Step 1 - Determine if your home is already insulated.
Determine if you already have insulation and where in your home it's located. If you DO have insulation, find out the type and compare it to the industry standards. Manufactures determine the value by the R-Value or number; the higher the R-Value, the better the insulation works.
Step 2 - Calculate any additional insulation needs.
Calculate additional needs, measure the dept of your current insulation. R-38 is the industry standard. The minimum thickness for R-38 is 12 inches. If your current insulation is only 5 inches deep, you will need to add 7 inches of insulation to achieve the 12 inch, R-38 rating. Free calculation sheets filled with detailed instructions are available at The Home Depot.
Step 3 - Measure the area needing insulation
Measure the Length and width of the area you need to insulate. Multiply the length times the width to determine the square footage of the space.
Step 4 - Determine the type of insulation to use.
Decide what type of insulation you want to use. Cellulose insulation is calculated based on the depth of the blown in insulation. Fiber glass insulation is calculated based on the number of batts or rolls you will need. Blow-in insulation requires the least amount of work, but requires special tools and equipment.
Keep in mind:
You may need to rent equipment to install the insulation yourself, or hire a professional to do the job. But, fiberglass insulation in rolls or batts can easily be installed by the homeowner.
As always it helps to have the right tools for the job. The basic tools you need are: a tape measure, utility knife, straight edge. A lightweight stapler, or hammer tacker to secure insulation in place. A putty knife. Additional materials may include a drywall compound and expanding foam sealer. It's also a great idea to bring a portable light especially when working in attics, crawlspaces, plywood to stand on. A rake for insulation adjustment, and insulation supports.
Before you get started:
First make sure that your home is properly ventilated. Adequate ventilation is necessary to prevent too much heat and condensation from building up as well as to provide fresh air. Next plug leaks to prevent air from getting in and out around windows or doors. Always fix leaks before installing insulation, as they are difficult to find after the job is finished.
Working with insulation can cause itching and skin irritation, so please make sure you take the proper safety precautions. Wear long sleeves and pants, work gloves, safety glasses and a dust mask or respirator to avoid irritating your skin or breathing in harmful substances. Vacuum your clothing immediately afterward to avoid any skin irritations.