Attic insulation may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to upgrading the energy efficiency of your home, but it just may be one of the most important. Your attic is a common source of heat loss during the coldest months of the year, and heat from the attic can also flow down into your living spaces during the warmer months. Upgrading the insulation in your attic can lead to instant savings on your energy bills, as well as improved comfort and fewer temperature variations. There are many factors that go into determining what product is best, including the R-value and the location and climate. The higher the R-value, the more effective an insulating material is. When researching what type of insulation will best suit your individual needs, please consider the pros and cons of the three most common types of attic insulation used in the North Carolina area: Blanket, Loose-fill, and Spray Foam.
- Blanket. Blanket insulation is great for the DIY homeowner and has the least expensive up-front cost. It comes in batts or rolls, which are cut and put into place according to guidelines. Batts are best for attics that have ample space to get around in during installation. This type of insulation is made of fiberglass, plastic fibers, mineral wool, or natural fibers. A disadvantage of blanket insulation is that it offers the least amount of insulating benefit and is prone to leakage and moisture issues; can be irritating to the skin, eyes and lungs during installation; and may become compressed over time, requiring additional insulation to be installed.
- Loose-Fill. Loose-fill insulation is great for installing in attics with very little room to maneuver around in and lots of hard-to-reach areas like cross-beams and vents. It must be applied using an insulation blowing machine. Because blown-in insulation is a loose material, it can be effectively blown over existing insulation without much disturbance for the homeowner or damage to the home. It is great for insulation contractors to use in some older homes. While also great for the DIY homeowner, a blower machine must be rented, adding additional costs. A disadvantage of loose-fill insulation is it creates a lot of dust during installation, needs a vapor barrier as the material is prone to moisture absorption, and can compress as much as 20 percent within a few years of installation, requiring additional insulation to be installed. It is available in fiberglass, mineral wool, and cellulose, with cellulose being the most effective material.
- Spray Foam. Spray foam insulation is an exceptional product choice for homeowners. It is sprayed on and then expands to fill and seal the nooks and crannies where drafts can develop, and fills hidden corners and hard-to-reach angles. It can also help to reduce the intake of airborne irritants like dust, pollen and mold by providing an exceptional air and moisture barrier. Spray foam insulation also provides excellent soundproofing and increases the structural integrity of your home. One type of spray foam insulation has become very popular in hurricane zones, due to the fact that it settles in an extremely dense state and helps to significantly strengthen structures. This type of insulation is more expensive, but it has one of the highest R-values.
For more information about why spray foam may be the best option for your attic insulation, please contact us at Cape Fear Foam LLC today.