In­su­late the At­tic

A prop­erly in­su­lated at­tic saves on heat­ing bills and can help keep the house cooler in the sum­mer. Blan­ket or batt in­su­la­tion, 16" to 24" thick and with or with­out a va­por-re­tar­dant foil back­ing, fits be­tween the joists and may be laid over older in­su­lat

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Wear dust mask, long sleeves, gog­gles, work gloves. Have ply­wood handy, long enough to span three joists, to stand on. Re­move old in­su­la­tion if flat­tened or moldy. Seal drafty spots with ap­pro­pri­ate spray foam. If there is no ex­ist­ing va­por bar­rier, choose foil in­su­la­tion batts, or line be­tween the joists with 4- to 6-mil poly­eth­yl­ene sheet­ing; sta­ple to at­tach. Cut holes around light­ing or elec­tri­cal fix­tures.


Use baf­fles to keep in­su­la­tion away from sof­fits (don’t cover them) to al­low ven­ti­la­tion in your at­tic. Baf­fles come in 4' lengths and range be­tween 14 ½" and 22 ½" wide. Choose a snug fit for your rafters. Place baf­fles be­tween rafters, start­ing from the point where rafter and joist meet. Sta­ple edges. When you’re ready, batts of in­su­la­tion can be laid di­rectly next to baf­fles. Box out light­ing fix­tures: cov­er­ing with batts presents a fire haz­ard.


Work­ing from the outer edges of the at­tic to­ward the exit, roll batts be­tween joists. Cut to length with a util­ity knife. Run new batts per­pen­dic­u­lar to any old in­su­la­tion to cover any gaps. End joints should abut, but not com­press each other. Cut in­su­la­tion to fit around ob­struc­tions; don’t stuff it, which de­creases ef­fec­tive­ness. Lift wires or ca­bles and place batts be­neath them. Run an­other layer per­pen­dic­u­lar to the first if needed.

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