Installing Ultra Touch (recycled Cotton Denim) Insulation




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.

Step 1: Materials

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.
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."

Step 4: Cutting Insulation

I would just roll out the insulation until it filled up a bay. Where I got to something like braces between joists, the insulation would have to be cut. Cutting was a bit tricky. I tried to saw all the way through with a bread knife. This worked well but took some time. I later used a utility knife to score the top layer and then rip the rest. In fact some of the rolls had a lengthwise factory cut about halfway through the roll. This could allow you to rip the insulation to about 9" wide strips to fit in areas that were not 16."

The best way was to just rip the insulation by hand. This was faster. It did result in a bit more uneven tears, but you could pull off chunks like pulling bread apart and stuff in the areas you missed.

Step 5: Repeat Until Finished

That is about it. Installing is very easy but it takes a while because you are crawling around on your hands and knees. It took about 9 hours with 2 people the whole time and 3 great friends who helped off and on.



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    25 Discussions

    cotton, wool, and silk are naturally fire retardant w/o the chemicals. I have a 100% wool mattress and box spring. In addition to a thin wool blanket that I use as a mattress pad. Researcher found out that SIDS is caused by synthetic mattresses. it water repellent and acts as a deterrent to dust-mites and bed bugs. And yes, my basement is insulated w/denim.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    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

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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?

    2 replies

    Thank you for the distributor link. This distributor is only about 5 miles from my house and does accept donations of jeans!


    nice 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.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    How flammable is this insulation. Seems to me that this "cotton" would burn quickly. Is it treated with a flame retardent?

    2 replies

    11 years ago on Introduction

    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, or review the latest outreach video at 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...

    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 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!

    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.