Attic Insulation Options Offer Completely Different Pros And Cons

Attic insulation performs a critical function in house energy performance. In truth, most building scientists agree that the attic ought to be the first "goal" area for insulation and air-sealing upgrades. Most houses are built with code-required minimal levels of attic insulation which might be far under current recommendations established by the U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Homeowners considering an attic insulation upgrade have a number of different insulation supplies to consider. Each attic insulating option has distinct advantages and limitations. Understanding these pros and cons can help you select the best insulation upgrade to your attic.

Fiberglass batts

Fiberglass batt insulation is common because it's affordable and universally available. Regardless of age, many houses have attics insulated with fiberglass batts. The batts are typically put in between attic floor joists, and unfaced batts are more common than confronted batts in attic installations.

PROS: More affordable than other types of attic insulation. Best type of insulation for DIYers to install. Unlike blown insulation, batts can be lifted up and moved to provide access to the ceiling under, can lights and ceiling-mounted vent fans. Current batt insulation can often be left in place when blown insulation is added to increase total R-value within the attic.

CONS: Tough to install accurately around obstructions. Voids where insulation is missing contribute to significant energy loss. Multiple layers of batt insulation are required to achieve beneficial R-values in most parts of the country; this makes it impossible to use the attic for storage unless particular platforms are built prior to insulation installation. Fiberglass insulation cannot stop air movement.

Blown insulation

Two foremost types of blown (or blow-in) insulation are commonly used: cellulose and loose-fill fiberglass. Each types are designed to be installed using particular blowing equipment.

PROS: Installation might be accomplished quickly and affordably. Blown insulation typically leads to more full coverage than is possible with fiberglass batts.

CONS: A thick layer of insulation (a minimum of 16 in. for northern parts of the U.S.) is required, and this makes it not possible to use the attic house for storage unless particular platforms are constructed previous to putting in the insulation. Cellulose and loose-fill fiberglass insulation cannot stop air movement.

Spray foam

Professional spray foam insulation contractors typically insulate an attic by applying a thick layer of spray foam between the rafters. Two types of froth are used: open-cell and closed-cell. Opinions fluctuate as to which type is finest in an attic installation, however closed-cell spray foam is used more frequently.

PROS: Closed-cell spray foam provides the highest R-worth per in. (about R-6) of any attic insulation. It additionally creates an air and moisture barrier, so it eliminates the need for separate air-sealing work. Insulating beneath the roof deck instead of on the attic floor frees up attic space for storage and other purposes. This strategy also improves the effectivity of HVAC elements (like air handlers and ductwork) positioned in the attic.

CONS: Most expensive attic insulation. A thick layer of foam applied to the underside of the roof sheathing can trap moisture and cause sheathing to rot.

Rigid foam

Inflexible foam hasn't been used as extensively for attic insulation till a most up-to-date development. In one unique system, a proprietary inflexible foam panel is fastened to the underside of attic rafters, forming an air and thermal barrier.

PROS: Provides all of the benefits of spray foam, with the additional benefit of sustaining attic ventilation. The potential for roof sheathing moisture damage is eliminated. The rigid foam is faced with a radiant barrier that displays heat for additional energy financial savings -one other advantage over spray foam.

CONS: The system is available in limited areas, so it's not as widely available as spray foam. Set up value is bigger than fiberglass batts and blown insulation, but competitive with spray foam.

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