Basic Attic Insulation Methods and How To Choose The Right One
Estimated Reading Time : 6 Min.
In cold and wet regions, old insulation can wear out within a few years. When you are adding new insulation to your attic, make sure you choose high quality materials. Good attic insulation plays a crucial role in strengthening your whole roofing system.
If you choose the wrong material, or insulate the wrong areas, it may not be effective, and more than anything- it can damage your roof. There are plenty of insulation methods to choose from, and many safety regulations to insider when insulating your attic.
To help you out, we’ve covered everything about attic insulation, and choosing the right solution for your home.
In this blog, you’ll learn:
- What is insulation?
- Why insulating the attic is important?
- How it works?
- Relevant rules and regulations
- Methods and materials to insulate the attic
- Common installation errors
- Cost of attic insulation
What Is Insulation?
The literal meaning of insulation is protection and cushioning- attic insulation does the exact same thing.
In attics, insulation is critical to protect your belongings and roof structure against damage from heat, moisture, pests, leakage, and everything else.
Insulation seals attic areas where you don’t want the air to move in and out. It helps control the flow of air, and can help maintain comfortable temperatures in your home.
Why Do You Need Attic Insulation?
Here are some major benefits of having your attic insulated:
Most of your monthly energy costs are spent on heating and cooling your home. According to the Insulation Institute, every year, you can save up to 15% on energy bills by insulating your attic and crawl spaces. Additionally, when you reduce the burden on your HVAC systems, it can remain in good shape for years.
Protect Your Home’s Foundation
Insulation prevents mold, moisture, and heat from damaging your walls, deck, and shingles. When the snow melts, you’ll never see ice dams on your roof if it is properly insulated.
Makes Your Home Comfortable
Without the presence of dust, mold, and mildew in your home, you can breathe in fresh air. Insulation ensures that your HVAC system performs optimally, so you can live in a controlled indoor environment. It will help keep your home at the preferred temperature, and can even help reduce humidity levels in your house.
Now, you may be wondering how attic insulation does all of that. Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of having your attic insulated.
How Insulation Works?
You must know how insulation works, and what type of insulation is best for your home or attic. This is important to avoid any mistakes, and to confirm you are choosing the right materials for your home. Let’s take a look at how insulation works:
It’s All Connected To The Airflow
Air flows from warm spaces to cold ones. In the case of homes, your attic is typically a warm space, and the rest of your rooms are a little colder. Warm air makes its way from your attic to other rooms throughout your house, including the kitchen, hallways, bedrooms, and more.
Insulation Traps Air
Insulation limits the movement of air. It is a soft material that does not conduct or absorb heat, but instead seals it. It is important that the contractor you choose use the best insulation material, in exact quantities, and install it without error.
What is R-value?
R-value is how you weigh the thermal resistance of insulation. Basically, it tells you how good the insulation is. Higher R-value means higher thermal resistance, and better insulation.
Now that you know the basics of how it works, we can move on to the main problem- how to insulate an attic, and which insulation is best in Wisconsin.
Prerequisites For Attic Insulation
Insulation helps keep your indoor environment just as you like it- but only when it’s installed professionally. Otherwise, it can be a waste of everything- time, money, and effort.
We would never recommend installing attic insulation on your own. Roofers, insulation contractors, and safety inspectors are available to properly install insulation in your attic. Make sure you choose a trustworthy company that has experience installing attic insulation for your project.
To insulate your attic, you must consider the following rules and requirements:
- Attics and old insulation may contain a dangerous material- ‘Asbestos.’ The Wisconsin Department of Health and Services states that you need proper training and certification to work in such an environment.
- You must have good knowledge of your area’s building codes, insulation materials, roof vents, and ventilation setups.
- You need working experience with specific tools and machinery.
- Without acquiring an insulating or roofing license from the state government, you can end up in legal trouble.
- When you don’t get it done professionally, it can affect your product warranties. This may also void an insurance claim, in the event that you need to file one with your insurance company.
Here is a breakdown of how the experts go about the insulation process:
How To Insulate An Attic?
Step 1: Decide Which Areas To Insulate
A professional will ask you several questions, and figure out whether you need floor insulation or ceiling insulation. You should always insulate the entrance point of the attic for the best outcome.
Step 2: Choose Insulation Technique And Material
There are lots of insulation techniques and materials. For example- rolls, boards, sprays, cellulose, fiberglass and foam are some of the most common attic insulation materials. Depending on your location, budget, needs, space, and other factors, there might be a few different options you need to choose from.
Step 3: Prepare The Attic
Before starting the installation, the roofing contractor or insulation specialist will check whether your attic is in good shape. The expert will look for any air and moisture leaks, cracks, and other damage. They will also check the points and positioning of electrical wiring, ducts, and ventilation setup.
Step 4: Install The Insulation
While installing the insulation, the expert will start from the roof edges, moving up to the attic exit. They’ll have to be careful with soffit vents, and other areas that don’t need insulation.
It is best to discuss your needs with your roofing or insulation contractor, so you know what types of insulation material and techniques are best for your home.
Fiberglass Batts and rolls
These usually come in a rolled-up form. If you are using this specific insulation material, you must ensure they are cut and installed with exact measurements. Since they typically have low R-values, you need to use one suitable for the weather conditions in Mayville, WI.
According to the US Department of Energy, Wisconsin falls under two separate climate zones- 6 & 7- requiring R-value rated 49-60 for attic insulation.
Blow-in or Loose fill
Using a blower, a specialist will blow-in insulation material. It can be fiberglass, cellulose, or mineral wool. The material will be in the form of fluffy strands. It can fit anywhere in your attic, including floor, walls, and corners that are out of your reach.
- We recommend Owens Corning Atticat® Pink® Blown-In Insulation.
This is energy-efficient fiberglass insulation. It comes in varying R-values, and the roofing contractor or insulation specialists you choose will suggest one value, according to your location and attic specifications.
This is an economical and eco-friendly way to insulate the attic door, plumbing, wiring, vents, and windows. The experts will spray polyurethane or latex foam through a spray gun or can. Spray foam can help prevent mold and mildew growth.
As the name goes- these are boards or panels of foam, usually made with polystyrene. They are lightweight and durable- a good choice to insulate the entire attic floor, ceiling, or unvented roof.
In reflective insulation, roofers will cover the rafters or joists in foil paper or films. Instead of trapping, it reflects the heat away from your attic. This type of insulation is best during summers and winters, when you want to control the flow of hot air. It is important to remove old insulation before installing this.
Usually, homeowners and inexperienced workers make mistakes during the process. Some minor errors are big enough to ruin an entire attic insulation project. To avoid mistake during the installation process, take a look at a few common faults listed below:
Common Mistakes During Attic Insulation
These mistakes usually happen when you are not qualified, or experienced enough to do the job the right way.
- Loosely insulating the attic entry
- Leaving improper gaps between the insulation
- Blocking ventilation
- Using incorrect insulation material
- Compressing or mishandling insulation material
- Not sealing electrical outlets and other open points properly
If you are considering have your attic insulated, price will probably be one of the main factors that goes into your decision. The process is usually not expensive if you have an average-sized attic.
How Much Does It Cost To Insulate An Attic
According to the Forbes calculator, attic insulation cost rages from $500 to $4,000. The bigger the attic, the higher the price. Apart from the area, the price also depends on:
- Labor charges for installation
- The purchase price of insulation material
- Weather conditions of your area
If you have old insulation, they’ll have to remove it carefully due to the chance of releasing toxins. The cost of removal and disposal can also affect the price of your attic insulation project.
Insulation without proper ventilation is a huge mistake. Since insulation and ventilation go hand in hand, you need to be mindful of who you hire. Insulation companies can only take care of insulation, while roofing companies work on ventilation too.
We Can Help You With Attic Insulation And Ventilation
At BRH Enterprises, we are proud to say that hundreds homeowners have depend on our team to insulate their attic. We’ve been taking care of their attics, roofs, siding and gutters for years.
We are your friendly neighborhood roofers who are licensed and insured. We offer the most important guarantees of service and quality a company can give it’s customers.
You can call us anytime at (920) 249-4228. Our team will be happy to give you a free consultation and estimate for your attic insulation project.