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Cardboard insulation baffles

Wondering if there are any drawbacks/issues with using cardboard ventilation baffles? We made our own baffles out of foam sheathing for the last two homes we built to create an air tight insulation cavity between rafters. Needless to say it is a very time consuming and costly process, especially with a few volume ceilings.

We just experimented making baffles out of a sheet of cardboard and we think we could create, install, and seal these cardboard baffles in a fraction of the time it would take with other materials.

Asked by Bruce Miller
Posted Mar 31, 2013 9:58 PM ET


9 Answers

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Plenty of people use cardboard ventilation baffles. You can buy them:

J&R - Cardboard Attic Baffles

Bafflo baffles

As with any ventilation strategy, the usual warnings apply: pay attention to airtightness, and make sure that the R-value of your insulation is high enough. More information here: How to Build an Insulated Cathedral Ceiling.

Answered by Martin Holladay
Posted Apr 1, 2013 5:35 AM ET


Thanks Martin. I'm familiar with both manufacturers and many others. There are flaws in the designs of all these products and most are not long enough to be installed in a single pass. So, I plan to make my own as long as I can be assured that the cardboard itself poses no risk (moisture/mold) as long as it is properly installed.

Answered by Bruce Miller
Posted Apr 1, 2013 8:07 AM ET


If you are installing cellulose, the question is simple: will the cardboard be stiff enough to resist the pressures induced by the blowing machine?

If you are installing fiberglass batts, then the cardboard is certainly stiff enough -- but you still have all of the inherent disadvantages of fiberglass batts.

Answered by Martin Holladay
Posted Apr 1, 2013 9:26 AM ET


I am installing cellulose and will test cardboard on the next house. Our test chutes are fairly rigid (if stapled close to the crease of the flap) and seem like they will withstand the pressure of a blowing machine . I guess the only way to know for sure is to test it.

Answered by Bruce Miller
Posted Apr 1, 2013 12:43 PM ET


I found one of the article on the Yahoo! Voices that might help you to understand more


Answered by Greg Pittman
Posted Apr 3, 2013 9:49 AM ET


I came across your question while browsing for a better baffle - a search that is ongoing. We have installed pretty much every baffle out there and I don't like any of them. Cardboard is adaptable and plenty strong at the time of install but does not hold up well over time. Styrofoam is too flimsy and require additional work to block the eaves. Site built systems are very labor intensive. I did find a product that installs like a cardboard baffle but is made of fluted plastic. If you can swallow the cost, this may be your best option (http://www.dciproducts.com/html/smartbaffle.htm).

Answered by Torsten Hansen
Posted Sep 17, 2013 9:56 AM ET



I saw these baffles at EEBA in 2006. They are recycled plastic, very durable (can't be torn) and they offer a "high energy" version for deeper attic insulation. Call them and see if you can get some free samples.


Answered by Kris Knutson
Posted Sep 17, 2013 1:52 PM ET



Thanks for the feedback. My experience is pretty much the same as yours. I wish I could see some 30-50 yr old cardboard baffles to see how they are holding up but that will probably never happen.
I did order a box of the smartbaffles and experimented with them. They work for standard spacing and are a bit of a pain for non-standard spacing. Anyone could make smartbaffles with a sheet of corrugated plastic for less money.

Answered by Bruce Miller
Posted Sep 18, 2013 12:05 PM ET


Here are photos of cardboard baffles at thirty years of service:

Perhaps coated cardboard lasts longer. I doubt it, where bare cardboard side exposed, may curl more. Manufacturers do not offer a service life guarantee.

Let's emphasize plywood as the best solution. Where most bird block is like that in the photos, know tiny hole area demands placement in every bay.

Answered by Phillip Norman
Posted Oct 29, 2016 10:27 AM ET

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