Contrary to popular opinion, insulation installation is not a very difficult process, but only if you know what you’re doing. If you’re a novice when it comes to handyman services, we would advise you not to DIY, but rather opt for highly-trained experts, such as our employees. By reading this article further, you will find out what this process involves, how long it takes, what materials we use, and what are the steps.
Skill level: 1/5 (Easy);
Cost: Under a dollar per square foot;
Time: 2-3 hours for a 12-by-20-foot room;
Tools: Caulk gun, staple gun, utility knife, straightedge + dust mask, and gloves.
Step 1 – Cutting the material to width
First of all, our handyman will cut the batt’s width to fit inside the wall. To do that, he will place the batt on the floor, in front of the opening in the wall, lining up one edge with the inside face of the stud bay. Then, he will place a straight 2-by-4 in line with the inside face of the neighboring stud and press it down with one knee. Finally, he will cut along the 2-by-4, using a sharp utility knife. Because of its material, the batt will trim easily, even with shallow cuts;
Step 2 – Trimming it to length
The handyman will then insert the resulted insulation into the wall cavity, making sure that it isn’t compressed against the studs since it would reduce its R-value (the insulation layer’s capacity to resist the conductive flow of heat, basically its thermal resistance). For the best fit against the bottom of the cavity, he will let the insulation run long, then cut it using the same utility knife;
Step 3 – Dealing with obstacles
During the operation, our handyman will take proper care of any obstacle such as wires, electrical outlet boxes, or plumbing supply pipes. For wires, he will cut the batt in two, sliding one half behind the wire and putting the other one on top. For electrical outlet boxes, he will install the batt, then cut a notch in it, using the box as a guide. Last but not least, for plumbing supply pipes, he will position the whole batt thickness beneath them, to prevent them from freezing during the winter;
Step 4 – Adding the vapor barrier
The last step involves adding a vapor barrier, which is extremely important especially in colder climates. Adding a vapor retarder on the inside face of the insulation prevents condensation, which would otherwise significantly decrease R-value (see above) and encourage mold formation. Batts with pre-attached paper or foil have a built-in retarder, but the other ones should be covered with 6-mil plastic or a breathable sheet. If this is the case, our handyman will apply a bead of sealant to the top plate and to any other stud where the sheets overlap. Last but not least, he will tack the sheet every 12 to 24 inches to the top plate, studs, and bottom plate.