How to Maximize the Impact of Insulation

Build It
Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva gives some basic tips about insulating an attic

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Cost: $100 and Up

Skill Level: Beginner

Insulation blower

Shopping List:
Unfaced fiberglass insulation OR
Cellulose insulation OR
Rigid foam insulation
¼” plywood

1. An easy way to improve the insulation in a home is by insulating the attic floor.
2. Fiberglass insulation can be unrolled and placed into floor joists. Be sure to install unfaced insulation. Faced insulation has a vapor barrier that can hold on to moisture and cause mold in the attic floor and the ceiling below.
3. It’s possible to rent an insulation blower and buy cellulose insulation to blow into the floor joists. In this case, blow the insulation so that it falls higher than the floor joists to allow for settlement.
4. If the attic floor is covered, add a layer of rigid foam and then add ¼” plywood on top of that.

Tom demonstrated a variety of different insulation types that can be used in an attic.

The fiberglass insulation Tom showed is manufactured by Owens Corning ( . It comes in a variety of different R-values depending on where you are in the country and how much insulation you need, and it can come either faced or unfaced. Tom recommends getting unfaced insulation, but if it’s only available faced, the label can be peeled off and used.

Tom also discusses using cellulose insulation or using rigid foam insulation over floor boards to allow for storage and added insulation in an attic.

All of these can be found at a home center.

Ask This Old House TV
Homeowners have a virtual truckload of questions for us on smaller projects, and we’re ready to answer. Ask This Old House solves the steady stream of home improvement problems faced by our viewers—and we make house calls! Ask This Old House features some familiar faces from This Old House, including Kevin O’Connor, general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, and landscape contractor Roger Cook.
This Old House releases new segments every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Keywords: This Old House, How-to, home improvement, DIY, tom silva, ask this old house, kevin o’connor, insulation

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