December Home Maintenance To-Do List

Man installing insulation in an attic
Insulating your attic is a must if you want to keep the cold air out of your living spaces. (DepositPhotos)

To-Do #2: Check Attic Insulation

As the weather gets colder, it’s a good idea to check your attic to make sure you have enough insulation and add more if you don’t.

In most cases, you can add another layer of insulation on top of what’s already there, using rolls or batts of unfaced insulation or by blowing or spreading loose insulation. If your existing insulation is water-damaged or moldy, it will need to be removed and replaced.

If your home currently doesn’t have attic insulation, the easiest DIY method is to install batts or rolls of insulation between the ceiling joists.

Installing attic insulation:

  • Choose insulation with a paper vapor barrier of the same width as the spaces between your ceiling joists.
  • Wear long pants and sleeves, gloves, a dust mask, and protective eyewear. Some insulation can be irritating to eyes, lungs, and skin; so cover up as much as you can.
  • Carefully unroll the insulation between the joists, making sure the vapor barrier is facing toward the heated area of your home. In attics, this will mean the paper backing should face down toward the ceiling.
  • Cut the insulation to length by laying it on a scrap of plywood, pressing it flat with a straight edge, and slicing with a utility knife.
  • Make sure the insulation fits tightly between the joists, but not so tight that it’s compressed, since the insulating properties come from the air spaces within the batting.

If your attic already has insulation and you’d like to add more, follow the same steps as above, but use insulation that does not have a paper backing to prevent moisture from becoming trapped between the layers.

Check out our video on How To Install Attic Insulation to find out more.


  1. Thanks for this info. I had no idea filters had different “sides.” Your site (and TV series) has helped this senior citizen more than you’ll ever know. Please keep up the good work. Merry Christmas!

  2. I have a 1950’s Ranch home with detached garage. There only 3 joists (~20′ – 2×4) in the garage running side to side. Each of them are cracking at knot holes. What is the best way to strengthen/fix (sister another 2×4, or bolt 3″x2″ steel angle and bolt together)??


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