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Are Bungalow Style Homes Energy Hogs?

Bungalow home Michigan

The Bungalow, Cape Cod-style home, or whatever you might call it is a staple of classic, older neighborhoods strewn across the US. They make use of the attic space, finishing it so it may be used as living space. This very popular style of home has some distinct advantages and disadvantages. One of the biggest disadvantages is the potentially inefficient attic space.

What do you mean? I thought finishing the attic space made it more efficient.

The attic serves a vital role for a home. It allows the home to keep heating and cooling in, while keeping the elements out. The attic, when well-ventilated, allows your roof to remain in place with no issues for decades. When you restrict ventilation or insulate poorly, you can have moisture buildup in the attic, causing mold, or on the roof surface, causing ice damming, roof mildew and tile failure.

Does a bungalow mean poor attic ventilation?

In a word, yes. Placing a living space in the attic means you need to be very careful to maintain ventilation paths around it.

proper method for insulating and ventilating diagram

It doesn’t mean you automatically have a less efficient space, you just need to be deliberate about keeping proper insulation thickness and baffles to allow for proper airflow. You also have to ensure your knee walls are well-insulated.

What’s a knee wall?

Kneewall diagram
The knee wall is the shorter wall portion that connects the floor of your finished space with the sloped roof. This is a common location for missing or insufficient insulation.

Many installers will recommend batt insulation, but the issue with this installation is there will always be a small air gap.

How do I prevent the air gap and save energy?

The best way to insulate AND prevent airflow where you don’t want it is to use spray foam insulation. Spray foam stays in place, doesn’t settle, prevents airflow, prevents pests, and fills in every last nook and cranny possible! It’s a wonderful product. For more information about spray foam insulation, you can check out this Pro Advice column here.

So all is not lost for my bungalow?

Not at all. You can have a very energy efficient bungalow-style home with some proper planning, great installers and excellent insulation products. Contact Pro Home Improvement at 888-776-1998 to get a professional opinion on your bungalow and how you can save energy and money this winter.