Home Insulation Installation - Preparation

Attic ceiling packed with insulation

What You Will Need When Installing Insulation

1. Time

Time depends on the type of job being done. Allow yourself 3 to 4 hours per 100 square feet when installing fiberglass batts and a vapor barrier in the attic. Allow yourself 4 to 6 person hours per 100 square feet when installing furring, insulation, and vapor barrier in your basement.

2. Tools

Most of the tools required for the installation of insulation are found in the home toolbox. Others can be rented reasonably from your local home center.

Dust mask




Pencil and paper

Hole saw

Trouble light


Extension cord

Spackling knife


Circular saw

Steel tape measure

Ramset (rental)

Circular saw


Utility knife

Caulking gun

Staple gun and heavy-duty staples (An alternative tool would be an compressor with a stapling attachment.)

Blowing machine (rental, if you choose air to blow in your insulation)

3. Materials

roll of insulation alongside tools

As with any home project the materials you will need depend on the type of insulation used and the extent of work being done. Your list will include many of the following:

2 x 4 boards

Tar paper

16 penny nails

sheet metal flashing

Flexi-vent material

Drain pipe

Duct tape


Fiberglass insulation


Vapor barrier (6 mi. visquine)





Waterproofing sealant

Long, straight board

Closeable vents

Rigid foam panels (regular or closed Drain files cell)


2" x 2" furring strips

Sump pump


Soffit ventilation plugs

Shim material

Sheet metal, louvered and screened vent

Continuous ridge vent

2" extruded foam panels

Wind turbine

Construction adhesive (for exterior use and foam panels)

4. Permits and Codes

Codes for insulation requirements will vary in different parts of the country. A permit may be required in some areas if the work being done exceeds $100 in cost Check with your local building inspector. Codes also will indicate required R-factors.

5. Design

Choose the most effective insulation for a particular situation. There are many options available, but the climate, existing insulation, and design of your home will affect your decision.

6. To Consider Most Common Mistakes

new home under construction

Perhaps the most fundamental and often overlooked mistake do-it-yourselfers make when insulating is neglecting to find out the most efficient R-value for their area and insulating accordingly. Other common mistakes are listed below.

Not providing for good air circulation between the roof and the insulation.

Installing fiberglass batting with the paper side (vapor barrier) facing toward the outside instead of toward the heated area.

Omitting a vapor barrier, which prevents accumulation of moisture between the batting and the underside of the roof or wall.

Puncturing the vapor barrier unnecessarily, or neglecting to puncture the vapor barrier of the top batt when installing two layers.

Distorting, compressing, or squeezing the fiberglass batt insulation out of shape.

Using paper-faced batting against a heat source like a chimney, a heating duct, etc.

Neglecting to get into all of the small spaces and corners with the insulation.

Covering eaves vents with insulation, thereby cutting off ventilation.

Making unnecessary trips up and down the attic stairs during installation. Assemble all tools and equipment in your work area prior to beginning the job.

Not using closed-cell (waterproof), rigid foam insulation panels on below grade installations