DIY Insulation Do’s and Don’ts, Tips to Warm Your Home

A few DIY tips on insulation materials and things you should and should not do when insulating your home.

There are several types of home insulation and different applications for each. I will cover the different types and uses for each and offer a few tips to help keep your house warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

The most popular and widely used type of insulation is fiberglass -- which is actually made from spun glass. Fiberglass insulation is typically used to insulate floors, walls, ceilings and attics. It comes faced (paper backed) and un-faced, in various widths and R-values.

R-value is simply the measure of thermal resistance (how much the insulation slows the transfer of warm air to cold air). So the higher the R-value the more resistance the insulation offers. Learn more about R-value.

There are many other types of insulation such as;

  • Rigid foam (extruded polystyrene), used primarily for exterior applications.
  • Cellulose (made from recycled paper), used for insulating walls, ceilings, attics and floors.
  • Radiant barriers (closed cell foam faced on both sides with foil) use for insulating floors, walls, ceilings, attics, garage doors, water heaters and metal commercial buildings, and
  • Spray foam (a two-part liquid containing a polymer and a foaming agent) used for insulating walls, ceilings and other interior closed spaces.

These products all have different R-values, material cost and installation cost.

Do it Yourself Insulating Do's and Don'ts.

  • Do not crush or stuff fiberglass insulation into a space. Crushing the insulation reduces the effectiveness of the product. More in a space is not better.
  • Do wear a mask and protective clothing when working with fiberglass insulation. Who wants to breath spun glass into their lungs.
  • Do not block soffit and gable vents when initially insulating or adding insulation to your attic. Good air flow is critical to preventing condensation. Condensation/moisture will ruin most insulation and create an environment for mold to take hold.
  • Do install a moisture barrier (plastic/polyethylene) over your insulated walls and seal (tape) all seams as well as the top and bottom of the walls. This will help insure that there is less transfer of warm air to the cold air, thus virtually eliminating condensation.
  • Do not dispose of any insulation by burning. Burning insulation is toxic, harmful to you and the environment. You can easily dispose of the extra or old insulation by placing it in plastic bags and taking it to your local refuse disposal station (dump).
  • Do use radiant barriers to insulate the inside of your garage door and around your water heater. This is a great way to save energy and it is quite inexpensive. Radiant barriers are less expensive than rigid insulation, are far more effective and easier to use. Radiant barriers are also fantastic for use as a moisture barrier/underlayment for laminate floors over concrete. Since the radiant barrier acts as a thermal break the cold and moisture can not move from the concrete up through the flooring. It also adds just a bit of cushion to the floor for comfort, (as it is only 1/4" thick).

Follow these do-it-yourself insulation tips and you will truly succeed with speed.

If you have questions about your DIY projects, just ask your personal DIY consultant. I'm here to help you.