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Community and Q&A

How do you insulate an A-frame home?

Jacqueline Gee | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

I purchased an “A” frame and it has the wood exposed. It has been left intentionally unfinished to give it the cabin feel. The bedrooms are on the front 1/4 and the last 1/4 of the 2nd floor of the house leaving the 1/2 in the middle open with a high peak ceilings exposed. I worry that it will be very cold this winter. Also, if you were to put insulation in the bedrooms – how do you properly vent this?

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Replies

  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Jacqueline,
    The usual way to insulate this type of roof (a roof with exposed sheathing on the interior) is by installing rigid foam insulation on top of the roof sheathing.

    Your roof may already be insulated. Try to measure the roof thickness or drill a 1-inch diameter hole in an inconspicuous spot to determine what materials are installed above your roof sheathing. Maybe there is already a layer of foam insulation there.

    If your roof is totally uninsulated -- and if you want to keep the appearance of the roof / ceiling the same as it is now from the interior -- then you'll need to strip the existing roofing, and install one or more layers of rigid foam on top of your roof sheathing, followed by another layer of plywood or OSB, and new roofing. In some cases, builders like to install vent channels above rigid foam. However, if your foam is thick enough, these vent channels are unnecessary.

    Another option is to install nailbase panels above your sheathing. (A nailbase panel is a layer of rigid foam bonded on one side to OSB.) It's even possible to buy vented nailbase panels.

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