Perhaps due in part to the popularity of home improvement television shows, many homeowners now tackle an assortment of home projects without professional assistance. These weekend warriors embrace the do-it-yourself philosophy to home improvement, saving lots of money along the way.
As rewarding as successful DIY projects can be, it’s important that homeowners avoid getting in over their heads. Some projects, such as those that involve plumbing or roofing, tend to be best left to the professionals. But many other projects, including insulation installation, are very DIY-friendly.
Can I install insulation myself?
The Insulation Institute notes that DIY insulation installation is definitely doable, though typically only when homeowners are installing certain types of insulation. The Institute notes that installing fiberglass or mineral wool insulation can be simple. However, homeowners who prefer spray foam insulation should leave installation to the professionals.
What should I do before beginning the project?
The Insulation Institute advises homeowners who are going to install insulation to determine if vapor retarders, sometimes referred to as “vapor barriers,” will need to be installed before they begin the project. Vapor diffusion retarders can reduce the amount of moisture transferred by air currents, but they are not always necessary. Factors such as climate, cladding type (i.e., brick, stucco, wood, etc.) and the location of the wall being insulated will help homeowners determine if they need vapor diffusion retarders. Homes located in places with mixed climates often need vapor diffusion retarders. DIYers can visit www.insulationinstitute.org to learn more or consult with an insulation or watersealing professional to determine if they need vapor diffusion retarders.
Determining R-value is another important pre-project step. Different climates require different insulation R-values, which the U.S. Department of Energy notes is a measurement of an insulating material’s resistance to conductive heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulation effectiveness. The amount of R-value your insulation needs will depend on the climate, the existing heating and cooling system in the house and which part of the house you will be insulating. More information about R-value is available at energy.gov/energysaver/weatherize/insulation.
DIYers also will need the appropriate tools and attire before beginning an insulation installation project. In addition to the insulation itself, the online resource The Home Improvement Web¨ recommends the following tools:
- Safety glasses
- Dust mask or respirator
- Stapler (electric, standard, or hammer type)
- 3/8” or 1/2” staples
- Protective clothing
- Work light
- Tape measure
- Extension cord
- Utility knife and extra blades
- Straightedge for cutting insulation
DIYers can access any number of insulation installation tutorials online to determine if they can install insulation without hiring professionals.