Guide for Installation of Cellulosic Fiber Stabilized Thermal Insulation

Guide for Installation of Cellulosic Fiber Stabilized Thermal Insulation
CIMA Technical Bulletin #5
Guide for Installation of
Cellulosic Fiber Stabilized
Thermal Insulation
Stabilized cellulose insulation has become a
widely-used material in the attics of new
conventional homes and is a very common
insulation in the attics of manufactured
housing units. This guideline presents
application practices that have been found
to be appropriate for installation of
stabilized cellulose insulation in open or
closed attic spaces.
The Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association
136 South Keowee Street
Dayton, Ohio 45402
(937) 222-2462
1.0 Scope
1.1 This guide covers the application of Stabilized
cellulosic thermal insulation in open or closed
attic spaces, regardless of slope.
1.2 Stabilized cellulosic thermal insulation is
produced with the addition of an adhesive to
loose-fill cellulosic insulation. The adhesive
may be added to the insulation at the time of
manufacture and, if necessary, activated by the
addition of a mist of water when installed or
the adhesive may be added to the insulation at
the time of installation.
1.3 When installing Stabilized cellulosic fiber
thermal insulation it is essential that the
instructions and recommendations of the
manufacturer be followed. This Guide is not
intended to supersede local, state or federal
1.4 This Guide does not purport to address all of
the safety concerns, if any associated with its
use. It is the responsibility of the user of this
guide to establish appropriate safety and health
guidelines and determine the applicability of
regulatory limitations prior to use.
1.5 This Guide shall be superseded by an ASTM
standard for installing Stabilized cellulosic
thermal insulation immediately upon publication.
2.0 Purpose
2.1 The purpose of this Guide is to inform installers, system designers and consumers of
acceptable procedures to ensure proper installation. It also identifies precautions that
should be taken.
2.2 This Guide is to be used only as a guide and is
not intended to augment, supplant or override
instructions provided by the manufacturer or
applicable installation standards.
3.0 Applicable Documents
3.1 ASTM Standards
C-168 Terminology Relating to Thermal
Insulating Materials
C-739 Specification for Cellulosic Fiber
(Wood Based) Loose-Fill Thermal Insulation
C-755 Practice for Selection of Vapor Retarders for Thermal Insulation
C-1015 Practice for Installation of Cellulosic
and Mineral Fiber Loose-Fill Thermal Insulation
C-1149 Specification for Self-Supported Spray
Applied Cellulosic Thermal Insulation
3.2 Federal Regulations
16 CFR Part 1209 Consumer Products Safety
Commission Interim Safety Standard for
Cellulose Insulation
16 CFR Part 460 FTC Trade Regulation Rule,
Labeling and Advertising of Home Insulation
3.3 CIMA Publications
CIMA Techical Bulletin #4, Properties and
Performance Guideline for Cellulosic Fiber
Stabilized Thermal Insulation
4.0 Definitions
4.1 stabilized cellulose – a cellulosic insulation
product treated to resist settling. Stabilized
cellulose is defined as a cellulosic insulation
that settles by no more than 5% as determined
in accordance with CIMA Technical Bulletin
#4, Properties and Performance Guideline for
Cellulosic Fiber Stabilized Thermal Insulation.
4.2 internal wetting system - a tube that varies in
length and diameter with internal mounted
spray tips, mounted in-line with the blowing
hose near the blowing machine, and pressure
regulator whose purpose is to inject a metered
mist of water into the product air stream of a
blowing machine. Water for an internal
wetting system is normally supplied by a
standard water source, garden hose or a pump
system attached to a water tank.
5.0 Preliminary Inspection
5.1 An inspection of the area to be insulated prior
to installation is essential. Special consideration to the following details is very important.
5.2 Seal all vertical penetrations where plumbing
or electrical service is located in all interior
and exterior wall top plates.
5.3 Install protective blocking around recessed
lighting fixtures or other heat producing
devices in accordance with ASTM C-1015.
5.4 Cover open electrical boxes to protect them
from filling with sprayed cellulose. Remove
the covering after the installation is completed
(Duct tape is a quick and easy covering).
5.5 Ensure that proper attic ventilation has been
6.0 Equipme nt
6.1 The fiber blowing machine should be capable
of generating sufficient air volume to move the
activated stabilized cellulose through the
desired size and length of hose. The selected
machine should be capable of adjustments to
the product/air volume needed to move the
desired amount of material. Operate the fiberblowing machine in accordance with the
manufacturer’s instructions.
An internal wetting system is needed to meter
a mist of water into the product air stream as a
control to the fiber / water ratio. The water can
be supplied by means of a pump or hose bib
connection with a typical garden hose.
If a pump is used, it normally should be
capable of 200-300 psig with a flow rate to
meet the manufacturer’s recommended add-on
rate (depending on the desired rate of installation, an approximate flow rate of 2 gallons per
minute is sufficient). Since a sufficient amount
of water is usually supplied at 140-170 psig,
the pump will not be overworked and will
remain serviceable for a long time. Diaphragm
pumps have been found to be the best because
they are durable and supply a constant pressure. Consult the material manufacturer for
pump type and size needed for application.
The type, diameter and length of hose will
affect the water mist distribution within the
product. An air stream in a semi-spiral hose
has been found to promote sufficient mixing of
the water mist and dry product. A semi-spiral
hose allows the material to tumble and stay in
the air stream. Smooth bore hose, as compared
to semi-spiral hose, does not promote as much
mixing action. Generally, a minimum of 75 to
100 feet of blowing hose is required.
All connecting water lines must be rated to
handle the pressure generated by the pump or
the hose bib connection.
7.0 Equipment Setup
7.1 Upon arriving at the job site, pull the hose to
the farthest point to be insulated. The hose
length used should be no longer than necessary
with as few bends as possible. The more
bends there are in the hose the slower the air
stream will be which can cause plugging or
blocking in the hose. Next, attach the water
line to the water supply. In cold weather take
the proper precautions to avoid the water
supply or water supply lines freezing.
7.2 Adjust the blowing machine and internal
wetting system to deliver the proper fiber to
water ratio according to the manufacturer’s
recommendations. The proper fiber to water
ratio ensures that the manufacturer’s recommended coverage can be achieved. Separate
time trials and weighing scales can be used to
determine if the proper ratio of water mist and
dry product is being delivered. One technique
is to determine the flow rate for each separately before allowing the combined mixture of
product and water mist to be conveyed by the
air stream. The first step of this technique is to
determine and adjust the flow rate for dry
product for the desired output rate. The
second step is to determine and adjust the
water mist flow rate to achieve the
manufacturer’s recommended water add-on
ratio based on the intended dry product flow
rate. The third and final step is to combine
both dry material and water mist for the
desired output.
7.3 Most manufacturers suggest the installation
ratio between water and dry stabilized cellulose thermal insulation is less than 20%. For
example, during installation, approximately six
pounds of water (approximately three quarts)
should be added to a 30 lb bag of dry stabilized
thermal insulation with the internal wetting
7.4 Placing 25 feet of hose that is 25-30% larger in
diameter than the hose immediately after the
internal wetting system can reduce fiber build
up due to product-flow variations.
8.0 Spraying Techniques
8.1 The hose position during application is an
essential part of installing stabilized cellulosic
insulation. Adjust the hose position so that the
insulation is blown even across the floor of the
open area.
8.2 Spray to the minimuma depth that is recommended by the manufacturer to achieve the
desired installed R-Value. Additionally, ensure
that the correct amount of stabilized material
has been installed in the required area. This is
often accomplished by “counting the number
of bags” required per the manufacturer’s
coverage chart. Note: Only use the
manufacturer’s recommended ratio of material
to water. Material to water ratios different
than those recommended by the manufacturer
can result in less coverage than stated.
8.3 Periodically disconnect the hose after the
internal wetting system and clean out any build
up of wet material.
8.4 Excess material not removed from the blowing
equipment or hose after installation is complete can hinder or block product flow for the
next installation.
9. Precautions
Unless IC-rated (insulation contact), heaters
and recessed light fixtures or other heat
producing devices must not be covered by
the insulation. Local or Federal codes
should be followed. ASTM C-1015 recommends that a minimum of 3 inches of air
space be maintained between a heat source
and blocking (unless rated differently) of
any type insulation.
Cold air returns and combustion air intakes
for hot air furnaces must not be blocked by
Insulation should not be allowed to contact
chimneys or flues. Local or Federal codes
should be followed. ASTM C-1015 recommends that a minimum of 3 inches of air
space be maintained between a heat source
and blocking (unless rated for direct contact
with insulation).
Other CIMA Publications
If you have found this technical bulletin
useful you may also want to obtain
copies of these CIMA publications.
Cellulose Insulation: Codes, Regulations, and Specifications, CIMA Technical Bulletin No. 1
Standard Practice for Installing Cellulose Building Insulation, CIMA Technical Bulletin No. 2
Standard Practice for the Installation of
Sprayed Cellulosic Wall Cavity Insulation, CIMA Technical Bulletin No. 3
Properties and Performance Guideline
for Cellulosic Fiber Stabilized Thermal
Insulation, CIMA Technical Bulletin
No. 4
These and other CIMA publications are
available in PDF format for immediate
download at To obtain printed copies contact CIMA at 888881-2482 or
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