DIY vs. Hiring a Contractor

Doing your own air sealing and insulation work is often possible. Large retailers sell fiberglass batts and rent out blowers for cellulose and other loose-fill products. Depending on complexity and materials, some insulating jobs require a professional. The best place to start is with an energy assessment for your home or business. We can give you clear advice for cost-effective DIY measures or connect you with a contractor for a more complete plan to assess and weatherize your building.

  • 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
  • Do simple jobs on your own, and work with a qualified contractor on whole-building weatherization.

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

What Insulation Types to Use

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.