Oh Insulation

FINALLY YALL!!!  We have finally reached this stage!  Kinda (I’ll explain).

 The plan for insulation has evolved quite a bit during the planning and building process.  We knew we absolutely did not was traditional fiberglass – it just doesn’t work real well compared to the other options. it stinks at stopping/slowing air exchange, 15 minute fire resistance rating. Not to mention it practically needs a hazmat suit to install.  
So I got to researching.  With our hot roof design, we have to use spray foam in the roof.  The price to do the whole house with that was rather daunting.  And besides – eventually we will be expanding on two sides – is that additional cost worth it when those will just become interior walls?  We decided not.  I really liked stone wool insulation – its made from rock basically, not quite as toxic as fiberglass, but still has the same problem of letting (albeit less) air exchange.  
 What about blown cellulose – the stuff most people put in their attics.  You can “tight fill” the walls eliminating the air exchange, but then you have to install and patch a lot of drywall, it all has to be done rather quickly and a year or so later most people recommend “topping” it off – which means more holes, more patching – and it’s a whole lot of mess. 
After comparing the costs of each of the traditional materials, I started looking at non-traditional materials.  And was reminded of the denim insulation.  Mr. and I had talked about it when we first started this, but dismissed it because of cost and lack of availability around here.  
Until now!
I finally located a local distributor, about 90 minutes away, saving a ton in shipping!  Their cost was identical to what I found online – and also happens to be in the same price range as the dense packed blown insulation.  Plus its totally safe – no hazmat suit needed (although a mask is good, there is still dust and blue jean fibers).  Is comparable in the air exchange rate and has a 1-hour fire rating.
This is where the small footprint works in our favor again.  With regular insulation, we totally could have done the entire house for around $150.  Stone wool and cellulose were double that.  The denim insulation will be equal to or just slightly higher.  Double the cost, yes, but still a small amount.  Especially with the savings in the long run.  
Monday, we loaded up and made the drive up a little state highway through the hills to pick up whatever we could fit in the truck.  I was hoping for at least 3 or 4 packs – and 4 packs is what we managed to squeeze in!
I couldn’t wait and as soon as we got to the house we busted open a package.  I wasn’t ready to do the bathroom yet (needed to move the tub and everything out), so I just did a part of the stairs.  Really, we are not ready for insulation everywhere as we still have to run electrical wires.  So we are focusing on the walls/areas that will not have outlets.  
Wow is that stuff amazing!!  The lady recommended using a circular saw with the blade backwards to cut it, some people online used a breadknife, I’m sure either would have worked but I found it just as easy to rip it to the size needed.  Some of the batts are perforated to fit in off-sized stud cavities.  And best thing – no hazmat suit needed!!
Tuesday we did the bathroom – and notice 2 huge cracks in the tub unit.  ARGH!  Now to find another tub…
Wednesday we did the front wall on the second story.  The one with the really weird sizes and angles.  With a little ingenuity (namely housewrap tape!) we managed to get the whole wall done in under an hour.  We covered it with plastic just to be safe, not sure when we will be putting up drywall.  The stuff may be non-toxic, it does put off a lot of dust that probably is not good to breathe a lot of.  (I know some of you that have built are probably wondering – in the south we don’t have to do an interior vapor barrier – I even double checked with the builder/distributor we purchased it from.)
All this to say – so far, based on toxicity and ease of use – I would highly recommend the use of Denim Insulation.  And no, I haven’t been compensated in anyway (although that would be nice, we are still going to need a few more packs…  just sayin…)
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