How To Install Batt Insulation | Part 2

This is part two of a three part series on how to properly install batt insulation, courtesy of NAIMA.


In part 1 of this batt insulation instructional series, we covered a few intricate insulation details that need to be done in order to meet the resnet grade 1 insulating criteria. The next stage is to organize and stage the job. Ensure you have the right insulation products on site and the right tools for cutting fitting and attaching the insulation.


Safety should always come first. Ensure you have all the personal protective equipment recommended for installing batt insulation. You’ll need a hat, for protecting your head, as you work overhead. Glasses for protecting your eyes, and an N95 dust mask to protect you if exposures exceed one fiber per CC in this work environment. Wear long sleeves for protecting your arms, long pants for protecting your legs and gloves to protect your hands from cuts and abrasions.


Making sure the right products are on site for properly insulating all the areas in the home is important. Insulation comes in a variety of our r-values and forms. Batts come in plain, or with papercraft facing our other types of vapor retarder faces. You can get bats with stapling tabs or in a variety of precut wits and links to fit both standard and advanced framing. The point is you need to know the home your insulating make sure you have the right R-value to meet the code. Find out if the vapor retarders are required and make sure that you have the combination of products you need to complete the job.


Finally let’s go over some basic tools. It would be helpful to start with a bucket, which makes it easy to carry tools in from the truck and have them readily accessible before he starts the job. In the bucket you should have a hammer stapler, a dust mask just in case you need it for personal comfort, safety glasses, gloves and also is cutting tool. Inexperienced installers may need a tape measure to help them with the non-standard cavities.


A clean work site is a safe work site. Before installation begins ensure the work site is clean and has been swept so all debris is removed. Load each room with the amount of insulation you estimate will be needed while making sure it is readily accessible. Leave a walking area so the tools and product aren’t in your way as you begin to install the insulation. This also leaves a path for easily moving your ladder during installation. All blocking and air sealing that will be covered with the insulation should be installed prior to insulating. This could include around windows and doors, all penetrations, and inaccessible areas such as fireplaces, inserts, small attic spaces, and behind tubs and showers. For optimum energy efficiency, and meeting Energy Star requirements, top and bottom plates must also be air sealed.


Begin installation by friction fitting insulation in the stud cavities. This makes the insulation more accessible from your ladder so you don’t have to make multiple trips up and down, making the job quicker. Start at the top of the cavity and work your way down. This eliminates gaps at the top of the cavity. Around obstructions be sure to take time and cut fiberglass batt to fit the irregular size of the cavity. There are various obstructions and wall cavities attics and floors that will require the Installer to split insulation. Such obstructions include electrical wires alarm system wires, plumbing, and other service lines.


In tall cavities you often have to use two separate batts of insulation. In that case it’s fine to butt the ends together. Ensure the batt ends are butted tightly and that there are no gaps. Obstructions can range from odd cavity sizes to outlet boxes to horizontal blocking. The important thing is for the installer to take his time and cut the insulation to fit so that there are no gaps or voids.


When insulating walls you may find odd sized cavities, wiring, gas lines and other obstructions. Begin by measuring the width of the cavity and cutting the batt to fit. Cutting the batt about a half an inch wider and longer than the cavity will help it stay in place. Once you become more experiences in batt installation, you’ll be able to visually compare the batt to the cavity, but for most installers measuring and cutting against a straightedge may be needed.


As you cut insulation, you’ll begin creating small pieces of scrap. Place those on top of the bag the insulation originally came in. This makes cleanup easier and ensures that all of the scrap is readily accessible for installation and small cavities. Once you’re finished with the bulk of the installation, double-check your work, pull the insulation outward to fill the cavity, and use any scrap pieces to fill any small gaps.


To recap. ensuring you have the right insulation on the job to meet code, the right tools for the job to make installation efficient and easy, and stage your work for time efficiency. Make sure the insulation fills the cavities top to bottom, front to back, and side to side – and make sure it is in contact with the air barrier. Your home is now ready for pre drywall insulation inspection covered in the final walkthrough in video 3.