DIY vs. Hiring a Contractor

Insulating an attic or basement yourself can have a significant impact on how comfortable you feel at home or work. For tips on basic DIY insulation, watch our how-to videos. For deeper savings and greatest comfort, hire a trained professional who can address health and safety issues with proper ventilation. Either way, we recommend pairing insulation improvements with other weatherization upgrades to get the most out of your efforts.

  • Boost comfort in your home or business, with less heat loss to the outdoors
  • A quieter space: better control of room-to-room and street-to-building noise
  • Pair insulation with air-sealing and other weatherization upgrades for more impact

Types of Insulation

Fiberglass batting is easy to install, but it’s important to do it right. Batts must be cut to size and must be in contact with an air barrier like sheetrock or plywood. Cellulose is made of recycled newspaper and comes in loose-fill, wet-spray (used in new construction or gut rehab), and dense-pack varieties. Polyurethane spray foam adheres to rough, irregular surfaces and is an effective insulator, air sealer, and vapor control layer. You can DIY every type of insulation except for wet-spray, dense-pack, and spray foam, which require special equipment and careful installation.*

  • Measure and cut carefully when installing fiberglass batting
  • For wet-spray and dense-pack cellulose, and spray foam, hire a professional installer
  • Polyurethane foam is pricier than cellulose, but often less labor intensive to install

Where to Use Each Type of Insulation

Dense-pack cellulose is used everywhere except in flat attics, while batt insulation can be universally applied. Because it’s better than fiberglass at getting around wiring and joists, loose-fill cellulose is often installed in open attics. Rigid insulation is a practical solution for sloped attic ceilings, foundations, commercial exteriors, and flat roofs. It offers an extra layer of continuous insulation, plus air sealing and vapor control.

For a guide see the Vermont Residential Building Code.

* Because spray polyurethane foam insulation is activated and cures on site, it should always be installed by a qualified professional. Some occupants may be sensitive (or could become sensitized) to certain components of spray polyurethane foam insulation, either during application or afterwards. Prior to application, talk to your contractor or medical professional, and research the various insulation products available to determine what is appropriate for you, your home, and your specific project. If you choose to have spray polyurethane foam insulation applied in your home, talk to your contractor about how long you should be out of your home during and after application (usually 24-72 hours). More information about safe application of spray foam is available at