SOUND INSULATION MADE OUT OF OLD BLUE JEANS

Remember the Beach Boys song In My Room?

Underhill House is as small as we could make it, and that means our bedroom shares one wall with the main living area and bathroom and will share its other inside wall with the television in the den.

The guest bedroom shares a wall with my office and another wall with the stairwell.

Everyone needs a little sanctuary, so we decided to do what we could within the restraints of our floor plan by sound insulating the bedrooms.

After some research we decided the best way to do it with easily available materials was to fill the wall cavities with Ultratouch Denim Insulation.

This is amazing stuff.  It costs more than fiber glass, but there are good reasons to choose it.  It’s a better product, and fiberglass is nasty stuff!  If you have ever handled fiber glass batting, you know what I’m talking about.

(Here is an interesting youtube about how fiberglass is made.  In its favor, it does use recycled glass, but we chose to stay away from fiberglass.

  •                 According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors Fiberglass Insulation: History, Hazards and Alternatives – , it has the potential to cause physical harm.
  • Small particles that come into contact with skin can lodge in pores and cause itchiness, rashes and irritation.
  • When inhaled, particles can cause coughing, nosebleeds, and other respiratory ailments.
  • Very fine airborne particles are capable of becoming deeply lodged in the lungs and are believed by many to cause cancer and other serious afflictions.
  • OSHA considers this threat to be serious enough that it requires fiberglass insulation to carry a cancer warning label.
  • it is generally accepted that, in certain situations, it has the potential to cause physical harm. Small particles that come into contact with skin can lodge in pores and cause itchiness, rashes and irritation. When inhaled, particles can cause coughing, nosebleeds, and other respiratory ailments. Very fine airborne particles are capable of becoming deeply lodged in the lungs and are believed by many to cause cancer and other serious afflictions. OSHA considers this threat to be serious enough that it requires fiberglass insulation to carry a cancer warning label.

The jeans Doug is wearing may end up in someone’s wall someday.

On the other hand, the denim insulation is made of recycled jeans, and requires no warning labels.

UltraTouch Denim Insulation:

  • contains no chemical irritants and requires no carcinogenic warning labels compared to other traditional insulation products.
  • contains no harmful airborne particulates eliminating health concerns regarding particulates in the surrounding environment.
  • contains an EPA registered fungal inhibitor to actively resist the growth of mold, fungi and bacteria.
  • meets the extremely stringent Environmental Specification 1350 Indoor Air Pollutant testing used for California Public Schools.
  • UltraTouch consists almost entirely of natural denim and cotton fibers that are 100% recyclable, reducing landfill waste. By weight, UltraTouch maintains an 80% post-consumer recycled content.
  • UltraTouch requires a minimal amount of energy to manufacture aiding the environment with energy conservation and reduction in pollution compared to other types of traditional insulation.

And for our use to make the bedrooms quiet, these fibers offer superior sound deadening properties when compared with fiberglass.

While filling in all the little irregularly shaped openings around our unmilled timber rafters, I have more sympathy for all the effort involved in working with these beautiful but irregular shapes.

An EPA-registered borate solution makes Ultratouch denim insulation as resistant as fiberglass to mold, fungi, bacteria, pests and fire.

More good news:

Approximately 200 tons of unwanted denim has been saved from the landfill since 2006.

With its Blue to Green initiative, collections of donated denim donates the resultant denim insulation to Habitat for Humanity in regions of the U.S. affected by natural disasters, procuring 662,111 pieces of denim and insulating 1,322 homes so far.

Fun Facts:

  • One pair of jeans makes enough insulation to cover an area about the size of a light switch faceplate.
  • 500 pairs will insulate a house

To further insulate certain areas, we added some floor insulation to the walls.  There are special products for walls, but they had to be special ordered and cost more.

Roberts AirGuard Premium 3-in-1 Underlayment reduces noise and sound transmission between floors, and is recommended for multi-level construction.

To rate the effectiveness of sound barriers like this underlayment, two standards have been established.  STC (Sound Transmission Class) is a measurement that indicates how much noise is stopped by a wall or floor ceiling assembly. (airborne or voice noise).  And IIC (Impact Insulation Class) is a measurement that indicates how much impact noise is stopped in a floor/ceiling assembly.

STC and IIC are logarithmic, like the Richter scale. Each 10 points represents a doubling of the noise reduction capacity of an assembly.   Walls and floor/ceiling assemblies need to be insulated for airborne sound to achieve a STC of 50 or more.   Sound test results for Roberts AirGuard underlayment yield an STC=67 and IIC=68.

So, when all is said and done, I think the Beach Boys would approve.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s