Attic Insulation – An Overview

July 18th, 2012

The attic is one of the most important parts of your house, and is often overlooked during general home repairs, renovation or insulation. Most attics are difficult to access and remain categorized as an ill-maintained storage space with little further use. Additionally, warm air rising from the floors below the attic often gets trapped here making the attic area hot, cramped and inhospitable. However, proper attic insulation can go a long way in making your attic comfortable and livable. Benefits of attic insulation
  • During the scorching summer months, the attic can become a hot oven with temperatures as high as 150 degree Fahrenheit! The heat seeps through the attic floor onto the floors below, thereby reducing the efficiency of your air conditioners and leading to spiraling electricity bills.
  • In winter, when you spend substantially to keep the house warm, the heated air rises up to the poorly insulated attic and forces the cold air within to sink down to the floors below, thereby wasting all your efforts and money in keeping the house cozy.
  • Additionally, when the attic is used as a storage space, all that faulty heating and cooling takes its toll on the stored items, making them susceptible to bacteria and mold in that dank, hot environment.
Things to Keep in Mind for Attic Insulation
  • Attic insulation is measured by Resistance value (R-value) with R-30 or R-38 being the standard thickness. Thickness of R-30 is adequate for moderate climates whereas homes further inland should opt for a thicker R-38 attic insulation.
  • If you already have some insulation in place, it can be padded up further without removing it altogether. In fact, it would be financially prudent to keep the old insulation as a base and hire experts to add up further insulation on it, thereby increasing the overall thickness to R-30 or R-38.
  • Rolled fiberglass, blown cellulose or blown fiberglass is used to achieve effective insulation.
Factors influencing attic insulation Apart from the location of your house, several other factors influence the efficacy of your attic insulation system.
  • Your roofing material: Natural wooden roofs absorb less heat than asphalt roofs thereby complimenting your insulation efforts.
  • Existing ventilation: A well-ventilated attic having vents and fans requires less insulation.
  • Height of the roof: A high roof provides more area for natural air circulation thereby improving your insulation.
  • Roof color: The color black absorbs more heat than lighter shades. So dark colored roofs require more insulation while grey or similar lighter shades will help the insulation by trapping less heat.
  • Natural surrounding: Tall shade trees surrounding your house can complement your insulation efforts by absorbing some of the surrounding heat.