Cellulose insulation meets the strict standards of the Consumer Products Safety Commission
as well as the building codes and ASTM C-739, Standard Specification for Cellulosic Fiber
Loose-Fill Thermal Insulation. These various standards set criteria for the primary product
characteristics related to Fire Safety, Thermal Performance, Corrosion, Moisture, and Fungi
Cellulose Fire Safety
The National Fire Academy notes: "It is critical to recall that noncombustible does not
mean 'safe'. It certainly does not mean 'fireproof'. The concept of fire-resistance goes
beyond that of non-combustibility. It refers to the capacity of a material or construction
to withstand fire or give protection from it."
In 1994, researchers at the National Research Council Canada tested the actual fire
performance of non- insulated and insulated walls with fiberglass and cellulose insulation.
The NRCC scientists reported, "The fire resistance performance of an assembly with fiberglass
insulation in the wall cavity was slightly lower than that of a non-insulated assembly. The
installation of cellulose fiber in the wall cavity provided an increase in the fire
resistance performance of 22 to 55% compared to a non-insulated assembly."
A cellulose insulated wall tested in 1999 by Omega Point Laboratories was found to be
46% to 77% more fire resistant than a non insulated wall and further substantiates the
1994 NRCC test results.
The improved resistance to fire compared to non-insulated and fiberglass insulated walls
means that occupants have more time to reach safety in case of fire.
Cellulose insulation does not melt as fiberglass does above 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Its
dense structure and fire retardants slow the spread by blocking flames and hot gases.
ASTM C-739 contains fire test criteria for Critical Radiant Flux and Smoldering and is
part of our daily Quality Assurance testing program.
Cellulose Thermal Performance
There are several factors that contribute to the performance of the thermal envelope of
the building. It is a mistake to consider only R-value when specifying insulation.
Tests at Oak Ridge National Laboratories, Brookhaven National Laboratories, and the
University of Colorado reveal that insulations with the same laboratory R-value do not
perform equally in real homes.
The University of Colorado in 1989 built two test buildings that differed only in the
insulation material One was insulated with cellulose insulation and the other with fiberglass.
Calculations showed that cellulose insulation tightened the buildings 36% to 38% more than
fiberglass. After 3 weeks of monitoring the cellulose insulated structure had used 26%
Testing by Oak Ridge National Laboratories and the University of Illinois found that loose
fill fiberglass loses up to 40% to 50% of its R-value at extreme cold temperatures while
cellulose insulation showed no decline in its R-value.
The Leominster, Ma. Housing Project for the elderly found that cellulose insulated buildings
have an effective air leakage 40% lower than equivalently constructed buildings using fiberglass.
Cellulose insulation has a higher density than loose fill fiberglass and fiberglass batts.
This reduces the air infiltration into and within the cellulose insulation compared to fiberglass.
Thermal performance can also be affected by air infiltration due to installation techniques.
Spray applied cellulose insulation creates a better seamless thermal and acoustical barrier
compared to fiberglass batts. This results in no gaps resulting from a batt that is too short,
too narrow, or poorly fitted. There are no gaps between the insulation and wall materials that
allow air to circulate inside or through the cavity. Infiltration of unconditioned ambient air
means a heating and cooling system must expend more energy to compensate for the infiltration.
Cellulose Corrosion Resistance
ASTM C-739 requires testing of various metals embedded in moist cellulose insulation in a
controlled temperature and humidity environment to accelerate the corrosion process. After
14 days, the metal is removed and inspected for perforations. The metals must be free of all
perforations to pass.
Cellulose Moisture and Fungi Resistance
Spores are a dormant form of mold. They are found naturally in the soil and air. Spores require
adequate supplies of food, air, moisture, and temperature to grow. Mold will not typically
become active unless moisture is artificially introduced into the structure. Should this
occur, mold will start to degrade wood products, rust will form on metal products, and
other materials can start to deteriorate.
To minimize mold spore growth conditions in your buildings you need to control internal
moisture build-up and prevent the intrusion of external moisture. Proper ventilation and
control of humidity is necessary. If moisture intrusion has occurred, hire a professional
to thoroughly examine and repair the structure.
ASTM C-739 requires testing the ability to resist moisture absorption and fungal growth
for cellulose insulation. Insulation samples are placed in a controlled temperature and
humidity environment for 28 days. The fungi resistance test determines whether cellulose
insulation is more resistance to fungi growth than the surrounding wood framing.
Environment and You
AFT cellulose insulation contains over 85% of recycled newsprint. The remaining portions
are the chemicals that provide fire safety.
Newsprint is the single largest component of the residential waste stream. A typical 1,500
square foot ranch-style home insulated with cellulose recycles as much newsprint as an
individual will consume in 40 years.
AFT cellulose insulation contains no asbestos, formaldehyde, or similar type resins.
Cellulose....it's naturally better insulation
Still not convinced of the Superiority of Cellulose Insulation?
Then please read the following pages.
R-TEK Insulation is your insulation contractor of choice.
If you have any questions regarding commercial or home insulation please do not hesitate
to call us at: (330) 753-8394. We will be more than happy to assist you.