Home Insulation Basics: Insulating the Attic
Insulating the attics is a most common choice for homeowners who want to insulate their home with an emphasis on reducing the energy bills. This outlook is rather easy to understand—non-insulated attics account for nearly 15% to 25% of the total energy loss in a typical household. A well-insulated attic reduces the energy expenditure besides helping you utilize the attic space as a study, restroom, or even a playroom for kids. Insulation makes the attic space more hospitable—cozy and warm. We will help you understand how to approach insulating your attic.
The first step towards comprehensively insulating your attic is sealing all air leaks on the roof and the floor of your attic. You can do this easily by applying caulk on narrow cracks and expanding foam on wider ones. Then you need to measure the area to be sealed. It is better to measure in squares & rectangles and make a precise approximation for the remainder of area.
Choosing Insulation Materials
Deciding what material to use for insulation can be a tedious affair. A number of materials like foil-insulator, polystyrene, rock wool, insulation boards, and rolls are available in the market. Each material has its own set of pros and cons.
E-500 Open Cell Foam is a wonderful insulating material. It has the additional feature of being fire-resistant. Wool is another superb material that provides excellent thermal and acoustic insulation besides being resistant to fire. It is renewable, recyclable, and biodegradable. It can also absorb and block pollutants like NO2, SO2, and Formaldehyde from entering your home.
Roxul comfort batt is also a brilliant option which takes care of all these features and more. This semi-rigid batt has a unique flexible edge designed for use in exterior walls, cathedral ceilings, attics, basement walls, exposed floors, and heated crawl spaces. The flexible edge springs back, expanding the batt against the frame studs to give a complete fill while achieving the expected R-value.
Many other choices are available. We recommend adhering to the directives of local authorities and taking the opinion of seasoned home decorators. These resources can provide great tips.
The decision of material also depends on whether you require Loose-Fill Insulation for which cellulose, cotton, and rock wool are excellent choices or Batting Insulation for which fiberglass or cotton are the best options. If the crawl space is difficult to access, Loose-Fill Insulation will serve you better because it provides the freedom to trim, tailor, and manipulate the insulation material for proper coverage.
Laying a Barrier You will also need to lay a moisture barrier usually made of polyethylene beneath the floor insulation. This is particularly true if your home requires heating for most part of the year. You can opt for a barrier top for roof insulation too if you consistently need air-conditioning.
Handling Heat Sources
You need to take utmost care while insulating around potential heat sources like electric cables and chimneys. Insulate such places with a non-flammable facing. Same precaution needs is relevant for the area around air ducts and vents. Here, it is always better to use a moisture-resistant backing.
Remember that your choice of insulation material and the approach towards insulating your home will have long-term consequences. This includes the kind of energy savings you can make apart from the need to execute repairs and contributing towards keeping the environmental healthier, greener.