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- Buy Insulation Batts with a High Enough R-Value
When refurbishing your home’s insulation system, one of your first priorities should be your attic area. Since heat naturally rises, a good deal of the heat in your home makes its way there. The attic’s insulation system is also responsible for keeping the rest of the house’s temperature stable and comfortable. In the summer months, an under-insulated attic can make your home feel unpleasantly hot or stuffy. Conversely, in winter, the inconsistent flow of heat throughout the house will make you and your loved ones feel cold—and perhaps even sickly.
Luckily, there are a number of insulation solutions in the market that are easy to install, even for beginners at DIY home improvement. One of them is batt insulation, or a form of blanket insulation that’s pre-cut into particular sizes. Batt insulation can be made of either mineral wool (also known as stone wool or rock wool) or fiberglass. Individual batts are not difficult to lay over your attic space—but there are certain things you need to remember for easy and accurate installation.
Here are some tips on the quick prep work you should do before installing batt insulation into your attic. Going through these steps will ensure that you install your new batts properly—and that they do a decent job of insulating your attic space!
Buy Insulation Batts with a High Enough R-Value
Before you begin your home improvement work, you’ll need to shop around for batt insulation. One of the first things you should pay attention to is the R-value on the product’s label. Again, since much of the house’s heat goes up to the attic, the insulation material you use there has to be extra powerful. You should be looking at products with higher R-values if you’ll be using them for your attic.
In this kind of application, R38 insulation is ideal. It’s the R-value that the US Department of Energy recommends for attics in homes within the Climate Zones 4 to 7—the colder regions of the country. See if this is the R-value that’s supplied on the product’s label.
See If You Should Use Kraft-Faced or Unfaced Batts on Your Attic
Another thing you should consider when buying new insulation for your attic is whether you should get faced or unfaced insulation batts. These two types are not interchangeable, and one may be the better choice for use in your attic.
If you’re doing work over an existing insulation system, it’s better to layer over it with unfaced insulation batts. The additional vapor barrier in faced batts, also known as kraft-faced batts, will be handy in bare attics. But if laid over old insulation, they may trap moisture and cause mold to grow in the space. Thus, you can use faced batts as the first layer in a bare attic, but you shouldn’t pair them with older insulation material.
Prepare Your Installation Tools in Advance
The next thing you should prepare is a set of tools for the installation proper. Experts recommend having the following on hand before you start installing your new batt insulation:
- A dust mask
- A utility knife
- A saw
- A staple gun and some light staples
- A steel tape measure
- A caulking gun
- A working light
These, among others, will help you install your new batts in a safe and comfortable manner.
Measure the Spaces in Your Attic Area Before Installing Your Batts
The next step to ensure accurate installation of your batts is to measure your attic spaces. Having an exact idea of how much space you’re laying the material over will make the job that much faster.
Take your tape measure and note the length and width of each of your attic joists. Then, go back to your insulation batts, and cut them to that exact size with a straight edge. Trim as necessary so that each batt fits snugly into the joist.
Seal Or Caulk Up Any Existing Gaps in Your Attic
The last thing you should do before laying out your new batt insulation is to check for any gaps or holes in the attic. Even if you do the perfect job of installing new insulation material, it won’t perform as well as it should if there are still opportunities for air to leak.
You can use caulk to seal up the smallest gaps and foam for gaps larger than three inches. When there’s no more room for air to escape, you’re ready to install your new batts.
Making the Most of Your Attic’s New Batt Insulation
It does take a little prep work to install batt insulation in the most accurate, trouble-free manner. But the extra care will get you your money’s worth on the new batts—and more importantly, keep your home’s attic as well-insulated as it should be.