If you’re looking to improve the energy efficiency of your home, installing ceiling insulation is one of the best things you can do.
Many people choose to install ceiling batts themselves while others decide to hire a professional. Either way, if it’s your first time installing ceiling insulation there are a few things you should know before you get started.
Here’s our guide on how to install insulation in the ceiling the right way.
Installing Ceiling Insulation in New Homes vs Existing Homes
Unlike installing insulating in walls, the best time to install ceiling insulation is actually AFTER the plaster has been installed. It’s much easier to simply drop the batts into the space between the roof beams, atop the plaster board. However, it is a good idea to insulate the hard to reach areas before plaster—like the corners.
Check out our video on how to install ceiling insulation before plaster.
If the ceiling cavity is exposed, insulation batts can be pushed between the ceiling joists from below with a long stick. It’s important that you have the right sized batt so that it will fit snugly between the joists with no gaps.
If installing the batts from underneath is not ideal, you can install insulation from within the roof cavity. If the roof cavity is not accessible from a manhole, it can often be accessed from outside by removing some of the roofing material temporarily.
It’s a good idea to preload the ceiling with insulation before you start. Avoid installing during the hottest part of the day as the roof space can reach very high temperatures.
Check out our video on how to install ceiling insulation after plaster or in an existing home.
Should I Insulate the Ceiling Between Floors?
If you live in a double or multi storey home, it’s highly recommended to insulate the mid-floor area. Not only will this reduce heat flow and make heating and cooling more energy efficient, it’ll also help reduce noise transfer between floors.
Specialised acoustic insulation products are a great option for the mid-floor area. They’re thicker and more dense and will help absorb sounds from footsteps and appliances. This means more peace and quiet for the downstairs rooms.
Can You Install New Insulation Over Old Insulation?
Your current ceiling insulation might not be doing the best job at keeping your home at a comfortable temperature, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to throw all of it out and start again.
Old insulation may still have some insulating power which you can combine with your new insulation. The higher the R-Value you can achieve, the better.
Before installing your new ceiling insulation on top of the old, you should carry out a thorough inspection. If the old insulation is damaged, mouldy or infested, it should be completely removed before the new insulation is installed.
Not sure whether your insulation needs topping up? Check out our article How Long Does Insulation Last?
How Much Insulation Do I Need?
It’s important to know how much insulation you need before you start the installation process. Not having enough insulation can slow down the process while getting too much insulation can be a costly mistake.
The number of insulation bags required is easily calculated by dividing the number of square metres in the roof space by the number of square metres of insulation in the bags. We recommend deducting 10 percent off the total to allow for the timber framing itself.
Need help crunching the numbers? Try our Insulation Calculator.
Can I Install Ceiling Insulation Myself?
Many people decide to install their insulation themselves. With the right equipment and safe access to your ceiling cavity, choosing to DIY can help you save on installation costs.
However, it’s important to do your research beforehand to ensure a safe and effective installation. Poor installation – such as compressing the batts or leaving gaps between batts – can significantly reduce the effectiveness of the insulation.
Hiring a professional insulation installer can help you get the job done quicker and to a higher standard. Your installer can also recommend the best products based on your type of house and location.
How to Install Insulation in the Ceiling
The steps below explain how to install insulation in ceilings.
Your roof space may also require roof insulation under the roofing material. Find out more about how to retrofit roof insulation.
If you’re planning an attic conversion, check out our guide on how to install insulation in the attic instead.
Step 1. Get Prepared
Make sure you have the correct size, type and amount of insulation product for your DIY project.
Not sure how much insulation you need? Check out our home insulation calculator.
Step 2. Gather Your Tools
You will need a utility knife, safety glasses, dust mask, gloves and a long stick to help you get into hard to reach places. You might also want a kneeling board – it’s more comfortable than kneeling on rafters.
Step 3. Install the Batts
We recommend preloading the batts into the ceiling space before you start. This can help make the process quicker.
Start from the point furthest from the manhole and work your way backwards. Aim for a snug fit and an even height. You can trim the insulation to fit better as you work. Be sure to save the cut offs to fill in any gaps.
Step 4. Leave Clearances Around Downlights
Ensure you leave adequate space around ventilation, extractor fans, downlights and piping. You should put insulation under electrical cables where possible.
For more information about how to install insulation in the ceiling, visit our DIY insulation installation guide.
Safety Tips for Installing Ceiling Insulation
If you are planning to install ceiling insulation yourself, make sure you take all the necessary safety precautions. These include:
- Safety glasses – the ceiling cavity can be a very dusty place, especially in older homes. Safety glasses keep your eyes protected from any dust, dirt and other particles you might come across.
- Gloves – some insulation products can cause irritation to the skin so it’s best to wear gloves to protect your hands. Even if your insulation is itch-free (like polyester batts) gloves will help protect you from any dirt and rough surfaces in the roof cavity.
- Long sleeves – long sleeve shirt and pants is highly recommended if you will be handling glasswool products (also known as fiberglass insulation). Glasswool contains minute fibres that can cause irritation to the skin.
- Heat – if you will be installing insulation from the roof cavity, avoid doing so during hot weather as temperatures can soar inside the roof.
- Ventilation – make sure there is adequate ventilation in the roof cavity. If the roof is tiled, you can remove some tiles to let in more air while you work.
- Water – installing insulation can take a while. Ensure you have a bottle of water with you so you don’t have to go down to the house every time you need a drink.
Can You Spray Insulation Into an Existing Ceiling?
Spray foam insulation is a type of insulation that is sprayed into the roof space using a specialised machine. Although spray foam insulation might be the most convenient choice for ceilings which can’t be safely accessed any other way, you will usually get higher level results with batt insulation.
For more information about how spray insulation stacks up against insulation batts, check out our article on expanding foam vs insulation batts.
What Type of Insulation is Best for Ceilings?
There are many ceiling insulation products on the market. Two of the most popular and effective products are glasswool and polyester batt insulation.
Check our guide to the Best Ceiling Insulation in Australia for more information on choosing the best product for your project.
1. Glasswool Ceiling Batts
Made from recycled glass materials, glasswool ceiling batts have excellent thermal performance and are easy to handle and great for DIY projects. To reduce noises from airplanes or heavy rain, you might consider investing in specialised acoustic ceiling batts to help create a quiet, peaceful indoor environment for your home.
2. Polyester Ceiling Batts
Pre-cut to fit most Aussie ceilings, polyester ceiling batts are made from recycled plastic materials and have none of the itch factor associated with more traditional glasswool products. They are non-allergenic and contain no breathable particles, making them a good choice for people with asthma or dust allergies.
What’s the Best R Value for Ceiling Insulation?
One of the most important aspects to consider when buying insulation is the R-Value. A product with a higher R-Value provides higher levels of thermal resistance and is more effective at slowing down the transfer of heat.
If you live in a warmer climate such as Perth, Brisbane or northern NSW, we recommend getting a minimum of R4.0 for your ceiling. For cooler climates like Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide we recommend R5.0 or R6.0. Upgrading to a higher R-Value product can lead to greater energy savings.
Insulation batts come pre-cut to fit between the ceiling joists of most Australian homes. The standard sizes are 430mm and 580mm wide, to fit snugly between joists spaced 450mm and 600mm apart. Batts with a higher R-Value will be thicker than batts with a lower R-Value.
Get Started With Your Project
Ready to get started insulating your ceiling? You can purchase everything you need online with Pricewise Insulation.
We’re Australia’s largest online insulation store, delivering Australia-wide. We stock a wide range of high quality ceiling insulation batts from the most reputed brands such as Knauf Earthwool, CSR Bradford, Fletcher and Autex.
Browse our selection of ceiling insulation products or get in touch for project-specific advice.
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