Insulation Materials - Average read time: 3 minutes

Your attic can have a huge effect on the life of your roof and on your utility bill. It might be worth checking on how well it is insulated, especially since that harsh Michigan winter is coming up quickly as we approach the end of September.

The Department of Energy estimates that a properly insulated attic space can save 10 to 50 percent on your winter heating bill – that’s serious money! What does a properly insulated attic space look like and how can you get one? What material should you use? How much of it?

The Materials

You have three main options for adding insulation to your attic: loose fill, batt (the term used when describing blanket insulation) or spray foam. Loose fill is an option when you have irregular or tight places to fill, but you need to use a piece of machinery that will blow it in. This may not be the best for DIY if you want to avoid special equipment.

The batt insulation can be used for roofs with standard widths between joists and areas where you can move around a bit in order to place it.

The best material available is spray foam, but this can be outside of the scope and abilities of most DIY projects. If you are interested in spray foam installation, call Pro Home Improvement at 888 PRO-1998.

Check On What You Already Have

Get a ruler and see what you’ve already got in place and how thick it’s installed. Anything that’s wet, compressed, stained or moldy should be removed because it’s not helping at all. If you have anything that’s grainy, lightweight and has a shininess to it, it could be vermiculite that may contain asbestos. If that’s the case, stop what you’re doing and call in a professional to help you formulate a plan from there.

R-Values

All materials have corresponding R-values depending on thickness. The Department of Energy recommends R-49 for areas with cold climates and R-38 for areas with moderate climates. Being in the southeast Michigan area, you could make a determination between those two values or just select the R-49.

Graph showing Estimated R Values Per Inch

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Potential Tax Savings

There is always a possibility that there are some state or federal tax credits for improving the energy efficiency of your home. Check this site to see what’s currently available http://energy.gov/savings.

How Much to Buy?

The loose fill and batts will tell you on the package how much square footage they will cover and at what R-value. Go and measure your attic footprint and head off to the store. My tip here is to buy one extra package or two – you can always return them if they are unopened.

Safety First

Make sure you wear gloves, long sleeves, dust mask and goggles to avoid any injuries. Also, make sure you avoid stepping incorrectly in the attic by bring up some boards to step on and some flashlights to light your way.

Ventilation at Your Soffit

If you house uses soffit vents, MAKE SURE you don’t put the insulation up over the soffit area. This will restrict all of your airflow, putting a complete stop to 95% of your attic insulation strategy. When you buy your insulation, buy some insulation baffles to keep those air channels free. Also, make sure you avoid letting insulation rest against the roof deck boards; this can be an easy spot for condensation and mold.

Vapor Barrier

Your existing insulation may already have a vapor barrier in place – inspect this to see if it’s still in good shape. If it is, make sure you buy UNFACED batts to avoid trapping moisture in between new and old layers of insulation. However, when it comes to Spray Foam insulation a separate barrier is not required.

If you need additional help with your insulation job, have a few questions or just need a second opinion, be sure to call the pros at Pro Home Improvement. They can tell you what’s best for your attic space and how you can get it done easily. For more information call Pro Home Improvement today 888-776-1998.


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