Installing Insulation for Ceilings and Attics
Proper insulation for your ceiling or attic is one of the most important things you can do as a homeowner. Attic/ceiling insulation should be at the top of your priority list when buying building supplies. Good insulation ensures proper heating during the winter and cooling during the summer. Sufficient insulation improves comfort for everyone in the home by keeping ceiling temperatures close to room temperatures and enabling an even temperature distribution throughout the entire house.
Planning and Managing Ceiling/Attic Insulation Projects
While installing insulation in an unheated attic is typically a straightforward job, there are still a number of pitfalls awaiting you if you have no experience. Depending on the complexity of the project, it might be ideal to have a professional installer take care of the project. You should at least have a consultant to call should you require assistance or advice.
When preparing for attic insulation installation, you need to make sure that:
- You have selected the correct insulation levels
- The ceiling and attic are properly sealed
- You are following any local code requirements that dictate attic ventilation
- You are choosing the right materials and products for your type of attic and ceiling
Tips for Attic Insulation
- When dealing with ventilation areas blocked in the eaves, don’t push blanket or batt insulation past the top plate where the joist runs end. You also don’t want to fold it back and up between rafters. If the pitch of the roof is steep enough to allow access to the eaves, a slanted-board baffle can be installed at the end of the joist runs to keep the insulation from clogging.
- Don’t forget about the extra space around openings where the ducts, wires, pipes, etc. enter the attic floor. You can fill in those spaces with caulk or fiberglass. Even the drill and nail holes should be filled with caulk.
- Be very careful around lighting fixtures. The spaces around recessed lighting should NOT be filled with fiberglass or caulk. You do not want to cover the recessed lighting fixtures with the insulation material, as doing so will present a fire hazard. There should be a minimum clearance of three inches between any kind of insulation and recessed fixtures.
- If one layer of insulation is not enough, you might want to consider a second layer. For the second layer, only use un-faced or loose-fill fiberglass. Do not place a vapor barrier right over top of the original insulation, as moisture will become trapped and cause the first layer to be ineffective.
- Make sure that you install paper- or foil-faced insulation with the facing side down. If the facing side is placed up, moisture will become trapped in the insulation. As a result, your insulation efforts will be ineffective. Also, a vapor barrier of polyethylene sheeting may need to be installed between each joist run if you plan to use loose-fill insulation.
- You could also use a vapor-retardant paint to coat the interior ceiling from below.
As long as you order the right building supplies and proper insulation type for your attic and ceiling, you should be able to reap the benefits. However, everything must be installed correctly.