Question? Just ask us!
Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair
InspectAPedia ® Home
INSULATION INSPECTION & IMPROVEMENT
ACOUSTICAL SEALANT CHOICES
AIR LEAK MINIMIZATION
ASBESTOS IDENTIFICATION IN BUILDINGS
BASEMENT CEILING VAPOR BARRIER
BASEMENT HEAT LOSS
BRICK LINED WALLS
BRICK VENEER WALL AIR LEAKS
BUCKLED FOUNDATIONS due to INSULATION?
CATHEDRAL CEILING INSULATION
CATHEDRAL CEILING VENTILATION
CEILINGS, DROP or SUSPENDED PANEL
DEW POINT TABLE - CONDENSATION POINT
DUCT INSULATION, ASBESTOS PAPER
FIBERGLASS PARTICLE CONTAMINATION
Fiberboard Insulation Sheathing Mold
FIBERGLASS INSULATION MOLD
FIREPROOFING ASBESTOS SPRAY-ON
FRAMING DETAILS for BETTER INSULATION
FRAMING DETAILS for DOUBLE WALL HOUSES
FRAMING METAL STUD PERFORMANCE
FREEZE-PROOF A BUILDING
HEAT LOSS in BUILDINGS
HEAT LOSS PREVENTION PRIORITIES
HEAT LOSS R U & K VALUE CALCULATION
HOUSEWRAP AIR & VAPOR BARRIERS
HOUSE DOCTOR, how-to be
HUMIDITY LEVEL TARGET
ICE DAM PREVENTION
INSULATION AIR & HEAT LEAKS
INDOOR AIR QUALITY & HOUSE TIGHTNESS
INSULATION FACT SHEET- DOE
INSULATION IDENTIFICATION GUIDE
INSULATION INSPECTION & IMPROVEMENT
INSULATION LOCATION - WHERE TO PUT IT
INSULATION R-Values & Properties
LEED GREEN BUILDING CERTIFICATION
LOG HOME ENERGY EFFICIENCY
MOLD in FOAM INSULATION, RESISTANCE
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
NOISE / SOUND DIAGNOSIS & CURE
RIGID FOAM USE INDOORS
SHEATHING, FOIL FACED - VENTS
SLAB INSULATION, PASSIVE SOLAR
STAINS on & in BUILDINGS, CAUSES & CURES
STRAW BALE CONSTRUCTION
STUCCO WALL METHODS & INSTALLATION
STUCCO OVER FOAM INSULATION
SWEATING (CONDENSATION) on PIPES, TANKS
Thermal Expansion Cracking of Brick
THERMAL IMAGING, THERMOGRAPHY
THERMAL MASS in BUILDINGS
THERMAL TRACKING Indicates Heat Loss
TRUSS UPLIFT, ROOF
VAPOR BARRIERS & CONDENSATION in BUILDINGS
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
WALL CONSTRUCTION BARRIER vs CAVITY
WIND WASHING INSULATION At EAVES
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
Cotton insulating batts: This article illustrates and describes how to identify, inspect, and evaluate cotton insulation materials in buildings. We provide photographs and descriptive text of cotton insulation and other insulation products to permit identification of these materials in buildings. This document assists building buyers, owners or inspectors who need to identify various kinds of insulating materials and who need to evaluate the condition of building insulation by simple visual inspection.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2013 InspectAPedia.com, All Rights Reserved.
Cotton building insulation was sold by the Lockport Cotton Batting Company under the product name Lo-K®.
Cotton insulation may have been made, sold, and distributed by other manufacturers or distributors of building insulation in the late 1940's, including Bristol Insulation, Cary Insulation, Insulation Industries, Inc., Janesville Cotton Mill, Sears Roebuck, and Gilman Brothers Co.
Cotton insulating batts were installed in many homes in the U.S. from about 1935 to 1950, and this material has recently seen a surge in new interest as a "green" building material.
Cotton insulation batts sold as Lockport's Lo-K® ranged in thickness from about 1/2" to 20" and its density ranged from 4.19 to 2991 kg· m-3 (about 1/4 pound per cubic foot up to more than 100 pounds/cubic foot(?))The heat transmission of various insulating materials including cotton can be viewed at the NIST website. NIST data shows that cotton insulation had a resistance to heat transfer ranging from 0.025 to 9.1 h· ft2· °F· Btu-1 (depending on the thickness of the product). I'm guessing from the data that this translates into modern "R" values of about 0.5 per inch.
Currently marketed cotton insulation costs about 20% more than fiberglass insulation of roughly the same dimensions, and has a lower R value of R 3 to R 4 per inch of cotton insulation compared with an R value of R 5 to R 7 per inch for fiberglass batts.
To compare insulating material R-values see our Table of Properties of Insulating Materials
Well sure it is insofar as we're using a natural, grown material rather than an insulation product made from petroleum products (plastics, foams). But "green" is a little tough to pin down.
For example, when we evaluate the greeness of cotton insulating batts, the "green" claims we've read did not consider the petroleum product consumption in the production of cotton, the transport of cotton to the insulation producer, nor the effects of use of pesticides and fertilizers. These added complexities confound the environmental claims of lots of products, not just building insulation.
The health claim, that cotton produces fewer problem particles than fiberglass sounds reasonable, but a study of the health effects that plagued workers in 20th century cotton mills leaves some questions about this assertion as well, at least for the producers of the product. The fiber release of any insulating product depends a lot on where and how it was installed and on its condition and its exposure to disturbance.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Balsam Wool Insulation: properties, R-values, Ingredients, Hazards, Fire Resistance
Questions & answers or comments about the properties & identification of balsam wool & other wood product insulation materials.
Ask a Question or Enter Search Terms in the InspectApedia search box just below.
Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.