Tips for Working in the Attic

Have a Plan in Place

The key to any successful home improvement project is adequate planning. Gather all your tools and supplies before you begin to minimize trips in and out of the attic. Be sure that the work area is well-lit by using a drop light, and keep a flashlight handy.

Prepare to Get Dirty

The entire process of sealing your attic will be made easier if you take the time and effort to wear the right gear. Wear knee pads to help prevent pain associated with crawling on attic joists. Additionally, a lightweight disposable coverall, gloves, and hat can keep itchy and irritating insulation off your skin.

Above All — Be Safe

Take precautions to avoid a dangerous working environment in the attic. During hot weather start working early, as attics heat up as the day moves on. Drink plenty of water and use an OSHA-approved particulate respirator or double-strap dust mask to prevent inhalation of hazardous substances. Also remember to watch your step. Walk on joists or truss chords, not exposed ceiling drywall or insulation. In addition, watch out for sharp nails sticking through the roof deck!

Materials Checklist for Sealing Attic Air Leaks

  • Batt or roll of unfaced fiberglass insulation and large garbage bags (for stuffing open stud cavities behind kneewalls and in dropped soffits)
  • Roll of reflective foil insulation or other blocking material such as drywall or pieces of rigid foam insulation to cover soffits, open walls, and larger holes
  • Silicone or acrylic latex caulk & caulk gun for sealing small holes (1/4 inch or less)
  • Several cans of expanding spray foam insulation for filling larger gaps (1/4 inch to 3 inches) Special high-temperature (heat-resistant) caulk to seal around flues and chimneys
  • Roll of 14-inch wide aluminum flashing to keep insulation away from the flue pipe
  • Retractable utility knife and sheet metal scissors
  • Tape measure and staple gun (or hammer and nails) to hold covering materials in place
  • Safety glasses, gloves, and dust mask (for insulation work as well)
  • Flashlight or portable safety light
  • Boards to walk on, if needed
  • Large bucket to haul materials