Too late to insulate?
Contractors typically install insulation baffles during new construction, but it’s never too late to add them to an existing home. This simple step maximizes insulation effectiveness, prevents mold and moisture, and defends against ice dams. In this post, we’re providing a brief rundown of what to do and expect while installing baffles. If you’re looking to retrofit insulation baffles in an existing home, here are three things to look for before you begin:
3 Things to Note:
- Locate the soffit vents. Making sure your home has soffit vents is an integral part of proper attic ventilation. Many homes appear to have soffit vents, but only have vent screens with no air intake. Without the vents, there’s no place for outside air to enter the attic. If your home lacks soffit vents, installing these is your first step in creating energy efficient ventilation.
- Ensure the soffit vents are free from existing insulation. If you’re installing insulation baffles for the first time in your home, insulation could be blocking the soffit vents. This is especially common with blown-in insulation, since nothing prevents it from drifting and blocking the vents. Clearing this space will allow you to install the baffles as a barrier to prevent insulation drift down the road.
- Know what size baffles are right for your attic. Most manufacturers make baffles to fit either 16” or 24” rafter spacing, but AccuVent baffles have perforated edges that can accommodate different rafter spacings, ensuring you can size the baffles specifically for your home.
Once you’ve identified these three things, it’s time to install the baffles. The two most common ways to install insulation baffles are either from the exterior or from the interior.
If you’re installing the baffles from the exterior, you’ll need to remove the fascia board and soffit vent screens before installation. Next, simply slide the baffles up and over the insulation batts, stapling them into place. Double check to be sure no insulation is blocking the soffit vents or obstructing the ventilation channels.
AccuVent baffles double as drift blockers, extending to cover the outside edge of the insulation. This will prevent insulation blow-in, allowing insulation to extend over the top plate and maximizing its efficiency. Below is a photo demonstrating how AccuVent looks from the exterior in a home retrofit:
To install the baffles from the interior of your attic, you’ll need to clear a work space first. If your attic has batt insulation, you’ll need to move the batts aside so you can reach the rafters. Then, you can staple the AccuVent baffles to the roof decking and the top plate, replacing the batts where they belong when you’re finished. If your attic has blown-in insulation, then this job might be a bit messier. You’ll need to carefully clear your working area of insulation to prevent losing any insulation, and to make sure the insulation stays clear of the ventilation channels you’re installing.
Below is a photo of how the baffles should look during an interior installation.
Here’s a helpful hint for both exterior and interior installation: wear a respirator or protective mask to shield yourself from possible asbestos, mold, or dust exposure.
Once you’ve installed the baffles and stapled them into place, if you’ve installed from the outside, it’s time to replace the fascia board, soffit vents, and anything else you removed during the process. If you installed the baffles from the interior, you’ll need to restore any displaced insulation to its proper location.
By installing ventilation baffles, you’ll be maximizing the value of your home’s insulation, saving energy, and defending your roof from costly damages. See AccuVent’s product details here.