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Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association

Cellulose Insulation Install Starts With Right Preparation


The Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association (CIMA) recommends using a professional insulation contractor trained in the proper techniques of cellulose installation to achieve the maximum performance from an attic retrofit. However, a home owner should know what to do before the job starts and what preparation is required regardless of who does the actual installation.

Seal The Deal First

The first step to improving attic insulation is to make sure all air leaks are sealed. Even a perfect install will not achieve the full energy-efficiency if air leaks into or out of the conditioned space. Use a high DOE Energy Star image of how air leaks from a house
quality caulk or other sealing products to block holes and cracks in ceilings and gaps at attic intrusions and transitions. These openings can cause a home to lose 30% or more of conditioned air.

This work can be contracted or done by home owners without the need for highly technical know-how or tools. Working in an attic is hazardous though. More than a few do-it-yourselfers (and even a few professionals) have been seriously injured stumbling over joists or falling through ceilings. Use plywood sheets as temporary work platforms. It can be a lot of work in pretty tight spaces and a bit messy.  To find openings, do a thorough inspection of the attic paying close attention to spaces around chimneys, vents and other protrusions through the ceilings. Also, turn on lights in the rooms throughout the house. Then find a safe place to be in the dark attic and look for light. Those are the places where air is also traveling in and out of the house. (more…)

2012-10-08 17:08:13
Nate Adams says:

Thank you for touching on the high importance of air sealing! I see a lot of attics with mold problems because it was a 'blow and go' job. It cheapens the image of our profession. I actually took the time to write a DIY Attic Insulation eBook that is very detailed on how to do it yourself, so I share your passion for doing it right, even if I don't get paid for it. For the record, I prefer cellulose to fiberglass, despite coming from the fiberglass industry.

2013-12-03 10:31:31
Rod says:


I happened to see your comment. Just had an exchange with someone in the trade who was defending the use of fiberglass. We happen to use "stabilized cellulose". I'd be interested to hear what you have to say about why you prefer cellulose. It's always great to have a "third-party" provide a professional opinion!

2013-12-03 10:42:49
Rod says:

Well-thought-out and written article. Many homeowners trying to insulate their attics take shortcuts. Good to see the steps in prepping the job included.

Will be re-posting for others to see this!

2022-05-03 11:04:09
CIMA Makes Finding Cellulose Insulation Contractors Easy | Greenest Insulation Blog says:

[…] best way to get the maximum efficiency and savings from cellulose insulation is to prepare in advance, and to have it installed by a professional contractor knowledgeable in the proper techniques for […]

2022-05-17 14:12:48
Don’t DIY Home Insulation If You Don’t Know How | Greenest Insulation Blog says:

[…] 2. Prepare The Attic Before Installing Insulation If the attic is not properly prepared and sealed, the insulation will not achieve the maximum energy efficiency. This is true whether the insulation product is batts or loose fill blown in. Cellulose Insulation blown into the attic will provide the best sealing overall. With fiberglass batts, it’s even more critical to prep and seal. Batts are seemingly easier for DIY installation, but they just do not effectively seal the space. In either case, whether DIY or Pro Installation, following some basic preparation steps will make a big difference in obtaining the best results. Learn more here. […]

2022-05-17 14:19:51
Avoid DIY Attic Insulation Project Accidents | Greenest Insulation Blog says:

[…] performance, it can be done as a DIY project. Whether using a professional or doing it yourself, preparing an attic prior to installing insulation is a critical first step that many homeowners can do. However, going […]