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Q & A: How do I install insulation in my attic?

Question by M: How do I install insulation in my attic?
I need to add insulation to my attic. Is it as easy as going to Home Depot, buying the pink insulation, and placing it down on the attic floors?

Also, I know I need to lay some on the floor but do I staple/nail it to the attic ceilings too? Thanks for the help! I’ve never had to do this before.

Best answer:

Answer by bkstgzillgod
Just get the blow in insulation.

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7 Responses to Q & A: How do I install insulation in my attic?

  1. Patrick Lea, Realtor(R)

    If you do blown in insulation, it is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL that you do not cover the soffit vents. This can cause substantial issues for your roof in the summer time.

    If you really want to insulate the attic to the greatest extent, you should install baffles at the soffit vents, if they are not already there.

    Here’s a pretty good explanation of attic insulation issues:
    http://www.southface.org/web/resources&services/publications/factsheets/25_insulateceilings_4pdf.pdf
    After this, you can use the Attic Cat system to do blown-in to what ever depth you see fit…
    http://insulation.owenscorning.com/homeowners/insulation-products/atticat.aspx

    Alternatively, you can do a reflective barrier insulation. The most common is a bubble wrap material which has exceptionally shiny aluminum on both sides. (Home Depot sells Reflectix… just for kicks you should buy a small roll and mess around with it in the house.)
    http://www.buyfoilinsulation.com/EcoFoil-Reflective-Foil-vs-Fiberglass-Insulation

    Closed Cell Expanding Foam Insulation is great for r value and also sealing leaks, but it is DEFINITELY NOT a do it yourself gig.

    A combination of radiant and blown in would give you the most effective insulation.

    By the way, there are several ways in which heat is transfered, and different insulations work better to manage different problems.

    1. Radiation – infrared radiation (heat) goes from the hot side to the cold side. This can occur across a vacuum. High quality foil will refelect 95 to 97% back. Again, buy a roll of Reflectix to tinker with radiant barriers. 15 bucks gets you a 1.5 foot x 25 foot roll.

    2. Conduction – this is heat transferred by a material transferring heat from one side to another. Great example is a brick. Put a brick over a candle and the top side will ultimately warm up. Fiber glass is a poor conductor of heat, so it keeps heat from moving to the cold side.

    Conduction vs Radiation. Conduction requires that materials, whether solid, liquid, or gasseous, be in contact for heat to conduct frome one side to the other, while radiation is an actual wave form of energy which can and readily does cross a vacuum. Conduction is completely stopped by a vacuum.

    If you ever look at a high quality thermos, it is a vacuum and it is very shiny. It stops both conduction and radiation.

    3. Convection. This is a heat transfer due to movement of a heated fluid against a colder substance, or the actual movement of a heated fluid from one place to another and colder fluid taking its place. Drafts are the main convective transfer.

    For the attic, if you’re trying to keep heat in, a reflective barrier UNDER the blown in insulation is the best. If you’re trying to keep heat out, the reflective barrier should be on TOP of the insulation. If you have an extremely windy area, you might be best served to use the closed cell.

    I am Realtor(R) and certified thermographer (Infrared Analysis). I have seen many solutions in a roof, and the best solution for you could be a combination of cost, ease of use, etc.

    You should check with someone to find whether your attic needs to “breathe out” moisture. If you seal up an attic too tight, it can trap moisture in the ceilings. http://www.radiantbarrier.com/ has some information on this issue. They manufacture a reflective material which allows air flow. I have used this product.

    And again, I can not stress enough…. DO NOT COVER THE SOFFIT VENTS WITH INSULATION…. EVER.

    If you have any questions at all, feel free to email me at WebMLS@cinci.rr.com.

  2. William B

    yep get the unfaced Bat’s
    just lay it down

  3. i_was_myself

    I strongly suggest you visit the insulation manufacturer’s websites for detailed instructions for your situation. They cover almost any normal type of insulation job, including how much for your area.

  4. Researcher

    Depending on where you live, most Home Depot or Lowe’s stores give classes on how to insulate.
    Also depending on where you live, blown insulation may be inappropriate, not acceptable to current codes, and it is expensive. If you can’t wait for the class. Home depot use to have instruction sheets, and there are books, or you could go online to DIY, Home Depot sites and print instructions from them. Insulation is not on of those things that is a throw together, one son-in-law cost a friend a couple thousand $ $ when the local utility company came out to do an efficiency inspection and discovered that the insulation had been installed wrong. The foil side was positioned wrong and where that was correct the insulation t had been compressed to the point that the R value was decreased, greatly. The kid want to to help, but didn’t know how, refused to read instructions or listen to any one and used duck tape. oh by the way Insulation is not stapled or nailed.

  5. Meddles

    My boyfriend and I spent exactly two hours one afternoon including driving to Home Depot, picking up the insulation (bats, not rolls), climbing into the attic, cutting it into appropriate pieces, and stapling it down. We just had a couple small areas to do.

    It’s really easy. If it’s for your attic, consider at least R-30, and if needed, R-38. (Higher number means higher resistance/better heat transfer reduction). Ask a person at the home improvement store any questions you have. “Which way do I install this,” etc.

    I advise you to be very careful on the flooring. Are you trying to convert the attic into a livable space? You see, in most cases, the space between the 2×4″s in your attic is very weak and your ceiling below..so if you step on it, you have a ceiling repair to do and possible a broken ankle to repair. This one you will definitely need to consult someone on, but you may even be able to find someone at the store who can tell you.

    Keep this in mind when you are installing the insulation. When you’re climbing about, make sure the area around you is clear, and instruct yourself and all who may be helping you to step only on the 2×4″s and walk carefully.

    It sounds stupid, but get some of those paper masks when you’re working with insulation, and I also suggest that you change your clothes before you handle it into a long sleeve t-shirt (that covers your belly and back, tuck it in!), cheap pants, work boots, and gloves and when you’re done touching insulation, throw the clothes into a small load of laundry by themselves into the washer, and take a shower. If you get any insulation on your skin, it’s not deadly or anything like that, but it can itch like crazy if you have sensitive skin. It won’t damage your clothes in any way, but I wouldn’t suggest wearing anything that you want to wear later that day.

  6. Just guessing

    Blown in cellulose insulation as previously suggested is the easiest way to go for the floor of your attic. You don’t insulate the walls unless you are heating your attic space.

  7. adeel451

    yes that’s what my dad did, you can staple it down if you wish makes no difference, i have also attached link to a guide, please read it will help you.

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