Does anyone have DIY experience with putting in insulation? My mom has decided she wants to add extra insulation and feels it’s a DIY job… advice?

I added blown in insulation to what was already in the attic. I bought 20 bails of R-19 Cellulose Insulation and that came with a free rental of blower machine. (Lowes) My Mom broke up the bails into the hopper and I wore a bicycle helmet with head light and dust mask and we did it in a weekend. The hard part was getting the machine home and out of the truck. We got a pretty good rebate from PG&E. If we did the walls we would probably have to have it done professionally.

I added some insulation to my attic many years ago. If it’s in rolls it’s pretty easy to lay down. You just have to figure the R value you’re shooting for and buy the insulation you need to get that value. Getting it into any hip sections can be kind of difficult. My roof is all hip roofing at the outer walls so it was kind of tough getting it to lay down around the edges. If you have a tall attic adding insulation is easy. If you’re adding insulation to existing insulation, don’t get your new insulation with a vapor barrier. The vapor barrier is supposed to be against the ceiling, not in the middle of the insulation layers. Look it up online, there are a lot of help pages that will guide you in what to decide to do.

Be sure your have decent ventilation in your attic too. That helps to control moisture in the attic. If you’re in an area that gets cold winters it helps to keep ice from building up on the roof. Helps cool the attic in the summer months too. I live in California so I only have to deal with the heat in the summer. I found some 3″ round screen modules that mounted in the rafter barriers at the outer walls. Not sure what you call them. All I had to do was drill a 3″ hole and pop the module in. There were already vents at the top of the roof. Depends on your house design on what you can do to improve attic ventilation. Anything you can do to help natural air flow will help keep your roof in good shape for extra years.

>- CAUTiON –< If you plan to do it yourself, be sure to wear tip-to-toe overalls, gloves and most importantly, do put on a good dust mask. I have not done the installation myself, but have spent many many hours up in my attic either re-wiring or setting traps or cleaning up feces after mice/rats and I can tell you everytime I forget to put my gear on, I cough for a day and my skin itches because I have fiber glass up there. -- One of the easiest ways to do this is with blown-in cellulose insulation. The insulation comes pressed into blocks that are around 2' x 3'. You feed these blocks into a machine that shreds them, fluffs them up, and then blows the fluffy cellulose down a hose. You then 'spray' the insulation out of the hose into the attic space. It's quite effective - You can view someone's homemade video about this here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-sl6519C88 You can rent the machine from Home Depot or wherever that does this (I've done it), but it's a dusty messy job. Eventually you feel like you're literally working in a blizzard of dust and cellulose - You may want to consider hiring someone to do it. -- Personally speaking, There are at least two jobs which I'll never consider doing myself, this is one of them. The other is hanging drywall, and installing carpets. Some jobs are best left to the pros because either the pain, mess, or time involved is not worth the pennies or dollars saved by doing yourself. -- I have a 2 storey storage building with a tin roof that I converted into bedrooms. The tin roof was great except for the electric bill from trying to keep it cool. I bought 4X8 sheets of 2" panel insulation for the attic. Each 2" equals r 12. I need 30 to 36R's for the area that I live in. I have only put in one layer of the 2" insulation and I can tell a great amount of difference. It is easy to cut and doesn't itch near the amount as rolled insulation does, but you still need to use a mask. -- Blowing it in is no big deal. Just make sure you don't fall through the rafters. Also don't blow it down into the soffit and cut off attic ventilation. You may need to install some rafter vents (styrofoam pieces you put down toward the vents to allow air to come up over the insulation). Also long sleeve shirts and pants. Wear a dust mask, a good one.