Insulation Installation: DIY Vs. Professional Contractor
January 18, 2012
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When most homeowners are deciding that installing new insulation is the remedy to their energy efficiency needs, they contemplate the costs. That situation always comes to attempting to save costs with contemplating a do-it-yourself project or hiring a professional contractor. The real decision here lies in the self-awareness of three factors that include the personal ability to complete the project, time required for the project and actual budget.
The initial phase of installing insulation is finding and sealing any air leaks in the attic and basement before adding insulation to both areas and possibly the walls. There are many aspects of this process that could require the help of a professional including correcting wet or damp insulation (which indicates a leaky roof), improving moisture problems like moldy or rotted attic rafters or floor joists, remedying vents that exhaust moist air into the attic instead of outdoors, providing better attic ventilation, finding problem areas in out-dated (pre-1930) wiring or taking the special care needed to work around recessed lighting.
Laying fiberglass rolls is easiest for a DIY job and if there is any type of insulation between the rafters, install the second layer (unfazed - no vapor retarder) over and perpendicular to the first. This will help cover the tops of the joists and reduce heat loss or gain through the frame. Also, when laying down additional insulation, work from the perimeter toward the attic opening. Never lay insulation over recessed light fixtures or soffit vents. Keep all insulation at least three inches away from recessed (or can) lights, unless they are rated IC (Insulated Ceiling). If you are using loose fill insulation, use sheet metal to create barriers around the openings and if using fiberglass, wire mesh can be used to create a barrier.
Many handy people can perform certain insulation projects on their own and reach the ultimate goal of increasing a home's total energy efficiency for years. However, mistakes in installation could make for long delays in the project, running over the set budget and, in turn, could actually turn into a project that negates any potential savings. Hiring a professional to assist or handle the entire process may seem more expensive in the initial planning phase but could produce huge savings in the long run.