Instructables

Installing Ultra Touch (recycled cotton denim) insulation

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I wanted to insulate the crawl space in our house. I bought Ultra Touch insulation which is made from post-industrial recycled denim from blue jean factories. It is easier to handle than fiberglass and also a "green" product.
 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
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The material list is pretty simple. The insulation and supports was enough to cover 1200 sq ft.

23 rolls of R19 insulation
7 boxes of 100 insulation supports
Something to cut with. I had bread knifes, utility blades and bare hands.
Gloves
Mask
Safety glasses
light - headlamp, flashlight and work light.
Wire cutters, I used bicycle cable cutter to trim the supports where the bays were not 16" on center.

Step 2: Drag the insulation under the house

The cotton insulation needs to fluff up a bit to go back to its original loft. I cut open and set out rolls to let them expand. The ones that were sitting a while, were stuffed into the crawl space access door. It is best to have one person feed and another to stack them. The access door was small and it took a while to go from under the house to outside. It was easier to have all the materials under the house.

Step 3: Stuff rolls between joists

The rolls are a bit wider than 16" which allows you to stuff them between the floor joists. They will fit pretty well just from friction but the supports are supposed to be 4" from the ends and 16" to 18" apart.
To install the supports just push up them up between the joists. The ends of the supports will dig into the wood and bow upwards into the insulation. Be sure not to compress the insulation too much, this will decrease its R-value.

To see how far apart to put the supports, I just held up a support lengthwise from the previous support since each support is about 16."
ellislake4 years ago
the simplest and cheapest insualtion is plastic bags. im gona get round to do my instrcutable on cheapest insualtion ever. all you need to do is collect plastic bags rather than throwing them away and scrunch them up a little and put them between the joists then put a flat piece of plywood over them as a floor. that way theres no issue with weight and the bagsd are free and not going to waste on a dumping ground this owrks by trapping air inside the bags and insulates the loft. its simple i have done it in my loft but only about 10% completed so far.i think i will ahve to do the instructable soon as i got some free time coming up soon what does everyone think

until the bags burn that is.

kmfytown4 years ago
 Where did you purchase your insulation?
cyclistdon5 years ago
I am installing these batts in a new construction. I had difficulty cutting the product. However, I then tried my skill saw with a mason blade and it works like cutting butter. It is great and has saved me much time. I highly recommend it. I also tried a metal cutting blade and that works great as well. Putting these blades on a table saw makes width cutting very easy. This is a great product and is so installation friendly. I highly recommend it!
What is the cost of the denim insulation compared to traditional insulation (blown and roll fiberglass). Where can I get it! In the Spring I am going to reinsulate my attic and would like to go this way if it is cost effective and easily available in my area (Madison, Wi.), mainly because of the environmental impact. Also I work at a large company with people who go through a lot of denim jeans and jackets. Can I collect and donate these to be used in the process rather than filling the landfills? How?
boring_username (author)  flyinarachnid5 years ago
I think it was about 30% more than fiberglass insulation. I think the company gets most of the denim from jean companies. I don't know if you can donate or not.

Check with the distributor to see where you can get the insulation:
http://www.bondedlogic.com/ultratouch.htm
Thank you for the distributor link. This distributor is only about 5 miles from my house and does accept donations of jeans!
nice Instructable...one question how cold is it below the insulation. I ask because I see copper pipes and assume that the pipes carry water. Here where we live a crawl space could freeze the pipes easily doing what you have done. Just curious.
marcward865 years ago
very nice. i've been wondering about this stuff. is your attic already insulated? also, after a few months, could you post some data on this? (energy savings on bills, etc.) then we can do some cost analysis and figure out a payback period.
mspitze6 years ago
How flammable is this insulation. Seems to me that this "cotton" would burn quickly. Is it treated with a flame retardent?
Borate Based Retardent...
boring_username (author)  mspitze6 years ago
It is treated to reduce fire risk. It meets all the same fire codes as fiberglass.
sleeth6 years ago
UltraTouch is Class-A fire rated and meets or exceeds ASTM & UL testing standards. The fire-retardent is borate based. A non-toxic material (think eye-wash for newnborns) that ironically also acts as a great pest inhibitor. Thus, no termites or other bugs in the framing cavities. There are a number of other attributes associated with the use of the material including almost double the sound-proofing. You can find more information by going to www.ultratouch.net, or review the latest outreach video at www.ultratouch.net/video.html Yes, I work with the manufacturer's representative - no plug here, but welcome the interest, feedback, and of course the growth in the raving fan base. Thanks again, Nick...
davidglover6 years ago
How big a difference did it make once you installed it? Energywise. Why did yo install it?
boring_username (author)  davidglover6 years ago
This was the first step to add central air. The biggest difference is that the floor does not feel like stepping on a block of ice, it now feels like cold concrete.
i have to admit, your crawspace is very clean and nice
boring_username (author)  GorillazMiko6 years ago
I just got a new foundation and it is lined with plastic to keep the moisture away from the sub-floor. The plastic lining is one reason why we didn't need any additional vapor barrier for the insulation. It is really clean, I could rent that space out!
Where did you buy the insulation from and how much was it to cover 1200sq ft?
boring_username (author)  remthewanderer6 years ago
The total cost for the supports and insulation plus delivery was about $1130. It is a bit more than the fiberglass stuff anywhere from 30% to 40% but well worth it. You can install it yourself and don't have to deal with nasty chemicals and irritating glass fibers.
Hopefully one of your local lumber stores carries it. You can do a search here:

http://www.bondedlogic.com/search.aspx

I think it works out to about $1 per lin. ft. for R-30, so the R-19 should be a little less. I paid about $650 for 13 rolls of R-30, which was 56ft. per roll. It took two guys a day and half to complete the installation.
Curious: How much does this stuff cost, these days, compared to the traditional fiberglass insulation?
Depends. I think I paid something close to that for fiberglass that was wrapped in plastic to keep the fibers in place. I suspect it's 50% more than traditional paper backed fiberglass batting. But you know it's not going to give you cancer.
Wish my crawlspace was a neat and tidy as yours... oh how I loathe my crawlspace.. LOL
lebowski6 years ago
Very nice! I actually just had this stuff installed under our house. My hope is that we'll see the difference in the heating bills. It's so nice to work with a product that you can feel good about and can touch with your bare hands without getting itchy. I also chose this product as we have a drafty house and I didn't want fiberglass particles making their way into our house for us to breathe in.