When it comes to attic roof insulation, should you just get the least expensive option that local building codes would approve, or does it serve a real purpose? And how do you choose the right type? This guide will cover everything you need to know about installing insulation in your attic.
And if you want us to install new insulation for you, contact us now. Our roofing contractors at Viking Contractors LLC will be glad to help!
What Is Attic Insulation?
Attic insulation is the process of covering your attic surface internally with a thermally insulated protective layer. This layer contains insulation materials that have low thermal conductivity levels, minimizing the overall heat transfer from your attic. Insulation comes in several types, but most attics have loose-fill insulation or batt insulation.
Why Install Insulation
We briefly alluded to the fact that adequate insulation reduces heat loss, but what does that mean for you as a homeowner? Here are a few reasons to insulate an attic:
Improving the Internal Temperature
Proper insulation stops conditioned air from slipping through the ceiling. In other words, it can better trap heat inside your home during the winter and keep it from spreading into your house during the summer.
The resulting pleasant and consistent internal temperature is especially alluring if your house has cathedral ceilings.
Saving on Energy Bills
With insulation, you can avoid the mini heart attack the energy bill gives you. As you have better internal temperatures, you’ll rely more on it and less on heating and cooling appliances, which will prolong their lifespans and render them energy-efficient. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you’ll cut your electricity usage by 5% and natural gas by more than 10%.
Preventing Ice Dams
How does insulation prevent ice dams in winter? The warm climate in your home spreads to your attic via your ceiling. This warms your roof shingles, melting the snow over them.
Then, the melted snow glides over your roof to the eaves. And their cold air freezes the water, creating an ice dam.
Ice dams hinder your drainage system, causing water pooling and leaks via any attic opening, recessed lighting, ceiling joists, and other features. These dams can even damage your gutters if they reach them.
Interstitial condensation is a phenomenon where warm and cool air come together, forming water droplets. Their buildup may cause roof damage.
By eliminating the temperature fluctuations, you protect your gutters (as they expand and contract less) and roof decking lifespan. This way, you don’t have to spend money on pricey roof repairs.
Insulation acts as a moisture and radiant barrier. It protects your roof deck, shingles, and drainage system, preventing moisture and mold from seeping through the foundation walls. So you won’t deal with moisture-related damage. Also, a dry area isn’t a likely environment for pest infestations, wood rot, and other forms of moisture damage.
Insulation acts as a sound barrier in your attic space. It keeps outside noise from invading your home. If you live by a busy street, highway, construction site, or other noisy location, you’ll benefit from the soundproofing nature of attic insulation.
Which Type of Insulation Should You Choose?
Understanding the main types of attic insulation will help you determine the right type for you. After all, insulation materials have varying abilities to resist heat conductivity, which are called “R-values.”
Known as blown-in insulation, loose-fill insulation involves small particles that experts blow into attics and finished wall cavities. That’s why it’s excellent for existing buildings without insulation. Its material may be one of the following:
- Glass Wool: Fiberglass originally, glass wool is composed of glass made into a wool-esque texture. It has an R-value of about 2.5 per inch and is popular in new-construction homes.
- Cellulose: Cellulose insulation is manufactured from recycled, ground-up paper (like newspapers). Its boric acid equips it for insect control and pest resistance. With a higher R-value (3.5 per inch), it’s enough to stop most of the airflow.
- Mineral: This stone wool or rock wool contains natural minerals, such as volcanic rock (dolomite or basalt).
Using a staple gun, you can spray foam insulation into the attic floor, roof, and more. It fills the smallest cavities and expands to anything from 30 to 60 times its original volume, which renders it the best type and the ideal air barrier. Spray foam is understandably more expensive than other attic insulation forms. The foam materials available are as follows:
You’ll find it in two subtypes. Firstly, open-cell foam is filled with air, which makes it spongy and porous. So, water and water vapor can penetrate it. Its R-value is 3.6 per inch. On a brighter note, it’s great at reducing sounds and allowing structural wood to breathe.
Secondly, there’s closed-cell foam. Such a foam board is more effective than the former type, thanks to the high-density, 2 inches of closed material. Boasting a 6.5-per-inch R-value, such radiant barriers offer you rigid foam insulation.
Batts and Rolls
Referred to as blanket insulation, this type resembles a thick blanket. It may also come with an air barrier and a vapor barrier. Batt insulation is easy to install, but it provides the worst attic insulation of all. Its material may be any of the following:
- Plastic fibers
- Natural fibers
- Mineral wool
Overall, you should prioritize attic insulation if you want a pleasant indoor air temperature, lower energy costs, long-lasting roofs, unclogged gutters, and no sound pollution, moisture problems, ice dams, or condensation.
All you have to do is choose the right type of insulation (depending on your budget and needs). If you’re unsure, contact us at Viking Contractors LLC, and we’ll install the perfect roof attic insulation type for your partially insulated, new, old, or unfinished attic.