How to Insulate an Attic Ceiling

Your attic is a very important consideration in determining the energy efficiency of your home.

Attic InsulationAttic Insulation
An attic that is not insulated will be cold during the winter and boiling hot during the summer, thus causing your furnace and air conditioner to work harder. A well-insulated attic leads to lower energy bills and less frequent repairs of major HVAC appliances.

Go up into your attic and inspect for insulation. If your attic has insulation but you can still clearly see the joists, or if you find a leak in the attic roof, you need new insulation. If your attic has no insulation at all, you'll soon enjoy lower energy bills.

Take measurements to estimate how much insulation you'll need.

Go out to your local hardware store and purchase batt or fiberglass roll insulation. You can purchase blown installation, but you will have to rent an insulation blower and follow strict safety guidelines (for this insulation method it is best to hire a professional). Minimum recommended R-values are:

  • R-49 for the U.S. northeast, north, midwest, northwest, and southwest
  • R-38 for the Texas and Louisiana coastline and Florida, Hawaii, and California

Install insulation between the joists using manufacturer's instructions. If using batts, make sure to close all seam gaps between batts. Also make sure not to compress insulation when installing it.

Things You Will Need

  • Batt, blow-in, or fiberglass roll insulation


  • When buying insulation, the higher the R-value, the greater the energy efficiency. Figures provided in Step 3 are the minimum R-value recommendations; the homeowner has the option of going higher for increased energy savings.
  • Batt insulation generally has a higher R-value per inch when installed correctly.
  • For homeowners with electric heat, R-49 or greater is recommended regardless of where the person lives.


  • Do not install batts over existing blown attic insulation.
  • Do not compress insulation while installing it or you will decrease its efficiency.
  • It is best to hire a professional for blown insulation.
  • If you choose to rent an insulation blower for blown insulation and do it yourself, be sure to take the proper safety precautions including a respirator.
  • Do not cover up any existing attic ventilation.

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