While the valiant, innovative efforts of the DIY community are entirely admirable, there are some jobs that should be left to the professionals. Attic and crawl space insulation is a technically complex task that requires expertise in the construction industry and specific knowledge of how to do the job well.
Many jobs can be done on your own, but we would encourage you to think twice before attempting to do an insulation project by yourself. Consider these commonly-made mistakes that DIYers regret post-completion of an attic or crawl space insulation job.
#1: The Ill-Prepared Installer
Installing insulation can be dangerous. If you’re not adequately protected from touching or inhaling the insulation, you could easily get a skin rash or lung irritation. Wearing the correct protective equipment is not an option - it’s imperative.
Many homeowners install insulation with deficient lighting, unstable ladders, and far too rickety floorboards underfoot. Not only is this dangerous for the DIY installer, but it also decreases his or her chances of completing a proper insulation job.
#2: The Wrong Type of Insulation
It’s a bad idea to simply assume that a certain type of insulation will work in your attic or crawl space.
Many people choose insulation with inadequate R-value for their climate or structural needs. Choosing the insulation that will best suit your home is vital to ensuring that your insulation job is actually effective.
#3: The Gaps of Death
It’s a common assumption that if you cover most of the area, the job has been done “well enough.” However, this is a terrible lie. Even tiny gaps will allow air to seep through, diminishing the integrity of your insulation job significantly.
Even if there are no gaps now, insulation that isn’t installed professionally has a tendency to shift after a while, creating gaps that didn’t exist originally.
#4: The Badly Installed Vapor Barrier
Installing a vapor barrier is no easy feat. Many homeowners and DIY enthusiasts tend to enjoy disregarding the directions and assume that they can figure out the project on their own.
“What can go wrong?” they say.
However, there are lots of ways to go wrong. A poorly installed vapor barrier can trap moisture in the wrong areas, causing structural damage to the home or degrading the insulation itself.
#5: The Jam-Packed Insulation
In an attic or crawl space that is full of nooks, crannies, beams, boards, and other obstacles, many homeowners decide to jam the insulation into small cracks or strangely shaped areas. Instead of taking time to cut insulation and install it in the correct fashion, they cut corners and do a subpar insulation job.
If insulation is squashed into a tight space, the insular capacity of the insulation is compromised. The tiny air pockets that trap the heat or keep out the cold are smashed and are no longer able to insulate the attic or crawl space. Don’t cut corners, instead, hire a professional service and make sure the job is done right the first time.
Most of these mistakes are not intentional and are not a reflection of the homeowner’s character, of course - but rather, their level of expertise. A top-notch insulation job is dependent upon the experience and understanding of the installer. Hence, we would recommend that if you don’t have experience, leave the insulation installation job to individuals who have the know-how to give you the most energy-savings for your money.