I live in a sunroom. I covered the ceiling with fiberglass to make it warmer and covered that with wool blankets. Should I add plastic?

Question

I live in a sunroom. I covered the ceiling with fiberglass to make it warmer and covered that with wool blankets. Should I add plastic?

Asked by Camila

I just put insulation in last week and moved in this week. I woke up with a persistent headache and sore throat. I'm not sure if it's related or not. It's a small room. I'm not concerned about fire safety, because I live in a place with lots of rain. I'm poor and can't afford living elsewhere or a fancy fix. There are windows. Is it enough to let the room air out, or should I add a layer of plastic, or what?

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Answers

Harold Remlinger, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB's picture

Camila,

All of the attempts that you described to warm the room you live in DO NOT meet current code and are putting your health at risk.

Insulation needs to be covered by an approved material to protect inhabitants from breathing in particulates of the insulation material or offgassing chemical compounds, as well as for fire safety.

What you must understand is that current building codes are the minimum standard to ensure the health, safety and welfare of inhabitants.

  • If you can, cover all exposed insulation with a vapor barrier (4 mil or greater plastic sheathing with taped joints) and an approved fire barrier.
  • A fire barrier by code could be a layer of 1/2 " plywood.
  • Please keep in mind that rain outside does not protect you indoors, where 98% of fires start.