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INSULATION.. Any way to make ATTIC and WALL INSULATION with recycle Items ??? Answered

Anyone knows any way of making cheap or free attic and wall insulation from recycle items? I know of a company that makes it out of recycle shreaded jeans. But then with what will I shread them and what will I wear after shreading them?...lol It will cost me Over $600.00 for a 30x60 ft attic and thats the cheapest being on sale now at Lowes and Home Depot installing it myself. The spray on foam insulation cost an arm and a leg.. Then again I will need them for making my other projects.. haha.
I'm sure someone out there knows a way of making it or may have an idea of makin it with recycle material.. thanks..
This will be a a cool experiment or may I say a warm one.. =- }



3 years ago

I had long thought of a free and possibly effective means of insulation; that being, using burned out incandescent (and possibly fluorescent) light bulbs as insulators - my reasoning is that light bulbs are built in a vacuum, meaning zero air, and i suspect that would mean a high R Value. It also would be fireproof and would make a poor home for rodents. Should the idea find practical application it would be a major winner - fully recycled materials, energy efficient, and best of all - FREE! Would love
to hear thoughts on this idea or speculation on practical application. Some of my initial ideas: One could possibly fill the attic floor space with a mixture of bulbs and cellulose? Or perhaps layout bulbs on paper and then fill the gaps with spray-on insulation - (perhaps simply attach the bubs to the walls and fill in the gaps with spray on?) Rows of 48 inch fluorescent bulbs might also be affixed to the wall, and filled with spray on? Doing so might allow for multiple layers (perhaps 3 - 5) of bulbs?


3 years ago

Homemade Insulation Works

Well, folks, that particular myth just ain't true. There may well be a
bewildering selection of insulations on the current market. And some of them
definitely are more fireproof . . . or more vermin-proof . . . or more water
resistant . . . or easier to install in new construction ... or easier to blow
into old walls . . . or more this or less that than any of the others. But when
it comes to downright cost effectiveness (even at contractor's prices),
all-around availability, ease of installation under almost any conditions,
minimum toxicity, and absolute minimum use of the planet's resources in a
highly "natural" way . . . the all-time winner and champion always
has, still is, and probably always will be . . . plain ole cellulose fiber. Yep.
Cellulose fiber. Which is nothing but old newspapers, cardboard boxes, and
other kinds of waste paper . . . ground up fine . . . and treated with some
readily available and inexpensive chemicals to make it self-extinguishing and

It's hard to think of a more readily available, a simpler, or a less costly
insulation . . . yet the "R" factor (the higher the "R",
the better) of each inch of cellulose fiber is a very respectable 4.
Even when you buy it ready-made, then, this is an extremely cost-effective
insulation. And when you make it yourself your savings can really skyrocket!

That "makin'" is not in the least complicated either. as MOTHER's
researchers recently proved to themselves. It mainly consists of [1] gathering
together enough bone-dry scrap cardboard or old newspapers, [2] running them
through a farm-type hammermill set for its finest possible grind, [3] mixing in
— either before or after the cellulose is groundenough fireproofing and vermin
repellent to protect it, and [4] putting the finished insulation where you want

And always wear a respirator mask to protect your lungs from both paper dust
and fine chemical particles as you work.

That last caution, by the way, is by no means meant to suggest that the
chemicals used to treat the cellulose are in any way highly dangerous. Boric
acid, the fire retardant used by most manufacturers of this insulation, is — as
you probably know — so mild that doctors have frequently prescribed it as an
eyewash. This particular fireproofer is now in such short supply, however
(because of the current tremendous demand for insulation), that MOTHER's
research crew has tested and presently recommends fireproofing cellulose
insulation with borax. And borax, as you're surely aware, is so safe that it's
the major ingredient in some laundry soaps.

aluminum sulfate listed here as a rodent and insect repellent can best be put
into perspective when you realize that it's one of the chemicals generally
called "alum" (even though the term is more accurately descriptive of
a double sulfate of ammonium or a univalent metal-such as sodium or
potassium-and of a trivalent metal, such as aluminum, iron, or chromium). The
chemical, in short, is an astringent and, as such, may be safely handled
without gloves (although we do recommend keeping its dust out of your lungs and
away from your mucous membranes). Do bear in mind, however, that aluminum
sulfate is highly corrosive to most metals . . . and, for this reason, an equal
weight of ordinary lime (which neutralizes the alum) should be substituted for
half the aluminum sulfate when your treated insulation will be used in metal
buildings or mobile homes.

Homemade Insulation: The Price is

the first chart reproduced in the Image Gallery indicates, MOTHER's researchers
ground up and tested six batches of cellulose fiber . . . each of which
contained a different percentage of vermin repellent and fireproofing. After
trying to ignite all the test mixes with a propane torch and observing the
results (see the chart in the Image Gallery), we recommend that a minimum of 25
pounds of aluminum sulfate (or half aluminum sulfate and half lime) and 12
pounds of borax be mixed into every 100 pounds of ground newsprint or

figures out to a total chemical cost (at $8.50/100 pounds for aluminum sulfate
and $15.00/100 pounds for borax) of less than $4.00 per 100 pounds of paper
that is treated . . . or 5¢ a square foot when an attic is filled with a 6
inch-deep layer of the cellulose fiber (which produces a total "R"
factor of 24, and that's very good). This compares quite favorably to the 24
1/2¢ a square foot that a local contractor charges to fill an attic space with
only 5 inches of a commercially manufactured cellulose fiber. On a
1,300-square-foot house, that's an immediate saving of $253.50 right there . .
. and you're getting one-fifth more insulation to boot!

chemicals were mixed into our first six test batches by shaking them onto the
paper as it was fed into our hammermill. This is exactly the method used by the
commercial manufacturers of cellulose fiber insulation that we've visited . . .
but it does have a minor drawback: The chemicals do tend to settle out of the
mix as it's handled and, if some care isn't taken, more of the fire retardant
than we like to see will wind up at the bottom of any space filled with this

this reason we tried grinding some cellulose all by itself, putting it in a
pile, and then sprinkling controlled amounts of borax and aluminum sulfate
across the surfaces of the fiber. We were figuring, of course, that — since
flames burn up — it would take less of the chemicals to fireproof the
pulverized insulation if those chemicals were put on top of the cellulose,
instead of being allowed to sift to its bottom.

idea seems to have merit and our propane torch tests indicate that
approximately another one cent in chemical costs can be shaved off every square
foot of 6 inch-thick attic insulation with no reduction in fireproofing value
when this method of distributing the borax and aluminum sulfate is used. That
increases the saving on the cellulose fiber's installation cost for
1,300-square-foot house from $253.50 to $266.50. Not a great additional saving,
to be sure, but one that you should know about.

Homemade Insulation Installation

homemade cellulose proved just as easy — no more and no less — to install as
its commercially available counterpart. It's extremely easy to pour and spread
around between the joists and other structures of an attic. And it's just as
easy to add even more later, anytime you wish.

the insulation into walls and other closed spaces is somewhat more difficult.
This usually requires that a series of holes be drilled through a house's
exterior siding (or that some of the siding actually be removed) so the
material can be forced into the cavities with an insulation blower. Building
supply stores sometimes have these blowers for rent . . . and some clever
do-it-yourselfers have actually forced their cellulose into walls with a hose
attached to the exhaust end of a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner.

final point: Any cellulose insulation — whether of the store-bought or
I-made-it-myself variety — will absorb moisture when exposed to dampness of any
kind. This, of course, reduces the material's "R" value . . . and cellulose
fibers should be used to insulate only those attics, walls, crawl spaces, etc.,
that you know will remain dry.

From Mother Eartth News

November/December 1977


6 years ago

I have an idea of putting that Pink poly insulation thru a wood chipper, and carting it up into my attic. I also thought of shredding clothing and making a paste of flour and cornstarch similar to a pinata paste. Also melting milk jugs into insulation blocks. These are not complete thought just free forming ideas.


9 years ago

There are three things you have to be aware in order to have a good insulation of any cavity in your house. Some materials will be available at any trashcan form a construction site.
Radiant energy - the one that is transmitted through solid objects -hence the need for insulation. The thing that insulates in any material is the air it has within, nothing else! Most of the ideas presented below will work, but, remember to protect the plastic bottles, paper, boxes etc. with a fire resisting layer. Polystyrene would be my choice because it is lightweight, provides excellent insulation and is found laying around anywhere. and  The best thing would be to find scrap gypsum board pieces or aluminum coated fiberglass boards from a nearby construction in your area, and put them on top of the insulation you choose. Tape it together with the holly duck tape for extra effectiveness. This will buy you at least 1 hour of fire resisting, enough for you to run for your life in case of fire!
Mark a path with walkable plywood in case you need to make repairs.
The "microwave effect" of the air inside - (same thing that happens with cars left out in the sun) - that keep on heating up without a proper way for the air to get out during summer or even in sunny winter days . This is resolved with any type of passive vent, remember that it shouldn't let water in if it rains! A window with louvers, flexible aluminum tubing form a dryer, just a way for this excessive hot air to escape! Install one for every 200 sq ft. If a louvered window is there, then you're done.
SAFETY - whatever you use for insulation should not be potentially hazardous in case a fire happens. So choose wisely!


9 years ago

Plastic bottles (with caps) filled with dirt. relatively fire resistant.


9 years ago

you might find a shrouding company that shreds corporate documents and get the stuff by the leaf bag full 20 at a time !


10 years ago

think...used boxes!take used cardboard boxes,spray them with fire resistant grill paint,and staple them layer after layer until cavity is full.make sure to overlap ends and alternate overlaps in different spots to ensure no gaps/drafts.good source of used cardboard?...i work at walmart as overnight stocker.we give buggies full of boxes away every night.go there around 4 am when they are starting to clean up and crush boxes in bailer.


Answer 10 years ago

Could you also do something like this and THEN spray it with fire resistant grill paint?


10 years ago

Used bedding, especially baby bedding and pajamas are treated with fire retardant. These items are not good in a landfill and are definitely suitable for insulation in the attic, crawlspace and walls. I would not go out and buy any unless I found them very cheap at a resale shop or yard sale. Nonetheless, I don't throw out my old blankets either. I put them in the attic. I have also thought about used mattresses. The smell may be a problem if you get them from a hotel or something. They would have to be sanitized first but they are generally treated with fire retardant also.


10 years ago

One of the best ones would be polystyrene, think TV and fridges packaging for big slabs of it, packing peanuts aswell, they make great insulation. Even ball up newspapers as mention below, basically materials that trap air, foams and such, a lot of cavity wall insulation is either expanding foam or they fill the walls with tiny polystyrene balls by blowing them in with a big air pump. Slabs of polystyrene would probably be the best bet, once in a while you'll see some that's 8'X4'X4' and if so grab it and slice it up to get a huge amount of insulating material. The same stuff is used and sold a lot, it's just sided with foil aswell, makes it a bit better, reflects heat back in and transmits badly on the other side, also it keeps it from coming to bits. Corrugated cardboard can work aswell, if layered up, not squashed much though as it's the air gaps that provide the insulation - air's a poor conductor, that's why cavity walls will keep a house warmer even with no packing like foam.


10 years ago

How about tacking some old carpet to the studs and filling the voids with newspapers, foam, etc. Check upholstery shops for scrap foam, they through away garbage bags full of it. The easiest thing to do would be to dress warmer.


10 years ago

i know that in the late 20's they would use newspaper rolled up into a loose ball for insulation. Definantley not fire resistant. Now if you have house insurance, you better check to see what is accepted. Because if you have a fire and you have violated their standards they will refuse to pay out. (i used to work at home depot as a designer) Maybe you could use the foam insluation (blue or pink rigid) Just make sure it will not cause you problems down the road. the $600 might be worth it if you do sell down the road sometime, otherwise they can deduct it from the value of your home. also put a floor in so there is a barrier and it's easier to walk and store stuff. hope this helps some.


10 years ago

There are countless recycled building material stores. Insulation is an item that is easy recycled as it is typically removed in large strips in demo sites, check your local directory for a recycled or second-hand building supply store. It's cheaper than new (and you'll never notice), and better for the environment!


10 years ago

just stuff anything you can ! especially packaging materials anything with small spaces with air is good isolator to reduce fire risk form the isolation into bricks and wrap each with aluminium foil. that'll make it way harder to catch fire fire safety is not for the inspectors. its for you. no need to adhere to the last word of the regulations but you should keep safety in mind you may want to cover your walls from outside s they wont get wet in the rain. evaporating moisture takes a lot of heat away


10 years ago

There are many, many free or dirt cheap options out there, and the ideal solution for you will depend on how much insulation you need, and what kind of materials you can get in your area. I remember seeing houses being torn down in germany where the builders installed real insulation, had an inspection done, then ripped out the insulation to put in the next house, leaving people to use whatever they could get their hands on. as you might imagine, these were houses on the cheaper end of the market. For a better answer, tell us about your climate, how cold it gets at night, and about how high your standards need to be. Is this a rental place you'll move out of in a year or two? Is this a renovation on your own home? Are you concerned about passing a home inspection? If you're looking for something comparable to professional insulation but cheaper, look into Recycled Paper Cellulose, it may or may not be a lot cheaper than other materials depending on suppliers in your area. Like I said, there are a lot of options to work with. Check with local thrift stores to see if they have much donated clothing they don't consider good enough to sell, if you're shredding it and stuffing it in your walls it doesn't matter if it's got holes in it. They generally just toss this stuff in the dumpster, so if you can approach them the right way, they'll be happy to save the price of a dumpster pickup. If not, check inside the store, it could still be the cheapest source of insulating fabric you have. Anything insulating you can get your hands on will work, check local prices for straw and styrofoam peanuts. Styrofoam peanuts will probably be many many times cheaper than styrofoam fill, but it's also a lot less effective. to install any kind of loose fill like this, you can just line the relevant areas with plastic sheeting from the hardware store (I'm assuming you have wood frame on your walls to stuff insulation between), then put vertical strips of plastic across the front starting at the bottom, packing fill in as you go. Good luck, whatever your specific goal may be. :)


Answer 10 years ago

This winter it got as cold as 20f at night , this is my house not rented and I'm not planing to move or sell it any time soon. And I'm not having any home inspection so no worries there. the walls I want to insulate are in the attic because I want to use that space and it really needs insulation anyway. I did check for both fiberglass and that recycle paper cellulose and it was allot cheaper going with the fiberglass (R33 rating) instead. Hope this info helps. =)


10 years ago

The real trick for homemade insulation is fire resistance. The recycled cellulose insulation has a fire retardant mixed in-I think it's a bit of borax, but can't remember for sure. You might be able to use several layers of old carpet. Not sure what the fire-resistance is on that, though.