If you have an attic, insulating it is one of the best ways to improve the overall energy efficiency of your home. This can help save you 10% to 50% off of your heating bill throughout the year, especially as prices for heating continue to increase. Batts and rolls, loose-fill, and spray foam are the types of insulation you can choose from for an attic. The type of material you have installed will depend on the R-value you want to achieve and what your budget is. In most homes, cellulose or mineral wood loose-fill and spray foam are the two most recommended insulation types. They perform well, although the price of these can be higher than typical fiberglass batts that you might be used to.
Why You Need to Consider R-Value
Best Material Types to Consider
Large rolled-up batts of pink fiberglass insulation are by far the most common for use in attics. However, these must be properly installed in order to be as effective as possible. If installed improperly, air can easily escape through gaps and cracks within the attic. Blown-in fiberglass is another option if you don’t want to deal with batts, as it can be installed in a tight space much more easily. Blown fiberglass has an R-value of around 2.2 – 4.3 per inch while fiberglass batts have a value of 3.7 to 4.3 per inch. Ultimately, most contractors agree that this material performs well but may not be the best for an attic.
The R-value per inch of cellulose in the attic is around 3.2 to 3.7. Since it’s blown in with a special machine, it’s easy to have it installed quickly and achieve the thickness that you need. One of the pros of this material, besides being effective, is that it is fire-resistant. In addition to this, it’s safe to have installed in your home. However, it’s important to keep in mind that cellulose can be very heavy, so it may not be a good option if your attic doesn’t have the proper reinforcements. It can also be troublesome if it gets wet, so make sure your attic is fully sealed before having this installed.
The R-value of mineral wool in the attic is 3.1 – 4 per inch, making it a good choice for reliable insulation. The fact that it’s denser than fiberglass makes it more desirable to homeowners who want a material that’s going to last a long time and stay in place without falling down. Another beneficial property of wool insulation is that it’s fire resistant and will not absorb water, so it resists mold and mildew. While these benefits are worth noting, it’s also important to keep in mind the fact that this material will cost more than traditional fiberglass.
Cotton or Denim
Denim insulation comes in loose fill and batts, so you can choose which works best for your space and budget. Both have an R-value of roughly 3.5 per inch, which means you’ll need about 15″ of denim insulation for your attic. Many homeowners choose this because it’s eco-friendly, sustainable, and effective for insulating the ample size of an attic. However, this should be installed with a vapor barrier because it will otherwise absorb moisture and become very heavy without drying out.
Open-cell spray foam has an R-value of 3.5 – 3.6 per inch while closed-cell spray foam has a value of 6 to 6.5 per inch. Both are good options for insulation in the home, open-cell is usually recommended for the attic because it can permeate moisture in order to prevent rot and moisture issues. Additionally, this type of material can dampen noise while still providing excellent energy efficiency.
Popular Attic Installation Methods
Batts & Roll
Before installing batt and roll insulation, it’s important to determine if you should remove insulation that’s already there. In most situations, you should be able to keep it as long as there is no damage, such as mold or mildew. Insulation should be secured along the rafters as well as on the floor to further improve energy efficiency. One important detail to keep in mind is that the room should still allow air flow and ventilation to prevent damage during inclement weather.
Blowing insulation into your attic can be a quick way of achieving the R-value you desire for this space. While you will need your material of choice, you’ll also need to have the special machine that shoots out the insulation. After sealing air gaps and installing vents, you’ll need to mark your insulation levels so you know how much insulation to install. In most situations, it’s recommended to have a professional do this to ensure the machine is handled properly and the insulation is installed level.
Installing spray foam in the attic is a project that requires time and experience, which is why we recommend hiring a contractor. They will insulate the ceiling, walls, and other areas that are necessary to create a tighter seal. This requires the use of a special spray machine as well as the liquids that will come together to create the foam. As long as the spray is done level and with attention to all cracks and gaps, it can be an excellent barrier to prevent air from passing through.
Tips Before You Insulate Your Attic
Don't Leave Gaps
Leaving gaps around your attic can make it easy for air to pass through. This is why it’s so important to take the time to seal cracks and holes before any insulation work is done.
It’s important to have enough materials, as an attic that doesn’t have enough insulation can allow excess moisture into the space. Eventually, this can cold mold growth that can be dangerous to your health and air quality.
Uncover Eave Vents
Your attic should be ventilated in order to allow airflow that will prevent condensation from forming. A part of achieving adequate insulation is to uncover eave vents so air can pass through as needed. You can also place baffles in-between roof rafters for even better ventilation.
Determine Your Target Attic R-Value
When insulating your attic, it’s likely you’ll be trying to achieve a certain R-value with the materials you invest in. In most warm climates, an R-value of 39 in the attic is perfectly adequate to provide the rest of your home with better energy efficiency. However, if you live in a cold climate, the targeted R-value should be around 49.
Do the Necessary Prep Work
At Action 1 Insulation, we recommend beginning any DIY attic insulation project with preparation. Some of our top tips include:
Measure the height and length of the walls that are in the attic you’ll be insulating. Next, multiply these numbers together so you know the square footage that you need to cover. Although you may want to subtract the space for doors and windows, this is generally not recommended because you want to have extra insulation just in case you made incorrect measurements.
Check Material Coverage
With the number of square feet in your attic calculated, you’ll then divide it by the number of square feet on the package of insulation material you choose. The answer will be the amount of material you need in order to properly insulate your attic. Not sure if you’re calculating properly? Don’t worry! When you work with one of our contractors at Action 1 Insulation, we’ll do the calculations for you. We do the measurements and calculate the material coverage to make sure we order enough to do the job properly./p>
Get Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Gear for the Work
To protect your body and lungs, you’ll need gloves, a long-sleeve shirt, pants, safety goggles, and a protective mask. If you need extra protection, you can wear a full-coverage suit to prevent materials from getting on your clothing.
Remove the Bad Stuff
Don’t leave damaged insulation in your attic just because new insulation is being installed. Instead, take the time to remove any insulation that is wet or covered in mold/mildew. This may mean removing all materials before work begins, depending on the the state of the insulation beforehand.
Seal Air Leaks
Before insulation can be installed in your attic, it’s important to seal air leaks that can cause problems in the future. This should start with a thorough inspection of the areas where the floors and walls come together. If there are any large cracks, these should be sealed before work begins. It’s also important to look for open areas behind the kneewalls in the attic, as these can be major sources of air loss. The areas around windows, exhaust fans, ducts, pipes, chimneys, and flues should also be sealed for good measure.
If you have water damage in your attic, you must do more than just replace the current insulation. It’s crucial to have the roof repaired and sealed so moisture from the outside won’t continue to come in. If you’re not sure where to leak came from, then work with a roofer who can do a full inspection to identify the problem area.
Direct all Exhaust Fans and Vents
Ventilation is important when it comes to keeping your attic healthy, as this can prevent mold growth from condensation. A house fan can help make air circulation easier to accomplish, especially if you live in an area where the climate is especially warm. Beyond this, it’s important to install rafter vents in areas where the floor and ceiling meet.
Box off Light Fixtures
Why Hiring an Expert Team for Attic Insulation Makes Sense
Insulating your attic on your own can be difficult, especially if you don’t have experience. By hiring an expert team, you can enjoy someone else taking care of the work and doing each step with attention to detail. Some of the other advantages of professional service include:
Experienced contractors can insulate attics quickly because they know what they are doing. No matter what type of insulation you have, they’ll get the job done in a fraction of the time it would take you on your own.
Stay on Budget
Staying on budget when doing DIY insulation can be difficult if you don’t have the tools or experience. When you hire a contractor, they’ll work diligently to make sure you stay on budget. This means not wasting materials, bringing their own tools, and helping you choose the material that’s best for your home.
Get the Value You Deserve
At Action 1 Insulation, we value our customers. That’s why we provide expert service that maximizes your money. From quality materials to work done with care, we provide value that you can count on.
Get the Results You Deserve
When you hire an expert to do attic insulation, they know how to avoid mistakes that could end up costing you. They also know how to do the work the right way, from installing the material of your choice to removing old material that’s damaged. This expertise means you get the results you deserve that will last for years to come.