An under-insulated attic will surely get cold in the winter and cause your home to work harder to keep you warm. If you want to cut down on drafts and cut your heating bill as well, consider adding to your attic’s insulation.
HOW MUCH MIGHT ATTIC INSULATION COST?
The easiest method of insulating an attic is laying it on the floor between the joints. Hiring a contractor to install insulation to the attic floor will cost $1343 on average. Realtor.com tells us that this investment may add an average of $1446 extra when you sell your home. If you choose to do-it-yourself, paying only for materials, you might spend about $580 for 500 square feet of space and have an even bigger return! If your attic has walls and floors, the more complicated project may require a professional to spray foam insulation under the floor and behind the walls.
HOW MUCH ATTIC INSULATION IS NEEDED?
Colder areas require higher R-values, the measure of the insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it. The Energy Star’s guidelines can be found here.
Measure the length and width of your attic to determine how many square feet of insulation you should buy.
DON’T FORGET PROTECTIVE GEAR!
Insulation can be very itchy, and breathing the tiny particles can be dangerous! Don’t take chances if you plan to DIY this project. You’ll need safety glasses or goggles, gardening or work gloves, dust mask or face mask, a disposable coverall suit, and wooden boards to walk on. Don’t try to balance on the joists; if you trip, you’ll put your foot through your ceiling.
BEFORE YOU START:
- Seal cracks, gaps, and openings that allow heat or conditioned air to escape. Use silicone caulk around cutouts like electrical boxes. Near flues and chimneys, use metal flashing and high-temperature silicone caulk.
- Choose your insulation type:
–Fiberglass batts is the simplest for a DIY project. It rolls out like a blanket and comes in 15- or 23-inch widths, designed to fit between typical joist patterns. Batts can be rolled out over existing insulation if more coverage is needed. Start from the perimeter of the attic and work toward the exit.
–Loose-fill insulation is blown in a stream of fiberglass or cellulose by a machine to cover the attic floor framing. A homeowner can rent a blower from a rental center at the home store, but loose-fill is usually installed by a contractor. This insulation can fill in tiny gaps and tight spaces, making it a good choice for attics with limited headroom.
- Be careful to keep soffits clear to allow for ventilation. While insulating all the way to the exterior wall, you can install baffles to keep insulation from falling over the soffits.
- If you have recessed lights, use sheet metal or wire mesh to create a barrier around the fixtures in the attic floor. Insulation coming in contact with lights can cause a fire unless the insulation is marked “insulation contact” or “IC,” meaning no barrier is necessary.