Trying to identify this type of insulation and maybe some alternatives I can use to replace it with. It looks like foam to me. House was built in 1950s or so:


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    Why do you want to replace it? It appears (as answered below) to be ordinary blown cellulose, which is recycled paper treated to prevent fire and bugs from being a problem, and it's one of the more effective forms of insulation available.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 25, 2021 at 1:03

1 Answer 1


It looks like blown in cellulose insulation.

it was probably done long after the home was built.

I want to say popular after the 70’s. You can put other types over or replace it with any kind of batts or chopped blow in.

Big Box stores still sell it (I just checked on line) so if you need to add it or a very similar product is available.

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    Yep, I'd say cellulose. So long as it's kept reasonably dry it's good stuff to have -- relatively fireproof, reasonably non-toxic, not terribly itchy, tolerant of the occasional water leak.
    – Hot Licks
    May 25, 2021 at 0:51
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    You can get a better deal (IME) at an actual building supply, rather than a "big box" - i.e. the big box bales were 19 lbs, the building supply were 25 lbs and much less dusty and cost less per bale. Blew in just under a ton last fall. The "free machine" at the big box was about the same as insulation from the building supply and renting a machine if you were only buying the minimum to get the "free machine" - so if doing any more, renting a machine and getting material at the building supply was less expensive; or the same cost if only doing that much.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 25, 2021 at 1:09
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    Ecnerwal, I agree but the orange store has a good web site, I haven’t used cellulose in quite a few years, we did my moms house with it but it was more expensive in Oregon, I liked it because you could roll in it and not be picking the fiberglass out of your skin.+
    – Ed Beal
    May 25, 2021 at 4:20
  • So this doesn't look like asbestos right? When I was looking at pictures it tends to be shinier.
    – Jeff T
    May 26, 2021 at 0:28
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    I would say it is cellulose with a 99% confidence when it is new and doesn't have years of dust on it it may be shinier, to my knowledge there was no asbestos that was blow in that was asbestos only, vermiculite was used and some vermiculite did contain asbestos but it is more granular think of the white pebbles in potting mix but not all vermiculite had asbestos and it is still sold but yours looks like cellulose and several others also agreed that it is if there was a question I believe not only myself and Ecnerwal and at least a 1/2 dozen others that have been around would have flagged it
    – Ed Beal
    May 26, 2021 at 0:51

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