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Insulating a Ceiling


Insulating ceilings is like putting a thick blanket over each room. It seals the warmth in and keeps the cold out. It cuts heat loss by as much as 50 percent while the cost is minimal. For an average home, $500-$700 should cover all of the necessary expenses in properly insulating your ceiling varying by coverage area.

This is not an expensive home improvement project if you keep in mind that you could well achieve a 30 percent savings to your winter heating bills. In addition, your home will normally stay cooler during summer months as well, by retaining the cool air from your air conditioner within the room.

Tools and Materials

Simply calculate the total ceiling surface area (width x length). In addition, measure the distance between floor/ceiling joists. Insulation is sold in varying widths depending on their application so being prepared will help prevent multiple trips to your home improvement retailer. Your insulation supplier can calculate the quantity of batts required for the job and the proper size of the individual batts.

Also consider the reasons you wish to insulate. It isn't always to cut heating and cooling costs. You might also want to dampen sound from carrying through the home. If you are insulating a room when finishing a basement, and that basement is primarily used for watching movies and shooting pool, you may wish to use an insulation rated to also deter sound.

With the batts, a ladder, leadlight, a trimming knife (for cut-ting the bats to size), gloves, particle mask, long-sleeved shirt and long trousers (the insulation can irritate your skin and nasal passages), and two pieces of meter square 18 mm ply or particle board for cutting and kneeling on, you're ready to go.

For upstairs rooms, meaning you are visiting your attic to install the insulation, use planks that span at least four of the chords to spread your weight evenly across.

Steps to Insulate Your Ceiling

1. Choose a cool day (especially if installing in the attic) and begin packing the batts tightly between the joists, making sure you reach right to the external wall plate. Work back toward the access hole. Leave no spaces for maximum effect.

Again, for attic installation, remember to always keep your weight on the joists and not the ceiling itself, the drywall will not be able to support you! The recommended plank or plywood square will make the process more comfortable.

2. If installing under the roof itself, use a 75 mm slat of wood that just fits between the joists and affix it to the end of a broom handle. That will provide a useful push-in tool for moving the batts into awkward places.

Be especially careful around any wiring.

3. When necessary cut around things like ceiling fan electrical connections. Some have suggested using a stiff cardboard separator between the insulation material and the wiring, but if you can, simply tuck the insulation further in behind the wiring. In most cases the wiring has been stapled close to the end of the joist so there is often enough room to install the batt behind the wiring so that the paper side is still tucked behind the wiring and does not come into contact at all.

Most pre-batted insulations have folds of paper running along both sides that allow for flaps to be folded against the joists and stapled. Take the time to do this. It provides a cleaner installation and prevents any need for worry that at some time in the future the insulation may be resting on wires, etc.

You are now snug in your home during winter and summers should be cooler, too!

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