Adding insulation to an unfinished attic or a bare roof cuts back on the cost of your energy bills and keeps the temperatures inside your home more comfortable. If you’re not looking forward to another chilly, drafty winter, now’s the time to get this project underway. Handy do-it-yourselfers can complete the installation in a weekend. Others may want to call a professional.
(Credit: Nagy-Bagoly Arpad/Shutterstock)
The North American Insulation Manufacturers Association provides photos and step-by-step instructions on how to install insulation.
Insulation Tips and Tricks
We gathered tips and tricks from experts to help make this process go smoother. Read on to find out what they are.
1. Call an Inspector: If possible, hire an energy auditor who can tell you how much insulation you need and locate any leaks so you can seal them.
2. Choose the Type: Either loose fill or batt (also known as blanket insulation) work best for uninsulated areas or to layer over any insulation already in place. Select loose fill insulation if your space has joists with irregular spacing, many obstructions to work around or limited space for you to move in while installing the insulation. Use batt insulation when the opposite is true – regular joist spacing, few impediments and ample headroom.
3. Eliminate the Bad: Check to see what insulation you already have and tear out the compressed, water stained and moldy stuff. If your house was built before 1990 and what you have has shiny specks, get it tested for asbestos. When you have asbestos, call a pro to remove it.
4. What’s Your R-value: Plug in your heating source and zip code in this Department of Energy calculator to determine how much thermal resistance you need in your insulation. It’s dependent on your location.
5. Research Rebates: Check with your state’s energy office or local utility to see if you can get some type of financial incentive for insulating.
6. Buy an Extra Bag: To determine how much material you need, measure the square footage of the attic or roof. The product’s label tells you how many bags needed for certain R-values and to cover 1,000 square feet. Always get an extra bag or roll so you don’t run out in the middle of the job.
7. Protect Yourself: Wear the appropriate gear so you don’t get any insulation in your lungs or eyes or on your skin. That includes goggles, work gloves, a long-sleeve shirt and long pants. Use shop lights or lanterns to light up the dark corners so you can see what you’re doing.