Why Attic Insulation Is Important

There is nothing worse than a cold house in winter and a hothouse in summer.  If you are suffering during these seasons, it is time to go up into your attic and take a look around.  If you see bare floors and beams, you need to start looking at attic insulation.

Attic insulation is essential as it will help regulate heat flow through your home and therefore reduce your energy costs.  These cost savings come from not running your air conditioning unit 24/7 in summer and your heating system in winter.

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As a home improvement project, the reasons for attic insulation are simple-lower heating bills in the winter and less air conditioning in the summer.


Popular Insulation Types

There are several insulation types you can install.  Here are some of the popular types with their pros and cons.  For each class, we will look at the r-value, cost, plus the pros and cons.

Batt Insulation

Batt or Blanket Insulation is the most common type of insulation used today.  It comes in batts (sheets) or rolls and gets installed on the floors of unfinished attics.  

The batts get made from fibers, usual fiberglass. However, there are some natural fiber batts available.  They come in various widths that get designed to fit standard attic layouts.

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The efficiency of this fiberglass insulation depends on the thickness.  The R-Value of a 3.5-inch batt is 11, with a 12-inch batt having an R-Value of 38.  With the cost ranging from $0.15 for the 3.5-inch to $0.60 for the 12-inch.

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The Pros for Batt Insulation are that they are easy to install if you have a standard layout attic.  You will buy the fiberglass batts to suit the width of the attic rafters and floor joists, and it easy to install for the average DIYer.  The fiberglass is also fire resistant and usually gets constructed from some recycled materials.

The Cons for Batt Insulation are that it can not get wet.  Once the fiberglass gets wet, it will lose its energy efficiency until it dries.  You need to wear protective gear when installing.  The small fibers can cause health issues when inhaled and skin irritation.  As the batts are in sheets, they are hard to shape if you have an irregular area to insulate.  Any gap will lead to a drop in energy efficiency.

Foam Insulation 

Spray foam insulation came in two types, open cell and closed cell.  The foam gets sprayed on the surfaces that need to be insulated.

The cells are bubbles, and in open-cell, the bubbles are not entirely closed wherein closed-cell they are.  

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The closed-cell is denser and more rigid and has a higher R-Value of 6.5 compared to 3.6 for open-cell.  The cost of open-cell is approximately $0.65, and closed-cell is roughly $1.50 per square foot.  As you will need professional insulation, you also need to budget between $1.50 to $5.00 per square foot depending on your location and difficulty of the labor.

The Pros of Spray Foam Insulation are that if it when installed correctly, it is very efficient.  As it gets sprayed, it can fit any unusual shape.  Having every part of your attic space covered will mean that there is no space for the heat flow to leave your house.

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The Cons of Spray Foam Insulation is that it needs to be installed by a contractor.  You need to contact a contractor who specializes in insulation services as special equipment is required.

Loose Fill Insulation

Loose-fill Insulation (or Blown-in Insulation) gets made from loose fiberglass or cellulose fibers. The fibers are spread over the area to be insulated by a blower.

The R-Value of loose fill fiberglass insulation is 2.2 to 2.7 per inch depth, with cellulose insulation having an r-Value of 3.2 to 3.8 per inch.  The cost per square foot for fiberglass is $0.91 and $0.83 for cellulose.  The insulation needs to get professionally installed, but it is a quick job and should cost about $15 per bag.

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The Pros Of Loose Fill Insulation is that it is easy to install in any shaped area.  When appropriately installed, there will be no empty spaces for heat transfer.  

The Cons of Loose Fill Insulation is that it needs to be installed by a contractor.  You need to contact an insulation contractor for this job.

Attic insulation is important as the energy savings can be up to 50% on your heating bill.  If your home is older than 15 years, likely, you will not have sufficient insulation.  You need to inspect your existing insulation to see if you require additional insulation to deliver energy savings.

Ensuring that you have adequate insulation in your attic will help you reduce your energy bills from heating your living space in winter and your cooling system in summer.  The better the insulation, the more comfortable temperature you will enjoy in your home.