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Insulating an Unfinished Attic Instructions

  • Insulating an Unfinished Attic

    Your attic is the most critical area of your house to be adequately insulated. Since heat rises, a poorly insulated attic allows valuable heat from the living space of your house to escape during the winter. During the summer, heat trapped in your attic can reduce your ability to keep your house cool. Additionally, make sure your attic is properly ventilated.

  • Overview

    To insulate an attic, start by preparing the space. This includes any baffles that will hold insulation away from roof sheathing and electrical fixtures. Install a vapor barrier if needed. You can choose either fiberglass insulation or loose fill insulation for the project.

  • Attic Preparation

    Where ceiling joists intersect with roof rafters, insert a plastic or polystyrene baffle in each rafter bay. Staple the baffles in place. Electrical fixtures can become hot when in use. You need to keep insulation a safe distance away by using baffles to hold back the insulation. Use a 1” x 4” or 1” x 6” to create a retaining wall on either side of the fixture. Keep the baffle about 3” away from the fixture.

  • Vapor Barrier

    If you are installing insulation without a vapor barrier, you should create a vapor barrier using sheets of plastic. Lay it in between the ceiling joists and use a staple gun to tack it to the sides of the joists.

  • Fiberglass Insulation

    To install fiberglass insulation, start by measuring out each section. Cut a piece to length and lay it in place. Make sure the insulation is tucked snugly into the space with no gaps next to the ceiling joists or baffles. Do not compact the insulation. This will defeat its insulating effect.

  • Added Insulation

    If you are not planning to put in an attic floor, you can lay a second layer of insulation perpendicular to the ceiling joists. The second layer should not have a vapor barrier because moisture could potentially get trapped in between the two vapor barriers.

  • Blown-In Insulation

    If you have an attic floor and need to blow cellulose insulation into the spaces, you will need to temporarily remove some of your flooring. Run the blower hose up into the attic. You will need a helper to control the blower. Blow the insulation into the spaces between the ceiling joists. Make sure you install baffles near any electrical fixtures. Replace the flooring pieces you removed.

  • Loose-Fill Insulation

    Cellulose (or loose-fill) insulation can also be installed in an attic without a floor. You probably will not need a blower since you can easily access all spaces in your ceiling joists. Pour the insulation into the spaces and spread it around evenly.


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