Attic insulation is an excellent method to maximize the efficiency of your home and ensure that the heat and air are being properly spread throughout your home. The type and thickness of your attic insulation varies depending on many factors that we will discuss here. Rockwool and cellulose insulation are two of the most commonly used types of attic insulation. Foam board or insulation blowing are two different types of attic insulation installation processes and each comes with its own set of benefits. Attics require different R-values based on the location of the space and the location of the home. Certain spaces require thicker insulation for greater protection and comfort. Our team of specialists is trained to decipher which system is best for your home. Give us a call today to assist you in the process!
Attic Insulation: R-Values
Attic insulation is measured in R-value per inch of thickness. The “R” in R-value stands for resistance. It tells how strongly a piece of insulation can resist heat transfer. The greater the R-value, the stronger and more effective the insulation will be against the heat.
Almost all types of attic insulation are calculated by their R-value. It does not matter whether you are using fiberglass batt insulation or insulation blowing. They are simply different consistencies. The first is a firm, foam board texture, while the other is comprised of small, fluffy spun insulation that is blown in with a vacuum. The exception to the rule is radiant barrier insulation. Radiant barrier insulation is not measured by its R-value, as it does not block thermal heat from transferring. Rather, it reflects radiant heat.
Attic Insulation: Location! Location! Location!
Believe it or not, location has a great impact on the type of attic insulation and the R-value it requires! The location of your home here in Charlotte, NC requires R-38 attic insulation. The R-values are determined by climate, ensuring that the proper thickness will protect your home from the heat, humidity, and cold of your home’s location. Here is a map that displays the recommended values of the entire United States. Charlotte, NC is in the fourth zone. It requires a minimum of R-38 attic insulation for any uninsulated or pre-existing areas. Attic insulation on the floor requires anywhere from R-25 to R-30. Our specialists will be able to determine exactly what is best for your home. Do not hesitate to reach out!
Attic Insulation: Do I Need More?
Our team is more than happy to come out and help you determine whether you need more attic insulation. However, here are some tips to determine for yourself! If you do not have any insulation whatsoever in your attic, you definitely will want to consider having some installed. An uninsulated attic leaves your home at risk for uneven temperatures, unhealthy air, and unnecessarily high energy bills. But what if you already have some attic insulation? How will you know if you need more? Let’s discuss it!
Attic Floor Insulation
You can easily visually inspect your attic insulation. Take a look at the attic insulation on the floor. Is the attic insulation level or below the joists in your attic? If you are able to see your joists, you most likely will need more attic insulation.
Attic Walls Insulation
Take a look at the walls of your attic. Are the spaces between the beams exposed? Perhaps it might be necessary to have them covered, as well. Having attic insulation on the walls will protect against any drafts and from heat and cool air escaping and entering throughout the year. It will act as a final barrier between the outside and inside of your home.
Here are a few other signs that might suggest you need to install some attic insulation:
- One room in your home is much hotter or colder than the rest
- The second floor of your home is hot
- Inconsistent temperatures throughout the rooms of your home
- The rooms are never warm enough or cold enough
- Very high energy bills
Attic Insulation Types
There are three main types of attic insulation that are used. Fiberglass, cellulose insulation, and rockwool insulation. Each of these has varying R-values and is recommended in different settings. These are able to be installed by insulation blowing, foam board, spray foam, reflective system, and batts/rolls of attic insulation. Some have benefits that would help some more than others. Our specialists will be able to create a custom solution for your home. Let’s discuss the basic properties of these types of attic insulation and what they have to offer.
Cellulose insulation is one of the most commonly used attic insulation. Composed of recycled materials, many find cellulose insulation as a great green option that doesn’t compromise function for price. Cellulose insulation is made out of recycled newspapers. It is non-toxic and very efficient. It has an R-value of about 3.5 per inch of thickness. Cellulose insulation is exceptionally good at blocking air. It is able to protect against air leakage, which is responsible for about a third of an average home’s heat loss. It is a great option for a residential home.
Rockwool insulation is another very popular option for attic insulation. Rockwool is able to be used in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. Known for its extreme heat-resistant capabilities, rockwool insulation is often used between the walls of a home. Rockwool insulation is composed of basalt rock and recycled steel. They are heated at extreme temperatures to create a lava-type liquid. The liquid is then stretched into fibers. Much like cellulose insulation, rockwool insulation comprises anywhere between 16 to 75% of recycled material. Rockwool insulation has an R-value of about 3.0 to 3.3 per inch of insulation. It is thicker than fiberglass insulation and rivals the strength of cellulose insulation. It is another great choice for your home!
Fiberglass insulation has been on average the most popular type of attic insulation. It is naturally resistant to moisture spreading, which makes it a fantastic product to use in attics. Fiberglass insulation is comprised of, you guessed it, glass. It is heated and melted down and then mixed with other minerals. From there, the mixture is woven into strands. Fiberglass insulation is able to be formed into two shapes of attic insulation. The first is batts. This is the most common type of fiberglass insulation. It has the appearance of pink cotton candy and comes in a long roll that is rolled out and cut, which makes installation quick and efficient. The second type is loose-fill fiberglass insulation. For attics with hard-to-reach spaces, this is a great solution. Through the process of insulation blowing, small pieces of fiberglass insulation can be blown into your attic. While the least expensive of all attic insulation options, it also is the weakest in terms of thickness. It has an R-value of around 2.2 per inch, so you will need more of the product to achieve the required thickness level.
So What’s the Answer?
Just as they teach every good lawyer, it depends. While there is a lot of good information learned here, the biggest lesson of it all is that it depends on your own personal preferences, your budget, and the location of your home. Attic insulation is a long-term investment for your home and it is important you are educated in its types, thicknesses, and benefits. Rockwool insulation, cellulose insulation, and fiberglass insulation all have significant benefits and capabilities. You also have the option of installing loose-fill insulation blowing or blanket (batt) insulation. Give us a call today! Our specialists would love to help you find the best-fit solution for your home.