Loose-fill insulation materials are distinguished from other insulation types by the size of the individual unit of material. Produced as shreds, granules, or nodules, loose-fill insulation products can either be poured or blown into place depending on the material or the construction application. Generally speaking, loose-fill insulation materials for pouring applications are most commonly sold in bags. Larger applications, such as attic installations, may require mechanical blowing equipment available from professional insulation installers. Pneumatic applications probably account for about 90 percent of residential installations of loose-fill insulation (Fig. 7.1).
Loose-fill insulations are well suited for places where it is difficult to install other types of insulation, such as irregularly shaped areas, around obstructions (such as plumbing stacks), and in hard-to – reach places. Framing that is irregularly spaced or out of square can be especially problematic with standard-sized blanket insulation products. Loose-fill insulation products can be installed in either enclosed cavities such as concrete block walls, wood frame walls when an additional barrier is installed, or unenclosed spaces such as attics. Blown-in loose-fill insulation is particularly useful for renovation and retrofit installation because it can be installed with minimal disturbance of existing interior or exterior finishes. Hand – packed fills are also useful for hand fitting into odd spaces such as around door and window frames in wood frame construction.1
Loose-fill insulation materials that are modified with water-activated binders or adhesives and installed by pneumatic methods are
Figure 7.1 Blowing loose fill insulation. (.NREL/DOE)
discussed in Chap. 9. This chapter explores the use of nonmodified loose-fill insulation materials or systems that are simply poured or blown in.