Types of Insulation to be used for Attic Insulation and Why You Should Insulate Your Attic
Many homeowners are intimidated by installing insulation into an attic, but the benefits far outweigh any drawbacks, including the time and cost of installing the insulation. Yet, what type of insulation is best for attic spaces, and is it really worth it in the end? Take a look at the benefits below, as well as what types to install.
Benefits of Installing Insulation in Your Attic
Most homeowners and contractors choose to insulate attics for several reasons. The main reason many choose to insulate is cost savings. Insulating an attic will help hold in heat during the winter months and keep in cool air during the summer months, which will cut back on energy bills significantly. Potentially, this could lead to saving hundreds of dollars on a monthly electric bill.
The second benefit is environmental protection. For many who only care about the cost savings, this one never comes to mind, but by insulating an attic and saving on energy, the environment is saved. There is less need of energy creation for a home when it is well insulated, including the attic, which will reduce pollution from power plants.
The final benefit of insulating an attic is preventing long-term damage from moisture. Improperly insulated attics will lead to ice and snow melting on a rooftop very quickly, which can create ice dams and condensation that slowly builds up below the shingles, leading to roof damage. If already existing insulation becomes wet in the walls due to leakage in the roof, then its R-value is significantly affected.
Types of Insulation to Use for Your Attic
The best type of insulation to use for an attic is batt insulation that comes packaged in rolls of 16 to 24 inches thick. These are easy to install in attics because they are the proper thickness, and they fit between the studs and the joists of the attic easily. These can come with or without paper or foil backing as a vapor barrier.
There are four different material options for batt insulation rolls, which are fiberglass, cellulose, mineral wool, and cotton. Fiberglass insulation is made of recycled sand or glass that is melted down and then spun into fibers. This is the most commonly used type of insulation is, and it is the least expensive; however, it can irritate the lungs and skin.
Cellulose insulation is made of fibers from recycled post-consumer paper that is treated for fire resistance and insect resistance. While this type of insulation is not as irritating as fiberglass insulation, it is harder to find.
Mineral wool insulation is made of fibers from recycled slag or rock from blast furnaces. The material it is made of makes it naturally fire resistant, but it is more costly than the other types of batt insulation.
Cotton batt insulation is made from recycled denim cloth. It is good at blocking sound transmission and airflow, but the material is a lot more costly than the previously mentioned options.
Batt insulation is simple to install. The placement of the vapor barrier mainly depends on the climate where your house is located. In warmer climates, the barrier should point to the outside of the house, blocking the vapor from the humid outside air that may seep into the walls or ceilings. In colder climates, the opposite is true. The air is usually warmer inside the house, so condensation can build up from air entering the wall from the inside. In this scenario, the vapor barrier should point toward the room. It is best to consult with a company representative of the establishment where you purchased the product to verify which side the vapor barrier should face. And unless the existing insulation has moisture damage, you may insulate over the existing.