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>Home >Basement_construction >How to install insulation

How to install insulation

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Although not difficult, installing insulation is definitely an "itchy" proposition. Below are some tips to get you through the process:

Insulation installation tips

  • Wear a mask (with a ventilator), eye protection, long sleeves, and gloves! Without them, the fibers will have you itching for days. Also, as you cut and split the insulation around obstacles (outlets, switches, wiring, etc.) the fibers will be released into the air. The mask will help prevent them from getting into your lungs.
  • Buy fiberglass batts (8 feet long) instead of continuous rolls. This will reduce the amount of measuring & cutting. If your walls are less than 8 feet, you can use the extra few inches up under the joists along the outer walls, or anywhere you can fit the small pieces!

Wear a mask, (with a ventilator) gloves, and eye protection when installing fiberglass insulation
  • Use the thickest insulation you can fit in the wall. Normally this is R13 or R15, but if you've built the wall a few inches away from the foundation, you may be able to go thicker.
  • Consider insulating interior walls: This is important if you're building a basement home theater, or an office or other room that you'd like to keep the sound in (or out of).
  • Fill in smaller areas with scraps left over from the cuts you made in the 8 foot battsInsulate full-width studs without obstacles first. Tackling the easier parts first will help you get the hang of the process before you move on to the trickier parts. You'll also be excited by how quickly the process will progress!
  • Buy Kraft (paper) faced insulation for the walls rather than unfaced insulation. It's less itchy (because you're handling mostly the paper side), and it's easier than going back and installing an additional vapor barrier (clear plastic sheeting) after the fact.

NOTE: If you're using adhesive (in addition to screws) to secure your drywall, you can't use a separate, plastic vapor barrier. The adhesive will not work as well with the plastic.

Insulating walls

1. Start with the full-length, full-width studs without obstacles
2. Using an 8' batt, start at the top of the wall and push the batt between your studs.
3. Unfold the paper 'flange' at either side and secure it to the sides of the studs every 12 inches or so. Try to keep the paper flat to the surface of the stud.
4. Continue evenly on either side working your way down the wall.
5. If you have extra (if your walls are less than 8 feet) when you get to the bottom plate, push the insulation against it using a piece (about 20 inches long) of 2x4.
6. Use a utility knife to carefully cut through the kraft-face to avoid tearing the vapor barrier.
7. Make a second and third pass (if necessary) pushing harder on the knife to cut through the rest of the fiberglass batt.
8. Push the end of the batt between the studs and secure it with staples.
9. Stuff the extra piece (from step 7) up under the joists or save it for any other small areas you may have.

Insulating narrow areas

In many places along your wall you'll have areas where the studs are much closer together than 'standard' 16" O.C. For these, you'll need to cut a batt along its length. To do that, sandwich the batt between two 2x4s. Use a sharp utility knife to slice thru the batt in a couple of passes. If you try to cut thru the entire thickness in one pass, you'll end up tearing the kraft face. After two or three passes you'll end up with a nice clean cut which will be easy to secure between the narrow joists.

Insulating around outlets

When insulating around electrical outlets, cut the vapor barrier carefully to avoid tearing it.

When insulating around outlets, you'll want to cut around the box closely to keep a better vapor barrier. You also want to be careful not to rip up the paper backing. Cut thru the paper using a sharp utility knife, and then push harder to cut thru the layers of fiberglass. If you try to cut thru it all at once, you'll end up shredding the paper, thus rendering the vapor barrier useless. Cut an opening about smaller than the outlet box to ensure a tight fit.

Insulating around wiring

While it may be tempting to just cram the insulation over the top of your wiring, the insulation will be more effective if you split the batt and wrap the wiring between the front and back layers. If you compress the insulation too much, it will lose its effectiveness.

When insulating around wiring, split the insulation in the center for the most effective barrier.

Finishing the jobInsulation installation complete!

It won't be long before
you've worked your way around the basement and stapled all the insulation in place. Chances are despite your best efforts, you're now very itchy, but congratulate yourself on a job well done!




Construction Topics

Tools you'll need

The 3-4-5 rule

How to frame a wall

How to attach walls

How to install insulation

Drywall estimating

How to hang drywall: Step-by-step

How to cut drywall

How to cut around outlets and openings

Drywall installation tips

How to frame a door

How to trim a door to fit

How to finish a door

How to frame around poles

How to finish drywall

How to sand drywall

Tips for buying, finishing, & installing baseboard molding

How to fix squeaky floors

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