Attics take up the entire upper area of your home, so there are two main reasons why you should insulate your attic. They can have a major impact on heating and cooling.
According to the EPA, sealing air leaks and insulating your attic can result in an 11% saving on your energy bills – as long as you do it properly that is.
When it comes to your attic insulation, it’s important to make sure you do the job right the first time.
Here are our top tips on how to insulate an attic.
How to Insulate an Attic With the Right Material
Insulation comes in different R-values. R-values indicate the thermal resistance of insulating material. The higher the R-value, the more effective the material resists hot and cold airflow.
R-value is directly related to the thickness and density of the material. If you live in an area with a hot or frigid climate, you should choose insulation with a minimum rating of R-30, while more temperate climates require an R-38 rating.
There are four main types of insulation:
Rigid Foam Boards
Rigid foam boards are a durable, effective, and affordable insulation option. It’s also easy to cut them to size and fit them between your joists.
These boards don’t always fit through the opening in your attic in one piece, so keep the size of your attic door in mind while shopping for this type of insulation.
These continuous blankets of insulation comprise insulating fibers woven together to create a continuous barrier. There’s usually a moisture barrier glued to one side of these 16 or 24-inch strips.
Foil-backed batts can encourage mildew growth, so most homeowners opt for paper backing.
This type of insulation consists of small chunks of insulating material. You need a blower hose to install it, hence the name.
Be sure to get some extra small bags of this type of insulation to fill in any gaps.
Spray Foam Insulation
This is the most difficult type of insulation for DIY enthusiasts to master. It’s easy to misjudge how much insulation’s needed and even miss a few spots in the process.
Due to the chemicals released while applying this type of insulation, it’s always best to get a professional to install it for you.
When considering the ideal insulation for your home, be sure to take the time and effort involved in cutting and fitting it into account too. It’s also vital to know how much you need before you head to the store.
Most bags of loose-fill insulation will have guidelines on the label regarding quantities. If you’re using blanket insulation, you can work out how much you need from the dimensions of the product you choose.
It’s a good idea to buy an extra bag or roll so you don’t run out halfway through the job.
Be Aware of Vents and Openings
Although leaks will make your insulation less effective, you do need some airflow in your attic. Ridge vents and soffits must stay uncovered for efficient airflow.
If you opt for loose insulation or fiberglass batts when insulating your attic, you can easily cover up these spaces during installation.
Plastic soffit ore preformed foam vent excluders help hold insulation in its place away from these gaps. To keep your ridge vent clear, apply the insulating material so that it misses the opening.
Likewise, if you have any light fittings in your attic, they shouldn’t come into contact with your insulation. So, create a safe gap around these features.
Floor vs Roof Insulation
Many homeowners wonder if they should insulate the floor or the roof of their attic.
It’s most important to insulate the floor first. You can lose a lot of heat through the attic during winter. This warmth will melt snow on your roof, increasing the chances of roof leakages.
Once you’ve insulated your attic floor, you can always do the roof later if you want more control of the temperature inside your home. Spray or batt insulation works best for this and it’s best to enlist the help of a contractor to get the job done properly.
Remove Damaged Insulation First
If you already have insulation in your roof, you can lay the new material on top of it.
Check for damp or moldy patches before you get started and remove these. They’ll only get worse over time and can cause your rafters to rot.
It’s a bad idea to install ‘faced’ insulation, like blankets, on top of existing insulation. If you want to use this type of insulation, choose a brand with no vapor retarder.
By nature, this barrier will trap moisture between the layers of insulation, leading to trouble down the line.
Get Expert Help When Necessary
Some tasks, like installing loft boarding over your insulation require an expert touch. According to Instaloft, you should always get a professional to perform this task.
You could easily damage your insulation if you try to DIY loft-board installation.
Although DIY projects can bring an immense sense of achievement and save on attic insulation cost factors, it’s never a good idea to attempt complex projects that are beyond your skill levels.
When in doubt, always hire a professional contractor or handyman to lend a hand.
More Home Improvement Hacks
Making the best use of your attic’s a great home-improvement idea to free up storage space and keep your home comfortable and energy-efficient.
Yet, learning how to insulate your attic for maximum effect and savings is only one of the ways you can make your home more energy-efficient and comfortable.
Keep browsing our blog for some more cool ideas.