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The Why and How of Installing Insulation

The Why and How of Installing Insulation

Important for controlling temperature and humidity inside your home, kraft-faced fiberglass insulation is a must-have for exterior walls. But did you know insulation also plays a role in soundproofing interior walls? Here’s what you need to know about installing insulation.

Preparing for Installation

  • What you’ll need:
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun
  • Fiberglass insulation
  • ¼-inch staples

To begin, you’ll also need protective clothing to shield you from the loose particles on the insulation. The itchiness and irritation caused by the fiberglass is clearly one of the worst aspects of installing insulation.

Be sure to wear long pants and sleeves (collar and cuffs buttoned); a dust mask specially designed to filter fiberglass particles; and thin leather gloves that will block irritants but allow you to handle tools easily. Then when you’re finished, take a shower using cool water first to close your pores against the fiberglass fibers. Wash your work clothes separately using hot water and an extended wash cycle.

There are also types of insulation designed to minimize itching. One such product features curled fibers that are less likely to cause irritation, while another encloses the insulation in a plastic sleeve.

Installing Insulation in Exterior Walls

Available in rolls or batts that are precut to the length of stud bays, fiberglass insulation comes sized to fit between studs that are either 16 or 24 inches on center. When installing insulation in outside walls, take note of the paper facing. The facing is meant to slow the migration of water vapor through the wall and must be positioned based on the weather conditions affecting your home.

Here’s how it works: If warm, moist air from inside your home goes through the wall, condenses when it hits the cold sheathing on the outside. Eventually, the sheathing, damp from condensation, wets the insulation and decreases its effectiveness and makes it prone to rot. If the outside air is warm and the inside air is cool, this process works in reverse and causes condensation on the drywall.

The solution? If you live in an area where you heat in the winter, place the paper toward the inside of the house. If you use air conditioning more often than heat, face the paper barrier towards the outside of the wall.

Adding Soundproofing

It’s true! When woven between 2×4 studs on 2×6 plates, fiberglass insulation helps deaden sound between rooms. For sound control, the paper facing is not necessary but provides a convenient flap for stapling. Simply weave a continuous roll of fiberglass insulation between staggered studs — loosely to fill the cavity, but tight enough so that the insulation won’t be compressed when drywall is installed. Cut off the insulation when you reach the end of the wall and continue weaving more insulation in the same manner on top of one another until the wall is filled.

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