“Norma, when I moved into my house, my inspector told me the attic insulation is only at 6 inches and should be more like 12-18 inches. There are a couple of rolls of unused insulation up there, and I have no idea what to do with it, I know it’s messy stuff with all the fibers. What’s your suggestion for increasing the insulation in the attic? I know this is helpful in the winter as well. Thanks!!” – Sue Wilson, WYSK reader
NV: Really great question, Sue, and you’re right, a properly insulated attic helps in summer and winter. And that inspector was right too – only 6 inches will definitely keep you unsatisfied… from an insulation perspective, of course! But here’s the great news… you can totally add more insulation right over your existing, which means no messy removal of the old stuff!
Based on what you’ve written, sounds like you currently have batts of fiberglass insulation – with a couple rolls left over. You can use the leftover, not to waste, but I would buy an insulation that I think is superior to the fiberglass type. It’s called UltraTouch™ Denim Insulation. It’s made from recycled denim!
This denim fiber offers maximum thermal performance, and is even effective for sound absorption. UltraTouch has none of the fiberglass itch, which makes it a breeze to work with – you can totally handle it with no gloves. It also has no chemicals nor does it emit any VOCs (volatile organic compounds) so it’s non-toxic for us, and the environment. I really LOVE this product!
I’m compelled to point out that an attic project, in extreme heat or cold, is not a good idea – but if you read up now, you’ll be ready, come fall, for an energy saving and fun project!
The Art Of Layering… Denim Over Fiberglass
Here’s how to add UltraTouch™ Denim Insulation to the existing insulation in your attic:
Measure your attic’s surface space. Walk only on joists and place boards (plywood or flake board) over the joists to walk and work from securely – move them from section to section as you work. Wear a dust mask, gloves, safety goggles and long-sleeves. It’s going to be dusty up there, and rubbing up on old fiberglass unprotected is not fun.
Roll the batts out perpendicular to the joists, so in essence the insulation will be lying on the joists instead of between them (where the old stuff is). This direction is crucial so you don’t compress the existing insulation beneath it.
Lengths can be cut to size in a variety of ways. Cutting instructions and other installation details are featured here.
DO NOT cover or block soffit vents, exhaust fans, or can lights (unless they have a label stating they’re rated to be in contact with insulation).
You can easily tear off smaller pieces to fit snugly around obstructions or in tight spaces – bags of UltraTouch include batts that are perforated, which makes for quick tearing and piecing.
Note: UltraTouch™ Denim Insulation is compressed for shipping, so give it a good shake before installing – this will help with the rebounding of the fibers.
Got A DIY Question? Ask-The-Expert!
If you have a DIY home repair, maintenance or improvement question for Norma, now is your chance to ask-the-expert and have her answer. Your burning question may just be the “star” of an upcoming Fix-It Friday column.
Add your question to the comments section below or email it to Women You Should Know.
Fix-It Friday is an exclusive Women You Should Know® editorial series authored by seasoned veteran of home improvement, Norma Vally, the former host of Discovery Home Channel’s series “Toolbelt Diva” and a show on Sirius Satellite Radio by the same name. The weekly column is designed to inspire women – weekend warriors, aspiring handywomen, and even seasoned DIYers – to take on home repairs and maintenance projects with confidence and gusto.