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How To Blow Insulation Into Walls



Hey Itchy,

Carl J. from Cleveland, OH wrote:

I bought a older house and recently discovered it doesn't have a lick of wall insulation. I don't want to remove the sheetrock to insulate it and am going to attempt to blow it into the wall myself. You ever done this before?

Let me tell you man, of course I've done this - in fact I could probably do it in my sleep. This is a project the average do it yourself person can do. You can use fiberglass or cellulose. Personally, for filling walls with blown in insulation I prefer cellulose. It will fill the wall cavity better than fiberglass and it has a slightly higher R-Value. Plus, it doesn't itch. On the down side, it can get dusty while filling the wall.

OK Carl, first you have to decide on the method you're going to install the insulation in the wall with.


You can carefully remove a layer of siding, about 8 inches below the ceiling or you can do it from the inside of the house by drilling holes through the drywall about 8" below the ceiling. I prefer blowing wall insulation from the outside as you don't have to worry about patching and painting drywall when you're done.

Choose your method. Next go to your local rental store and get a insulation blowing machine, some 2" hose and drill and bit capable of drilling 2" holes. Don't stop now. Head on over to the home improvement store and get the loose fill insulation of your choice, some 2" wall plugs and some dust masks. While you're at it, find yourself a helper also.

This ain't rocket science. Let's get started. Grab a step ladder, dust mask, protective clothing and goggles. You need to drill holes 8" below the ceiling level for each wall cavity between the studs. Turn off any power leading to the exterior walls and be sure to release the trigger on the drill as soon as you get through the surface - you don't want to run into any wiring or plumbing. Try to keep the holes centered. Continue drilling until you have the entire area to be insulated finished. You better take a break now because I guarantee you that your arms are tired.


Place the hose into the wall cavity as deeply as you can. Have your helper turn on the machine on a low setting and begin to fill the wall cavities with insulation. You will know when to move the hose upward towards the hole when you feel the hose and blowing machine slightly bogging down. Once you have the wall cavity completely filled with insulation signal or hollar at your helper to shut off the machine or you are going to have a mess on the floor or ground. Speaking of the helper, don't let him fall asleep while waiting to toss another bag of insulation into the machine - have him grab a broom or rake and start cleaning the mess. You'll get the hang of it and it will be less messy as you go. Continue this process until all of the wall cavities have been filled with insulation.

Place the wood plugs into the holes you have drilled. If you drilled from beneath the siding, apply a good wood glue thoroughly to seal any gaps to prevent air and insects from coming through the wall. If you drilled through the sheetrock you'll need to mud and tape over the plugs. Carefully replace the siding. If you insulated the walls from the inside you'll need to paint the walls after the mud and tape has dried and been sanded.

Note: If you find a wall cavity that is filling too fast with insulation it you most likely have a fire block between the studs or some other type of obstruction. In that case you will need to drill another hole below the obstruction to fill that area.

That's it. Yes, it's a chore but it is nothing compared to removing all of the drywall and replacing it just to get the walls insulated.

Related Tips and Advice:

How To Insulate A Wood Stud Wall With Fiberglass Batts
How To Insulate Your Attic With Fiberglass Batts or Blankets
How To Install Blown In Insulation In Your Attic
How To Insulate A Concrete Wall
How To Insulate Ducts


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