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Do I Need To Insulate Gable Ends Of The Attic




Housewife in PA wrote:

Dear Itchy,

I just found out there is nothing to adhere insulation on to on our attic walls. You see we were looking to insulate our walls and floors in the attic. We noticed that a type of black paper had fallen off the gable end of house. Under the paper, there was no wood, no fiberglass or foam sheeting; nothing but vinyl siding and nails protruding through it . Which now lets us know why the siding near the top of the gable buckles so much. What can we do? How can this happen? I thought building inspectors were suppose to find shoddy work and not let builders get away with it. How do we fix the problem in the least expensive way. I am on disability and it seems our electric is going up 30% by 2010. Thanks for your information.

PS. our house is about 20 years old.


You have two issues to resolve.

Before you think about insulating the attic you must first have the structural members of your gable ends repaired. Without actually viewing your attic area it's hard to determine exactly what your up against. This could be an expensive ordeal or maybe not. I would make a visit to your local building inspectors office and have them search their records for more information regarding your home and how this passed the inspection. Try to find out if your builder is still in business. If so you might want to consult an attorney. I would also contact your state's Attorney Generals office to see if they can be of any assistance.

Once you get the gable ends framed correctly you will be able to insulate the attic. When insulating a attic, there is usually no need to insulate the gable ends so long as the attic floor has been insulated. An exception to the rule would be if you are installing a foil radiant barrier system.  Usually, the only time you would insulate a gable end is when the other side of it is a heated living space in your home.  When you are ready to insulate the attic you can either install batts in the attic or opt for blown in attic insulation.

Good luck with this project.

Related Tips and Advice:

How To Insulate Your Attic With Fiberglass Batts or Blankets
How To Insulate An Attic Hatch Cover
How To Install Blown In Insulation In Your Attic
How To Insulate A Cathedral or Vaulted Ceiling


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