Proper roof insulation is essential in keeping your home’s temperature well-regulated and cutting energy costs. When insulating an attic on the underside of a roof, it can be challenging to hold the insulation in place without the proper materials and know-how.
There are many options for keeping roof insulation in place, including using metal insulation supports, insulation netting, garden netting, chicken wire, or nylon straps. Metal insulation supports and nylon straps are good affordable options, while chicken wire looks nicer but is more expensive.
Having many options for holding roof insulation in place is great because there is a solution for nearly any budget and situation. Let’s take a closer look at all of these methods for holding roof insulation in place to help you decide which one is the best one for you.
Best Ways to Keep Roof Insulation In Place
One of the most common insulation types used in attics underneath roofs is batt insulation. Batt insulation is mineral wool or fiberglass batting with a paper sheet on one side to help it stay together.
It can be very challenging to keep batt insulation in between your roof’s rafters after you’ve installed it. Especially if you intend to leave your attic’s walls exposed, it’s essential to secure the insulation in place so it doesn’t fall. Here are five of the best methods to secure your roof insulation to keep it in place.
|Insulation Holding Method
|Metal Insulation Supports
|Inexpensive, discreet, easy installation
|Can compress the insulation
|Doesn’t look very appealing
|Cheaper alternative to insulation netting
|Can be difficult to install
|Insulation Mesh Netting
|Relatively easy installation
|Looks nice compared to other options
|Expensive, challenging to install
1. Metal Insulation Supports
Metal insulation supports are super simple and highly effective at holding batt insulation in place. They are simply pieces of stiff metal wire that you can slightly bend with a bit of pressure. Generally, they are around 12 gauge wire and about 15 ½ inches long.
You place the metal insulation supports every few feet between the rafters or studs in your attic, and they hold the batt insulation in place. They are super inexpensive, easy to install, and have an incredibly discreet profile. If you weren’t looking for them, you’d likely not even notice that they were there.
One potential issue with using this type of attachment to hold up roof insulation is it can compress the material. You want to keep insulation as fluffy as possible, as compressing it can lower its R-value and cause it to be less efficient at insulating your home.
To help mitigate this problem, you should install metal insulation supports sparingly and keep them near the outer edge of the wooden stud to allow as much room for the insulation as possible.
Here is a quick overview on installing metal insulation supports to hold roof insulation in place:
- Wear gloves, glasses, a mask, and proper clothing: Working with batt insulation, or nearly any insulation for that matter, can be dangerous without the correct personal protection equipment (PPE).
- Check for damaged insulation: Ensure there isn’t any torn, water-damaged, or otherwise destroyed insulation and replace if needed.
- Install a metal insulation support: Take a single metal insulation support, and while gripping both ends of the wire, bend it slightly. Carefully place it between two studs or rafters with insulation and slowly release the wire’s ends to wedge it between the wood.
- Place more metal insulation supports where needed: After installing your first metal insulation support, continue to place them between the rafters or studs at 12-18 inch intervals until all of the insulation is secured and held in place.
2. Nylon Straps
Nylon straps are easy to find, effective at holding roof insulation in place, and inexpensive. You can usually find nylon straps at your local hardware store, but nearly any similar material substitute will work just fine (heavy-duty twine, for example).
Simply attach the nylon straps to the rafters in your attic using a staple gun or other attachment method. Staples, nails, screws, and hooks are all viable attachment options, so choose which one is best for your situation.
A potential downside to using nylon straps to hold in roof batt insulation is how it looks once you’re finished. If you’re leaving your attic exposed, having nylon straps running along the ceiling can be unsightly if you didn’t put them up with extreme care and precision.
Here is a quick run-through on how to install nylon straps to hold up roof insulation:
- Wear appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE): Anytime you’re dealing with insulation, it is best to wear gloves, a mask, safety glasses, and clothing that covers exposed skin.
- Check for any damaged insulation: Before installing any straps, it is essential to ensure the insulation is undamaged. Ensure there is no water damage and that the batt insulation is well put together and doesn’t easily fall apart.
- Cut the nylon straps to the correct length: Nylon straps usually come in a roll, so measure how much you need and cut appropriately.
- Attach the nylon straps to the studs or roof rafters: Once you’ve cut the straps to the correct length, use a staple gun or other attachment method to fasten the nylon straps to the roof rafters at 12-24 inch intervals.
3. Garden Netting
Garden netting (sometimes called garden and animal netting) is not a material you would typically think of to hold roof insulation in place. However, it works surprisingly well and is quite affordable.
There are many types of garden netting, but it is often very lightweight, has small holes, and comes in rolls of 100 feet. It is very similar to mesh netting made specifically for holding insulation (which we’ll discuss next), but it is often more affordable and accessible.
Because garden netting is so lightweight, it can be challenging to install. It’s easy to get it tangled if you’re not careful when putting it up. Garden netting can also stretch over time or sag if you don’t install it very taut.
Here is a quick overview of how to install garden netting to hold up roof insulation:
- Wear safety glasses, a mask, gloves, and other safety equipment: Batt insulation made from fiberglass is especially harmful if it comes into contact with your bare skin, so it’s best to wear adequate personal protection equipment (PPE) when handling insulation.
- Make sure the insulation is in good condition: Check for any signs of water damage, pests, or decay. It’s essential to ensure the roof insulation is in good condition before installing any support to hold it in place.
- Attach the garden netting to the roof rafters or studs: Using a staple gun, attach the end of a garden netting roll to the top of the furthest rafter and unroll it until you reach the next beam. Holding the garden netting taut, staple it to the second rafter.
- Install the rest of the garden netting to hold up the insulation: Repeat the process by holding the mesh taut and attaching it to each rafter until you reach the other end of your attic. Cut the end and start back lower on the other side, leaving a 2-3 inch overlap between the upper and lower netting layers.
4. Insulation Mesh Netting
Insulation mesh netting is similar to garden netting but with a few key differences. It is much more sturdy, more expensive, typically comes in larger rolls, and the holes in the mesh are much smaller than garden netting.
It is specifically designed and made to hold insulation in place, so it works well and doesn’t noticeably stretch over time. If you don’t mind the look and expense of insulation netting, it can be a good option for holding roof insulation in place.
Here is a quick overview of how to install insulation mesh netting in an attic:
- Wear the proper safety equipment: Insulation, especially fiberglass batt insulation, can harm you if it comes into contact with your bare skin. Always wear appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) when installing insulation support.
- Check for mold or damaged insulation: Before installing insulation support, it’s always best to beck for damaged or mold-ridden insulation that you should replace.
- Attach the insulation mesh to the wooden rafters or studs: Start on one side of the attic and attach the roll’s end to the wooden beam using a staple gun. Carefully unroll the mesh until you reach the next rafter and then staple it down, ensuring that the netting remains taut.
- Install the rest of the insulation mesh netting: Continue to repeat the process until you reach the other end of the attic. Cut off the roll and start back lower at the opposite end, leaving a 2-3 inch overlap of the two mesh layers.
5. Chicken Wire
Chicken wire is a good material for holding roof insulation in place, though it does have its pros and cons. Chicken wire is quite heavy and has relatively large hexagonal holes (compared to garden netting).
It is one of the higher-end options for batt insulation support, and it does the job well. The look of chicken wire on exposed wooden beams is very rustic and can complement the look of your attic.
The main downsides to using chicken wire to keep roof insulation in place are its price and potentially troublesome installation. It is often significantly more expensive than other insulation support options on this list.
Here is a quick overview of how to install chicken wire to hold roof insulation in place:
- Wear safety equipment to protect yourself from the chicken wire and insulation: It is always essential to wear proper personal protection equipment (PPE) to protect yourself from insulation, but chicken wire can also have sharp ends that can scratch you.
- Ensure the insulation is in good condition: Check for any insulation with water damage or that is otherwise falling apart. Replace if needed.
- Attach the chicken wire to the first wooden rafter or stud: Using a staple gun, attach one end of the roll of chicken wire to the furthest rafter on one side of the attic. Unroll the chicken wire until you reach the next beam and attach it while ensuring the wire stays taut.
- Install the rest of the chicken wire to hold the insulation in place: Repeat the above process until you reach the other side of the attic. Cut the chicken wire off at the end and start again lower on the opposite side. Make sure to leave a 2-3 inch overlap between the two layers of chicken wire.
How to Keep Other Types of Roof Insulation In Place
We’ve discussed methods for holding batt insulation in place in an attic in great detail, but other insulation types require different techniques. Let’s look at a few of the most common alternative roof insulations to batt insulation and how to keep each in place.
Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam insulation typically does not require additional support to stay in place. Once sprayed between the wooden rafters or studs, it expands and seals itself to the surrounding wood.
Rigid Insulation Boards
Rigid insulation boards are sturdy insulation panels that you can usually install using screws or nails. When installed correctly, rigid insulation boards should not require any additional support to stay in place between the studs or wooden rafters.
Structural Insulation Panels
Structural insulation panels (SIPs), which are insulation sandwiched by two pieces of plywood or oriented strand board, typically do not need additional support after installation. Unlike the other insulation options on this list, SIPs are a structural part of the house.
Loose-fill insulation is very fine, and people usually install it using a specialized machine. It is best to use specialized insulation mesh netting to hold loose-fill insulation in place. Loose-fill insulation requires a mesh of some sort, and chicken wire and garden netting have too large holes to contain it adequately.
Batt insulation is one of the most common types of insulation that you’ll find in most homes. There are many options to choose from regarding holding it in place, and it’s hard to go wrong with any of the five methods mentioned in this article.
How you decide to hold your roof insulation in place largely depends on your skill set, budget, and personal preference.
If your roof has an alternate type of insulation besides batt insulation, we covered how to hold most types in place. Loose-fill insulation is one of the only other kinds of roof insulation that requires support; all other common alternatives do not require anything extra to stay in place.