Attic insulation is just one component of your house’s comfort and energy efficiency systems. Along with keeping you warmer during the winter and cooler during the summer, decreasing your need for the HVAC system as well as protecting your home from moisture problems when paired with an efficient roof and ventilation system, attic Insulation protects your house from future water problems. If you are considering insulation for your attic, there are a few things you need to consider before you choose the right product for you. First, where is your attic? Whether you are replacing or building a new house, your existing roof should be considered as well.
Attic insulation can either be insulated from the inside, foam or shake or from the outside, through mineral wool or cellulose fiberboard. Both systems have varying pros and cons that should be weighed carefully before choosing which insulation to install. Although some materials offer a higher R-value, or “thermal value,” an increase in thermal efficiency does not necessarily mean increased heating or cooling costs.
Two of the most popular forms of attic insulation are fiberglass and rock wool batts. Rock wool batts are generally more affordable, especially when purchased in bulk. Fiberglass insulation is heavier and requires more installation than rock wool batts. Most builders prefer to use fiberglass as it is easy to work with and easy to install, although many home improvement shops offer a service that can install fiberglass batts in your attic if you choose.
Attic insulation designed to insulate against moisture must contain a moisture resistance composition and must meet specific guidelines set forth by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). AllNFPA guidelines for insulation are based on a 10-foot height. If your attic insulation contains more than 10 feet of clearance, you should check with your local building department to make sure that the insulation meets the guidelines. A moisture-resistant composition will keep your electric bills low and will increase the life of your electrical equipment.
Rock wool insulation has a higher R-value than cellulose fibers or fiberglass. It is extremely effective at reducing moisture and contains no chlorination or toxic gases. However, it has a low R-value and should not be used in highly humid areas. In areas that receive a lot of air leaks, such as around window or skylights, you should use a different type of insulating material.
Installing the proper amount of insulation is very important. The amount of insulation required depends on how much square footage of your attic is available. You should contact a qualified professional to determine the proper amount of loose-fill insulation that you need. Loose-fill insulation should consist of one inch per foot. The cost of installing this type of insulation can be significant, especially if your attic is not being designed with the tightest specifications.
In determining the proper moisture resistance, you should calculate the R-value of the various insulation materials. The R-value is based on the amount of radiant heat flow per square foot and can be determined by using the wet rating of the insulating material, which is the product of the calculated R-value and the square footage of the attic. If you are using fiberglass insulation, you should calculate your R-value to ensure proper insulation coverage.
Moisture buildup is the number one enemy of any system. It weakens the integrity of the insulation materials and makes repairs difficult and expensive. The most common cause of moisture damage is from condensation, which can form when there is inadequate air circulation in a space. The moisture will then collect on the ceiling and around windows and doors, which create the perfect breeding grounds for mold and mildew. In order to prevent moisture from building up in your attic and causing mold and mildew, it’s important that you have properly installed all of the appropriate insulation materials.