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LISAinTN 03-08-2011 04:36 PM

Blown in cellulose insulation

We are having a new home built and I asked a question here before and got some much appreciated help. I have another question. Let me preface it by saying my terminology may not be 100% correct, so I apologize in advance.

We had our walls insulated with cellulose insulation. My understanding is that it's some kind of paper substance mixed with glue and some water. They blew it in, then scraped down the studs. This was 2 1/2 weeks ago and this stuff is still damp and even slightly wet nearly all over. We were originally told it would dry in 2-3 days, now we're being told 2-3 months. Some of it has fallen out and the OSB behind it is quite damp. Our interior walls are going to be tongue and groove pine and we have become incredibly uncomfortable with this insulation. "Wet" and "damp" are not situations a homeowner wants to have with in an existing home, let alone new construction. We have been told there will be no mold problems because the cellulose is mixed with Borax to impede mold growth. The guy doing this work has also told us that there will be no damage to the back of the pine because it will be touching this Borax laced cellulose. I'm just not buying all this, so I thought I would come here and ask your opinions on this. The whole project is now on hold until we get this all figured out as we have stopped them from putting anymore pine over this wet/damp insulation. Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you so much.


nealtw 03-08-2011 05:19 PM

Are they not suggesting vapour bearier? I would wait for it to dry too. Do they suggest heating the house?

LISAinTN 03-08-2011 05:31 PM

Hi Neal,

There is a vapor barrier up and we've had a large salamander heater running for 4 days along with a whole house dehumidifier.

They're assuring us that over time, this is going to dry behind the wall, but we just found out they won't put it in writing. If someone can assure me that this is typical of this cellulose insulation and that it really will dry later, I will maybe be more comfortable with this. We're just really uneasy with it because we've never dealt with this before.


inspectorD 03-08-2011 05:55 PM

I'll do what I can,:)
What is the product name would help me a little.
How thick is the insulation, and the wall studs.
What was the reason for a wet installation,
and why is there a vapor barrier on this already when it is still wet?

This is one way to insulate, it also matters what the percentage is of the borax. Mold and bugs and mice do not like this stuff for that exact reason. It is also fire resistant.
But anything in a wall has to dry out before you install any matter what the insulation installer tells you.

My next calls would be to the OWNER first, and the product manufacturer second. Then you will know if the Company Owner is in fact even reputable.

LISAinTN 03-08-2011 06:06 PM


Thanks for the reply. When I say vapor barrier, I mean the Tyvek that is on the outside wall on the OSB. I'm not sure of the exact product name. I know the main company is Applegate. The wet installation.......well, that's just how it is installed, so we're told. It's mixed with water so it will pack in tighter and then supposedly won't settle over the years.

We already have talked to the owner. Actually, he IS the installer. And today my husband called Applegate and they would not guarantee in writing against mold, rot or mildew. Not even for 2 years.


inspectorD 03-08-2011 06:15 PM

Well, I guess you have your answer. Stop if your not satisfied.

There are companies that install dry, and it does not settle.
look at National Fiber: Professional Cellulose for Cellulose Professionals and you will get an example.They are one of the best. You can even call and talk to Chris White, he is their resident guru.:D
I am not a fan of wet pack insulation, it will need to dry before you cover any of it further.
And there is usually not a need for a vapor barrier, IF you live in a certain climate. It varies with where you live, and you need to get that in writing from your supplier on how the manufactured product is installed.
In the real world this may not happen either, so just move on and call it a leasson learned is my advice.
This company may be up to par, however there needs to be better education about the product if they do not want this issue again. The next customer may have the same issues.

nealtw 03-08-2011 09:47 PM

Lisa, when we talk about vapor barrier we mean poly on the inside to protect insulation from moisture in the house. You do need to wait until it is dry and I would find out if you need barrier.

oldognewtrick 03-09-2011 07:58 AM


Originally Posted by LISAinTN (Post 54815)
Hi Neal,

There is a vapor barrier up and we've had a large salamander heater running for 4 days along with a whole house dehumidifier.


Turn off the heater, they generate a large amount of moisture. If the house is sealed there is no where for the moisture to go.

nealtw 03-11-2011 05:55 PM


Originally Posted by oldog/newtrick (Post 54826)
Turn off the heater, they generate a large amount of moisture. If the house is sealed there is no where for the moisture to go.

Open the windows.

LISAinTN 03-11-2011 06:12 PM

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for the replies. I'm sorry I didn't get back here sooner. Just so busy. Anyway, we ended up running the heater's for several days and this stuff is finally drying up. We are only letting them cover what is completely dry. The house is not tight yet, so we had enough circulation. In regards to the vapor barrier. We didn't need one. It looks like all will be fine now. I think this stuff was installed too wet in our case. It never should have taken this long to dry. I doubt I would ever recommend it to anyone else. It really held up our job for way too many days. Anyway, thanks again for the help.


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