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How To Install Blown In Insulation In Your Attic

Bobby B. of Lexington, KY wrote:

Hey Itchy,

Ya' all know how to install insulation in attic. I want to use the blown in type. Can I do it myself?

Do it yourself attic insulation is easy, as long as you don't mind a little itchiness here and there. Blown in insulation can be done by renting a hopper from your local home improvement or rental store.

Blow in insulation requires two people. You are going to need a helper to load the machine while you're in the attic. Make sure you wear protective clothing and a mask so you're not inhaling the fibers. In the summer attics get hot so use your own judgment as to the clothing you wear and you may need to crawl out of the attic a few times to cool off.

The first thing you need to do is isolate any heat producing fixtures from the insulation. This includes lights, fans and doorbell transformers. The best way to do this is to buy a roll of thin sheet metal that can be cut with a utility knife. Cut a length and make a cylinder shape out of it, using duct tape to secure the edges. Then, simply place it over the fixture so the insulation won't touch it. Make sure to leave a open area of about 3 inches on each side of the fixture to allow for heat to escape.

Next, if you don't have baffles you'll need to install them. Boy howdy, you're about to have fun now. Baffles are used to keep the insulation from covering the eave vents. You can buy the cardboard variety and staple them to the rafters. This requires you to crawl down to the eave vents. Some areas can be pretty tight with not much room to maneuver. Go ahead and holler, grunt or swear. Nobody can hear you anyway.


Finally, lay pieces or R-30 or R-38 batts around the perimeter of your attic access, extending about 2 feet in all directions. This will help prevent the loose fill insulation from coming out every time you open the attic access lid.

Start insulating at the far end of the attic, using the guide on the bag of insulation to determine the desired r-value and depth of the insulation. Try to keep the blown in insulation even and smooth. Don't let your helper goof off. While he's waiting for the hopper to empty, have him climb the ladder and pull excess hose so you're not tripping over it. Don't try walking on the sheetrock - it won't work out well for you for a couple of reasons. For one, it hurts when you land on the dining room table below. For two, it makes a big mess and your wife won't be too happy with you.

Once finished, make sure to insulate the attic access lid by stapling or taping a insulation batt to it. Try to stay out of the attic once done so the insulation doesn't get moved.

Now you're done! Take your shirt off and give yourself a good scratching and go take a bath - you'll need it.

Related Tips and Advice:

How To Insulate Knee Walls
How To Insulate An Unvented Crawl Space
How To Insulate A Floor In A Vented Crawl Space
How To Insulate Wood Stud Walls

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