6 tips for DIY insulation repairs

A properly insulated attic can make a substantial impact on your energy use. And you don't have to call a professional at the first sign of trouble, just follow these six DIY tips. 

6 tips for DIY insulation repairs

1. Seal small gaps

  • Small spaces around the plumbing vent pipes and electrical cables in your attic can result in significant heat loss during the winter months.
  • If insulation is already in place, carefully remove it and pack strips of fibreglass batts into the gaps as backing, then fill in the spaces with expansion foam sealant and replace the insulation.

2. Protect yourself from fibreglass

  • Protect your skin, eyes and lungs when working with fibreglass insulation.
  • Wear a hard hat, a thick, long-sleeved shirt, work gloves, goggles and a dual-cartridge respirator.
  • You can protect yourself further by donning overalls or a hooded sweatshirt and tucking your shirtsleeves into the cuffs of your gloves.
  • Wash in a cold or tepid shower afterward to remove any leftover particles from your skin.

3. Cutting insulation to fit

  • To fill energy-sucking gaps, cut a large square piece from an un-faced fibreglass batt, fold it in half and place it in a plastic garbage bag.
  • Punch several holes in the bag on the attic side, and insert it into the open cavity.

4. Insulating rim joists

  • The rim joist area is where floor joists connect to a band of wood around the perimeter of your house.
  • Cut blocks of rigid foam insulation and friction-fit them into the spaces between the joists where they meet the rim joist.

5. How to install a soffit vent

  • Installing exterior soffit vents can reduce moisture in your attic in the winter and keep it cool in summer. The vents are easy to install, although you'll probably need to put in more than one.
  • Place the vent on the Soffit and trace its area with a pencil. Measure 2.5 centimetres (one inch) in on all sides, and fill in that outline. Drill holes on all four corners.
  • Using a sabre saw, cut along the outline to make the opening for the vent.
  • Install the vent over the opening, and screw it into place with stainless-steel, self-tapping screws.

6. Insulating floors

  • To insulate a floor above an unheated basement or crawl space, push fibreglass batts, with the vapour barrier facing up, into the spaces between the overhead floor joists.
  • Secure the batts by stapling wire mesh (chicken wire) to the lower edges of the joists, or by pressing lengths of heavy wire — cut slightly longer than the width of the cavity — between the joists every 0.5 metres (one-and-a-half feet) or so. Bow the wires up slightly.
  • Although the wires should hold the batts firmly in place, make sure they are not compressing them.
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