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Attic insulation

0 votes
In my attic I have foil on the drywall facing the attic, on top I have batt insulation and Kraft paper facing upwards. Is this the correct installation? My house was built in 1959 and it was like that when I moved in. Also could I add more insulation directly on top of the insulation with Kraft paper on it?
asked in Attic Area by okorsal (140 points)
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1 Answer

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Hi Ocorsal,
 
To properly answer your attic insulation and vapor barrier (aluminum foil and Kraft paper) question I would have to have one more piece of information – your climatic zone. 
 
If you are in areas with a cold climate during the the winter, the vapor retarder should be installed inward / toward the warm living space.
 
So if you have cold winters: 
  • The aluminum foil is fine
  • The Kraft paper faced insulation should be flipped so the paper is placed against the aluminum foil
or alternatively 
  • The Kraft paper should be removed because the way it’s been installed it creates an air “sandwich” (between paper and aluminum) and traps warm air, possibly moisture, in-between.  
Once that paper is flipped or removed you can add extra insulation on top of it, this could be blanket or blown it type but without any vapor retarder layer.
 
You can find recommended amounts of insulation (US) by clicking here - http://www.energystar.gov/?c=home_sealing.hm_improvement_insulation_table
 
 
Even if the installation has been like that for a long time and if it’s not causing any problems such as condensation between the Kraft paper and the aluminum foil (cold season) and / or mold, I would not add any extra insulation on top of it without removing the existing paper layer or flipping it over.
 
In case you have a humid climate or living in an area with extensive air-conditioning usage and if a vapor retarder is required (explanation at the link above), it should be installed on the exterior side of the wall.
 
There is a lot of information about attics and their problems in a few of my articles at tis link – http://checkthishouse.com/category/attic
 
Please let me know if you need more help.
Good luck with your project!
answered by darekrudy (21,730 points)
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