Ask The Contractors
Ask The Contractors
Question: Which are the Best Insulation and Vapor Barrier Upgrades?
“We are converting our garage into a heated space family room, the area that we are closing off in front of the door is 26′ x 8 1/2′.
Here is the Question from Rachel

“Can you tell me what type and number insulation would I need to buy for Georgia and how much do I need to buy?”

So Rachel. This is a great question. A lot of people want to put insulation in the walls. But how do you figure it out? Well, it’s really simple.

First of all, you have to figure out if it is a (2″x 6″) wall or a (2″x4″) wall.

So let’s assume that it’s a (2″x4″) wall and we’re going to use R13 insulation. It’s real simple. You take your Width times your Height. In this case (26 feet times 8 feet) and get your square footage. Then when you go to buy your insulation, I recommend Owens Corning. It’s usually the most common at your big box stores. When you go to The Big Box store, you’re going to see on Owens Corning by the square footage, for instance an R13 roll.

A roll of R13 is going to give you 40 square feet. So, Rachel, what you’re going to do, again, you’re going to take your square footage [26ft. by 8ft.], which is 208 square feet. That means you’re going to need just a little over five rolls of insulation. It’s really easy to install. You unroll it and staple it in. The insulation will be secure, and then you go ahead and put your sheetrock on top of that. Wha-la you’re on your way. You’ll have a well-insulated room.

Bonus Tip:

If you have interior walls in that room, I advise you to also insulate them with insulation also.

It gives you a sound barrier that makes the room feel more solid and just feels better when you’re in the room.

Installing insulation is not very expensive


Insulation is easy to use, and easy to put up. Just make sure you have a mask on because there are fibers in the insulation. You want to keep yourself safe. Also use a long sleeve shirt and gloves because again, you’re going to feel very itchy when you’re done putting that up. You don’t want to get a rash or injure yourself by breathing any of those particles in. Be very careful.

And remember to get a certificate from the insulation company to go along with your building permit. The building inspector will come out on your final and see that there’s a certificate. It’s very, very important to make sure you keep that certificate on hand. If you do not put insulation in then you have a lack of insulation. It’s called Title 24 in California. You can get a lot of trouble for that if you don’t do it. So get your installation. Make sure you put it in correctly.

Rachel also sent me a second question that I’d like to answer.

“We also have a 1000 s.f. gutted guest home in the back of our home.”

Here is the Question from Rachel.

“What type of water barrier underlayment and insulation shall I put down to cover the concrete floor?
We want to put 8′ x 4″ plywood boards on top of the main floor.”

This is another great question.

“You always want to make sure you have a barrier down on concrete conversions. It’s called a moisture barrier.”

Todd Bird, Host of

Most slabs, if they’re 10 years, 12 years, 15 years, or  20 years old, they likely do not have a moisture barrier underneath them. So, what you want to do is to use a vapor barrier. It’s very common.

In fact, you can get it at the big-box store and you roll it on and it gives you a moisture barrier.

Now, I don’t know why you’re putting plywood down. There’s a lot of products you could put on that floor that will make it nice. You can even stain the concrete, and you wouldn’t need the vapor barrier because it would be open to the air. But if you insist on putting plywood down because you want to put something on top of that plywood put your barrier down first, and then you should be good to go.

Another idea is, being that you’re in Georgia, you can actually put a heated floor down.

A thermal floor is simply a screen mesh that goes down on your floor before you put the tile on. It’s low voltage and it keeps the floor very, very warm for your toes when you’re walking on it. So that’s something you might want to look into also.

Rachel, two great questions from Georgia. I really do appreciate it.

Do you have a question for Ask The Contractors?

I’ve been a contractor well over 30 years. I can answer your question and guess what? I’m not so big on myself that if I don’t know the answer, I’m not going to make something up. We’re going to find out together. We’re going to go to my website, and we’re going to go to a professional in that trade and we’re going to figure out your question together.

Ask me your home renovation and Home Remodeling question from the link on the homepage of We answer your questions right here on the show. So, don’t be afraid to reach out to me. That’s what I’m here for. I want to answer your question and it doesn’t cost you a cent.

Okay, it may cost you a couple of pennies to make the phone call on your phone bill, but it’s worth it. I’m a cheap date. Believe me. I know.

I can answer your question. So give me your question and as I said before, so many other people are interested in that question because they probably have the question themselves. They’d like to have it answered too.

Thanks again. I really do appreciate it.

Thanks for tuning in and I look forward to speaking with you again soon. I’ve am your host, Todd Bird. Thank you so much.

More Questions, Answered: