Cooler weather is approaching and you may be thinking about attic insulation to help keep your home warm. However, adding insulation to your attic is not an easy DIY project. You may want to consider hiring an insulation contractor who is qualified and can do the work professionally. They will educate you on the best types of attic insulations for your home and provide an estimate on time and cost. Here’s an idea of the best insulation types available.
Fiberglass batts are made of long, interweaving fibers with adhesive binders. They work to trap heat in the attic and help to warm the entire house. Cotton batts, made from recycled blue jeans, very similar fiberglass batts and provide an eco-friendlier option. The downside to both is that they don’t always fit the space of an attic well. For the best performance, an insulation material needs to fill the whole space with no gaps. So, it is best to have an insulation contractor professionally install your fiberglass or cotton batts to ensure it is installed properly with minimum voids and gaps in between.
Blown Cellulose Insulation
Cellulose is made from recycled, ground-up paper with boric acid added for insect control and fire resistance. When it comes to choosing right insulation material, most insulation contractors depend upon the R-value of the insulation material. The higher the R-value is, the better the insulation material is. R-value means the resistance of heat flow through a material. Heat rises in your heated home though your ceiling drywall and into your cold attic. So, a higher R-value material will help heat flow throughout your attic and home.
Blown cellulose is preferred over batt insulation for several reasons. The R-value of cellulose is 23 percent better per inch than fiberglass batts. Also, cellulose insulation is blown in and not just fixed, so it minimizes the chance for gaps. Cellulose is blown up to a depth of 16 inches completely covering the wood floor joists which have a lower R-value and can move heat to and from the attic at home. Air moving through a vented attic deposits dirt and dust into fiberglass batts. This is called wind-washing that reduces the r-value of the batts. Cellulose is much more resistant to in wind-washing as it is treated with a mineral that prevents insects and rodents from eating the material. It will not decay or mildew and it does not support fungus or mold growth. Cellulose is also treated with fire retardants in order to keep your attic and home safe.
Spray foam insulation
Spray foam is hands down the best type of insulation from a performance stand-point. There are two types of spray foam insulation; closed-cell and open-cell, or 2-lb and ½-lb, respectively. The R-value of closed-cell is R-6.5 per inch and R-3.6 for open-cell. The performance of both can’t be matched. When installed professionally, both types of spray foam insulations are capable of settling in all nooks and corners, thereby making a perfect air barrier for your attic. When air can’t move through it, you have zero heat transfer through convection.
With closed-cell foam, you also get a moisture barrier at over 2 inches thick. Because of this and the higher insulating value per inch, most foam insulation used in USA is closed-cell. To tell the difference between the two, try poking it with your finger. You can easily poke a hole in open cell foam, but not closed-cell foam.
The one downfall to both forms of foam insulation is the price. It is significantly expensive compared to the other two types listed above. And, as with the other two, doing it yourself is much more difficult. A professional insulation contractor should be hired to do the job.