The first step in installing rolled
insulation is to determine how much you need. Simply grab your measuring tape
and measure the wall, ceiling or attic area that you plan to install insulation
in. Take for an example installing rolled insulation in the exterior walls of a
new room addition. Simply measure the height and width of the walls to determine
the amount of square feet of insulation required. An even easier technique is to
measure the height of the walls and simply count the number of stud wall bays
that you need to insulate. Rolled insulation is available for 16 and 24 stud
bays, so by simply multiplying the number of stud bays times the height of the
walls and then adding 5%, you can quickly determine the number of linear feet of
insulation you need. The linear feet of rolled insulation per roll R-value type
is listed on the packaging label, so you can quickly determine how many rolls
Rolled insulation is available in
many different R-Values / thicknesses. The most common R-values for walls are
R-11 (3.5 thick) and R-19 (6 thick). When installing rolled insulation in an
attic, the thickness required is a function of the region of the country you
live in, however using R-38 (12 thick) insulation in the attic is a common
Once you have purchased your
insulation and are ready to install it, make sure to wear protective clothing
that covers your body from head to toe. Rolled fiberglass insulation is
irritating to the skin, throat, and eyes so also dont forget to wear goggles,
gloves, and a mask.
Note that when insulating a room, a
vapor barrier needs to be installed over the insulation facing the inside of the
room. This is automatically achieved with faced insulation. You simply install
the faced insulation in the stud bays so that the paper faces inwards towards
the room center. If you use unfaced insulation then you will need to apply a
sheet of polyethylene plastic over all the walls and rolled insulation. The
plastic can be stapled to the wall studs.
Tools required for
Installing Rolled Insulation
To install rolled insulation you will
need a long straight edge, such as a level or length of 2x4, a utility knife, a
staple gun and staples, a putty knife and/or large common screw driver.
The best way to install rolled
insulation is to first unroll it on the floor, measure and cut it.
Use your straight edge and utility
knife to cut it. Note that you will need to firmly press down on the insulation
to create a clean cut.
After cutting a few lengths of
insulation simply install them in the wall bays, again with the paper facing
inwards towards the room. Staple the paper tabs to the wall stud studs every 12
or so up the length of each wall stud.
Once you have installed the
insulation in the wall bays, you can then proceed to cut small pieces of
insulation and push them into the small crevices around the door and window
frames, as well as any narrow bay walls. Use your screw driver and/or putty
knife to push the pieces of insulation into the crevices and narrow wall bays.
Note as an alternative to using rolled insulation in the small crevices, you may
want to use a can of spray foam insulation. This stuff works great and is much
faster and easier to install then bits of rolled insulation.
Make sure when installing the rolled
insulation around electrical boxes that you do a neat job and that you apply
staples close to the electrical boxes to create a tight seal.
Finally, if you did not use a faced
insulation, apply the plastic, or vapor retarder over the insulated walls. It is
very important to do this to prevent moisture problems in the walls, so do not
skip this step.
With the rolled insulation and vapor barrier installed you are ready to move on
to the drywall installation phase of your home improvement project.
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