With the rising costs of heating and electricity, possibly the worst thing you could do for your home is to not apply insulation. Applying insulation doesn’t have to be difficult, and if you know what you’re doing, it should take less than an hour to insulate an entire room. Applying even a small amount of insulation correctly will significantly reduce your utility bills – but that’s just the key: doing it correctly.
Incorrectly applied insulation will actually reduce its effectiveness and negate all your work. Do it right the first time, and reap the benefits of energy savings!
First Steps To Insulate
1) To lay blanket insulation correctly, set all thoughts of the vapor barrier aside for now. You’ll come back to that later. Put your insulation as close to your wall studs and the floor as you can, and if there are gaps, you can either fill these with loose-fill insulation or by placing another layer strip of blanket insulation.
*Note: always cut your insulation with a sharp-edged knife, and don’t ever try to rip the pieces off to make them fit. This is unsafe and dangerous, especially if you’re using insulation with glass inclusions. Whenever possible, wear a mask when working with insulation to avoid getting any of this glass into your lungs. It could actually cause severe health complications.
2) When applying insulation around pipes or ducts, always place the insulation on the outside. When you eventually place the vapor barrier down, this means you’d see insulation, followed by the vapor barrier, followed by the pipes, followed by your inside wall. Not following this procedure is: a) against most building codes, and b) will just cause you condensation problems down the road.
3) To keep the insulation correctly in place, make use of the flanges on most rolls of blanket insulation. You can staple these to studs or ceiling joists, and make sure you’re keeping the insulation close to the floor area and filling in any gaps that might re-appear when fastening the insulation in place.
*Note: do not allow the insulation to block any vents on the walls or floor. This will prevent proper air flow and damage the work you’ve done. Ventilation is important, and the last thing you want to do is hinder this by blocking vents anywhere in the room.
Once The Insulation is in Place
When you’re done applying the insulation, step back and take a look at a few things you might still need to do.
– If you’ve applied insulation to your ceiling and don’t intend to put up a vapor barrier, make sure the insulation is wedged firmly in place and leaves absolutely no gaps. If there are gaps, during the winter you’ll find that a line of frost will form on the inside of your house and the ceiling and wall joints.
– If applying insulation to a floor or a ceiling, the end of your piece of insulation should be folded or ‘doubled’ back. Do this to avoid any potential heat escaping through the edges of your room where walls are most susceptible to leaks and cracks.
– When you apply a vapor barrier overtop your insulation, apply it in one, continuous sheet around the room, cutting out small holes for fixtures and stapling as you go.
It should be taut, firm, and without any tears or places for heat or moisture to escape or enter. Insulation is great, but it’s even better when paired with a vapor barrier. This will give your insulation a longer life, and will save it you from the dangers of molds and other moisture-related complications down the road.