Why Don’t More Companies Install Cellulose Attic Insulation?

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Cellulose installation in an attic

A common question I often hear from homeowners is, “Bob, why aren’t more companies installing cellulose attic insulation?”

Afterall, if cellulose is so great, why aren’t more guys offering it?

With 20+ years of experience, only installing cellulose insulation – I have my thoughts on this question.

So, here are my TOP 3 REASONS why more guys don’t install cellulose insulation.

  1. Installing cellulose insulation is difficult, when you haven’t been trained and equipped.

To be installed properly, it requires a water sleeve, and on many jobsites a water pump is needed.

  •  Because cellulose is a high-density, recycled paper product – it has a tendency to clump and ball-up in the hose after it passes through the water sleeve.
  • Consequently, to prevent the hose from clogging, we pause the rig and tap the hose with a wood stick, to dislodge the cellulose and keep the hose clear. “Spanking the hose” as we call it, takes about 15 seconds and we’re back in action, installing your wonderful high-performance cellulose insulation in your attic.
  • This cycle is repeated every 130 pounds of cellulose (about 5 bales).
  • Miss the cycle, and you risk clogging the hose – which is a big pain in the rump and consumes more time and energy spent locating and dislodging the clog.

2. It requires a lot more cellulose insulation to insulate an attic, compared to loose fill fiberglass insulation.

  • Because cellulose insulation is high density, it has far less air pockets in it, as compared to loose fill fiberglass insulation. Therefore, it takes a lot more material to reach 15” on a ruler, (R-50) compared with fiberglass.
  • More material means more money in material costs. More material means more space is required on the truck or trailer. More material means more labor is required for the installation. Owners only like “more” when it applies to money deposited in the bank.

3. Fiberglass crews complain loudly when asked to install cellulose. Why the anger and complaining?

  • Like I say, they are not trained, experienced and equipped to properly install cellulose attic insulation. Therefore, when they do install it, (without the water sleeve) they hear complaints from the homeowner, “This stuff is so dusty! Look at all this dust, it’s everywhere!”
  • And the cellulose dust isn’t confined only to the attic. The blowing rig could also be a very dusty place – if the seals in the blowing machine are in bad shape – the cellulose dust gets on everything in the truck, especially the guy loading the machine.
  • If they do have a water sleeve, and get lazy or in a hurry – and don’t pause the installation every 5 bales and spank the hose, they risk clogging the hose. Once the hose gets clogged, now we’re talking real anger between the hose guy in your attic, and the truck guy. So guess what they decide: “Turn down the water, I don’t want any more shut-downs. I’ll just blow it dry!”
  • Because of this, the crew gets absolutely “_____- off” with the sales guy who sold the job, when he could have sold fiberglass to the homeowner instead.

Bob Gets Real Blunt:

Homeowners: Do yourself a big favor: NEVER buy a cellulose insulation upgrade for your attic, from a company that is primarily a fiberglass company.

Do your research! Yes, cellulose is a big improvement over loose-fill fiberglass. But, for a proper installation, you must have a trained, experienced crew who is equipped with the right tools.

Miss this important point, and you set yourself up for a miserable experience.

Why would you knowingly hire a crew, who will show up to your home angry, and with a bad attitude?


“Let’s Get Out of Here!”

That crew is telling itself, “Let’s get in here, get this done and get out of here!” They know it’s going to be so unpleasant – and they are just hoping and praying that you don’t want to inspect their work before they can get off your property.

You see, when cellulose insulation is installed without a water sleeve, it’s a Class Five Dust Storm in your attic! The hose guy can barely see. Consequently, the insulation is full of mounds… high and low spots are everywhere.

“Sand” Dunes in my Attic?

Not only that, if they have to smooth it out, fill in the low spots because you complained – that takes MORE material and the manager or owner of the company only allows them to stack the exact amount of material to get the coverage right the first time.

So, now they don’t have enough material, so they’re using the blowing hose to blow-off the high spots or if they have extra material, it comes out of their pay. And either way, you have more dust.

The crew is mad, the owner is mad, you’re mad.

Not a good experience for anyone.

Am I Really Saying This?

Avoid this misery by taking my advice: If you’re talking to a fiberglass sales guy, and you want to do business with him, buy fiberglass.

If you want the upgrade, and prefer cellulose insulation – speak only with a company who regularly installs cellulose insulation. Buy your cellulose upgrade from a company with experienced, equipped and trained CELLULOSE crews.

beau spraying cellulose insulation

Can I close with a quick story?

Many years ago, I sub-contracted an attic insulation upgrade job to a good friend of mine, who installed cellulose insulation.

For some unknown reason, on the day his crew was working for me, the crew did not have a water sleeve on the truck. No one told me, nor my friend. The crew installed the cellulose dry.

Around 5pm I got a phone call, with a complaint from my client. She followed-up by sending me a couple of videos on her phone, walking around the house, swiping her finger on dusty furniture, etc. I was shocked at the mess in that home.

Bottom line: After apologizing profusely, I immediately paid for a deluxe house cleaning service, and we re-did her attic insulation job to her complete satisfaction. All at my expense.

I learned a BIG lesson from that experience: Never, ever ask a fiberglass crew to install cellulose attic insulation. If the crew hasn’t been trained and equipped to do a job, you don’t want them in your home.

Don’t get me wrong: I love crews! Here at Bird Family Insulation we’ve trained crews to properly install cellulose from as far away as New Orleans. It’s not the fault of the crew. It’s the sales guy and the company owner who I hold responsible for deceiving homeowners into thinking “it’s no big deal”.

God gives all of us common sense and intuition. If your gut is saying something opposite from what the sales guy is pitching – in this case, go with your gut!

Bob Bird

Bird Family Insulation


Want more information on why we choose cellulose over fiberglass? Check out this video!

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