There is a high chance you’ve never thought about insulating your attic. And why would you?
It’s been there since you first bought this house, but it’s just a storage space for old paintings and worn-out bicycles. It is a rustic, itchy place that serves no purpose. While there is no denying that attics are dusty spaces, it is important to know how they can help you save hefty bills.
According to Environmental Protection Agency, you can save about 30% on utility costs by insulating your home’s attic area. A poorly insulated attic costs more in the energy bills. This is because it has a large surface from which energy escapes. Not to forget that it’ll make you feel warmer in the winters and cooler in the summers.
In a perfect world, you will hire an energy auditor to estimate the protection you obtain from a few inches of attic insulation. They would pinpoint air leaks so you can seal to ensure insulation does the job well.
However, not everyone can afford to shell a few hundred bucks for this service. This blog is meant for everyone looking to discover effective insulation ways for an attic.
Let’s dive in:
Before Considering Attic Insulation
Attic insulation has several components that you should pay attention to before designing the final plan:
Knowing the resistance per inch of thickness is essential to move forward. It involves calculating how insulation could resist the heat flow. You need to go for a higher value because that brings better performance and effective energy efficiency. The R-value varies according to the kind of insulation you pick.
Determine the Amount of Insulation to Purchase
Another integral element is to consider the climatic conditions. Hot climates require a minimum rating of R-30. However, temperate climates need R-38. If your environment is cold, then you need a minimum rating of R-49.
Once you have figured the R-value, it is time to measure the square footage of the attic. And before you begin calculation, make sure you check the current insulation condition. Remove any insulation that is moldy or compressed. Try finding the best mold or mildew cleaners available in the market.
Type of Insulating Materials
Attic insulation works with a wide spectrum of materials. Before you go for the purchase, you should know the different materials used in the process:
- Cellulose – It comes from materials like newspapers, cardboard, and straw. It has been used for insulation for decades because it has an R-value of 3.8.
- Denim – This comes from denim cotton. It is easy to install and non-toxic but more expensive than other materials. Its R-value is 3.5, and it blocks airflow effectively.
- Polystyrene – The R-value of polystyrene is 3.8 to 5 per inch. It is mainly used in foam board insulation.
- Rock wool – It comes from natural materials and has an R-value of 3.3. It is highly resistant but quite expensive than the other options.
- Fiberglass batting – It has paper or foil backing. It has R-value of approximately 2.9 to 3.8.
- Fiberglass loose-fill – It has an R-value of 2.2 to 2.7 per inch.
You have to determine the number of rolls you need according to the length and width measurements. Always have an extra roll of the chosen material to avoid running out in the middle of the project.
How to Insulate a Finished Attic
It is important to prepare the space correctly before you leap into the insulation project. It would be best to opt for loose-fill or blanket insulation as they are the most DIY-friendly types.
When you choose the latter, start from the walls and move towards the center of the floor. Make sure you add insulation to the joists. You can also go overboard and install insulation across the top of the beams.
With the loose-fill insulation, start by completing the gaps between joists. It would be best to have someone to help you during the task. One could grab the hose while the other person controls flow from the blower.
A finished attic makes it pretty tough to fill every nook and cranny. It would be best if you get professionals on board and tell them about your expected outcomes. Look for a local attic insulation service provider, such as “attic insulation in Durham region,” to find your best options.
The process to Insulate an Unfinished Attic
Having sound insulation on the flooring of an unfinished attic is a cost-effective way to insulate the attic. It creates a barrier to stop heat from penetrating the ceilings. Most of the homes have some insulation between the attic and the lower portion of the house.
So, it is easy to supplement the existing insulation and bring it up to the right amount. Here are the steps needed to insulate an unfinished attic:
Place a movable platform
You can use planks or plyboards to create a safe walking space. This platform should cover three or more floor joists for stability.
Add a moisture barrier
You need a barrier between the warm air in the house and cold air in the attic. Most homeowners prefer to use a polyethylene sheet under the loose-fill insulation.
Blanket insulation typically comes with a paper or foil back to prevent moisture. There should be no barrier between insulation layers because moisture will build between these layers if the humidity stays. So pull out excess backing if you are using blanket insulation.
Hatch door insulation
Using blanket insulation would be best for this task. You have to cut two layers of blanket to create a thick pad. Fix the pad to the hatch edges so that it stays in its place. Next, staple weather strips around the door for a tighter seal.
Start from the wall farthest from the hatch or door
It would help if you move backward to ensure it doesn’t trap you in a corner. Keep going until the insulation goes deep to cover the tops of the joists.
Cut blanket insulation so that it fits securely in the spaces. But be careful as cramming material could create air pockets. When you are using loose-fill insulation, join a length of a PVC pipe at the end of a hose with duct tape to wiggle into hardly reachable corners. Also, fill the tight spots to prevent leaving the gaps.
Now that you know pretty much about attic insulation, gear up to make your living space a comfy one. You will see its perks in no time!