How to Retrofit Ceiling Insulation, the Right Way!

If you want to make your home more energy efficient and improve indoor comfort year round, one of the best things to do is update your ceiling insulation. When you retrofit ceiling insulation in an existing home, you can save money all year on your heating and cooling costs. If it’s been a while since you checked the state of the insulation in your ceiling, you might want to make it a priority! Here are our top tips for a successful ceiling insulation retrofit.

ALSO READ – Retrofit Wall Insulation for Existing Homes: Everything You Need to Know

Choosing The Right R-Value

Every insulation product has an R-Value. This number represents how well the product can resist heat transfer. The higher the R-Value, the better the product is at insulating and the more savings you can see on your power bill.

Since ceilings are responsible for up to 35% of a home’s heat loss and gain, it’s important to choose the right R-Value. When retrofitting an existing home, we recommend a minimum of R4.0 for ceiling insulation. In cooler climates such as Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide, we recommend upgrading to R5.0 or R6.0.

How Much Insulation Do I Need?

It’s important to know how much insulation you need in order to avoid overbuying or underbuying. The best way to estimate how much you need is to calculate the square metres in your ceiling space.

Square metres =  length x width

Measure the length of your ceiling space and then the width. Multiply the two values together for an estimated square metres. Multiply this number by 0.9 to account for the ceiling joists.

Measure the distance between your ceiling joists to determine the required width of insulation. If the distance between joists is 450mm, choose 430mm ceiling batts. If the distance between joists is 600mm, choose 580mm batts. For any odd distances, ceiling batts can be easily trimmed to fit.

Can I install New Insulation Over Old Insulation?

In many cases you can install new insulation over old. Your old insulation may not be very effective on its own any more, but it probably has some insulating power. And every bit counts!

A word of warning: you should examine your existing insulation carefully before installing new insulation over old. If the existing insulation is damaged, mouldy or infested it should be completely removed before the new insulation is installed.

DIY vs Hiring a Ceiling Contractor

If your ceiling insulation needs replacing, you may consider doing it yourself to save money. Before deciding to DIY, consider if the ceiling space is easy to access and if there are any safety issues that you should be aware of. For example plumbing and electrical elements or a ducted air conditioning system.

Keep in mind that insulation needs to be installed correctly in order to work effectively. Any gaps between the batts will compromise their insulating ability. Similarly, compressed batts won’t work as well. If you decide to retrofit ceiling insulation yourself, make sure you read up on the best practices for the best outcome.

Best Practices for DIY Installation

  • Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for installing insulation batts.
  • Give each batt a light shake and bounce it gently on the side to help it expand.
  • Trim batts with a stanley knife to fit awkward spaces and gaps.
  • Leave clearances around lights, fans, chimney elements and piping as appropriate.
  • Place insulation under electrical cables and ductwork where possible.
  • Glue insulation to the back of the access hatch.
  • Ensure the insulation batts are snugly fit and are uniform in height when finished.
  • Wear safety glasses, gloves and a dust mask.
  • Conduct work during the early hours of the day as the roof space can get very hot.
  • Consider buying low itch insulation batts such as Knauf Earthwool to avoid irritation to the skin and eyes.

Why Retrofit Ceilings With a Contractor?

While retrofitting ceiling insulation yourself can save money, incorrect installation can reduce the effectiveness of insulation dramatically. There are a lot of things to think about when you retrofit ceiling insulation yourself, and often it’s better to leave it to the professionals.

There are many benefits to retrofitting ceilings in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide with an expert. For starters, ceiling contractors know what they’re doing. They have plenty of experience retrofitting ceiling insulation and understand the best practices and regulations. They also have the right tools to reach awkward and tricky spaces and can achieve a high standard finish.

When it’s your first time installing insulation, it can take a long time. In comparison, ceiling contractors can finish the job much faster. They know what works best for your specific home design and can avoid complications with electric wiring and plumbing elements. What’s more, when you choose to go with a ceiling contractor you’ll get a warranty on their workmanship. That way if anything goes wrong, you don’t need to stress about it.

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