How to Insulate a Floor

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Insulating your floors will reduce drafts and your energy costs. This do-it-yourself job is fairly easy if you are putting in a new floor or starting a new construction. For older homes, the easiest way to insulate the floor is to access it from the basement or crawl space. Installing insulation for a floor is a great energy saving project.

  • Determine the type and amount of insulation you will need for the floor. Fiberglass insulation comes in batts that are pre-cut lengths and are easy to handle. Check the R-value of the insulation and the type of facing it has. Most flooring applications should have a vapor barrier, but check the manufacturer instructions for your area. Fiberglass insulation comes with or without a facing; the facing in most cases is a vapor barrier, but this can vary with each manufacturer and type of facing.

  • Buy metal insulation supports to hold it in place if you will be installing the insulation from the basement or a crawl space. The insulation supports are wires that fit between the floor joists and hold the insulation in place. Buy gloves, a face mask and goggles for protection when you buy the fiberglass insulation and supports.

  • Beginning at one end of the room, use fiberglass batts to install the insulation in the longest sections first. If you are installing the insulation in the basement or crawlspace, use the insulation supports to hold it in place.

  • Cover the largest areas and use cut-outs to fill in smaller areas.

  • Install the insulation from above if you are installing a new floor. Install the insulation before the sub-floor is put in place. If you are removing an old floor down to the sub-floor, remove the sub-floor, insulate and then replace the sub-floor.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear long sleeves and gloves to protect hands and arms from the fiberglass; fiberglass can cause severe itching.
  • Use a screwdriver or long stick to help place insulation in difficult places.
  • Always wear goggles and a mask to protect your lungs and eyes from fiberglass.
  • Always check that the facing of the insulation is in the right direction; facing's are placed in different directions in hot and cold climates.
  • Never leave insulation that has facing uncovered. Facing is flammable and must be covered to reduce the chance of fire spreading.

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