comment on any Blog Story or send us a question from the website.

Cellulose Insulation Products For DIY and Professional Markets

Fiber-Lite and Fiber-Lite Plus Perfect Choice for DIY and Pros Respectively

Fiber-Lite Plus Cellulose Insulation Installing Wall CavityHomeowners and Insulation Industry Professionals new to FTI Products may not be aware of the difference between Fiber-Lite and Fiber-Lite Plus. Overall, these two products are very similar. They have comparable R-Values, product densities, and meet similar ASTM* standards. Both products can be used in attics, walls and crawl spaces; they can be installed anywhere in a home or building. But there are a few key differences.

The subtle distinction is that Fiber-Lite Plus includes a dry adhesive that is activated by water. This is important only for wall cavity spray applications. For these projects, a professional insulation contractor is typically required since special equipment and a trained installer use a small amount of water when insulating the walls. After the product is installed, the activated adhesive will create a tighter bond within the insulation product and between the insulation-adjacent surfaces. This tighter bond enables the product to adhere more tightly, particularly in vertical wall applications. The ultimate benefit for the homeowner is that the wall has slightly better thermal performance by preventing air infiltration.

The picture above shows Fiber-Lite Plus being installed. You can see the main insulation hose and a smaller blue hose which represents the water line. It can be installed without the use of netting required with dry-blown cellulose insulation products in walls.

Fiber-Lite is a highly effective dry blown cellulose insulation that is suitable for DIY (do-it-yourself) or professional installations. It is typically used for attics. However, both Fiber-Lite and Fiber-Lite Plus can be used in almost every area of a home or building.

See Product Pages on the FTI website for more details and contact us to speak with a representative for more information.

*American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) – now known as ASTM International, an organization that develops international standards for materials, products, systems, and services used in construction, manufacturing, and transportation. Reportedly the world’s largest developer of technical standards, ASTM International publishes the Annual Book of ASTM Standards.

Cellulose Insulation Industry Best Warranty

Fiberlite WallMat Warranty FIberlite Tech Cellulose InsulationFTI has manufactured cellulose insulation since 1985 and we backup years of experience with an industry-wide best warranty for our flagship products.

We pride ourselves on manufacturing a quality product and are confident that both insulation installers and homeowners will appreciate its benefits. Our products meet a variety of testing criteria including fire resistance, R-Value, fungus resistance and many more. We have surpassed industry standards and demonstrated that our flagship product, FIBER-LITE, was tested and shown to actively kill mold spores in scientific experiments.

We are so confident about our products that we offer product warranty certificate for FIBER-LITE, FIBER-LITE PLUS and WAL-MAT. This certificate states that we will support the product for the lifetime of the building structure. This certificate is transferable to new building owners as well. Very rarely are building products supported by such a guarantee, but FTI strives to provide the best insulation product available.

If you are interested in a product warranty like the one above, ask your contractor if they use FIBER-LITE, FIBER-LITE PLUS and WAL-MAT. They can provide you with a copy of the certificate to added confidence that you have the best insulation product available. Download a copy here.

Contact us to learn more about our products and warranties.


How To Select The Best Insulation Product

Matching Insulation Product To Projects Key For Best Results

Attic Installed with Fiberlite Tech Attic PlusCustomers often ask the team here at Fiberlite “which cellulose product is best for my insulation project?” With many brands and types of cellulose insulation on the market, it can be confusing to homeowners and even some builders and other industry professionals when choosing a product.

Of course the short answer is it depends on the application for the insulation project. There are a variety of possible applications from blowing in attics to wall cavity spraying and even specialized projects like insulating commercial buildings and pest control solutions.

Fiberlite Technologies is one of the few cellulose insulation manufacturers that offers a wide range of products to meet virtually all of the possible applications.

The most common and popular application for cellulose insulation is “topping off” attics in existing homes or insulating new home attics. Even in this specific application, Fiberlite offers two product options: ATTIC PLUS and ATTIC PLUS PRO. They are formulated similarly. The only difference is ATTIC PLUS is intended for Do-It-Yourself (DIY) homeowners whereas ATTIC PLUS PRO is intended for insulation contractors.

Both of these products provide excellent insulating properties that will improve the quality of life within the home with better indoor air comfort and improved sound control, while also helping to reduce home energy expenses.

Learn more about Attic Plus and all the products available from Fiberlite. Contact our team anytime to find product retailers or contractor referrals, and for additional assistance with home or building insulation needs.