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DIY Steps for Installing Insulation in the Home

Updated on June 8, 2012

Insulation for the Home

Effectiveness of any insulation is dependent on the location where it is installed, whether it is the floor, wall or ceiling. Insulation should never be compressed, as this could make it less effective. Insulation is available in the form of batts or rolls and is made from fiberglass or rock wool. These are most convenient materials to use for DIY home insulation. They are available in standard widths and would have to be cut or trimmed to make them fit in correctly in the space available for the insulation. You can get batts with vapor retarding and flame resistant facings and you would have to decide on your requirement. Blown in loose fill insulation is the most effective but it is a job best left to professionals and not meant for DIY enthusiasts. Foam insulation can also be done by polyurethane foam but is again a job best left to those trained for this.

Estimate the quantity of insulation required once you have decided on the form of insulation and make sure that you have enough to complete the whole job without having to run down to buy additional material. Make sure the insulation you have chosen will fit in properly into the space available for it without any problems. The insulation should also have the correct R value. Attics and roofs would require higher R values than walls or floors.

Installation of rolls

Rolls are available in sealed packages and these will expand when the bag is opened. You must measure the cavity into which the roll is to be installed. Cut the insulation to about an inch more than the cavity dimension making sure that you cut on the side that has no facing. Push the insulation into the cavity and make sure that the edges and corners are properly filled up and not folded over. If you are using vapor retarder facing, it should face towards the interior of the room. Friction will normally hold the insulation but you can staple it to the joists. Floor insulation should be secured by using wire fasteners. Adjacent rolls of insulation should only fit snugly against each other and should not overlap. Insulation should never be compressed as it will lose its effectiveness. If you find you have to do that you have the wrong thickness selected.

Installation of Batts

Batts are precut insulation panels that you can get in various lengths and R values. It is very useful for insulating walls that have a regular framing. Batts like rolls will expand when cut lengthwise through the panels on the side. Push the batts into the cavity or space between the frames so that it fits snugly. You can fluff the batt by pulling on it so that it fills up the cavity completely. Some batts may have perforations at intervals that may save you the need to cut a batt that requires to be sized. Again adjacent batts should fit snugly against each other without any overlap.

Other Considerations

While installing insulation around electrical or plumbing fixtures, care would have to be taken to make sure that the insulation does not lose its effectiveness. This is the area where you would have to create gaps for the fixtures. Areas around windows need to be properly sealed to prevent heat loss, while the windows themselves should have good weather stripping that prevents leaks.

Once your DIY home insulation work is done, go through the whole job once again and make sure that you have not left out any areas which could serve as energy drains for your HVAC system.


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