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Does anyone have experience with insulating with waste wool from sheep-shearing. I am interested in washing and deodorizing techniques and also in the packing-density requirements. Plan is to use burlap sacks stuffed with wool, laid between joists.

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As for sheep's wool it is a great insulating product. I actually ran into 50 rolls at a local Habitat store that had them going for $4 a piece. So I bought them all. They were non-faced rolls and have to be one of the most pleasant insulation experiences of my life.

However you have two problems and neither of them have to do with cleaning. First you must be able to compress the wool so that it stays together and its density is appropriate. I found that it was a lot like rockwool except not itchy. Second the burlap bags are probably a no-no because you would have to prove out their fireproof qualities.

I would talk to local inspector on both. Sure he will be happy with wool but may express his own concerns on top of mine.

And just an FYI. I have no idea where I would order these wool rolls. I have never seen them at any store so obviously someone ordered them special and decided not to use them and gave them to the Habitat store. Also you may want to visit some wool insulation company sites for tips. I don't know what if anything they use to get the wool in firm strips.

  • How do you keep moths from eating it up? It's the one consideration I would have worries about. – Fiasco Labs Jan 13 '15 at 2:56
  • @FiascoLabs - No idea. Not sure if the rolls I bought were treated or not. But was from a reputable manufacturer. – DMoore Jan 13 '15 at 3:27
  • I would imagine it had some sort of treatment then if it was manufactured for insulation use. After doing a little looking, soaking the wool fiber in borax solution is one way of taking care of the pest problem and adds a fire retardant component. Another company uses wool as one component in a composite along with lime to manufacture a product that is used similar to polystyrene insulation sheet in its application. Interesting! I'd dispense with the burlap, its flammability is something I have experience with. – Fiasco Labs Jan 13 '15 at 5:55
  • I have a good source of waste wool. But now realise that the idea of packing it into burlap bags is crazy because of flamability and no desire to treat with flame retardant which would be expensive and probably give off dangerous fumes. So, any thoughts on what I could use instead of re-cycled burlap bags? – Bella Jan 16 '15 at 11:37
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No personal experience with wool, but I think using any type of bagging is going to defeat the insulating properties of the wool, as it will allow air infiltration around the bags. This is already a huge problem with fiberglass batts. Do loose-fill, or 2+criss-crossed rolls between and also covering the joists.

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