Practical advice to properly insulate your attic

July 28, 2015

Having a well insulated attic is essential for regulating your home's temperature. Installing insulation properly will make you summers cooler and your winters cozier. Here are some pointers to help you out.

Practical advice to properly insulate your attic

Choose the insulation that's right for you

  • Choosing insulation: The quickest and easiest type of attic insulation to use is blanket roll. Sold in widths that match the standard gaps between joists, the insulation is rolled out in the attic and cut to length. It comes in different thicknesses to fit within the joists or to lay at right angles over them.
  • "Sleeved blanket" is easier to handle than the cheaper "plain blanket." If you're using the plain variety, you should lay a vapour barrier first to prevent condensation from forming as heat rises from the room below.
  • Rigid fibre glass boards, or batts, can be fixed to the underside of the roof, between the rafters. This helps maintain a constant temperature within the roof space and is useful for storing things that need to remain warm and dry.
  • Your insulation should be at least 2.7 centimetres (one inch) thick.

Make installation easy

Here's what you'll need to install the insulating blanket: scissors or a trimming knife, face mask, protective gloves, and of course the rolls of insulating blanket. Keep in mind that the fibres in plain (unsleeved) insulation can irritate the skin, so wear a mask and tuck your sleeves into gloves, and your pants into socks. Open the packaging and do all of the cutting in the attic as well to minimize the spread of fibres.

  • Installing the insulating blanket: Start at one end of the attic, leaving a gap of about 5 centimetres (2 inches) in the eaves for ventilation. Unroll the blanket between two joists, pressing lightly so that it lies flat. Don't squash it down, as this will reduce the insulating properties.
  • Cut the roll as necessary, butting the ends up tight against each other when making a join.
  • Keep cables above the insulation so that they don't overheat, and keep water pipes below it to keep them warm. Never insulate under the cold-water tank, as this will make it more likely to freeze in the winter. Do stick a square of blanket on the attic hatch.

It isn't hard to install insulation, and it will both save you money on heating and air conditioning and make your house more comfortable all year round. Plus, it's fun to go into the attic if you haven't been up there in a while. Who knows what forgotten treasures you'll find?

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