Make your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer, and save yourself some money with proper insulation. With the right tools and materials, it isn't hard to install insulation yourself.

Steps
5
Difficulty
Moderate
Time Required
1Day
Estimated Cost
$$$

What You Need for This Project

Insulation Installation & Safety Tips

  • For ceiling and attic spaces, use batts of R-30 or R-38. In exterior walls R-13 to R-21 is commonly used, while in interior walls where insulation is used for sound control, R-11 is used most frequently.
  • Open the packages by cutting lengthwise through the side panel. Be careful to avoid cutting the product or facing. The insulation will quickly expand to its full volume when the bag is opened.
  • Gently push batts into the cavity so that it sits all the way in, especially at the corner and edges. Then, fluff it to its full expansion by pulling it forward to fill the depth of the cavity. The fit should be snug.
  • With faced batts make sure the vapour retarder is facing the conditioned interior space, unless building codes specify otherwise.
  • Take care not to stretch the facing too tight as you staple, which can over-compress the batt, and avoid gaps and puckers.
  • Secure floor insulation with wire fasteners, sometimes called "lightning rods." Press the fasteners so they bow up gently against the subflooring without compressing it. Space the fasteners at least six inches from each end of the batt and 12 to 24 in. apart.
  • Cut insulation about an inch wider than the space using a sharp utility knife against a safe backstop, such as an unfinished floor or other smooth, flat surface. Always cut on the unfaced side of the batt.
  • For more ease of installation, look for batts that have vertical perforations at intervals along the width of the batt so cutting with a knife is not needed. Simply grip the insulation on either side of the perforations and tear to trim it to the desired width.
  • For shorter spaces, cut the insulation to fit properly. Don't double it over or compress it. Compression changes the R-value of the insulation.
  • If it takes more than one batt to fill the height of a wall cavity, make sure the two pieces are butted snugly together.

Install Roll Insulation

Roll insulation can be used anywhere in your home, although they are best for covering long unobstructed areas like attics and crawl spaces. It can be cut to fit any size cavity and are typically available in faced and unfaced. for a more comfortable installation with less itch and dust, look for a product which is poly-encapsulated, or wrapped in plastic, The plastic facing also serves as a vapour retarder.

Faced insulation is used in exterior walls as well as attics, finished basements, ceilings, floors, knee walls and cathedral ceilings. Like other forms of insulation, rolls are available in a variety of R-values. When choosing roll insulation, make sure you use the most appropriate R-value.

STEP ONE

Unwrap the Insulation

Open the packages by cutting lengthwise through the side panel. Be careful to avoid cutting the product or facing. The insulation will quickly expand to its full volume when the bag is opened. Cut the insulation to fit properly. Don't double it over or compress it. Compression changes the R-value of the insulation.

STEP TWO

Measure for the Space

Rolls must be measured and cut to fit into wall cavities. Cut insulation about an inch wider than the space using a sharp utility knife against a safe backstop, such as an unfinished floor or other smooth, flat surface. Always cut on the unfaced side of the batt. Gently push insulation into the cavity so that it sits all the way, especially at the corner and edges. Then, fluff it to its full expansion by pulling it forward to fill the depth of the cavity. The fit should be snug.

STEP THREE

Secure the Insulation

Allow friction to hold the insulation in place. Or you can staple the flanges of faced insulation to the insides or face of the joists. (Stapling on the inside is preferred by many drywallers because it leaves the edges of the framing members easier to locate). Secure floor insulation with wire fasteners, sometimes called "lightning rods." Press the fasteners so they bow up gently against the subflooring without compressing it. Space the fasteners at least six inches from each end of the batt and 12 to 24 in. apart.

STEP FOUR

Install it Gently

Take care not to stretch the facing too tight as you staple, which can over compress the insulation, and avoid gaps and puckers. Wherever there are adjacent rolls, make sure they fit snugly together.

STEP FIVE

Unroll in Attics & Open Areas

When installing rolls in an unfinished attic or other large open area, simply unroll the insulation in place.

Install Batt Insulation

Batts are pre-cut panels of insulation and available in a variety of lengths, widths, and R-values. It's made to fit within most regular wall framing, which are usually placed 12, 16, or 24 in. on centre, and for either 8 or 9 foot high walls. Batt insulation is available with and without facing, with faced batts used in exterior walls, attics, finished basements, ceilings, floors, knee walls, and cathedral ceilings.

The facing material usually serves as a vapour retarder and makes handling and attachment easier to install. Factory-applied vapour retarded facings are generally made of kraft paper. To attach faced batts to framing members, staple through the flanges. For unfaced batts, place them between framing members and let friction hold them in place.

STEP ONE

Use the Right Insulation

For ceiling and attic spaces, use batts of R-30 or R-38. In exterior walls R-13 to R-21 is commonly used, while in interior walls where insulation is used for sound control, R-11 is used most frequently.

STEP TWO

Unwrap the Insulation

Open the packages by cutting lengthwise through the side panel. Be careful to avoid cutting the product or facing. The insulation will quickly expand to its full volume when the bag is opened.

STEP THREE

Push the Batts in Place

Gently push batts into the cavity so that it sits all the way in, especially at the corner and edges. Then, fluff it to its full expansion by pulling it forward to fill the depth of the cavity. The fit should be snug. With faced batts, make sure the vapour retarder is facing the conditioned interior space, unless building codes specify otherwise.

STEP FOUR

Secure the Insulation

Allow friction to hold the batts in place. Or you can staple the flanges of faced batts to the inside or face of the joists. (Stapling on the inside is preferred by many drywallers because it leaves the edges of the framing members easier to locate.).

Take care not to stretch the facing too tight as you staple, which can over compress the batt, and avoid gaps and puckers.

Secure floor insulation with wire fasteners, sometimes called "lightning rods." Press the fasteners so they bow up gently against the subflooring without compressing it. Space the fasteners at least six inches from each end of the batt and 12 to 24 in. apart.

STEP FIVE

Finish off the Fit

Cut insulation about an inch wider than the space using a sharp utility knife against a safe backstop, such as an unfinished floor or other smooth, flat surface. Always cut on the unfaced side of the batt.

For more ease of installation, look for batts that have vertical perforations at intervals along the width of the batt so cutting with a knife is not needed. Simply grip the insulation on either side of the perforations and tear to trim it to the desired width.

For shorter spaces, cut the insulation to fit properly. Don't double it over or compress it. Compression changes the R-value of the insulation. If it takes more than one batt to fill the height of a wall cavity, make sure the two pieces are butted snugly together.

Install Blow-In Insulation

Blow-in insulation (also called loose fill or blowing wool insulation) can be used in several different applications, but it is especially useful in unfinished attics or attics with hard-to-reach areas. You can rent an insulation blowing machine at many home improvement and equipment rental centres. However, depending on your budget and the size of the area you are insulating, you may want to hire a contractor. A trained professional may be able to install your blow-in insulation faster, more efficiently and with better results.

Like batts and rolls, blow-in insulation is also specified by R-value, but this is not the same as inches of thickness installed. It is a calculation of quantity of materials and rate of blowing needed to reach a desired density and height of material and cover the entire space. To achieve the desired R-value, it will be important to follow package labelling. The minimum number of bags per 1,000 square ft. is based upon the net area of the space to be insulated.

Blow-in insulation is highly compressed in the bag. The blowing machine is designed to open up the insulation material, fluff it, and then blow it out through the hose at the rate you set to achieve the specified coverage and R-value. A useful guide for installing the proper amount of blow-in insulation is to mentally divide the space into four equal parts. Then you can figure how many bags should go into each quarter of the space. For example, if you have 24 bags of insulation, you would blow six bags into each of the quadrants.

STEP ONE

Prep the Area

  • Remove any objects from the attic that might interfere with the proper application of the insulation.
  • Make sure that any eave or soffit vents are not blocked.
  • Place one or more attic rulers in each quadrant of the attic space. This will help you know when you have achieved the correct depth of insulation.
  • Load the blowing machine hopper with insulation. The hopper should be kept nearly full so the insulation flow is smooth and even.
STEP TWO

Start to Fill In

Hold the hose parallel to the floor with the insulation falling 10 to 12 ft. away. Begin at the far wall and work toward the centre. Always blow in the direction of the joists. Be careful to step only on floor joists, or else you might accidentally put your foot through the finished ceiling below.

STEP THREE

Insulate the Cavities

Fill three or four joist cavities by moving the hose to the right and left. Where possible back away from the work to avoid packing the insulation. Be sure to get insulation to the top of the walls and low places. Don't cover eave vents.

Avoid using your hand as a baffle to direct the insulation as it exits the hose. Do this only when necessary to avoid packing.

STEP FOUR

Fill Around Obstacles

Keep the hose close to the floor where insulation must go under obstructions like cross bracing and wiring. Insulation must be blown on both sides of these kinds of obstructions. If an obstruction has caused a low spot to occur, fill in the area.

STEP FIVE

Finish Up

Check the thickness of the insulation, and check that you have used the correct number of bags per 1,000 sq. ft.

Cavities, drops, and scuttles should be covered with batts.

How To Terms

Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes, and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors, or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures.

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