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A whopping 90% of homes don't have the proper insulation. If your home is one of those, you should consider installing home insulation. Of course, it's easier said than done! You may have the best intentions to fix your home, but end up doing more damage than was there. That's why, if you're looking to improve your home's insulation, be sure not to make any of these seven common insulation installation mistakes.
1. Facing Insulation the Wrong Way
The most common mistake when people install insulation themselves is that they face the insulation the wrong way. No matter the type of insulation or where you're installing it, the paper side should always face towards the inside of the home.
Insulation should be installed like this because the paper contains material that prevents water from passing through and getting into your home. If you install the insulation facing away from the house, wet air will condense inside the insulation during the colder months. When this happens year after year, you're allowing mold to build and rot the wood.
2. Skipping Air Sealing
When you're installing home insulation, you're creating a barrier that prevents heat from escaping your home. That doesn't fill all the holes and gaps between windows, doors, or exterior vents. Be sure to seal those areas off with caulk, and check the rest of your attic, basement, or garage for any other space that could potentially let air escape.
3. Blocking Roof Ventilation Airflow
While it's essential to seal your windows and vents, don't use insulation to block the airflow intended for your roof's ventilation. Especially if your home has a soffit or wall vents for the attic, you'll want to make sure you keep those free and clear.
This airflow is built in your attic to prevent humidity from building up in the attic, and your roofing material, causing long-term damage.
4. Pulling Out Old Installation When You Don't Have To
You may be surprised to learn that you don't have to pull out old insulation when installing a new installation. Assess your insulation, and if there are just a few holes, you can install a new installation right over it. If there's apparent water damage, or it's installed improperly, then you need to rip it out, but be careful before you begin.
In the '50s and '60s, asbestos was commonly used in homes to insulate them. This means if your home was built at this time, you shouldn't try to take the insulation out yourself because it's incredibly hazardous. If you suspect your home might use asbestos insulation, hire a professional to take care of the job for you.
5. Putting Too Much
The more the merrier, right? Well, not in this case. Fiberglass insulation is excellent at keeping your home insulated, but shoving as much as you can into a crevice defeats the purpose.
The way fiberglass insulation works is by the tiny fibers creating little air pockets. The air pockets are what holds the temperate and prevent it from escaping. When you cram too much of the fiberglass insulation into one spot, you compact those air pockets, letting more heat escape.
A good rule of thumb is to lay the insulation and let it sit naturally. If you can put another layer on without it protruding and without you squishing it, then it fits! If not, let it be and use it in the next section.
6. Not Putting Enough
Another one of the most common insulation installation mistakes is due to not using enough insulation where you need it. Without overstuffing, be sure not to leave any holes and gaps in the wall between windows, doors, or other pieces of insulation.
Be sure to plan your project out, so you have enough insulation to fill every nook and cranny.
7. Not Minding Lights and Electrical
Insulation material can be very flammable. Be sure to use the proper insulation and that you mind where you put everything. For a light fixture, you need to leave at least four inches between the fixture and insulation.
You also need to ensure you're leaving electrical outlets open and not wrapping and insulation around the wire. If you do that, and there's a spark, it could light the insulation on fire.
How Much Does Insulation Installation Service Cost?
The cost of installation varies depending on where you live and what material you use. Typically, the price per square foot is $.06 – $1.19, meaning you're looking between $145 to $200 for 500 square feet. You also have to factor in labor cost, so expect it to be around $300 to $500 total.
What Are the Common Types of Insulation?
Fiberglass is the most common type of insulation and is made from fine glass fibers and is usually used in loose-fill insulation. Another type of insulation for loose-fill insulation is Cellulose. It's made from recycled paper products and usually has borate to prevent fire and insects.
Foam insulation is made from polyisocyanurate, polyurethane, or polystyrene, which is plastic. Another type of foam insulation is cementitious and is cement-based. These are used to spray into areas and expand, filling the gaps.
Those are the most common types of insulation and can all be used in different parts of your home, depending on what you're trying to insulate.
Avoid These Insulation Installation Mistakes
Now you can avoid these common insulation installation mistakes and keep your home more temperate. It's not an easy fix, but it's one you can do yourself when you've done the proper research.
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