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How to Insulate Your Attic and Install Drywall

Insulating your attic and Installing drywall can be a boring job, but think of the possibilities you can create with your new, warm and comfy space. Not only does insulation and drywall decrease wasted energy in your home, it also adds to the comfort of your home. With a little bit of time and patience you will have your home looking and feeling how you want it in no time.

The important factor here is the R-value, which is determined by the type of insulation material and how much of it is used. There are plenty of options to choose from, from fiberglass, cellulose and more. There’s also loose fill and batts insulation, so you can decide which is the best option to suit your needs and budget.

Each have their pros and cons, but the steps to install either type of insulation are the same. Do some research on which suits your needs and you’ll be well on your way to insulating your attic - which is important to do before adding drywall and using the attic as a room.

Without that insulation, you’ll find it very cold and unpleasant to spend time there, which isn’t what you want to experience.

Here, we have put together a simple guide on how to insulate your attic and add drywall to the walls in order to finish the space. 

Tools and Materials you’ll need for this project:

Adding Insulation to Your Attic 

Estimated time: 10 hours 

The first step is pretty crucial. Adding insulation is very important for your attic space and whole home. Proper insulation not only keeps the house warm but it is absolutely essential if you want to save energy and money.There’s a lot to think about when deciding how to insulate your attic, but the main things to think about are the thickness of insulation and the type of material.

Generally, it is recommended to look for: an R-value of 30 for warm climates; an R-value of 38 for mild climates; and an R-value of 49 for colder climates. The next step is to think about the kind of material you want. You can choose from: fiberglass, cellulose, mineral wool and cotton. Once you’ve chosen the material you’d like to use and you have evaluated your space, it’s time to get to work! 

Step 1: Safety first - secure any electrical points 

Tools you’ll need for this step:

  • Safety knife 
  • Gloves
  • Hard hat
  • Safety goggles/glasses
  • Screwdriver 
  • Tape measure

This is simply a preparation step.

Empty anything you already have in the attic before removing any floorboards that obstruct the insulation layer. Decluttering your space means you can get in all the corners and joints of the attic, and cover all of the base area. 

You’ll also need to secure any electrical features in the space so that the insulation isn’t too close. This is easily achieved by boxing off any plug sockets or electrical points with small pieces of wood.

Ensure there is a gap between the electric source and the insulation of at least 4 inches so you don’t create a hazard.

Step 2: Take a look at existing insulation 

Tools you’ll need for this step:

  • Gloves
  • Hard hat
  • Mask
  • Safety goggles/glasses
  • Tape measure

Now, you can have a look at the existing insulation you have in place. This will allow you to figure out what you need to replace or add to reach the R-value necessary for your climate. 

Measure the insulation already in the attic with a tape measure, inspecting for any areas compromised by mould or time.

If placed between the joists, measure the depth of these beams, too. You’ll know how much you need to add to fill these gaps.

Depending on the insulation already installed, you can opt to use the same material or a different one. You’ll need to adjust R-values depending on what you find, and where.

Step 3: Adding the insulation 

Tools you’ll need for this step:

  • Gloves
  • Hard hat
  • Mask
  • Safety goggles/glasses
  • Tape measure
  • Loose fill blower

Here, we’ll guide you on how to install loose fill insulation. Loose fill insulation has many advantages and is often better as it gives you more freedom to use the material, rather than cutting it to size. If your attic is full of difficult spaces, then this is a really good option.

Top tip: Buy or rent a loose fill blower which can be found at most hardware stores. We recommend a loose fill blower to ensure an even amount of insulation and for saving a lot of time!

Ensure you wear a mask, gloves and other protective equipment as insulation can be classed as a hazardous material.

For laying the insulation, start in the far corner and move towards the attic entrance. If you don’t have a loose fill blower and you’re doing this manually, take care to ensure it’s as even as possible. Keep checking to make sure it is even

Depending on the material you’ve chosen, you will need to add extra insulation once the first layer has settled. Keep your floorboards handy so you can go back to areas that have a first layer.

Once this is done and you’re happy with the amount of insulation you’ve installed, you can begin attaching the floorboards again. They need to cover the entire floor of the attic.

The same method applies to the walls and ceiling of the attic, but with loose fill insulation, you’ll need a way to ensure it stays in place - either by packing it tightly or with an adhesive surface.

Batts insulation can make this easier, if you can find the size and R-value that you want.

Finish the Space by Installing Drywall to the Attic Walls and Ceiling 

Estimated time: 12 hours 

The next step is finishing your walls with drywall. Adding drywall will have your space looking like a real room, just like any other room in your house!

Step 1: Measure and cut the drywall

Tools you’ll need for this step: 

  • Tape measure 
  • Drywall 
  • Screws 
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Nails

With a measuring tape, measure the height and width between joists and cut the drywall boards according to the correct size.

Depending on the size of your attic, the angles of the walls and joists, the amount of insulation you have, you may need to alter your measurements of required drywall boards.

Once measured and cut, mark out where nails and screws will go. This makes it easier for you to attach the boards one after the other, without stopping to mark out as you go.

Before starting to install drywall, do a check to make sure you have enough boards, screws, nails and other materials you’ll need to get the job done.

Step 2: Install the drywall 

Tools you’ll need for this step: 

  • Drywall 
  • Screws 
  • Screwdriver 
  • Hammer
  • Nails

Once the drywall is cut to size, you can attach the drywall to the joists and beams in your attic. You can do this with screws or nails, depending on your needs. Screws are more sturdy, though.

You want to completely seal the attic to form a new room. Leave no gaps between the boards - to help reduce airflow and cover all the insulation you installed earlier.

We recommend getting an extra pair of hands here, if possible, to make sure the board doesn’t move as you’re screwing it to the wall.

When the board is secure, you can add more nails or screws for stability.

Repeat the process for the whole attic, starting from the top and working down to the floor. 

Step 3: Decorate the room

Once the boards are in place, you have a new room to use - after you decorate!

How you do this is up to you, but even a basic coat of paint will make the room feel more like a part of your home. Wallpaper is another option, but given the odd angles you might be working with, it could be more trouble than it’s worth.

Don’t forget to think about the floor, too. Do you want to leave the flooring as is or add a carpet? A rug might work if you want to cover just a part of the floor space.

Once this is done, you can start returning belongings to the attic for storage and adding the furniture you want to use in the room.

Ready to Insulate and Drywall Your Attic Space?

How you decide to make use of this new space is up to, and will determine the kind of decor you settle on. Whether you’re looking to game, study or relax, you can kit your new space out with a desk and chair or a very comfortable lounger - just make sure the access you have to the attic allows for such big pieces of furniture. Or, maybe you want to use your new space for music practice? The possibilities are endless!

We hope you have found this guide on insulating your attic and adding drywall. If you have any questions about the products we sell, please feel free to contact us and our team will be happy to help!