In this first of three articles on how to install blanket insulation, we will discuss the specific supplies needed, including the insulation itself, and go over some safety tips for working with insulation. The other 2 articles will discuss installing the insulation, adding a vapor barrier or shield, and making cutouts for recessed lighting and fixtures. To move ahead to Part 2, click here.
Blanket insulation is a common choice. It is easy to work with since it comes in a continuous roll and can be easily cut and manipulated. It may also be referred to as batting. Before installing or replacing a fiberglass insulation blanket, take these precautions.
Step 1 - Purchase Materials
Before purchasing your blanket insulation, it is a good idea to get a thorough audit of your home's energy efficiency. This audit can help identify the amount of heat you are losing and give you a better idea of which insulation to buy.
Because heat rises, no place in your home experience greater heat loss than your attic. The more insulation that you have, the better able you will be to control that heat loss and save on your energy costs.
Once you determine how much energy you are losing, purchase the amount of insulation you need according to the energy audit conducted for your home.
Step 2 - Take Safety Precautions
Working with the fiberglass insulation, even in blanket form, will expose you to airborne fibers that can get in your lungs. Since lung cancer and mesothelioma have been linked to airborne fiberglass fibers, it is best to work with a breathing apparatus or mask when installing fiberglass insulation. As always, it is better to be safe than sorry.
This applies to your eyes, as well. The fibers can irritate and scratch your cornea, impairing your vision. Wear safety glasses to prevent this. Also make sure to use gloves to protect your hands from cuts that could occur when using the utility knife.
For a complete rundown on safety equipment, read How to Protect Your Eyes When You DIY.