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When to Use Faced or Unfaced Attic Insulation

By: Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford in insulated attic of house.

Attic insulation is available with and without a paper facing. The facing contains a thin layer of asphalt, which acts as a vapor barrier to block moisture. It’s important to use the right type of insulation to prevent moisture problems in your attic.

Here’s what you need to know about the facing on attic insulation:

  • Faced Insulation: If the attic doesn’t have any existing insulation, use faced insulation with the paper facing toward the heated living space.
  • Unfaced Insulation: When adding more insulation to an attic that already has insulation, use unfaced insulation.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Video Transcript

Althea asks: Should I use faced or unfaced insulation in my attic?

Danny Lipford: I’ve always said adding insulation to your attic is some of the best money you can spend to make your house more energy-efficient, but whether to use faced or unfaced insulation is a great question. Now here’s a situation where a homeowner, what looks like many years ago, added insulation, they added a three-inch layer, but it has facing on it, and that could create a moisture trap between the living area and the underside of the insulation.

So, when you’re adding insulation to an existing attic that has insulation, you’ll want to use an unfaced type of material. In that way, you won’t have to worry about that moisture trap. And all you have to do is get a few rolls of this, roll it out perpendicular over the ceiling joist that you have in your attic, and then you’ve created that insulation barrier that’s going to save you money, summer or winter.


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7 Comments on “When to Use Faced or Unfaced Attic Insulation”

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  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    June 20th, 2019 at 11:29 am

    Hi, Laura,
    We recommend submitting questions involving unique situations like yours to the Today’s Homeowner Radio Show.
    Please use this form to contact Danny Lipford, America’s Home Expert, directly:
    Take care!

  • Laura Bagan Says:
    June 7th, 2019 at 1:36 am

    We have a rental house built in the early 70’s. The upstairs does not have an attic, but the space between the roof and rafters and the top of the homes ceiling is a space where things could be stored. You can’t stand up in the space, you have to crawl in space. It goes the whole length of the house. 48 feet. The rafters show in the roof area. It is unfinished. What type of insulation would you recommend for this area if it will not be used for storage? Faced or unfaced? Is it ok to insulate some of the area and still use some area for storage? We had inspection and currently have R22 in the ceiling of house that has electric heat. We have installed gas furnace and could use electric if needed. Thanks in advance for your comments. [email protected]

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    December 8th, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    Hi, Dave,
    Danny says, “Yes, it can be insulated with unfaced insulation and if you use faced insulation, the paper should be on the side of the heated and cooled space.
    Good luck with that insulation project!”

  • Dave Says:
    December 1st, 2018 at 11:57 am

    Question: can the knee walls of rooms next to an attic be insulated with R-13 fiberglass (faced or in faced)? If faced, I assume the paper side would be against the wall? Thanks.

  • John Miller Says:
    January 26th, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    I want to cover the exposed insulation with plywood on the floor of my attic. Also It is an unfinished extra room. I want to cover the insulation with a thin layer of plywood or paneling on the walls of the stairway going up to the attic. The insulation is with facing against the inside. IN other words I see pink. On the attic floor I wan to lay some flooring and a small walkway. Can I place unfaced batting and then place a small walkway. using cut 3/4 plywood.

  • PL Says:
    January 1st, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    My builder is using unfaced insulation on our exterior walls. He is stating they are doing it because of studie show that the faced has a higher probability of trapping moisture and causing mold and mildew. We live in the gulf coast. Is it ok to have unfaced insulation on our exterior walls?


  • Brett Says:
    May 12th, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    I’m insulation my attached Garage. The Ceiling is dry walled already! Can I use faced insulation without using a typical Vapour Barrier? I really won’t be heating it, I just want it to be warmer/cooler year round.

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When to Use Faced or Unfaced Attic Insulation