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Attic Insulation Guide

Here's a Step-by-step Guide to Attic Insulation You Shouldn't Miss

A proper attic insulation guide can help you save on utility bills by increasing energy conservation. As it is one of the easiest places in your home to insulate, read this story for information...
Sheetal Mandora
Last Updated: Feb 21, 2019
Tradesman Fits Insulation In Attic
To increase your home's energy efficiency, you can easily insulate the attic on your own. The advantage of insulation works great for older homes, as many of them don't have proper or any kind of insulation installed when it was built.
Whether your home is old or newly constructed, the profits of having the attic space insulated are many. Apart from saving money on your utility bills, there is a 30% federal tax credit (for consumer energy efficiency). Find out online if you are eligible for tax credit after your home attic has insulation.
However, instead going into too much detail about how insulation can help you save money and other benefits, why don't we get back to the insulation guide for the attic. So before the actual laborious work, we need to do a little bit of inspection.
Inspecting Attic Before Insulation
As mentioned before, older homes may not have proper insulation; and as for newly built homes, that issue may or may not arise. In such cases, you need to determine that the current insulation is still effective or do you require more insulation. To transform your home into an energy efficient home, there are few insulation inspections that need to be done.
Visual Insulation
In this type of inspection, check if the top of the beams (on the current insulation) are visible or not. If yes, then you need to add more insulation. When the beams can't be visually seen, you can move some of the insulation in order to check the height over the beams. The distance should be considerable; barely covered beams is not good enough.
Measure Insulation
How can you measure the ability of insulation in order to resist heat flow? To measure the insulation's ability, there is a technique called "R value". It helps rate the flow of heat or cold in the house. If the R value is high, then the insulation is effective enough to conserving energy.
Now whether or not you need to purchase more insulation for installation, first calculate the current R value, instead of how thick or how heavy it is. If you have rock wool and fiber glass insulation is lower than 11 inches and cellulose insulation is lower than 8 inches, then you require more insulation.
Air Leaks
Thermal Insulation
You need to check if there is any kind of sealing air leakage occurring in the attic. Any cracks or openings in the ceiling may let the outside air come inside the house.
Before you go over the guide to install more insulation, you need to fix all the cracks and openings. When you fix the air leaks from the attic space, you can increase your energy savings tremendously.
Water Leaks
Foam Plastic Insulation
Similar to air leaks, inspect the ceiling for water leakage. Concentrate on stains and/or watermark that will indicate water pipe or roof leaks and heating or air conditioning leaks. If that's the case, your attic will give you poor insulation and it requires repair.
Energy Audit
Make an appointment for a professional energy auditor to come and inspect the current insulation in your attic. He/she will give you necessary recommendation on whether or not you require more insulation; and if yes, then how much more.
Now that we went over the essential inspection which should to be taken care of, we can go over the insulation guidelines. Perhaps your attic has a loose-fill or batt insulation installed. In that case, what you need to do is figure out how much more insulation has to be filled in.
The final cost will determine on few things like how much insulation you have to install, if you are doing the project on your own or hiring a contractor, and which type of insulation you'll be using. As each home is unique in its own way (design, zone, age, etc.), you or the contractor may have alternate insulation guidelines for the installation process.
Installing the Insulation
For old homes, the installation will require insulation just like any other room. You will have to include floor, ceiling, knee walls, interior and exterior walls. For keeping your home warm in winters and cool in summers, follow the attic insulation guide mentioned next.
Materials Needed
  • Batts or loose-fill insulation
  • Filter mask or respirator
  • Measuring tape
  • Utility knife
  • Knee pads
  • Hand gloves
  • Safety glasses
Step #1
Loft Insulation
Make sure you wear hand gloves, filter mask, and safety glasses at all times while working in the attic. Wear long-sleeved shirt and pants for the project. Depending on which areas you need to insulate, you will begin from the far end.
For example, you're insulating a wall, then begin from one end of the attic space. You don't want to get trapped at some end in the attic while placing the insulation in.
Step #2
Worker Installing Fiberglass Batt Insulation between Roof Trusses
If you need to stand over the insulation, do so by placing your weight on open beams and not directly over the insulation. According to the roof insulation, unroll or lay the rectangle batts in-between the beams. Be careful that you don't compress the insulation.
Step #3
Handyman Installing Thermal Insulation At Attic
Measure the area to place exact length and width of insulation in the space. Tightly join the two ends of the insulation together, but don't buckle them together.
The insulation needs to be as tight as you possibly can get; you don't want to leave any gaps between two pieces. The reason, if there are gaps, the R value of the insulation will be compromised.
Step #4
Keep at least 3 inches of space between the insulation and any recessed fixtures or wiring, as it could pose serious fire hazard. This applies only when the recessed fixtures do not have I.C. markings.
You don't require staples or glue to hold the insulation in its place. Gravity will make sure that it doesn't slip away or become loose. Trim any extra insulation from the sides with a utility knife.
Once you have finished the installation, wash the clothes you wore in a separate laundry cycle. Don't mix other clothes with them and run the rinse cycle twice (instead of once). If you feel that it would be difficult for you to install the insulation on your own, you can ask for someone's help or hire an experienced contractor.