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.

Fiberlite Salutes U.S. Energy Efficiency Month

October is Energy Efficiency Month

Fiberlite Tech salutes the Energy.gov official U.S. Energy Efficiency Month of October.

Energy.gov Energy Efficiency Month Page Preview from FTIOfficially the first Wednesday in October is ENERGY EFFICIENCY DAY. This year it was October 6, 2021. But the entire month of October is recognized as Energy Efficiency Month.

Energy efficiency can provide many benefits. To the homeowner or tenants, it will lower their utility bills. To the community it will create jobs. To the climate, it will reduce pollution and curb climate change. This is also considered the cheapest, quickest way to meet our energy demands as country.

We encourage everyone to promote Energy Efficiency Month by using the hashtag #EEMonth2021. Learn more about Energy Efficiency on the DOE’s Energy.gov website. Fiberlite also has extensive information for homeowners and businesses on its website with a broad menu of cellulose insulation and other related products. Upgrade or add insulation to your home or building and reap the benefits of greater energy efficiency including a Federal Tax Credit and lower utility bills every month for the life of the dwelling or structure.

Cost Vs Value Of Adding More Attic Insulation

Installing & Finished Cellulose Insulation Attic from FIberliteTechHomeowners considering “topping off” attic insulation likely weigh the pros and cons and wonder if it is truly worth it. Other “sexier” energy efficient home improvement might appear to provide greater bang for the buck. Additional insulation lowers your energy bill, but is it worth it for homeowners who may be planning to sell their house in the near future?

Remodeling Magazine has asked the same questions. In fact, they conduct a yearly survey comparing the job cost, resale value and cost recouped (ROI) on many common home improvement projects. They have conducted this survey by region and by city.Consistently through their survey history, the one improvement that provides a higher ROI than any other is insulation upgrades. Below is a list of some standard upgrades as a comparison:

 

Home Insulation Project vs Recoup Cost ROI Table from FiberliteTech

Upgrading insulation in a home is an excellent choice because the cost relative to other projects is nominal. It offers a quick return on the investment and provided savings every month for the life of the home, no matter who owns it. While other energy efficient upgrades are more visible, such as new thermal windows, appliances or roof shingles, none can match the ROI or effectiveness of adding insulation. And there are no esthetics to consider for when selling the home to a future buyer Maybe the buyer who may prefer a different style window or shingle color. Every homeowner wants a lower utility bill and listing updated insulation when putting a home on the market is a great selling point.

Whether planning to live there for years or selling in the near future, adding energy saving cellulose insulation to the attic of a home is a win-win. Fiberlite Tech Attic Pro Plus is perfectly suited for topping off existing attic insulation regardless of whether the current product is cellulose, fiberglass, mineral wool or even sprayed foam.

Contact FTI to learn more about the saving potential of adding cellulose insulation to your attic.

Cellulose Insulation For Commercial Projects

Fiberlite SATAC Perfect For Insulating Commercial Buildings

Fiberlite SATAC Commercial Building InsulationSpray Applied Thermal Acoustical Cellulose “SATAC” is the perfect product for commercial spray applications. It’s one of the few cellulose insulation products designed specifically for applications such as insulating garages, warehouses and gymnasiums.

Any building that would require the insulation product be exposed could be a suitable application for “SATAC.” This product meets different ASTM standards than traditional residential ASTM. As evident by its name, it is excellent for acoustical control.

SATAC Commercial Building Insulation Color ChartThis product is sold in several different colors as shown to the left. Each color offers the same benefits so the only difference is customer preference.

Customers rave about the sound control that this product can offer. Since the insulation product is exposed, it is easy for sounds to bounce off different surfaces throughout the building. “SATAC” will absorb the sound waves.

Like any residential cellulose insulation product, SATAC is a Class 1 Building Product. It exceeds these ASTM standards and meets a variety of additional ASTM standards specifically for open and exposed areas. FTI attains these higher standards by manufacturing this product through a proprietary blend of fire retardant ingredients.

Learn more about SATAC or contact us to find product and installers.

Energy Efficient Incentives 2021

Federal & State Incentives For Adding Home Insulation

Missouri homeowners have incentives to upgrade the insulation in their homes adding to the savings that can be achieved on monthly energy bills.

Federal Tax Credit

Once again, the U.S. Congress retroactively extended the tax credit for insulation through December 31, 2021. Homeowners adding or updating insulation in their primary homes can save up to $500 on their federal income tax. See program detail.

State & Local Incentives

Missouri Dept of Natural Resources Div of Energy Incentives LinkMissouri also offers energy saving incentives to homeowners. There are several opportunities including:

  • Grants & Financing
  • Local Utility Programs
  • Personal Income Tax Deductions

See the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Division of Energy for details. Also check the DSIRE database for other opportunities that might be available to save on energy efficiency home improvements. Programs are also available for other types of home energy improvements.

Then make plans to update your home insulation in 2021 and enjoy any one-time incentives plus monthly savings for years to come. Home insulation offers one of the quickest return on investment of any energy efficient home improvement option. Check with Fiberlite for cellulose insulation products, uses and referrals for retailers and installers in your area.

Congress Approves More Small Business Stimulus

PPP Loans Available Again For Small Businesses

PPP 2021 Loan Program Info from FTIThe final days of 2020 saw a rally in the U.S. Congress for legislation providing additional stimulus to businesses hurt by the continued Corona Virus Pandemic. This includes PPP loans to contractors among other small business sectors.

Many contractors took advantage of the PPP loan option last spring. Some that did not may now be in need of help with the resurgence of COVID-19 with the colder winter weather and holidays. The new legislation by Congress is similar but does include a few changes. The FTI team sorted through the legislation and identified important aspects for small businesses, which include many of our customers in the insulation industry. Business that did not previously apply may do so if they meet the general requirements. Below are the eligibility requirements for businesses interested in applying for the next round of PPP loan funds.

If I already got one loan, can I get another one? is the main question businesses that did previously get a loan are asking. The answer is YES. These are called “second draw” loans, and as long as a business meets the qualifications below, they are eligible and may apply for a PPP loan:

  • Second draw applicants must have used the entire amount from their first PPP loan.
  • Second draw applicant loans are capped at $2 million, new applicants still have a $10 million cap.
  • Deadline to apply is March 31, 2021.
  • Will this impact my existing forgiveness application? If you received more than $150,000, it probably won't. If you received less, the process should be much easier.
  • Can I apply for a second loan, if I already received forgiveness from the first loan? Yes, this is allowed under the new program.

These requirements apply to All Applicants under the new program:

  • Applicants must have no more than 300 employees (instead of up to 500 in the first program)
  • Funds must be used within 24 weeks
  • Funds must be used with at least 60 percent going toward payroll
  • Remaining funds must be used toward eligible expenses like rent and utilities, cloud computing, remote-work software, equipment for government-mandated sanitation and social-distancing.
  • Forgiveness for this round is simplified for loans under $150,000 (versus $50,000 last round). Requires a description of how much loan money was spent on payroll, and how many employees the recipient was able to retain as a result. Affected businesses will not need to submit documentation supporting their claims, but should keep it on hand in case of an audit down the line.
  • Applicants must demonstrate at least a 25 percent drop in quarterly revenues versus the same quarter in 2019.
  • Loans are calculated by multiplying 2.5 times Payroll for one of the two following time periods:
    • Borrower’s average monthly payroll in a one-year period prior to the application date
    • Borrower’s average monthly payroll calendar year during 2019 calendar year, by 2.5 times
  • Deadline to apply is March 31, 2021.

As with the first round, funds are limited and available to qualifying businesses on a first come-first served basis. Business owners interest should contact their bank(s) soon to inquire about availability of funds and participation as lenders in the program.

Good luck to everyone as we all continue to navigate through this ongoing world-wide crisis in 2021.

Winter Prep For Warmer Homes This Winter

Tips For Making Your Home Winter Ready

Ceiling-Fan-Direction-Switch-FiberliteTechCold winter weather has started to descend across regions of the U.S. as the holiday season approaches. With the drop in temperature outdoors, some may experience the cold inside their homes and recall discomfort last winter. Here are a few “gifts” homeowners can give themselves to improve their living environment this winter and beyond:

1. Change The Heater Filter

This is the easiest way to improve indoor air temperature and quality: changing the heater air filter. A dirty heater return air filter can cause inefficient heating in a home. The filter typically needs to be changed between 30 to 90 days depending on the type used, and how much demand and air is run through the system based on the temperature setting. It is also important to check the grate on the return air vent and clean it free of all dust.

2. Reverse Ceiling Fans

This is another very easy one that homeowners can do in a few minutes. Ceiling fans typically have a switch on the motor housing to change the direction of the blades. Usually the switch is set to force air down with the blades turning counter clockwise (most fan direction switches turn this way when in the down position.) Changing the switch to turn the blades clockwise in the winter, and keeping the fan on a lower setting, will move heat rising in the room back down and circulate more warm air through the room.

3. Seal The Home Envelope

Although there is a bit more involved than preparing to send a letter, this is also one of the easiest ways to make a house warmer and most homeowners can handle the task as a DIY project. Here’s how to help keep cold air from entering a home:

  • Caulk – Add or replace the caulk around the exterior of all windows and doors. Use a high quality exterior acrylic caulk product to fill any cracks, gaps or voids. Once way to check for air leaks around windows is to turn off the heater, turn on all exhaust fans and vent fans, then hold an incense stick near each window and doors. The vents will cause negative pressure drawing air and smoke from the incense where there are any leaks.
  • Weather Stripping – For doors, also look under and around all exterior doors where they meet the frame. If light is visible air is also coming through. Add or replace the weather stripping and consider a “door sweep” to block air at the bottom.

4. Have Heater Serviced

If the home heater is older, or has not been serviced in a few years, it may be worth the expense to call a professional HVAC repair company and have the system serviced. Like any other mechanical system, an ounce of occasional maintenance service can be worth a pound of cure if the heater goes out in the midst of a winter storm. Be sure to check references when choosing a service company.

5. Check Attic Insulation

In most cases, homeowners can easily check their attic insulation. Provided there is an attic access door and enough headroom to get a clear view of the insulation, a quick visual check can reveal if the insulation needs topping off or replaced. Learn how here. Cellulose insulation is the best product for adding insulation to the attic. It can be blown in over most any existing insulation. This can be a DIY project for those more handy homeowners; but in most cases it is best to get a professional insulation contractor experienced with cellulose products to achieve the most efficient return on the investment. Although this will be more costly than the simpler steps above, it can also provide the biggest improvement to interior living comfort and savings on home heating bills for years.

Fiberlite has several products that are perfect for attic insulation projects. Contact us for more information and contractor referrals.