The best time to add insulation to a home is during the initial building process. However, homes with add on’s, shops and garages are often left unfinished to save costs on the front end. Leaving these areas uninsulated will add up in elevated energy bills. Here are some tips for adding insulation.
What to wear
Before starting, it is helpful to wear gloves, a long sleeve shirt, pants and a face mask to prevent insulation from creating irritation on your skin. An N-95 respirator or mask is preferred to prevent inhalation of microscopic fibers.
Step 1: Use sealants before insulation
If there are any noticeable gaps around wiring, doors or windows, be sure to use a sealant such as caulk to close the gaps before insulation is placed and the drywall is added. This will prevent drafts and air leaks later.
Also, apply caulk where walls connect to the flooring and ceiling.
Step 2: Install pre-cut sheets
Pre-cut sheets can be purchased for the size of the most typical framing. This is usually 16 or 24 inches wide and approximately 7 1/2 feet high. Purchasing pre-cut sheets expedites the installation and allows for more accurate application.
A vapor barrier is required by building codes in most states, so insulation sheets often come with this barrier already applied. When insulation is being installed, the vapor barrier facing should be positioned toward the interior of the home.
Pre-cut insulation sheets have an extra piece on the side of the vapor barrier to staple the insulation into the stud. Prior to stapling, the insulation should be laid in gently and not compressed. It should fill the area between the studs completely both widthwise and height-wise.
Step 3: Insulate behind plumbing and water lines in exterior walls
Gently press insulation sheets behind plumbing and water lines to protect from winter weather. If necessary, cut the insulation sheets to correct sizing to fit in these smaller areas.
Step 4: Fill smaller spaces around windows and doors
Scraps of insulation sheeting can be used to fill smaller spaces around windows and doors. If there is more than a scrap needed, you can use a straight edge to hold the insulation in place and cut the appropriate size to fit.
Step 5: Caulk around newly insulated windows and door
Once gaps around windows and doors have been filled with insulation, it is important to caulk again to prevent air leaks.
Step 6: Add drywall to cover insulation
The vapor barrier on the insulation is flammable so it is necessary to add drywall to cover the insulation, not only for a finished look but also for increased fire protection.
For more questions about insulation, or other heating and cooling needs, contact us at Pilchuck Heating.
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